In Wonder Woman's solo debut we get her origin story, beginning on the island of Themyscira. I dig this part of the movie. It's a very coherent narrative that's easy to follow, and it establishes a handful of characters quickly. Amazons on an Island with great skill to fight Ares, created by Zeus, himself. Check, check, and check. Oh, and one of them is special. Check.
(The island shots were delightful to the point I had to look up the filming location - the Amalfi Coast, Italy.)
Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are very good, and rule (pun intended) much of the first third. It was a little slow, but absolutely necessary to add depth. I can appreciate that the casting didn't have them find a former strong leading lady and give them a traitor's role, à la Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. For some reason, though, I never got behind Gadot as Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta. I never really believed she was a superhero. Shrug.
When Chris Pine crash lands into the movie as Steve Trevor - immediately followed by German soldiers - we get our first real glimpse at action. It's short, but good. The Amazons show off their amazing battle coordination. Our heroine gets her first taste of victory and loss, alike. It establishes her reason for leaving to help the rest of the world. I do have a few thoughts about strategy by a goddess-like warrior race created for combat defending the invisible island on which they've lived for millennia...but I won't get into that.
When they leave Themyscira the tone subtly shifts, and much of the middle of the movie consists of Pine playing the straight man for Gadot's "jokes". Diana's naivety I understand, but it came off more like a person simply refusing to listen. I get it, she's headstrong, but it became frustratingly overused. Give me a montage with her learning how to be a normal person and let's move on, right? I was more entertained by the comedy of Lucy Davis, as Trevor's secretary/slave Etta Candy.
Not a lot of time passes within the movie (maybe enough for a picture to develop?) so everything is urgent. We have to get here, now! We have to go there and watch this while they do that, immediately! Gadot owns the physicality of it all, but delivers lines that should be full of heart as if they're words she's just learned. I'm not sure if it is the script, the delivery, or just her acting that didn't reach me. I never truly felt along for the ride, more so just watching the ride. That's just...kind of boring. I don't see any reason to see this movie again.
Visually, as with the other DC films, I have no complaints. The final fight sequence looked awesome. What I do have a problem with is their attempt to grasp onto moments, instead of just making a complete movie. In the end, as was with BvS, there was not a single scene that wowed me. The most heartfelt and memorable line of the film was not given by our titular character. The romance was rushed, and was only needed if you've decided to get rid of the guy who Wonder Woman fought next to for years (in the comics) in a movie that spans days. Still, DC has not found a way to tell stories that do not negate things we already know to be true.
The DC Extended Universe again has me scratching my head, trying to figure out why I'm just not impressed by their movies. I think Dawn of Justice is an OK movie. I think Wonder Woman is better, sure. Just not much better than OK. In a universe where we already have the most uncharismatic Superman ever, I feel like Wonder Woman needed to be exceptional. It's unfair pressure, I know, but we are now four movies deep into a universe with the drabbest of heroes. Do better, DC. Please, and thank you.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Verdict: Maybe See That (but, if you plan to invest in the DCEU, you kinda have to.)