Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) has to team up with an American soldier (Chris Pine) in World War One to stop the Germans from developing a dangerous gas-weapon. The film is sort of fun and has some charm, but is incredibly flawed and many major aspects of the film collapses upon itself. Patty Jenkins, under what appears to be significant guidance from Zack Snyder, directs the film with a keen eye for cool action and nice shots but she seems to falter when it comes to working with the actors and post-production team. Additionally, the screenplay seems to have been churned out of a computer and features almost every single cliche in the book. And on top of that, the majority of the cast is miscast and stumbles through the film without an inkling of grace.
The film is supposed to be led by a strong performance by our female protagonist played by Gal Gadot, but this doesn’t end up happening and that is simply due to the fact that Gadot is just not mature enough as an actress to play a leading role in a major film. She can barely deliver a line, let alone play the nuanced and dynamic arc that the character goes through. Gadot may shine during the action sequences, but that is not enough and the movie suffers significantly because of it. Playing opposite of her is Chris Pine as an American soldier who stands up against bureaucracy and leads an attack on the German forces. Pine, as one of the few things in this film, shines brightly. His charm seems to be a delectable mix of Indiana Jones and Chris Pratt while he still manages to put such graceful undertones and nuance into every scene. In all honesty, there were times while I was watching this movie when I just wished he would take over and the lead the movie as it was evident that Gadot couldn’t do it.
The supporting cast features an incredibly forgettable and monotonous performance by David Thewlis who was so boring, one might imagine he sleep-acted his way through the film. The movie also features an incredibly underdeveloped and poorly cast crew that follows Gadot and Pine through the war effort. This group is made up of Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremmer, and Eugene Brave Rock. Each of these characters feels more like a diversity token than anything else and the group has absolutely no chemistry together. There are also two decent performances by Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright, that despite a serious lack of any accent training (they seem to jump from Eastern European to Cajun to Middle Eastern), helps solidify the first act.
Despite the performances being mostly forgettable and weak, the actors are not the only to blame for that. The screenplay is also pretty weak. The plot seems like it was churned out using a computer and algorithms (but then again who was expecting anything else?). But the characters, especially the team of diversity tokens, are incredibly underdeveloped and although an actor like Pine manages to create an interesting sense of mystique from this underdevelopment, not every actor has that capability or the screen time to do so. The film also features an incredibly silly, predictable and carelessly unentertaining third act that a third grader could have written to be more interesting, but because a major superhero movie is apparently not allowed to take risks we’re stuck with a piece of crap battle between two divinely boring characters battling it out.
Let’s get back to some positives though. The film looks really nice. At least most of it does. The first act, when we get to explore the Wonder Woman’s home-island which is beautifully crafted and features wonderful set-dressing, costumes, and some damn fine cinematography. Then we are transported to a World War One battle-field, that too features some well-made aesthetics. The lighting, however, for most of the movie is really sloppy, with some scenes changing the nature of the light from shot-to-shot, this is especially evident in a fight sequence on a beach in the first act. The third-act battle, however, looks absolutely shit. There is not one redeeming feature about it with a boring color-palatte, messy lighting, and lifeless shots.
A lot of the post-production of the film also sort of felt like it was rushed. The visual effects were absolutely trash with the CG green-screen images in the back sticking out like a sore thumb. The sound was also incredibly sloppy as the engineers seemed to ignore many sound-creating actions and set-pieces to speed up the post-production. The editing was nice and fast-paced during the action sequences, but boy was Martin Walsh sloppy when it came to editing the more emotionally fueled scenes. But the worst part of the post-production of this film was the score. The score was lousily boring and forgettable. There could have at least been a fun little melody every time Wonder Woman was in action, but no. The score was littered with just as many cliches as the screenplay and did nothing to help the movie.
Overall there is very little that truly works in Patty Jenkins’ mess of a Wonder Woman movie. Gal Gadot has no place on the big screen, the rest of the cast (with the exception of Chris Pine and perhaps a few others) have no place in a superhero movie. The movie, though it mostly looked cool, was flawed in almost every technical aspect, not to mention a horrible screenplay. The worst part of the movie, however, was the drawn-out, over-the-top, lame third act that had it not been for the poorly-mixed stream of undistinguishable sound that flooded my ears I may very well have fallen asleep. Honestly, this movie is not very good and unless you have a strong association with Wonder Woman, this is one you can skip.