Wonder Woman review roundup: Critics on Patty Jenkins' installment in the DC extended universe.

Here’s What Critics Have to Say About Wonder Woman

Here’s What Critics Have to Say About Wonder Woman

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
May 30 2017 9:31 AM

Here’s What Critics Have to Say About Wonder Woman

wonder
Wondrous.

Warner Bros.

Can the DC Extended Universe finally win over reviewers? Man of Steel and Batman v Superman each received mixed to just plain bad reviews, while critics really hated the last installment, Suicide Squad. But it seems like Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, which stars Gal Gadot as the titular superhero, may have finally charmed any skeptics, with most early reviews for the film glowing with praise for the film’s tone as well as Gadot’s performance.

Here’s a roundup of what they had to say.

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Finally, a superhero movie that isn’t dark or gritty!

Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter:

As the world’s most well-adjusted superhero, Wonder Woman breaks the genre mold. She’s openhearted, not angsty—an anomaly within the DC Universe, “Extended” or otherwise. So too is her long-awaited foray into the live-action big-screen spotlight: That openheartedness makes the movie something of an outlier.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

The backdrop of war is grim, but the characters remain true and finally here’s a DC movie with real warmth and humor—mostly in the form of banter between Gadot and Pine.
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Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger:

Remember when superhero movies used to be fun? When superheroes were uncomplicated role models, free of phobias and daddy issues, dedicated to fighting for peace and justice? Wonder Woman does.

Star Gal Gadot puts the wonder in Wonder Woman.

Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter:

Having demonstrated her action chops in the Fast & Furious franchise, Gadot brings a graceful athleticism to the role of a superhuman determined to take down Ares himself. At the same time, she lends a sweetly comic innocence to Diana’s amazed encounters with the civilized world.
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Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly:

Her Diana is both awesomely fierce and surprisingly funny, especially when she arrives in war-torn London with Trevor and gets her first taste of 20th-century modernity. […] Gadot sells the innocence and humor in these moments every bit as convincingly as Daryl Hannah in Splash.

Alisha Grauso, MoviePilot:

Gal Gadot is a revelation; she fully owns the role as much as Robert Downey, Jr. owns Iron Man or Chris Evans owns Captain America. She is Wonder Woman, and it's impressive to watch her walk the fine line between naiveté without stupidity, sexually aware without being sexualized, a warrior bred for battle who still retains a compassionate heart.
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Kelly Lawler, USA Today:

[I]t’s Gadot’s film and she is electric as Wonder Woman, a role she debuted in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to wide acclaim. Unshackled from that film’s dreary baggage, the Israeli actress is able to shine as brightly in Wonder Woman’s smaller moments as she does when she lifts a tank with her bare hands.

Chris Pine is pretty good, too.

Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press:

Pine plays Trevor as a spiritual cousin to Indiana Jones (he even gets to goof around with an accent that immediately evokes the "tapestries" bit from The Last Crusade).
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Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter:

As a man dazzled by a fearless goddess, Pine delivers a less wide-eyed amazement. His performance is effortlessly roguish and wry, but he also ups the emotional ante, grounding the fight against evil as well as the fledgling romance with heart and soul.

Andrew Barker, Variety:

Pine plays second-banana with a great deal of good humor: making little attempt to de-modernize his diction, he nonetheless registers as a noble yet sometimes lunkish jarhead, and it’s clear why Diana might find him attractive while also failing to be particularly impressed by him.
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The “villains” could use some work.

Kate Erbland, IndieWire:

Unfortunately, the film’s villains are its weakest link, including an often-flat Danny Huston portraying General Erich Ludendorff (a real-life baddie) and an occasionally compelling Elena Anaya as the so-called Dr. Poison. (Although the choice to have a female baddie go up against Diana is a smart one, it’s in need of a deeper exploration.)

Joshua Yehl, IGN:

As far as the villains go, they have sparse screen time and do little more than incite conflict for Diana and company to deal with. While they’re nothing to write home about, they do their job well enough.

Same goes for the movie's third act.

Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press:

Being a DC film, "Wonder Woman" can't help but devolve into a blurry, concrete-busting third act that feels dispiritingly like all the rest, not to mention a baffling reveal that negates most of Diana's growth.

Andrew Barker, Variety:

From this high point, the film begins to falter a bit in its final act, with some credulity-straining staging—a thunderous mano-a-mano battle appears to take place in full view of dozens of German troops, all of whom continue to blithely load cargo—and a final assault that lapses into the type of deadening CGI overkill that the film admirably avoids in the earlygoing.

Kelly Lawler, USA Today:

Its climactic battle tries and fails to outdo with big special effects what earlier sequences did with stunts and Gadot’s charisma. It's only when the film feels the need to check off the boxes of the modern superhero movie that it loses its momentum.

But critics still admired the film for what it is: the best installment in the DC Extended Universe.

Kate Erbland, IndieWire:

Wonder Woman is as much about a superhero rising as it is about a world deserving of her, and Diana’s hard-won insistence on battling for humanity (no matter how frequently they disappoint) adds the kind of gravitas and emotion that establishes it as the very best film the DCEU has made yet.

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:

Taking a longer view, we could mention how Wonder Woman metaphorically clobbers any number of previous DC adaptations, including Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman, Man of Steel, Watchmen, The Green Lantern, and Superman Returns.

Allison Shoemaker, Consequence of Sound:

To merely call it the strongest entrant in the DC Entertainment Universe so far is to call Jaws the strongest entrant in the shark movie canon. Say what you will about Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Deep Blue Sea, but Wonder Woman is in another class altogether.

And one that shines on its own merits, too.

Rafer Guzman, Newsday:

Wonder Woman, the first big-budget blockbuster devoted to a female superhero—and the first directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins—isn’t just a triumph for women, it’s a triumph, period. This is grand entertainment with rousing action, sparkling humor, a romantic streak and a titanium-strength debut from Gal Gadot in the title role.

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly:

Wonder Woman is smart, slick, and satisfying in all of the ways superhero films ought to be. How deliciously ironic that in a genre where the boys seem to have all the fun, a female hero and a female director are the ones to show the fellas how it’s done.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

Wonder Woman is coming out at a good time. This is the movie a lot of us need right now and Wonder Woman is the hero we all kind of need right now: you know, the one who actually makes us feel good. I left feeling like maybe there’s still hope in this world.

Marissa Martinelli is a Slate editorial assistant.