WONDER WOMAN (2017) SCORE: A-
RATING: PG-13 LENGTH: 141 minutes
“WONDER WOMAN IS ONE OF THE BEST SUPERHERO MOVIES OF ALL TIME, BUT …”
Yes, the film critics’ reviews for WONDER WOMAN are off the chart. Rotten Tomatos and their coveted “Tomatometer” currently ranks WONDER WOMAN at a 94. I believe that CinemaScore — the people’s review from around the country, will be a solid A. My score is an A-minus.
Yes, this is one of the best superhero movies of all time. I especially loved the direction, the performances, the visuals, costumes and the music. So considering what we have gotten recently from Warner Bros. and DC Comics — WONDER WOMAN is a towering achievement and destined to become a summer blockbuster.
But — and yes there is unfortunately a “but”. It is not a perfect film. WONDER WOMAN is just too long. The last 20 minutes or so should have been edited down. Other than that, we have ourselves a great movie. It has everything. Heart, soul, spirit, action and adventure. Even throw in some warm and tender moments of intimacy.
Credit first and foremost, goes to Patty Jenkins. Her vision and execution as the film’s director is spectacular. The pacing of the film is perfect — up until the last 20 minutes. Her selection of the technical staff and her casting of each role show brilliance. And the themes of the screenplay resonate in today’s unsettling world. We have an action film. We have a romantic comedy.
We also have the story of a young 8 year old child who grows into a teenager and into a young woman. Diana becomes an adult whose lineage responsibility is the elimination of evil. In the end it is an anti-war movie that brings death and sacrifice. And hope. Not bad for being inspired by reading 1940’s DC comic books written by William Moulton Marston. The director together with screenwriter Allan Heinberg have moved the story from World War II to the First World War. Known as “The War to End All Wars”, chemical weapons were just being perfected. (One cannot help but think of the innocent children earlier this year who were gassed.)
The former Israeli soldier and model Gal Gadot is a revelation. She is wonderful. She is perfect. She is the shining star of this film. When she goes into battle wearing her iconic outfit — with shield and sword, you become energized. You become hopeful. And you cheer her on. She won my heart and she will win yours as well. You will be inspired.
But Gadot is in good company. Chris Pine (as Steve Trevor, — an American working for British intelligence) has never been better. What charisma. Credit too the supporting cast that includes Danny Huston (the German general); Elena Anaya (the evil chemist); Lucy Davis (as the secretary, Etta); Robin Wright (the great warrior Antiope); Connie Neilsen (Queen Hippolyta); David Thewlis (the British politician); Ewen Bremner (the marksman); Said Taghmaoui (the Morocan undercover operative) and Eugene Brave Rock (the Native American black marketeer).
A special shout out to composer Rupert Gregson-Williams for his exquisite and powerful musical score. Last year, he scored two films, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN and HACKSAW RIDGE.
There is no end of the credits preview for JUSTICE LEAGUE coming this fall. So you don’t need to stay for the credits. But you will certainly smile when you see “Wayne Enterprises” represented in the middle of the movie.
This 2017 film is not THE RETURN OF THE KING, the last of THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. That 2003 epic was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 11 Academy Awards — including Best Picture of the Year. Depending upon how JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) does this fall, WONDER WOMAN should be very competitive in the technical Oscar categories next January. Lindy Hemming should definitely be nominated for the Best Costume Academy Award; and the same for Aline Bonetto for Production Design; Matthew Jensen for Cinematography; Martin Walsh for Editing; and Bill Westenhofer for Visual Effects.
Next week, my new review of THE MUMMY can be summed up in two words: