PG-13, 2h 21m.
The Butts in Seats gimmick advertises an exciting adventure movie with a kick-ass, likable babyface, which promises a fun time for everyone. But does “Wonder Woman” have the 3 Count? Read on to find out, and SPOILER ALERT!
The 3 Count
1. Babyfaces vs Heels
Yes, there are babyfaces vs heels! If the babyfaces win, they end World War 1. If the heels win, the war continues until mankind and the Amazons are wiped out.
The faction of babyfaces is made up of noble, brave, skilled, likeable and outnumbered badasses.
Diana, the super tough warrior woman from the island of Amazons called Themyscira, is a tank-tossing, bullet-blocking, lightning-launching demigod who wants to battle Ares and end “the war to end all wars” (Monday Nights or otherwise). She’s a badass with a noble goal! Sounds good so far, but what is she like? She’s a sweet, empathetic, person who likes babies, ice cream, and slow dancing. When Ares tells her humans don’t deserve her protection, she replies, “It’s not about deserve, it’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.” And then she kills him! She puts smiles on the faces of her friends and fists in the faces of her foes.
Steve is an American spy. In his role, he bravely kayfabes the German enemy deep in their territory to learn their secrets during World War 1. As a good guy who must deceive and kill to stop evil people, he helps Diana navigate the murky morality of mankind (the general mankind, not Mick Foley’s Mankind). Luckily, he’s funny and her love interest, so he gets over with us.
Sameer, Charlie and Chief round out the babyface faction. They’re each courageous, likeable and skilled. Plus, their gimmicks went beyond their various nationalities, and we learn a little about their backgrounds and philosophies. When I first watched the movie, I was worried one of them would go out on their back in the finish, but everyone lived! Oh, wait.
The heels are deceptive, selfish, killers who want to keep the world in endless war. But they have different motivations for doing so.
Ludendorff is a German general and a psychopath who thinks war gives men purpose. He goes into a rage and gets super strong when he’s on the gas Dr. Poison gives him.
Marina Maru, a.k.a. Dr. Poison
“Dr. Poison” totally lives her gimmick, because she’s way into using poisonous gas on people. Working with General Ludendorff lets her do that all day long.
Ares, the God of War
Ares is the booker-man, the long-term planner and instigator of animosity between men to make them fight. His ideal blow-off to the war is the total annihilation of humanity. To add more heel cred, he kayfabes as a babyface human who wants to bring an end to the war.
2. Top Talent
Of course, the breakout character should be the one in the title, and Wonder Woman is Top Talent. She looks like nobody else in the movie, and she’s inspirational in word and deed, and that’s why she’s super over. That’s also why she has so many fans, including wrestlers, who love to emulate their favorite Amazonian princess. And I mean anyone and everyone!
3. Ring Psychology
Let’s take a look at the movie’s Ring Psychology.
Act 1: Entrances
Babyfaces enter: Diana and Steve Trevor.
She’s been training in her aunt’s performance center to battle Ares, while Steve has been battling Germans during World War 1. Diana decides she’s ready to make her debut by tagging with Steve since she thinks Ares is behind the war.
The heels enter next: General Ludendorff, Dr. Poison, the German army. Ares is mentioned, but he doesn’t enter here.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS A WORLD WAR 1 DEATH MATCH! THE MATCH ENDS WHEN EITHER THE BABYFACES OR HEELS HAVE BEEN KILLED. THIS MATCH IS FOR THE FATE OF HUMANITY!
Act 2: Ring the Bell!
After making their way to the ring (aka London, England), Diana and Steve pop you with some comedy as Diana tries to learn how humans conduct themselves in the streets and in a dress shop where they get her some civilian clothes. Then they squash some German spies who attack them in an alley. They’re a great team! Time for Steve to warn British High Command about the dangerous new gas created by Dr. Poison.
Cutoff and Get Heat
British High Command won’t help Diana and Steve stop Ludendorff and Dr. Poison from releasing the new gas, because they believe Germany will be signing an armistice instead. But Diana and Steve know you’ve got to be careful when a heel makes a peace offering.
Steve’s team of Sameer, Chief and Patrick join Diana and Steve to defeat Ludendorff and Dr. Poison. Sir Patrick Morgan of the British War Council says he supports them, and gives them money, like a sponsor, so he’s in their corner. The team travels to the front in the Belgian territory.
Cutoff and Get Heat
The closer they get to the front, the more they see the horrors of war, and Diana sells it. She’s never seen anything like this. When she learns the Germans are getting heat on the helpless villagers in a place called Veld on the other side of a battlefield called No Man’s Land…
Diana decides to do something about it. She takes off her citizen clothes to reveal she’s already wearing her gear. Just as the sun starts to shine from the sky, Wonder Woman walks through No Man’s Land, in slow-mo, with bombs exploding all around her, while she deflects bullets with her bracelets. It’s just so…
Then everyone hits the field and a schmoz breaks out. Lots of brawling later, Diana and the babyfaces liberate the Veldian people (or Velders, Veldites, or Veldicians?) from German control. Later that night, Steve and Diana…
Eventually, the babyfaces find Dr. Poison and Ludendorff at the armistice ceremony. Diana gives the go-home cue to eliminate Ludendorff, who she thinks is actually Ares.
Cutoff and Get Heat
But Steve stops her to avoid starting another schmoz in the middle of the armistice ceremony, which is a celebration of peace, so you can see why committing a murder might not be a good idea right then. Plus, Steve isn’t really sure Ares exists, which gets Diana hot at him. Then Ludendorff fires a missile filled with Dr. Poison’s new gas at Veld, killing everyone in the village. Now, Diana has nuclear heat with Ludendorff, Steve, Ares and pretty much everyone.
Act 3: The Go-Home
The team finds Ludendorff, Dr. Poison and German soldiers at an airfield loading hydrogen bombs onto an airplane. Diana easily beats Ludendorff using Ox Baker’s Heart Punch…
So that’s it, right?! Hit her music, and let’s get out of here. Hey, wait a minute…
But the Germans keep loading bombs, so Diana gets hot when she realizes that mankind is violent by choice. Steve and the team get into a schmoz with the Germans. Then Sir Patrick steps up behind Diana and reveals himself to be Ares, the greater power Diana was looking for the whole time!
Ares says Diana should tag with him since humans are violent heels and should be wiped out. She’s not having any of it, so they fight. During a quick reprieve from getting her butt kicked, Steve says goodbye to her. He has to be a high-flyer by piloting a plane full of Dr. Poison’s new gas bombs away from where it can hurt anyone when it explodes. She battles Ares more and he tosses her around. He wraps tank treads around her body and literally pins her to the ground. Just then, Steve takes his LAST RIDE on the plane full of gas bombs as it explodes.
Fire-up and Comeback
Diana sees Steve’s sacrifice, and kicks out of the pin, and starts throwing Germans like she’s Brock Lesnar. Ares puts Dr. Poison in front of Diana, and tells Diana to squash her. Diana is standing there, effortlessly holding a tank over her head like a wrestler about to bash their opponent with a steel chair, looking at the person responsible for Steve’s sacrifice. But Diana decides to let Dr. Poison go because her real heat is with Ares. Dr. Poison powders in a hurry, and probably never stops running.
Ares rushes Diana, but she handles him pretty easily. Since nothing Ares does works on Diana now, he uses a desperation maneuver. He calls down lightning from the sky and shoots it at her to kill her. But she absorbs it into her bracelets, and, with one, final, epic move, she kills him with a deep, crisp, Ricky-Steamboat-quality ARM DRAG. Just kidding, she shot the lighting through his body and he exploded! Diana wins in a clean finish!
Ring Psychology: Break It Down!
Let’s break down the Ring Psychology for Logic, Pacing, and Escalating Intensity.
The characters’ actions and decisions in one scene lead to the next well-enough for a genre-bending comic book movie that combines demigods with World War 1, right?
Great pace. It’s always moving forward toward the finish. Impressive since it’s both an adventure story and a love story.
The intensity escalates big time, with the fights getting bigger and louder from start to finish. From a beach-side schmoz with rifles and arrows in Act 1, to a battlefield schmoz with machine guns and bombs in Act 2, to an airfield schmoz with two Gods going full-on falls count anywhere, using everything around them as a weapon, which leads to some sweet, sweet pyro in Act 3.
Most Over Gimmick of the Movie
The No Man’s Land scene that leads into the fight toward Veld.
It’s on the poster for a reason! It’s the big highspot of the movie when we get to see Wonder Woman really layeth the smacketh down for the first time in a big way.
The Blow Off
“Wonder Woman” is a Main Eventer. The 3 Count is just right for the adventure/love story being told. It’s the best of the DC Films movies so far because it’s a pleasure to watch from front to back, giving it emotional resonance with a wide audience. Diana is an authentic, honorable babyface with likeability, warmth and a strong moral center that draws people in. The 3 Count makes “Wonder Woman” a timeless classic for generations of movie watchers.