I realize I’m in the minority in actually liking the film. But here it goes. I genuinely had a great time watching it and I thought the cheesiness made it more enjoyable, actually positively strengthening the themes and style instead of hurting the film. But opinions and all that I suppose.
It really feels like a palette cleanser after so many unwelcome mishaps during the year. It’s not perfect, mind you, but it has so much radiating positivity throughout it, that, at least on the big screen, it’s hard to not get carried away by Diana’s faith in goodness. It’s definitely cheesy but it has that, and please excuse the pun, wonder from Saturday morning cartoons which do make justice to Wonder Woman’s character. It will make you feel like a kid again.
Some people might not enjoy that, and admittedly there are a few unarguable missteps. Other than the political overtones (which are not very subtle) the film clocks at two hours and a half, and it still did not feel like enough time was given to all the characters, especially to Barbara/Cheetah. Even though the time we do get with her is pretty great (and her’s and Diana’s complex relationship was very compelling), her character felt a bit shortchanged to give Max Lord’s character more time to develop him further. Honestly, he was not a bad villain, and Pedro Pascal did a great job with the character, but Cheetah just felt more interesting, bouncing off Diana really well. So I wish they had spent less time with Max Lord and given that time to Barbara.
Another complaint, but which I do not agree affects the film negatively, is the low amount of action in it. True, there’s less action here than there is in the first Wonder Woman, but honestly I thought the story did just fine without it. There was no action just for action’s sake (unlike the first film), and even though there is not a ton of it, the action that is there is executed beautifully. It feels epic with high stakes, amazing camera work, and it is overall pretty satisfying. If you are not invested in the characters then it will fall short for you though. The fact is a lot of people will watch it on their TVs instead of on a proper big screen. I say this because this will negatively affect the emotional impact since it just hits better on the big screen than it does at home. Not just the action itself but the emotional substance of the story which is really what makes the action in this film better and more exciting. And it is pretty frustrating because I do think this is probably the primary reason people will feel dissatisfied with the action. It’s just not the same watching on a TV at home. But it is what it is.
Even though the two villains seems to be competing for time, that is not the case with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). The film finds a good way to bring him back, and even though he is not in the whole film (but is there for a good chunk of it), his character did not feel shortchanged. I was somewhat worried about how they would bring him back without him feeling superfluous to the story, but thankfully those worries were dissuaded. His character really works in three ways for the film. First, the romance between him and Diana is great. They have excellent chemistry and it is very sweet seeing them together again even amidst world-ending threats. Second, his character works as a catalyst to help mature Diana even further and grow her not just as a person but as a superhero as well. And third, he helps Diana while she attempts to save the world. He might not have superpowers, but even with that and the fact it’s not his movie, he still stands his own, both as a person and as a soldier.
Overall, it is probably not better than the first film (pending more viewings), but I think this is more due to the story juggling one too many characters when a bit more focus on less of them would have benefited the story better. Even considering that, however, I think the film is, and again, please excuse the unintended pun, wonderful. It’s colorful, it looks beautiful, it has great directing, excellent acting across the board, and it is very emotionally charged to the point that I thought the action had a better impact here compared to the first’s even though there is less of it in this one. I really wish Warner Brothers had waited at least a few weeks before making it available to stream since it is just so much better on the big screen and with an audience. I think the story makes great justice to Wonder Woman’s character and what she stands for. There is so much the film gets right that the little it gets wrong hardly affects one’s enjoyment while watching it. It is definitely a worthy trip to the cinema even if you can stream it at home.