The results are in people! After seeing the movie twice and taking 4 pages worth of notes in a dark movie theater (harder than I thought), we’ve got your all inclusive Wonder Woman review. From the characters, to the directing, and effects we cover it all. For anyone also interested in an alternative ending explanation and other things you may have missed we have that, too! But, let’s get to it!
Also, if you haven’t seen the movie, run away fast! There are spoilers below and you’ve now been warned.
I need to take a moment to commend an incredible job from not only the leading roles, but the supporting characters. Gal Gadot does a fantastic job of balancing the incredible, dutiful attitude that Wonder Woman has towards justice with the complete raw, naivety of the world of mankind. The complete contrast of cultural norms throughout the movie was well executed by the character.
Her upholding of the best ideals is balanced with the realism of Steve Trevor. We see this especially in the famous “no man’s land” scene where Diana goes full-speed ahead and Steve is immediately concerned for her safety. Even from the first moment we meet Steve Trevor as his plane is taking on water, we see such an authentic mix of emotion of his face; something between survival instincts and panic. Chris Pine also does a fantastic job with his German accent getting into the gala. And, while it’s still the most heartbreaking thing EVER, his final moments were some of the toughest to watch solely based on his facial expressions. When an actor can convey such a feeling without using words, it’s impressive. You know he’s about to sacrifice himself. At first he seems nervous and then in the last few seconds you see peace. Yea, I’m still crying.
The characters were well cast even down to the smaller cameos. Etta Candy, for example, might not have had much screen time, but she sure made it count. Each member of Steve Trevor’s team had their own dynamic which rounded out the group.
Patty Jenkins’s directing matched with the writers helped bring to life a pretty spot on blend of the old and the new. Between throws to previous renditions of Wonder Woman and newer takes, all levels of fans got something out of this movie. This is also true for fans of other DC heroes. Patty Jenkins has claimed that she pulled some moments of the movie from Superman inspiration. These are seen in two specific Easter eggs involving the alley scene and the revolving door (which you can hear about here).
Not to mention, the choice to include most of the humorous scenes in the trailers was risky, but it paid off. We knew the punchline was coming, but it never detracted from the movie or made it any less funny.
Ultimately the decision to focus on WWI instead of the typical WWII was interesting, but ended up paying off. WWI had a focus on mustard gas and the invention of much greater weapons. This made for a greater contrast between the Amazon fighting Wonder Woman knew and the level of industrialization war was taking on in mankind. This was a good decision, Patty!
The actual filming of the movie, shots used, and transitions were outstanding. Hippolyta’s horse jump move and Antiope’s shield jump with triple-arrow-action were great examples of the cinematic experience. (Not to mention, you have a pretty good memory with hoisting people off shields…or tank doors, Steve Trevor!)
The famous “no man’s land” scene may be one of the best segments in the movie from a cinematic standpoint. For one, the camera pans around in a circle as Wonder Woman transforms into her battle outfit, with a soldier in the background gasping at just how freaking awesome she is. The camera slowly follows her emerging from the bunker and pans to Steve Trevor who is immediately panicked. They slow down the actual warfare which reminds us just how fast things normally move and how speedy her reactions to bullets are. The entire scene is emotional and empowering, entirely driven by the shots. Following this scene, Diana takes on a bunch of Germans in the town. The filming of this fight scene is a brilliant follow up.
Towards the end of the movie during her fight with Ares, she uses her lasso of truth. The scene is dark and the lasso is so bright which gives it a stark contrast. While this might fall into the special effects as well, it was a good move to make visually.
In one of the last segments we see the memorial and Chris Pine’s photo transitions into the photo of their group in WWI that Bruce Wayne found. This brings us back to present day which was a great segway to pull things full circle.
Music and Sound Effects
One, the theme….oh, Athena that theme! It’s just brilliant.
Two, the scene for the win on the music and sound effects is Steve Trevor’s goodbye. The first time around all the audience can hear is that muted, dampened ringing that you would expect from an explosion or gunfire. It was perfect. The second time around you can actually here their conversation. It was executed flawlessly and really made the audience feel like they had the same ringing in their ears that Diana had.
From an overall standpoint, the music and sound effects continuously brought a sense of empowerment and awe to the audience. Every time Diana did something, it was accented with either humorous, suspenseful, or complete bad-ass accompaniment.
I think the special effects team did a great job, as a lot of this movie is larger than life. For one, take a look at Themyscira. That’s all thanks to the effects. We will never be able to un-see that wonderful, imaginary island. It truly was a fantastic job, as well as the plane crash and Germans arriving.
Wonder Woman’s abilities like jumping and flying, as well as her lasso of truth were well executed. The scenes where Diana is taking down the Germans in the village and no man’s land were also accomplished by strong special effects. The slow-mo bullet fire was another really cool effect.
The majority of the special effects are compacted into the final scenes and battle with Ares. I thought it was a pretty good choice to have him grow his armor from fire and weapons. While some might call it cheesy, he’s the god of war and it’s symbolic for him to grow his armor from those materials.
My Only Disagreement
While I totally “ship” Steve Trevor and Diana Prince, the implied (and very quick) sex scene didn’t really feel necessary. Usually, things like that are meant to develop characters or the story. However, I truly feel like we could’ve gotten from point A to point B without that alluded addition. Steve Trevor’s last goodbye could’ve been just as powerful (if not more so) knowing that they had kissed one evening, yet had such a promising future together. It really did nothing to affect or develop either character.
Bonus Points: Social Impact
While she didn’t have to be a symbol of social justice, she has been linked to it. I was personally hoping that the movie wouldn’t be judged solely on her ability to portray this expectation, and I was pleasantly surprised. She knocked it out of the park AND was inspirational to all sorts of people.
Diana lets the American generals know just how cowardly they are and she clearly puts Sameer in his place when he gets all sorts of creepy at the bar. She knew our struggle!
So what did you all think of the movie? Also make sure to check out our really cool panel video of some of our Pure Fandom members talking about the movie.