Because screenwriting is a form of writing and I studied screenwriting/writing for television as my second emphasis during my Masters program, I’ve decided I’ll include film reviews on the blog, focusing on writing.
It helps that Wonder Woman just released a few days ago. (Light spoilers ahead.)
I was most engaged by the opening section of the film, which showcased the Amazon culture and their fighting. The choreography was beautiful in its aerial nature. As soon as the men/military showed up, I knew that wonderful part of the film was on its way out.
The rest of the film features Diana/Wonder Woman going off into the world to defend it. She is not actually called Wonder Woman in the film, from what I remember. Likely, she receives that moniker after news spreads of her accomplishments.
I appreciate that she is not called that name, because when she goes to help Steve Trevor, she is like a child in his world, our world. This is intentional and there are quite a few funny moments where their interactions are a clash of cultures. She is discovering and curious and optimistic, but she is also in for a huge culture shock where she’s expected to act in a totally different, seemingly stodgy way (compared to Amazon life) despite being capable of amazing things. It’s a great allegory for being a young, bright woman and there’s this potential to do great things but the world may tell you, you can’t. Whether the world doesn’t believe the same things you do, or the world doesn’t realize what you’re capable of. Or, simply, the world wants to distract you from what know you were born to do from the beginning.
The best part is that Diana doesn’t bend, she doesn’t give in. She doesn’t even keep her cover-up outfit for that long. Go her for staying who she is.
Of course, there are essays worth of analysis in the depths of this film. I’ll get on to the writing, then. The plot was simple, logical. I could appreciate its reliance on Greek mythology. I absolutely loved the resonance with certain things we saw earlier in the film coming back to greater effect later in the film. These are smart characters, they remember things that happen, learn from doing.
However, I thought at times the tone was a little off. It wasn’t an easy feat: Diana’s innocence and new-ness to this world had to be balanced with the dark backdrop of war, and on top of that, she was diving into actions and conversations that were very mature. As a viewer, I felt she was a little too emotional at times. It felt slightly forced. My guess, it could have been adjusted with her language. Absolutely, she would have felt her feelings when certain events happened, but the way she expressed them verbally (or not) could have been more nuanced. She’s part of a culture that knows a heck of a lot of languages, and she’s very well read, but the language she used at times wasn’t as sophisticated as it could have been. Also, with the whole foundation of Amazon culture in Greek mythology… where’s the philosophy? That could’ve been a great addition. Think back to Greek rhetoric. She would have torn that up! I wish that had been mined more.
The film is so much of what we haven’t seen in Hollywood film culture, and I did really enjoy it (I still want to see more aerial Amazon fighting), but I just left feeling like I wanted so much more from it. Which simply means there’s more potential.
I absolutely enjoyed the first Avengers film. The best part was that with Avengers 2, Joss Whedon fixed everything I didn’t like about the first film. Granted, there wasn’t that much I thought needed improvement, but he still found those flaws and addressed them. It was fantastic. And I would love if with the next film, that could happen for Wonder Woman also.