Let me get this out of the way first, I enjoyed Wonder Woman, it is easily the best DCEU movie to date and a fun (if not heavily redundant) movie. Also, yes it did break some barriers, one being a big blockbuster movie being directed by a female (Patty Jenkins), but no it’s not the first big budget action movie where our main protagonist is a female, see Alien, Aliens, Terminator, and many others that came before.
So female director, female lead showing the men how it’s done, and first female lead comic movie (you know not counting Tank Girl or Barb Wire), does this make it an Oscar contender? Absolutely not.
“But what about it’s 92% on Rotten Tomatoes?” I hear you asking, well that doesn’t mean shit, plenty of movies 90% or above don’t get nominated for an Oscar, plus that 92% just means 92% of critics gave it a favorable review, if you want to really measure a films critical success Meta Critic is far more accurate because it averages out the score, by which Wonder Woman grabs a 76 and when you compare it to say Guardians of the Galaxy (76) Ironman (79) or the non-DCEU The Dark Knight (82) you can see where the film falls.
By no means is this a bad film it just doesn’t do anything Oscar worthy. It’s a paint by numbers origin tale, it uses far too many tropes and cliches, and I think worst of all it’s just Captain America: The First Avenger with the lead role swapped out to be Wonder Woman and the setting changed to World War I instead of II, which by the way I’m pretty sure they wanted this to be set in World War II but late in the scripting process they realized how similar this was to Captain America so they pushed the setting back 20 years.
Oscar movies when you walk out of them and weeks afterwards stay with you, you talk about them with friends for a while dissecting everything about them, Wonder Woman wasn’t this. After I saw Wonder Woman I talked about it on the podcast and said it was good, told a couple friends it was worth a ticket but that was it. In fact coincidentally I rewatched Wonder Woman this weekend and I didn’t realize how much of the movie I had forgotten in just the month since I had last seen it. It was almost like I was watching it for the first time. That’s not an Oscar movie. For instance, movies like Braveheart, Gladiator, The Revenant, and The Godfather (to name a few), those movies stick with me, scenes from them haunt me, like at the end of the Godfather when Michael tells Kate never to ask about his business and the movie ends with his office door being shut on her, or in the Revenant where Hugh helplessly watches John kill his son and struggles just to survive. These images stick with you. The only scene from Wonder Woman that sticks with me is the trailer moment where you comes out of the trench and leads a charge across no man’s land. A cool scene yes, but nothing monumental.
In the end Wonder Woman is a good comic book movie, nothing more, nothing less. Patty Jenkins directing is something to praise since it’s the first time a woman has been given such a task in Hollywood and she didn’t disappoint, but that doesn’t make something worthy of being nominated for an Oscar. In fact, when you say it should be nominated for an Oscar, you’re saying it is one of of the ten best films of 2017. In fact of the 10 movies I’ve seen so far in 2017, Wonder Woman ranks 6, and again that’s what I’ve seen not of all movies, and that’s also behind 3 comic book movies as well (those being Logan, Guardians 2, and Spider-Man).
I know many people, especially Wonder Woman fans want to make this out to be more than just a good movie (and to them it might be) but in the overall scheme of things that’s all it is, it’s a good movie that if you watch it you will enjoy, but if you didn’t have a huge vested interest in the character before seeing it than it won’t impact you that much. You’ll walk out saying, “I liked that movie” and then when you do something later that day like watch Game of Thrones or play a video game you’ll forget most of what you saw until you watch it again on Netflix or HBO months later and to me that doesn’t scream Oscar bait.