A sub-genre with a history of failure, the female superhero movie is a hard one to master; having to address the male dominated landscape whilst not being too feminist and possibly alienating the audience. Supergirl, Elektra and Catwoman all faltered and are regarded as some of the worst superhero films ever made, some of the worst films period; But Wonder Woman was meant to break this streak. The response has been overwhelming and was enough to make even me give the DC cinematic universe another chance. How was it? Well, it’s certainly the best DC has had to offer since Man of Steel but that’s not saying much. Wonder Woman is bad. The threads of a good film are there but have been strained again by the new nemesis of cinema: The constraints of the franchise.
Opening in the beautiful backdrop of Themyscira, the vibrant colour and optimism may shock regular DC viewers and offer some hope but it is soon dashed by the films greatest weakness; the action, and the plots unravelling as our titular hero leaves to war torn Britain. The problems with the film are immediately apparent, that DC style action of frequent slow motion paired with appalling special effects immediately ruins any chance of immersion or even cheap thrills. While Gal Gadot certainly looks the part and gives a good performance, it is more the film around her that is the problem. Though it certainly applies here, the ‘mary sue’ effect doesn’t ruin a film for me; if the supporting characters are strong enough they can help balance the film out and while a majority of the cast are just generic, Chris Pine is a perfect male foil for wonder woman. Their scenes together genuinely have potential and it’s a shame that everything else in the movie casts their chemistry in shadow.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t reveal too much of the films antagonists but know that each villain is a different yet equal level of pathetic and laughable; failing to offer any sense of threat. Instead Wonder Woman’s greatest enemy is, yes, the DC universe itself. This idiotic aesthetic Zach Snyder has chosen for the franchise continues to ruin each film, a big stain that ruins any potential for excitement or beauty. As a result, the entire finale of Wonder Woman is a dark, bland blob of nothing that soon falls flat and ruins an actually emotional moment with nonsensical powers and a deus ex Machina so clichéd the cringe made me spill my popcorn!
Fast rising in the all-time box office, the unprecedented success of Wonder Woman may be a win for equality and feminism but for movie fans it’s another step backwards in a cinematic landscape stuffed with franchises and senseless pandering.