After a long wait (and a notable lack of overhyping), Wonder Woman came to the big screen this past weekend, dominating the box office to a tune of $100.5 million. But we’re not here just to talk about numbers — we’re here to talk about Gal Gadot as the Amazonian warrior, Chris Pine’s scene-chewing, the bad guy(s), and everything else that went into the first superhero movie directed by a woman.
1. What is your tweet-length review of ‘Wonder Woman’?
Chris Ryan: Put Troy, the last act of Mad Max: Fury Road, Clash of the Titans, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Castle Wolfenstein in a Vitamix and you get the best post-Nolan DC movie.
Christian Robinson: A delightful entry into the genre, giving Wonder Woman the treatment she deserves while at the same time dunking on the notion that a woman couldn’t carry a film like this, both on screen and behind the camera.
Andrew Gruttadaro: A few more "new in town" jokes and one less shot of David Thewlis shirtless, and this is the best superhero movie in the past few years.
K. Austin Collins: So diverting that I forgot about your embarrassing covfefe jokes for a whole 15 minutes.
Alison Herman: True equality is being free to say I’m ambivalent without feeling like a traitor to my gender. Things have really improved since Ghostbusters!
Amanda Dobbins: If all superhero movies were like this, I would like superhero movies!
2. What was the best moment of the movie?
Gruttadaro: I wholeheartedly loved the entire sequence when Diana and Steve Trevor first arrived in London, especially Diana’s "Oh my god, a baby!" moment.
Dobbins: Themyscira, for sure; also any time Chris Pine made uncomfortable references to his manhood. But — and I can’t believe I’m typing this — the first time Wonder Woman showed up in all her glory, ready to fight a whole battlefield of men, I caught myself tearing up. (Even with that porny guitar riff.) These things don’t matter, but also, they do.
Collins: "I’m above average."
Ryan: The entire Veld sequence, from the approach, to the trench battle, to the fight in the town and the celebration afterward. Great bit of Saving Private Superhero filmmaking, and genuinely moving.
Robinson: All of the banter between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. Also Wonder Woman taking the machine gun nest.
Herman: FINALLY, SOMEONE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT HOT PEOPLE IN GLASSES ARE STILL HOT. #JUSTICE4THEBESPECTACLED.
3. What was your least favorite part of the film?
Collins: Any scene lacking Gal Gadot.
Robinson: Danny Huston and his super poppers.
Dobbins: The last 20 minutes, lol.
Ryan: The final battle between Ares and Wonder Woman. It feels like every DC title fight takes place inside of a pottery kiln in another dimension: Everything is on fire, physics are totally abandoned, points of reference are lost, and plausibility — even the comic book kind — goes up in smoke.
Gruttadaro: They kept saying a villainous Greek god was going to show up, and I kept saying to myself, "Man, I really hope that doesn’t happen." Then it did.
Herman: You could schedule a nap during the climactic battle of every single superhero movie and not only miss nothing, but come out better rested and more entertained.
4. Let’s talk about Gal Gadot!
Ryan: They really played up the "What is ice cream!?" side of the character, making Diana as much a Starman as Wonder Woman. That being said, I didn’t spend much time during the movie wondering who else could have played the role, which is usually a sign of very good casting.
Gruttadaro: I admit I was a little nervous going in because Gal didn’t exactly leap off the screen during her stint in the Fast franchise. But Gal killed this, end of story.
Herman: She’s fine! I feel bad (though not too bad; they’re still getting paid) for her and Henry Cavill, once unknowns now defined by boring characters. There’s a difference between a name-making opportunity and a star-making one.
Robinson: Iconic. She’s a star.
Dobbins: She was delightful; I would watch 1,000 rom-coms starring Gal and Chris Pine.
5. Aside from Gadot, who else stood out?
Robinson: Chris Pine! He was so good, but completely in service to the story and not in a scene-stealing type of way. And oh yeah, Robin Wright was completely badass.
Gruttadaro: Pine was beyond great, but the moment in which Robin Wright shoots three men at once with a bow and arrow felt like a fulfillment of destiny.
Herman: Robin Wright got to take out every ounce of homicidal rage Claire Underwood keeps under lock and key on some unsuspecting German soldiers. I approve.
Ryan: It’s worth paying people like Robin Wright and David Thewlis to make the most of nothing parts, but I want to give a special shout-out to Lucy Davis, who got to turn the department-store sequence into a great comedy of manners for 10 minutes.
Dobbins: WELCOME TO CHRIS PINE ISLAND, POPULATION ME.
6. Many superhero movies suffer from less-than-compelling villains. How do you think ‘Wonder Woman’ did?
Herman: I don’t think a shot of the mustachioed guy from Naked as a shirtless war god was supposed to be hilarious, but boy was it.
Ryan: Danny Huston as Red Skull–on-Poppers was obviously a red herring as a villain, as was his Phantom of the Opera sidekick. That brief moment where the film posited that there is no god who makes men break bad was actually kind of exciting — it was a real loss-of-innocence moment for Diana, even more so than witnessing the atrocities on the front. Turns out the devil made them do it. Thewlis was a lot of fun in the watchtower scene; less so when he became Sauron.
Dobbins: Greek mythology > superhero mythology. That said, I am not sure why an evil scientist got dragged into this?
Robinson: I think the real villain is humanity’s seemingly inherent warlike nature, and I was surprised to see the film tackle that concept with aplomb.
Collins: Villains? Oh, you mean the people who insist on making every modern superhero movie longer than two hours?
7. You’ve got 24 hours in Themyscira. How are you spending your trip?
Gruttadaro: I’m definitely getting a morning workout in with the ladies of Themyscira. After that, I’ll probably need an hour or two to nurse my wounds in the cave spas with glowing hot tubs. Then? Afternoon horseback ride through the flowers.
Collins: Making a giant SOS sign on the beach. Do they even eat there??? I honestly only care to travel internationally for food tourism because I’m a sensible person with great priorities. I didn’t see any food on Themyscira so, like, what is it? A prison? I’d obviously want out.
Robinson: Horse riding by day, and lounging hard-core in the glowing spa at night.
Herman: Joining Chris Pine in the Amazon Cave Spa for Recently Injured War Heroes, please and thank you.
Ryan: I’m not complicated — just a long, taverna lunch with Robin Wright. Maybe a horseback ride afterward.
Dobbins: [Inappropriate answer about Chris Pine and the hot tub]
8. Is the "superhero in a World War" thing getting played out? What should take its place?
Herman: No more played out than any other tired superhero trope! (There’ve been only two; it just feels like way more because these movies are inherently exhausting.) But "superhero in a day job at a major museum" is an acceptable substitute. Where’s my two and a half hours of Gal Gadot cataloguing the Louvre’s black-figure pottery collection?!
Ryan: I wouldn’t say the collision between the real world and the DC Universe bothered me. The movie comes to life in London and Belgium, and it’s great to see Patty Jenkins using Superman money to make the war movie nobody has let her shoot before this. Maybe the world feels different now than it did in 2011 when the first Captain America movie covered similar ground, but the historical setting, and the idea that evil can be defeated by love, somehow made Wonder Woman feel like even more of a fantasy than it was intended to be.
Dobbins: No, please keep making superhero movies that are actually war romances. They are way better than your dumb superhero plots. (I am still mad about Guardians.)
Robinson: Given that the genre emerged as a direct response to the forces that led to WWII, I think it makes sense to revisit that occasionally. Much better than "Thing X is going to destroy the world unless we find Thing Z."
Collins: Is the problem that too many superhero movies have world wars, or is the problem that too many of the directors don’t know how to direct war movies? If the dudes in The Thin Red Line all wore capes, you know damn well it’d still be lit. War, as a subject, isn’t the problem.
9. How is DC looking after ‘Wonder Woman’?
Collins: Uh, like it still let Suicide Squad happen. You think I forgot???
Ryan: One of the mistakes DC made was skipping ahead to the universe before creating the stars. Suicide Squad, Batman v. Superman, and the forthcoming Justice League (a movie that strangely got a bigger, earlier push than Wonder Woman) were all overstuffed with plot and character. Despite a 2:21 run time, Wonder Woman tells one story really well, and gives only cursory mention of the crossovers to come.
Gruttadaro: Their last movie before Wonder Woman was Suicide Squad. So yeah — there was nowhere to go but up.
Robinson: Great, as long as they keep this up.
Herman: Better, but if the only way to get better is by copying your competition, you still have a problem.