I had heard great things about Wonder Woman. It was the one non-Batman movie in the DC canon that was actually decent. And having actually sat through the new Superman movies, Suicide Squad, and Batman v. Superman, I was reasonably skeptical. Still, I wanted to give the film a fair shot. I ordered the 3D version and watched it on my home theater.
It’s a decent movie. There were a few scenes in it that I really enjoyed. But in the end, it suffered the same flaw pretty much all the other DC movies have had: it’s so so dark. Gloomy. It’s like you’re stuck in the same room for two hours with Debbie Downer:
(Seriously. I think I enjoy that 5 minute SNL clip more than all of Man of Steel, and it’s not even close. Then again, that’s still one of my favorite SNL skits of all time.)
Don’t get me wrong. Wonder Woman actually had some funny moments and a few times when it lightened up a bit, and I enjoyed those parts. It was a good DC movie. But it wasn’t the savior of the DC franchise for me. For one thing, the action sequences needed some real work. It has one truly great sequence: when Wonder Woman is storming the trenches. (That was was pretty incredible, though it did strain belief.) The arrows vs. bullet scene early on was also impressive. But most of the action devolved into “What heavy thing can Wonder Woman pick up next?” If that were a drinking game, the entire audience would be sloshed well before the film was over. I started looking around the scenes to try and guess what she’d pick up. A tank? You betcha!
That’s a problem with a superhero movie. Once you go full super, it’s hard to try to keep raising the stakes. Marvel typically does it by making its heroes weaker. Taking Iron Man’s suit away. Having Ant Man learn how to use the thing in the first place. Blowing up Thor’s hammer. But DC doesn’t go in for that, a lot of the time. They just have their heroes punch harder. Harder! In the end, it’s hard to really care.
Some of this is likely due to superhero fatigue, as well. It’s getting more and more difficult to really be wowed by a superhero movie. We’ve seen so many. For them to be successful, I feel like they need to focus on the details. Plot. Characterization. Acting. Film essentials. Instead, a lot of them turn into special effects highlight reels.
Am I glad I watched the movie? Sure. It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours, and it did look great in 3D. Perhaps if I’d had lower expectations, I would have enjoyed it even more. But I went in hoping for a 9 or a 10, and I walked away with a 6 or a 7.
Maybe the sequel will be better, but I remain skeptical. Skeptical enough that I don’t think I’ll buy it in 3D. I’d rather just watch it when it comes to Netflix or HBO or wherever it ends up.
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