Wonder Woman is the latest superhero film from the DC Extended Universe, directed by Patty Jenkins who has only previously made one other film fourteen years prior.
The fourth installment in the DCEU tells the origin of Diana, princess of the Amazons, who leaves home to fight in World War One, whilst discovering her full powers and true destiny.
First of all, Patty Jenkins seems to be a good director of actors (an improvement on Zack Snyder who cannot direct actors to save his life – just watch Batman V Superman to see the dull performances in action). Unfortunately, that is the only good aspect of her directing abilities in this film. Jenkins has never made a film like this before and it shows in spades: It has no style, the action is extremely poorly handled, the fight scenes are either shaky and close up with edits every half second where you cannot see what is going on, or in extreme slow-motion which highlights the terrible CGI and becomes immediately grating.
The script is pretty by-the-numbers, it is generic and painfully predictable but at least has a clear narrative structure to it (unlike all the other DCEU offerings that have come before it). The dialogue is mostly terrible and very cliched, there are plenty of jokes but most of them fall flat. In terms of the story, it is mostly okay (although extremely predictable) up until the ending which is shockingly bad. The final twenty minutes completely contradict the message built up throughout the film as it then turns into a CGI heavy fight reminiscent of the end of Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and Man of Steel where there are no stakes because Wonder Woman is invincible, making the whole scene pointless and unengaging. It seems the DCEU have not fully learned from their mistakes.
The performances are pretty much terrible all-round. Gal Gadot who plays the titular role is quite bad for the first act of the movie but gets better as it goes on. Chris Pine is good as Wonder Woman’s love interest Steve Trevor – their chemistry is good and this is the most positive aspect of the film. The side characters are forgettable apart from Ewen Bremner who is fantastic in everything he is in, giving the most memorable performance in the movie even though he is hardly in it. The secretary is a stereotypical bumbling overweight buffoon who is deeply annoying and unfunny. The villains are hammy and over the top in a way that does not suit the gritty war aesthetic of the movie.
The musical score is quite generic and bland other than the main theme which does not fit and sticks out horribly, having an electric cello badly placed over the top of the orchestral score, not suiting this period film with its Spy Kids ripoff modern sounding theme. Also, there is so much CGI used throughout the movie and it looks abysmal (especially when Wonder Woman is fully CGI herself – mainly during fight scenes).
Overall, this film has more bad than good to it, only just succeeding at being a passable origin story that does not get you emotionally invested but will pass by a couple of hours. So far, this is easily the best film in the DC Extended Universe but still has a long way to competing with its main rival Marvel whom it is so clearly trying to emulate.