I was almost going to give this movie a pass considering the problems I had with the previous installments in the “DC Movie Universe.” However, friends whose opinion I had reason to trust had spoken highly of it (and, okay, I’ll admit that the offense, and the nature of that offense, taken by certain people added an incentive to see it).
I’m glad I did. See this movie!
They use a framing sequence of Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince in the modern world receiving a package from Wayne Enterprise. In the package is a picture from WWI showing Wonder Woman standing with a group of others and a note from Bruce Wayne saying “maybe someday you’ll tell me the story.” The bulk of the movie, then, is one long extended flashback.
I’m not a big fan of that kind of framing sequence. I can see why the creators of the movie would want to tie the events taking place in the DCU past to those of the present day but, frankly, I think it was unnecessary. The story is quite capable of standing on its own.
I’ve heard some people complain about changing the setting of Wonder Woman’s origin from the time of World War II to that of World War I. However, the reason the origin was originally set in that time was because it was contemporary to when the stories were written. They weren’t going back in time. It was happening “now” for the readers and writers. There’s no real reason to tie the origin of the movie universe to the same as the comic book universe any more than we need to have the origins of Superman and Batman set in the later days of the Great Depression. Superman and Batman’s origins have been moved to the present day. And they kept a “historical” perspective by keeping Wonder Woman’s origin in the past. World War I is largely untapped for superhero stories. I think the result works.
The story takes a little bit of time to set up as we’re introduced to Diana, Hyppolyta, and the other denizens of Themiscyra, Paradise Island. But once Steve Trevor arrives at the island the pace goes into hyperdive picks up and doesn’t slow down until the end. Oh, there are a couple of pauses to let you catch your breath, but only that.
I found myself jerked out of the story once for a plot hole big enough to drop me out of the story. Given Trevor’s stated starting point in the Ottoman Empire, the maximum range of the plane he was flying, and the possibly locations for Themiscyra that produces, they seemed to make it to London awfully fast. This gave me a “wait a minute” moment. Then I shrugged and decided I didn’t really care.
Oh, and as for the “big bad” of the movie. I called it pretty early on but I’m not going to spoil that here.
The climax was very poignant and moving. Indeed, there were a number of points in the movie where I got kind of misty, which is unusual for me in a superhero movie. I can be as sentimental as the next guy but that’s not usually a reaction I have to the superhero genre.
All in all, an excellent movie which I can highly recommend.