Opinion piece by Jordan and Eddie on 19/06/2017
Over the last few weeks DC Comic’s latest big screen blockbuster Wonder Woman has taken the world by storm.
With outstanding reviews, gushing audience reactions and some downright wondrous box office takings, it’s safe to say Wonder Woman has exceeded many peoples expectations.
Accompanying this however has been what has felt like an overreaction from many (especially the comments of it ushering in of a new age of Hollywood) and we here at The Movie Guys can’t help feeling that the world has gone a little too far with their Wonder Woman praise, as we delve into why we think so in the below thoughts.
Our aim here is not to offend, but merely start a conversation about why everyone’s new favourite superhero flick isn’t all its cracked up to be.
Happy reading and happy watching.
Sometimes things happen in life that make you question yourself, your opinions and often other people’s mindsets. The exceptionally warm reception and in my mind overreaction to Wonder Woman is certainly one of those moments for myself.
A superhero film with a “huge”,“ground-breaking”, and “never-before-seen” difference of having a female (yep can you believe it? Someone that’s not male) in the lead role, Patty Jenkins take on the famous DC Comic stalwart has been an unquestionable success with critics and audience members alike.
Now right off the bat, I enjoyed the film, as my review states, it’s a fun and often entertaining film and Wonder Woman herself is a fantastic character full of kindness, grace and some breathtaking bad guy disposal skills but come on people; is this film really inspiring? Truly ground-breaking? Even memorable? I’m not so sure that it is.
Like so many of its other comic book counterparts, Wonder Woman follows a rather generic set-up; a hero that’s out of their comfort zone, learns lessons about humanity, falls in love with the first person of the opposite sex they spend time with, takes part in a world breaking boat trip from magical island to London. Despite the big song and dance about the undeniably great Gal Gadot as the titular hero, Wonder Woman surely isn’t what we are now all calling such a ground-breaking film?
It’s great that we’ve all embraced a film of this ilk that just so happens to have a female as its lead (but if we’re being honest, Diana Prince is largely a follower to Chris Pine’s World War 1 dashing spy as he shows her the ropes and gives her life lesson’s) and to me this is not exactly a huge step up for female lead roles.
As both Jordan and I talked about Wonder Woman together over various conversations and as I’ve managed to get honest answers out of other cinemagoers that have paid good money to see Jenkin’s film, it’s increasingly obvious to me that when we take off our rose-colored glasses that have been placed on for the film, the true nature of this blockbuster takes evident effect.
Wonder Woman is a fun film, nothing more nothing less.
If Wonder Woman has inspired people that’s great, the power of movies is alive and well and as meaningful as ever, but if Wonder Woman has become the type of film that people embrace as some form of life changing event, I also fear for the future of the medium; an art form that can and will continue to hopefully be a deliverer of films of much higher calibre than this seen a thousand times before Comic book escapism that has somehow been heralded in as a new age of cinema.
It’s almost as if other non-male lead blockbuster cousins like the Underworld and Resident Evil series or the last two Star Wars entries never happened?
As stated by Eddie, it’s important that as lovers of film we can both appreciate or critique them with a critical eye, and also embrace hyperbole to emphasize an unfashionable point. Some films encourage deep dissection, while others strive to be enjoyed on their more shallow merits, with both types essential to the cinema-going experience.
The purpose of a review is different to that of a conversation, and since its release, Eddie & I have had many (very informal) conversations about what I perceive to be the unwarranted fanfare surrounding Wonder Woman. I thoroughly enjoy reading contrary opinions to my own, as it’s a showcase of the power of the medium: that it can be different things to different people, and through reading reactions, reviews and opinions, I’m bewildered that such a silly film can be heralded as something far greater.
Its good that Wonder Woman is silly; that’s what supports its brand of entertainment, and it is a select few exceptions that have taken DC to more serious places. Her lasso that forces its victims into telling the truth compels them also into progressing the narrative, and her naivety used as a device to poke fun at accepted cultural norms is OK but superficial. Diana Prince’s perceptions of the motivations and weaknesses of mankind don’t exactly stack up to those of Dr Manhattan. Her strength is her will, and this is evident. Her film isn’t deep or complex enough to explore anything more.
My main point, as I touched on in my review, is that the almost unanimous praise of Wonder Woman appears the outcome of a gradual lowering of expectations, brought upon by a sequence of middling films of predictable structure. Women have unfortunately mainly played support in Marvel and DC properties, but I sincerely hope (and expect) that the inevitable sequel holds a lot more power than this if it wants to transcend its genre, not merely be another entry in it, which I think is where history will leave it.
I saw it yesterday, and I completely agree with you guys. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it was truly overrated. At times it was even a bit boring if I’m honest. I had fun for sure, but it really wasn’t what I expected it to be; one of the best superhero movies ever. No way…shame really 😦
Glad you’re with us mate. We certainly don’t want to seem as though we hated the film but it really is undeserving of all the high praise in our books.
J and E
Here’s what I think happened:
1- D.C.’s superhero universe so far has SUCKED. A couple of months ago there was a report floating around that Wonder Woman had to undergo some re shoots. The same thing had ocurred with Batman V Superman, and we all know how that ended up.
2-The push for gender equality in Western civilization. That such a brand name female character was finally hitting the big screen was much reason to celebrate for those who champion more women representation on film.
1-The fact that it did not suck, I think, made everyone go “what a good movie!”, when it is in fact, merely passable. Better than the previous ones, of course, but then again, almost any movie is better than freaking Batman V Superman.
2-We should ask our heroines for more than merely not sucking.
However, I think this is not merely a Wonder Woman issue. The superhero movie genre as a whole now suffers from this. It’s like we’ve invented an entirely new category for judging these kinds of movies, setting the bar lower than any other genre.
Go to Rotten Tomatoes. Consistently, for the past few years, the highest rated movies are superhero movies.
As you put it, I also fear for cinema as an art form.
Mate I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said. I really hope in many ways that you aren’t right but I can’t help but escape the feeling that you are.
To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to this but after the reviews hit and people I know had implored me to see it, I felt rather dumbstruck that people loved it so much.
A lot of people had a lot of expectations given the sociopolitical context, so I think WONDER WOMAN was graded on a curve. But real equality would suggest the movie be viewed on its cinematic merits, not on the hopes and implications of surrounding dialogue.
Michelle Wolf said something similar on THE DAILY SHOW, in that this need for WONDER WOMAN to be “great” doesn’t do anyone any favours. The day women are allowed to make a superhero movie/blockbuster that sucks donkey balls and are subsequently allowed to make another one is the day cinematic equality is really achieved.
Love it mate.
I totally agree with your thoughts and Jordan (our Jordan) probably does to.
I think the less talk about it being a female lead the better as in if we are trying to reach a world in which female and male leads get equal showings in Hollywood (movies in general) why even bother making such a big deal about it all as we stated, its not like there hasn’t been huge films with female leads before.
I almost feel the reverse. That if I admit seeing a good female superhero movie meant something to me and was empowering I’m not being objective. That I should for some reason hide that it was a meaningful moment for me. Of course it doesnt excuse a bad movie to have a female lead but I cant deny that it did matter to me to see it actually happen.
All I can say is I’ve seen it 3 times and each time sobbed. Like not just cry but weeping. I really connected emotionally with Diana’s story and her coming to terms with the frailty of human nature and war. I know the movie has its flaws but I cant deny how much I bonded with the characters and overall message. So yes it is that great to me
Glad it means so much to you Smiling. I know both Jordan and I love how movies can affect us all differently no matter other peoples opinions.
Yeah I just wanted to share an opposite point of view. I’ve really tried to separate myself from the hype and I really do love it. I can see it follows basic formulas but that doesn’t matter when you emotionally connect with characters. It’s kind of like I love Frozen and everyone is always tell me of its problems but I connect with Elsa as a character so it doesnt matter to me. I dont emotionally connect with Batman like seemingly everyone else does so I understand
My friend and I broke it down in a podcast if you are interested https://youtu.be/PncLhkUrU6Y
I also totally disagree that Steve Trevor is leading Diana. They complemented each other so well. He has one kind of knowledge and abilities and she has another. It was great that they made a female led movie without having to belittle men. Yeah I really dont see where your at on this one. Oh well. Agree to disagree I guess
Really appreciate your input! This is exactly why film blogs are a great idea. I’m glad you enjoyed the film so much!
Totally and I really do get it because I was lukewarm on Guardians vol 2, Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Kong Skull Island and many other recent blockbusters
i disagree strongly as i feel wonder woman is an amazing gem. i think you missed all points on this wonderful movie
That’s the beauty of movies. We all share different opinions. That’s what makes them so special.
I loved it too 😁
I walked out of the screening with a similar opinion – it’s the best DC has done, but not up to anything from Marvel. Just so-so on plot, etc. BUT every so often I pause and remember I’m a girl (I know, shock horror, right?! ;)). And from that point of view, this actually is quite an important movie. The fact that it took me some time to see some of the importance of that probably only proves what a male-centric world we live in, especially on the cinema screen. Not saying ‘guys can’t understand that’ (it was a male friend that convinced me!), but for the real impact look for the twitter etc threads from inspired little girls (and boys!). Yes, it follows on from things like The Force Awakens, but this is still a bit of a big deal – and yes, slightly a shame that it couldn’t have been a stronger movie doing so, but still!
Can’t dispute any of that!
I think it’s great when films or any art can make an impact like that one young lives in particular.
I’ll be very interested to see how the film is regarded in the coming years.
I enjoyed watching it but I share your doubts. If young women find it empowering, that may say something significant about how few movies there are that have female leads and female directors. For me, it felt like watching a superior episode of “Xena: Warrior Princess”. I loved Xena and it was groundbreaking and original, in the mid 1990s. With all that “Game of Thrones” has done, female leads are more common on TV than in films. Thanks for provoking my thoughts on this!
Great reference actually as an old avid watcher of Xena (was my favourite show on tv as a youngster) I think it makes perfect sense.
It’s great fun in a cheesy way and fantastic it has a powerful female lead.
Just not sure this film is worth the crazed 5 star reviews and game changing title.
I haven’t watched the film yet, but I agree with the fawning being over the top. Some reviews appear to be oblivious to other female lead films, the most recent rebuttal I saw was of Ripley showing badass female leads existed before this WW film.
Probably says a lot about how few female lead films there are in the action and particularly in the superhero genres. People too easily forget the last time they saw one.
That’s a major problem with some films these days. Things just get so over the top so quickly.
If people just called a spade a spade many would agree that this is a fine popcorn flick but lacks anything truely special to be called anything else.
But of course, then they wouldn’t get to roll out the “Greatest film EVA” statement for every review. It isn’t easy coming up with actual thoughts on a film.
I thought it was a decent film with a fantastic, charismatic performance from Gal Gadot, too much of Chris Pine playing Chris Pine, average story, disappointing villains, and nothing much to distinguish it from a visual standpoint. It’s yet another by-the-numbers origin story, except about a female character this time. If other people find the film inspiring, great, but I can’t say I feel the need for a fantasy character to empower me, I’d just rather watch a great film.
I must say I agree with everything you’ve said. I found in particular Pine a real non-event, CGI average at best and in particular terrible and forgettable villains.
Gadot was the clear standout.
I think ‘Wonder Woman’ was better than anything Marvel have put out in the past couple of years. It offered something a bit different and didn’t suffer from a universe eating blog as it’s main antagonist!
Yeh personallly the only Marvel film I’ve really enjoyed over the last few years has been Dr. Strange.
And while its nice to get away from those planet eating villains the ones here weren’t a great substitute.
… they were still better 🙂
Ok then here it is I liked the film because it had a human touch towards it. Instead of done it without emotions. The story line is fine and like I said in my reviews the director did not do action scene after action scene. It is done like a thriller. But the ending is getting a little old. It is the one on one who,is going to be left standing with big special effect. But you are entitled of your opinion and not everyone is going to like it. At least it is an honest opinion. Wait until the second one they should step it up. If there is a second one. Have you seen the mummy with Tom cruise yet A disappointment here big time . Thanks guys. The 3 best DC comics Christopher Nolan’s batman.
I do believe this series has and this character has a lot more to give. I look forward to hopefully seeing them grow it.
I think both Jordan and I are avoiding the Mummy like the plague. It looks truely aweful sadly.
And agree on your Nolan Batman call.
Interesting point made about similar female lead roles in recent Star Wars, Resident evil and Underworld being ignored as aiding the success women in film. I think WW caters to as wider audience as it can possibly reach and the polish and charm of the characters makes it uncomparable with the Bakingsales and Jovovichs of this world. Without being completely feministic in approach it doesn’t exile those of the opposite sex as I felt Steve Trevor was more than just a sidekick.
I cant help but feel and over reaction to a perceived over reaction is a growing trend as consumers have a plat form and voice these days through internet/social media so “enjoying” a movie is harder these days as we expect more and reading gigantic reviews a week before a movies release adds more expectation of an opinion which we have never shared. For what we have been served through BvS and Suicide Squad this was a very surprising and palatable adventure easily disgested by charming and relatable characters. I reckon 80% of movies goers probably don’t think about the film too hardly, either enjoy it or thy didn’t. I am that 80%.
Some well put forward thoughts Mr. Griggs (if that is your real name).
I know i enjoyed the film so I consider myself in that 80% but just can’t agree with the over the top reviews Ive read and gushing audience reactions.
I went into the film with no expectations but I enjoyed it. It’s a much better film than either Thor the Dark World and Dr. Strange, in my opinion. It’s certainly not as good as The Dark Knight, but that’s a bar that can never be beaten.
I don’t think this is going to be a game changer in the sense that we’re now going to have full gender parity in film. According to a study by San Diego State University, 29% of the the protagonists in the top 100 grossing films last year were women, and 37% percent of the major characters in films were women. And these were relatively high numbers compared to recent years. Considering that roughly 50% of the population is women, film has a long way to go, and I don’t think that Wonder Woman and Patti Jenkins can change that overnight.
Some fantastic insights there Emma, thanks for sharing!
I do see the upwards incline continuing as Hollywood seems set to make sure that a more equal playing field is going to take place which is great for everyone really.
This is an entertaining film, but I know I for one will never endeavour to set out and watch it again as it didn’t strike me as one worthy of much further appreciation or delving into. I think a few people have found it to be something much more than it actually is, which is a summer blockbuster, nothing more nothing less.
I thought it was a great and ‘ground breaking’ movie because the heroine didn’t try to be a ‘male-ish’ superhero, but totally embraced her femininity- she was inspired by the children, (How many men would say, ‘we have to fight because they’re hurting the children’ or how many male heros would cry out in passing “Oh LOOK! A Baby!!!” She totally was unafraid of having a maternal side, some treat maternal-ness as if that is weakness. In her case it was strength and gave her the inspiration to be powerful! Loved that!
Another great character observation Michele.
I think I speak on behalf of both Jordan and I in saying that we loved the character of Diana, it was more the film and plot line around her that didn’t exactly stack up to all the high praise.
I’m very keen to see how they build on Diana’s strengths as a character and Gadot’s strong turn.
I’d been wanting to write something similar to this because like the two of you, I was a little confused and worried at the level of over-hyped positivity that was being thrown at this film. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun watching this film and I also thought Diana was one of the most interesting comic book origins I’ve seen on-screen, in some time. But there was something missing from the film and that something was probably what made the film end up feeling… uninspired. Great piece you guys have here, always love reading your stuff.
Cheers Gavin. Nice to hear you’ve had similar thoughts.
As stated we didn’t totally dislike the film but the more we spoke about it the more we agreed that people have gone a little over the top with their high praise.
I agree with you guys 100%. After seeing it a second time on Father’s Day with the rest of my family, not only did I stand firmly by my initial assessment but I found even more instances where I felt the film fell far short of greatness.
When I wrote about it myself, I couldn’t help but feel like an outlier. The movie was far from “great” and like you pointed out, much of the celebrated context isn’t exactly groundbreaking. While it was a pinnacle moment to give WW this kind of platform, Chris Pine carries a large share of the responsibility despite not being the titular character, and if you read between the lines it says a lot while not being actually subversive.
It was fun and perfectly enjoyable, but the lofty praise undermines the whole genre and the film industry as a whole. I’m glad you guys are willing to take a stand. I’ll be right there standing along side you on this one.
Thanks for sharing your kind and considered thoughts mate.
Pretty sad that at last time checking this film is in the IMDB top 250. Just doesn’t feel right.
I’m personally happy to hear someone else felt the same about Pine and I’m glad you’ve mentioned how you felt on a rewatch as I know I’m afraid much of the initial enjoyment I had watching would be lost on a repeat viewing.
For the DCEU, I think that Wonder Woman is a step in the right direction. For most of their films (i.e Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad), each one serves too many masters from either too much narrative build and setting up for its shared cinematic world). Wonder Woman, while not perfect, just simply tells an origin story of a superhero and nothing more.
Yeh a decent film mate and certainly a nice addition to the DC cannon but one that has garnered a quickly questionable reputation as something more.
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I enjoyed reading what you both had to say. I must see this film so I can give my two cents.
Yeh please let us know what you think once you you’ve seen it.
Oh I will. And I promise to catch up with your content. Sorry for being a stranger around here.
That’s fine always tricky to check in on everyone regularly 🙂 glad to have you stop by.
Thanks. My blog is always open for you to check too.
I know myself well, so I had a feeling I was not going to be over the moon with that movie. Why did I know that? Because all of the promotion that I saw was done for the wrong reasons. It was not marketed as a fantastic superhero movie, but a feminist movie. And that is not a factor in me liking a movie. Me liking a movie depends mainly on the plot (or humor if it’s a comedy) and the acting capabilities of the cast.
Like one of the commentators on here mentioned – Xena was a fantastic TV series YEARSSSSSSSSSS ago. So, it is not really a new thing to have a female lead.
Jordan hit the nail on the head – it was a silly movie. I decided to watch it because I was bored and wanted to see what the hype was all about. The propaganda was TERRIBLE. The whole: “Men are bad”, “Men destroy the world” “Women make the world a better place”, “Women do not need men” irritated me to no end. I’m not even going to get into how she survived all these bullets while being barely dressed, etc.
As a DC comic movie it was ok. An unsuspecting hero is born, fights evil and defeats evil. The feministic plot made me angry for how silly it was. The lead being a female? I did not care at all. A character does not have to be a male/ female for me to identify with them more. I identify with their emotions, their struggles, their actions. This one did nothing for me.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing Floating!
You make some hard to argue against points, I really do feel like that in the years to come this film will be figured out as a simple comic book movie, nothing more and nothing less.
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