Movie reviews: What critics are saying about 'Wonder Woman'

'WONDER WOMAN.' Patty Jenkins' 'Wonder Woman' stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. From left to right: Said Taghmadui, Chris Pine, Gal Gadot, Eugene Braverock, and Ewen Bremner.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

MANILA, Philippines – After months of action-packed trailers and empowering clips of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, the highly anticipated superhero film is finally out.

In the movie, US military pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands in Themyscira, the island paradise where Amazons like Diana (Gal Gadot) live. Diana decides to leave home and bring an end to World War I, becoming Wonder Woman. (WATCH: New ‘Wonder Woman’ trailer shows Diana’s evolution)

 

Aside from the glimpses we've gotten of the movie, though, it's also making waves for other reasons.

Wonder Woman, with director Patty Jenkins (Monster) at the helm, is the first female-directed live-action movie with a $100-million budget, according to CinemaBlend. And while there have been female superhero movies in the past, it's the first among Marvel's and DC's recent live-action releases with a woman as the main character.

It's also the 4th in the DC Extended Universe's lineup of movies, following Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Suicide Squad (2016), which didn't win the favor of critics when they were released.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

So will Wonder Woman be the female superhero movie we've all been waiting for or will it disappoint? Here's what the critics have to say.

Steve Rose, writing for The Guardian, wasn't impressed with DC's offering, giving the film two out of 5 stars. He said that the glass ceiling that the movie set out to break is still intact, and called Gadot's Diana a "weaponized Smurfette."

The movie started out fine, said Rose, but the rest of the movie doesn't portray Diana as an empowered woman in a man's world.

"[...] On the level of big-budget trash, Wonder Woman is great fun. But there were hopes for something more," he said, adding that script rewrites, personnel changes, or finding a new angle could have been reasons for the film falling short of expectations.

Screengrab from YouTube/Warner Bros.

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The Wrap's Alonso Duralde disagrees with Rose's review, giving high praise to Jenkins' film. The story might be familiar, said Duralde, but its redeeming qualities are in the details – the banter, the romance, and the substance.

Duralde commended how Jenkins depicted the war, Diana's action scenes, and the cast, adding that Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg cleverly played around with female character tropes.

His only complaints were the Amazons' accents – which he said were adopted to contextualize Gadot's – the imperfect CG, and certain holes in the plot details. "None of this got in the way of my enjoyment of Wonder Woman, however, a summer movie that raises the bar quite high for the months – and years – to come," he said.

Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty gave Wonder Woman an A-, saying, "Wonder Woman is smart, slick, and satisfying in all of the ways superhero films ought to be."

He praised Gadot's performance as Diana, who was both fierce and funny, he said, and gave props to Heinberg's lines for contributing to Gadot and Pine's chemistry.

Nashawaty also addressed the movie's World War I setting (Wonder Woman was created during World War II), saying it adds to the feminist theme.

The movie's last 30 minutes, he said, were unnecessary. "But it’s hard to quibble about what’s wrong with a movie that gets so much right, especially when it comes to Gadot’s revelatory portrayal of Wonder Woman," he said.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

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Variety's Andrew Barker agrees that the movie falters in its last few minutes, with the unrealistic staging of a battle and what he called "deadening CGI overkill."

But Barker had praise for the rest of the movie, describing it as "boisterous, earnest, sometimes sloppy, yet consistently entertaining," and commending Jenkins and Gadot.

He also points out that unlike previous DC films, Wonder Woman is able to balance its humor with the darkness of its World War I setting.

For Sheri Linden, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Wonder Woman is a great movie despite its faults: "Could have been leaner and meaner, but this superhero’s aim is true."

Wonder Woman, she said, was "openhearted" – a lighter superhero movie compared to its predecessors. She praised its humor, the chemistry between the two leads, and the costume and set designs.

Like the others, Linden criticized the final few minutes of the movie. "But she [Jenkins] indulges in a saga-capping, one-on-one showdown that turns into an endless conflagration and grows less coherent as it proceeds."

She adds, however, that the final moments are not a dealbreaker: "Such obligatory 'big' scenes don’t completely undermine the winning mixture of drama, fantasy, and comedy, but they aren’t what you remember after Wonder Woman is over."

Will you watch Wonder Woman when it's out in cinemas on June 1? Let us know what you think of the movie in the comments below! – Rappler.com