First, some quick disclaimers –
1) Despite my issues with the execution of this movie, I believe 1000% that women should be cast *a lot* more in leading roles – say, 50/50 with men? Girls should be able to see ample evidence that they too can be superheroes. Representation matters!
(Although, it’s worth noting that writing a female superhero to be literally perfect in every way is somewhat of a disservice. Male heroes always seem to have depth and flaws.)
2) This will only make sense if you’ve seen the movie.
I didn’t expect a movie with 92% on Rotten Tomatoes to have only two acts, but here we are.
Consider the following:
**ACT 1 ///**
Status Quo – Secret Island Paradise filled with Bad Bitches. Diana is a scrappy young woman who just wants to learn to fight. What’s her motivation? They never say (or *show*). Why does her mother not want her to fight? Who knows.
Lots of exposition while standing around on horses.
**Inciting Incident** – Chris Pine et al pierce the bubble surrounding the island. Robin Wright dies, but no one cares because she’s just an NPC.
**External Threat** – Let’s meet the bad guys! Ludendorff is a very generic Bad German (even though he’s a real dude from history who was actually very interesting), and Dr. Poison wants to… make poison. She has a cool mask, the origin of which is never explained, and a presumably fascinating backstory/personal motivation that’s never mentioned.
**Point of No Return** – Diana decides to leave the island to Save the World with Chris Pine, at which point her mother says something like, “You know you can never return. Sad!”
Why can’t Diana return? In any case, she doesn’t seem too bothered.
**ACT 2A ///**
**Discomfort/Training/Crappier Status Quo** – One would think that adjusting to early 20th-century London after spending your whole life on a Secret Island Paradise would be difficult or cause some kind of anxiety, but since Diana has no personal hangups/internal conflict and is already a fully-formed badass, this section is just a cute (actually really cute) fish-out-of-water let’s-go-clothes-shopping romp. Also more exposition, and we Meet the Team.
There’s no training in here because for some reason Diana already got it done in Act 1.
(Like when Neo learns Kung Fu when he’s still living inside the matrix working at his office job. Or when Maximum learns to fight as a gladiator when he’s still a general at the front. Yeah.)
**Test Chamber/Practice Fight** – This is the fight in the alleyway, I guess.
**Adaptation** – Diana already knew how to fight in Act 1, and the Team – having absolutely no problems with each other and gelling beautifully since the beginning – don’t need to learn how to work together, so there is no adaptation.
In this section, Diana and Co. storm No Man’s Land and liberate a town.
(It would be nice if they personally met any of the townsfolk so we’d care when they suffer their ultimate fate, but whatever.)
**Midpoint/Complication** – After a brief Chris-Pine-related delay, Diana kills Ludendorff, wrongly believing he’s Ares the God of War based on her hunch.
He’s not actually the God of War – just a Bad German – but there’s no complication (or consequence of any kind!) because of this mistake.
One could envision the issue of the Big Airplane somehow being consequential or at least exacerbated from killing the wrong dude (because that’s how midpoints work), but no.
**ACT 2B ///**
**Failure** – Again, it’s not a big deal that Diana killed the wrong guy. Ares reveals himself to be Professor Lupin. I guess something blows up (I don’t even remember what), and this causes Diana to temporarily lose her hearing.
**Paying the Price** – Chris Pine kills himself and the Big Airplane.
**Fear/Darkest Hour** – There isn’t one. Neither Diana nor the team have any time to reflect or be scared about how fucked up everything is because the rest of the movie happens *right now* in the same scene.
**Heroic Moment** – This is where the protag truly becomes a hero (and we would move into Act 3, if there was one) when she decides to press on in the face of overwhelming odds, and at the same time sheds her Inner Demon.
Except she can’t proactively decide to move forward because the SCENE HASN’T ENDED, and it’s only been like a minute.
And anyway, the odds seem pretty good. I mean, she’s a god, and so is Ares, so like – 50/50?
And she doesn’t have any Inner Demon(s) at all. At all-at all. She’s pretty much perf, and always has been.
**ACT 3 ///**
**Escalating Conflicts** – There aren’t. This is where Diana and Co. *should* take out the bad guys in ascending order, but Ludendorff is already dead, and Dr. Poison is gone, never to be seen again, having run away into the night.
(I wonder what happens to her.)
**Final Boss Door** – Nothing here. Diana should meet Ares at a *different location* and at a *different time* and have some pre-final showdown banter, except we’re still in the same scene.
**Triumph** – Diana defeats Ares quite easily, without ever having had to train like a normal protag in Act 2A, or having had to dispatch her internal conflicts (because she never had any, ever) in Act 2B.
**Return** – Nope. (I mean, I guess there’s a return to the framing device.)
So in the end, here’s a quick summary of how this all actually plays out:
**Act 1** – Flat, exposition-filled, motivationless (but at least somewhat conventional);
**Act 2A** – Training-less and adaptation-less, but quirky and fun! And Ludendorff gasses a town of anonymous Europeans before being killed by Diana. Neither event matters – emotionally or functionally.
**Act 2B** – Chris Pine blows up self, then Diana kills actual Ares. *That’s it!*
**Act 3** – ???
What do you think?