Movie Review with Brandon Yechout – Wonder Woman


Graphic by: Kennedy Homan

Up until this point, the DC extended universe has been in pretty rough shape, having been through such incredibly hyped yet poorly received films such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad”. “Wonder Woman”, on the other hand, has been subject to a staggering amount of praise ever since its release, and I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, I’m disappointed to report that it completely failed to live up to my expectations; moreso, I am actually completely baffled as to why the film is as well-received as it is.


Let me preface this by saying that I’m actually very interested in the First World War; indeed, that is actually the only reason I ended up watching the film. Some of my complaints in that regard, then, may not mean as much to the average moviegoer. In spite of this, I still feel that many of my criticisms will remain valid, even to those who have little knowledge of WW1.


If you’ve yet to see the film, here’s a brief summary: An Allied aircraft crash lands off the coast of the island of Themyscira, where Princess Diana (soon to become Wonder Woman) and a clan of Amazon women reside. The pilot tells Diana of a war so catastrophic that it may be the war to end all wars. Diana, believing this war to be the work of Ares, the god of war, travels with the pilot back to Europe in order to aid Allied forces in the First World War.


Now, I understand that this is a comic book movie, and isn’t meant to be some sort of uber-realistic war drama. So nevermind the fact that they use WW2-era gas masks towards the end of the film; I’m going to avoid nitpicking the film’s more minor inaccuracies. What I do have a problem with, though, is how the film portrays the Germans. Now, this isn’t WW2; WW1 was a very morally ambiguous war. Despite this, the film constantly tells us that the Germans are the ‘bad guys’. Let’s start with one of the primary antagonists: General Ludendorff. Now, Ludendorff was a real person. He was one of the most powerful men in Germany, in fact. Here, he’s portrayed as a straight-up supervillain. The actor who plays him is constantly hamming it up. There’s a scene where he shoots one of his own men for literally no reason at all (I suppose it could be to show the audience how ‘evil’ he is), and he even gasses a room of German officials, just so the war can continue. Now, one could argue that scenes like the one where he gasses the officials are meant to represent Ludendorff’s ‘Totale Krieg’ philosophies, which describe a constant state of war; peace acting only as a break in a continuous stream of warfare. Still, it doesn’t make his portrayal in the film any less ridiculous, and I highly doubt that the filmmakers put that much foresight into his character when very little of anything else in the film is true to history.


I’ve not even mentioned the most hilarious part yet. There is a specific scene towards the end of the film wherein Wonder Woman confronts Ludendorff, believing him to be Ares, and Ludendorff produces a sort of experimental drug from his coat and snorts it, giving himself superhuman strength. At this point in the film, I was laughing furiously. The sight of a fifty-something-year-old German general fighting Wonder Woman in hand-to-hand combat after snorting a superdrug was simply too much for me.


So, that’s Ludendorff. I’ve not much to say of the other two villains: one is forgettable and the other is unintentionally hilarious (though explaining exactly why this is would spoil the film). Even forgetting about Ludendorff, the film still falls flat in its portrayal of the German struggle. The only face the Germans are given in the film is that of supervillains. With or without characters like Ludendorff, the film absolutely fails to show the war from an objective standpoint.


Wonder Woman, somewhat obnoxiously, comments throughout the film on the horrors she witnesses. “Why is nobody helping that woman?”, or “Why is nobody attacking? Why isn’t anybody doing anything?”. The redundancy of this grew quickly on me, and I soon found myself annoyed any time she commented on anything. Now, that sounds bad, but her role as the vessel of innocence in a war-torn world may have come across as more endearing and sympathetic, had the character of the pilot not been there to literally explain to her exactly why she shouldn’t just run across no-man’s-land by herself or assassinate a German official whilst a peace treaty is being negotiated. In both of the instances I mentioned, she does it anyways. The pilot serves as the voice of reason throughout most of the film, further highlighting that of Wonder Woman’s to be a kind of well-meaning idiocy. Though I’m supposed to side with her and find her actions to be heroic, I often found myself frustrated with how often she simply acted of her own accord (it didn’t help that the film would often reward her reckless behavior). Overall, though Gal Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman is strong, the material she was given to work with makes her come across as a nuisance for most of the film.


The pilot, although well-acted by Chris Pine, is forgettable. None of the other characters in the film are worth noting. And of course, though this may be a bit of a spoiler (it’s nothing you couldn’t predict), the war ends. Wait, what? The war is over? Wonder Woman straight-up kills one of the most powerful men in Germany, and the war’s over, just like that? To be fair, Ludendorff was planning to continue the war and had even gassed that group of German officials, but nobody else knew about that. Something tells me that the assassination of one of the most powerful men in the country would have hindered peace negotiations just a little bit. Isn’t that how the war started (Ferdinand was Austrian, close enough)? Even then, Hindenburg would have still been alive to assume control of Ludendorff’s previous obligations. Of course, now I’m just speculating. The point is, nothing in the film is particularly well-written or thought out.


What did I like about the film, then? Well, as I said earlier, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are both competent in their roles. The action is alright, but a little too heavy on the slow motion shots. The soundtrack? Can’t remember it in the slightest. The look of the film? Sure. The film has some pretty cool depictions of the hellish quagmire that was the Western Front, and the island of Themyscira looks beautiful as well. That’s about it for me, though. The film is entertaining at times, but often for all the wrong reasons. Brando’s rating? One-and-a-half out of four stars.