Coming off a rather controversial year for the DCEU, with films that garnered low critical praise such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the first film for the esteemed franchise of 2017, Wonder Woman, was met with both excitement and cautiousness. But when the film actually hit theaters that mix turned into one single flavor of excitement. The film was met with high critical praise and financial returns as it became the highest grossing film in the entire franchise domestically, even topping the long-anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As a result, I found myself nervous to re-watch the film for the purposes of this review. It seemed like after the excitement boiled off that the film may lose some of its charm that the first viewing had. However, my fears were fortunately in vain. Wonder Woman, even after over a year since its initial theatrical release, is a compelling and original superhero origins story that takes leaps and bounds ahead of other films in its genre and accomplishes wonders despite a bloated third act and a rather weak lead performance.
When it comes to the screenplay of Patty Jenkins’ interpretation of Wonder Woman, it is surprisingly the strongest aspect of the entire film, creating a refreshing change in pace in regards to other recent summer blockbusters like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Ant-Man and the Wasp. The dialogue found on display is often witty and charming to boot. It retains a sense of fun that many critics found missing from previous DC films but is also serious in its own right, creating a careful balance that screenwriters Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns developed with such a deep attention to detail. In addition to the dialogue, the film is actually well-paced throughout. From the very first act, there is a sense of urgency to every scene that compels the audience to remain invested in both the story and its characters. It’s an impressive feat and one that was sorely missing from 2016’s Suicide Squad. As for the actual story itself, it’s unfortunately the weakest aspect of the entire screenplay. The first two acts of the film blend complex imagery and setting with some memorable storytelling to create some of the most unique experiences that I have had in recent memory with a comic book film. However, it is ultimately the final act of the film where the storytelling falls apart in a spectacular way. Bloated with CGI-heavy sequences to the rim, there is no denying just how repetitive and clichéd this final act is. It brings together predictable plot twists and a repetitive nature of storytelling to create an act that ultimately compromises what the film so expertly set up in the first two acts. It almost seemed like director Patty Jenkins insisted on having a more traditional comic book third act than continuing with the originality that she had to begin with. The flaw may not entirely destroy the film, but it is a critical error on the screenwriters’ part and does weaken the emotional resonance of the film to a noticeable degree.