By Andrew Jenck, for Tillamook County Pioneer
Something I want to make abundantly clear to my new audience of the Tillamook County Pioneer is that I’m not a fan of the Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe franchise. It has been attempting to recreate Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy by making its world darker and more realistic to the point where there’s little enjoyment. Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Suicide Squad were all bloated narrative messes with poorly defined characters that focus more on being gritty and complex than actually being a film.
As a result, it should be no surprise that their best film is almost completely unattached from the franchise, and fixes some of the most glaring issues with the franchise. There’s a three-act structure, natural dialogue, the action scenes have good cinematography, it’s more appealing to look at, and it ends on a more optimistic note. This probably would have been enough to please general moviegoers and some critics, but fortunately, Wonder Woman works very well as an original story and presents us with a relatable, fleshed out protagonist.
This film nails that aspect of the character extremely well. You don’t need to know anything about Wonder Woman, in order to be invested in her story. Gal Gadot is an overall revelation in the titular role. While there are some scenes where it’s clear she’s trying to get comfortable in the role, she excels where it matters most; being fierce, naive, hilarious, and emotional, while still feeling like the same character. She has a childlike view of the world, and her journey shows her the shades of gray that is reality. The best scenes of the film are her reactions to the horrors of war and how she responds.
If you were hesitant to see this film, afraid that it would be overly feministic, I’m pleased to say that’s not the case. While there are some on-the nose jokes about the 1910s, it makes it clear that she stands to protect all mankind. Her relationship with war pilot Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, shows the cultural differences, which are simple but effective and leads to some hilarious moments. Even Trevor’s war buddies aren’t stereotypes but individuals who got the short end of the stick and had to face prejudice themselves. It doesn’t say that males are responsible for war but rather their corruption and jealousy are to blame.
There are, however, a few noticeable flaws that prevent this from being truly great. The film could have cut ten to twenty minutes and still be as effective. This is the first major blockbuster Patty Jenkins has directed, and while she does a very good job, there are some cheap-looking effects and an underwhelming climax. The main villain could’ve been fleshed out more, and has little interaction with our hero until the climax.
Wonder Woman is by no means perfect, not being as groundbreaking as others claim it to be, outside of finally giving the most iconic female superhero her own movie. It won’t change your life but it will leave you with a good feeling and a character you rooted for. That’s more than I can say for the majority of blockbusters I’ve seen in the past few years which makes this a must-see in my book.