So I just got out of Wonder Woman, and I bet you wonder what I think of it. Let me tell you [spoiler alert: I will probably ruin inconsequential details].
Gal Gadot is excellent in this film as Diana, Princess of an unpronounceable Greek island. And the premise is excellent: an island of Amazonian (Greek) women who were put there by Zeus to protect the world from evil. Claire Underwood is there as a General, and she is pretty awesome. There are some other cool women. And I generally love the whole women-only bad-assery of this island.
Anyway, after some exposition and montages setting up Diana as some sort of mysterious messiah/chosen one/hero figure, Chris Pine crashes onto this secret island and is rescued by Diana. Cue cute nude scene from Chris Pine. There’s a second star right there (the first was for awesome woman island).
He’s pursued by German soldiers, Claire Underwood is killed, and Diana decides she must leave the island and end World War 1 by killing the god of war, Ares.
So far, so utterly reasonable.
There’s a break in the action as Diana arrives in London for this sort of Pygmalion-in-reverse process, where she must stop dressing like a princess daughter of Zeus, and instead like a classy oppressed woman in post-Edwardian England. Whatever, I like her reactions, it’s fun.
The film is great, as long as it stays centred on Wonder Woman herself. It loses the plot when it drifts from her. Enter villains.
The Germans are portrayed as essentially identical to Nazi Germans (remember, this is World War One), I guess because Marvel got their fingers in WWII with Captain America (an execrable example of a superhero film). The big bad seems to be General Erich Ludendorff. It’s not Inglorious Basterds, but I’ll allow it.
Ludendorff is assisted in his crazy scheme to…I’m not quite sure? Continue the war forever? Kill everyone? It’s not quite clear. Anyway, he is assisted by his evil chemical genius assistant, Isabel Maru – a woman – whose alter ego is…wait for it…DR POISON.
Dr Poison is the stupidest name I have ever heard of for an evil villain – the sort of thing you’d expect to find in a shlock b-grade sendup. It feels like the script writers were desperately trying to turn it in on time and forgot to add some detail to the requisite endless exposition.
Dr Poison, it turns out, is also possibly the most pointless character ever to be included in a superhero film. And that’s saying something, because they made an entire movie out of Ant-Man.
The sole function of this ridiculous character is to wear a phantom of the opera mask (ooh mysterious!) and then to be set free by Wonder Woman as an act of grace. DESPITE her nerve agents being responsible for the deaths of everybody in a village that Wonder Woman saved mere hours prior.
Even her chemical products are utterly without meaning. She hands a bunch of blue vials to General Ludendorff – atrociously ‘acted’ by Danny Huston – that induce some kind of meth rage which she describes as being ‘ultra powerful’ or healthy or some shit. It’s a load of bollocks and all he does is suffer a sinus infection and lose control of his senses. I’m not entirely confident that’s a part of the character, and not just some allergic reaction of Huston’s. Either way, it’s not that relevant, he sniffs it once IN ORDER TO RUN AWAY FROM A LOCKED ROOM FULL OF CHOKING PEOPLE, and then once again to GET STABBED BY WONDER WOMAN when she MISTAKES HIM FOR SOMEONE ELSE. It is literally the shittest potion ever.
Which reminds me: Americans are terrible at playing Germans. Or basically any Europeans for that matter.
Chris Pine does a passable accent, but that’s “American spy pretending to be a German” accent. All the ‘German’ characters are just Americans trying to put on accents and it is awful.
The ‘big reveal’ at the end is that Ares is not, in fact, either General Ludendorff (as Diana suspects for most of the film), not is it Dr Poison (as I feel it kind of implied and I suspected). No, Ares is in disguise as a TOTALLY IRRELEVANT CHARACTER WHO HAD HARDLY ANY SCREEN TIME.
That is the worst kind of secret twist! It’s just such a copout to pick some random character and play them off as evil – and like, with no actual consequence. So they make some senior peace negotiator for the Entente Powers turn out to be the Greek God of War? How does that make narrative sense? Even as a twist it’s a stretch, but I mean I don’t expect better from Warner Brothers and DC.
Remember, this is the studio that shoved Jesse Eisenberg in a sewer with a mindless zombie monster to bring Batman and Superman together over their mothers’ shared NAME. DESPERATE.
Is Wonder Woman good? Sure. But only for Wonder Woman herself. She is an excellent hero, and she easily thrashes the rest of the DC canon (including moody fuckwit Batman).
Are there flaws? Yes. It is a DC film.
But see it. At the very least, it’s fun to hate stupid Dr Poison.
I give it three and a half glowing amazonian femme whips.