Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston
Written by: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Canada/China/Hong Kong/Italy/New Zealand/U.K./U.S.A., 2017
How good is this movie?
It wants to be Captain America, but it’s not. Yes, both films have mythological allusions, nostalgic settings, goofy villains, and naïve, well-meaning heroes. But this one lacks the moments of cleverness that relieved the Marvel movie’s corniness. The story feels too rushed, and allows too little time to get to know the villains, sidekicks, and family members. The action sequences are okay, but would have been better with less obvious CGI and less gratuitous slow motion. And, despite its supposed feminist aspirations, the jokes rely a lot on sexist clichés and stereotypes. Still, Gal Gadot is pretty good and Chris Pine is okay when not forced to say bad dialogue. I appreciated the deconstruction of the Dark Lord trope, even if it could have been done better. And, while I didn’t find her as instantly engaging as Steve Rogers, I do like Diana’s spirit, values, and origin story. I’d like to see more movies about her – as long as they’re better written and directed.
How ace is this movie?
The sequence with the most ace, queer, and feminist potential is the one on Themyscira. With no men around, we must assume that the Amazons practise either celibacy or lesbianism. They have also created a society where women hold all the power, and where bonds other than heterosexual marriage must be prioritised. However, although this sequence is supposed to be foundational to Diana’s character, it feels sadly under-used. The Amazons aren’t nearly well-developed enough as characters, nor are the relationships between them. In fact, none of the relationships in the movie is really developed except for the romantic one between Diana and Steve. This romance relies a lot on forced sexual awkwardness and banter reminiscent of a ’60s adventure film, which has a kind of campy charm but isn’t very progressive. Much is also made of Diana’s physical attractiveness. As with so many other action heroines, this becomes her most important asset, inspiring men to acts of heroism and allowing them to forgive her for also being strong and intelligent.
2.5 Stars; 3 Aces