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.
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.