Big Screen Wonder, Small Screenplay Blunder
SIngli6 - wrote on 12/26/20
I cannot describe how invigorating I found the opening sequence. I didn't even see it in IMAX and I felt the utter majesty of those sweeping cameras. The combination of CGI with location shooting and some proper stunt work sold me on the film immediately, but what had me really excited was how confident this film was in establishing its theme: greatness should not be attained through trickery or deception. Already we know this is a story that will pit Diana against her worst impulses to cut corners and take risks to find happiness. Marvelous, first a solid foundation, now let's jump in!
The film dazzles, charms, and seduces you with its bright colours and angelic choirs venerating the uber wonder woman before you as she non-lethally kicks all kinds of arse. Anytime the film is in full swing action mode, it is the single most awesome spectacle of the 2020 blockbuster line-up. The film's quiet moments, though, disappoint. The actors are all on excellent form (Pedro Pascal elicits more pathos than you probably thought was possible from a Lex Luthor rip-off), but perhaps in fear of the DCEU's reputation for unearned grimdarkness the film never explores the moral challenges the film's opening addressed to Diana's character. Unacceptable costs for the return of her lover are apparent to us minutes after she discovers Chris Pine at that party from the trailer, but only when society is on the brink of collapse and Diana starts to be physically impeded by her desires does the film stop wasting downtime with her and Steve on this fish out of temporal water nonsense and actually challenges her character on the compromises she makes. Kristen Wiig and Pascal fare much better as we follow their stories, but only Pascal's reaches a truly satisfying - perhaps even overly generous - resolution.
Recommended for the spectacle (obviously see it in a cinema if it's safe to in your area), but don't expect any rich character portraits.