Wonder Woman (2017)

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“Power. Grace. Wisdom. Wonder.”

 

 

Be careful where you tread for there are SPOILERS ahead.

One week ago, I purposed in my soul not to get too excited. Wonder Woman was then only a few days away but I’d been burned badly by the DC Extended Universe films before, most notably with the dour, plodding, chopped up, and poorly executed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and then later on with the movie that ought to have been an ecstatic first of its kind: Suicide Squad. I didn’t want that same sinking feeling walking out of the movie house after Wonder Woman. I didn’t want those Marvel-exclusive fans to have any more ammunition against my beloved DC.

Then the reviews started rolling in. They were stellar. Beyond belief. No DCEU film had ever received scores and criticism this positive. It dawned on me that perhaps this was all a flash-in-the-pan reaction considering how politicized this movie was fast becoming. What with the controversies and agendas seeking to swamp it for confirmation bias: the fourth-wave feminists bemoaning Gal Gadot’s shaved armpits, the SJW’s boycotting it because the lead actress is Israeli (which is called anti-Semitism, people), the film being banned in Lebanon, the whole fiasco involving the ladies-only screening in Austin, the insulting assertion that men don’t want to see an action movie with a female lead (untrue), the feminazis decrying that the actress was too beautiful to be a feminist icon… Hahaha! I’m not making this crap up.

It’s immensely tragic that petty people would take something so sincere as Wonder Woman and try to twist her big screen debut for their own use. So I paused to wonder if the movie was too politicized now to fail. And I knew that if this film did fail, it would break my heart.

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Well I am happy to report that my heart is still in one piece. Seven decades we’ve waited for Wonder Woman’s first live action big screen appearance and the wait was apparently worth it. The film overcomes all of the political mud that people attempted to smear all over it. It cuts right through the sexism and racism and creates a character which is innocent, caring, loving, smart, fun, naive and nowhere over-sexualized. It’s a great film on its own, not because it happens to match someone’s social views or not.

“Wonder Woman is the most powerful warrior ever, and power and strength are qualities that usually go hand in hand with men, and not with women. And we realized that for us it’s so important to keep all of the feminine qualities … like love, and compassion, and warmth, and kindness. And I think that once you have all of these beautiful qualities and you combine it with the strength and the power, you get a beautiful, inspiring character.”
-Gal Gadot

The filmmakers didn’t transform Diana into this eternally angry, man-hating woman but she furnishes a strength to the uniqueness of femininity, proving the differences between male and female simply by virtue of the film’s refreshing nature. She is empowering but not because she drags men down, or has to. She’s inspiring for who she is, a beacon to the other characters in the film and a magnetic personality for all audience members. She’s a leader because of her own principles and beliefs, not because she’s reactionary. So while the extreme misogyny and misandry howl around it like a big ugly human hurricane, Wonder Woman stands resolutely confident in its own vision of a world where love is the supreme virtue.

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In this light, Diana is a Miyazakian heroine, not a 2017 Western one. Wonder Woman has been a symbol of feminism for years but in this film, she’s very much like the strong female leads in Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. She’s even less a war-mongering, bloodthirsty monster than she’s sometimes depicted in the comics and other adaptations (Kingdom Come, Wonder Woman ’09, and Azzarello and Chiang’s New 52 series, for example)Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman as having power and empathy, strength and love, ferocity and a caring heart goes back all the way to Wonder Woman’s creator who crafted the Amazonian princess in direct response to the complaint that comic books were too violent.

Wonder Woman doesn’t need to make the heroine this ultra-macho, genital-stomping, one-liner quipping action hero always trying to one-up everyone around her to try to prove herself. She’s no clichéd femme fatale who hides her dangerousness behind her feminine charms. The character is too pure, too true to herself for that. She doesn’t have to prove herself. She has her own unique power as a woman and we know that she’s dangerous just by the way she carries herself, by the way she earnestly drives herself forward.

I suppose we’ll still be reading many headlines and articles for weeks to come about this sexist theory or that gynocentric ploy. We’re going to have to hear about how every poor review of Wonder Woman is actually just sexist mansplaining (read that this morning). We’re going to have to sit through tirade after tirade about how Wonder Woman is an unsuitable icon (saw that yesterday). We’re going to have to sift past all the clickbait drivel describing how Diana isn’t the hero in her own movie or how much of a rapist you must be if you don’t love this film. If I gave this movie a low score, would I be called sexist by people who don’t even know me?

Ultimately, Wonder Woman doesn’t care. It’s too good to fit into a box. It does what so few things in the 2010’s have been able to do: it overcomes pre-conceived notions and social gripes. The world is a dark place but ours is not the world of hope which Wonder Woman portrays. It inspires both men and women, and that is only the beginning of its triumph.

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The film opens with Gadot’s Diana Prince receiving the original photograph from Bruce Wayne that we saw in Batman v Superman. She then tells the story of her past to the audiences: Diana as the only child on a paradise island of only women, the Amazons, under the watchful eye of her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her trainer Antiope (Robin Wright). She grows up learning of Ares, the world of men, and the destiny of the god-killer sword. The sequence where Hippolyta tells Diana of the gods of Olympus and the creation of man had my heart all aflutter. I wanted them to bring in the magic and the mythos of the Greeks, since that’s straight up comic book stuff for Wonder Woman, and not brush it off or treat it like pseudo-science or extra-dimensional beings. That really opens up the DC universe.

Eventually a plane crashes in the waters of the bay and Diana rescues its pilot, Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine. This invasion of the outside world entangles Diana in the great war and she leaves Themyscira with Trevor to head to the front lines, believing that if she kills Ares, the god of war, the war will end. What she finds is that the world of men is not that simple. She finds allies in strange places, slips in love with Steve Trevor, joins a ragtag group of misfits, and heads to the front lines. Her empathy and courage are tested.

Against her are a group of villains which ultimately won’t stand out as being among the best in DC’s films, but they’re more than passable for this film. As a DC fan, I firmly believe that great villains are the core of a superhero film, not as important as the hero but the test by which the hero is tried and proven true. And we all know DC has the best villains.

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German General Erich Ludendorff (a real historical figure) played by Danny Huston serves as a ruthless and obsessed foe which the film fixates on for almost its entire duration. His goal is to perpetuate the war and refuse the coming armistice. Assisting him is his chemist, Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya), aka Doctor Poison, a disfigured woman with the genius and madness to create the perfect weapon for the war.

Wonder Woman pursues Ludendorff, believing wholeheartedly that he’s Ares in disguise, and the film does a great job of making you believe this, too. Ludendorff has all the markings of a tyrant possessed with a thirst for violence. However, there’s a twist here. Turns out Ludendorff isn’t Ares. The only tip off I picked up on is the thought “Why would Ludendorff sniff that super-strength gas if he was the god of war?” Sir Patrick Morgan, played by David Thewlis, is the financier of Diana’s mission to the front, but he reveals himself as Ares. The god of war tempts Diana with a paradise world free from human existence, a world guaranteed should the great war be perpetuated, and he also informs her that she is in fact a demigoddess, a child of Zeus and not made from clay like her mother told her all her life.

Diana of course overcomes this temptation and has her faith in the goodness of man restored when Steve Trevor selflessly gives his life to stop the German’s super-weapon from reaching London. In her rage after his death, she almost turns into a monster herself, like Ares, until she remembers that Steve’s last words to her were “I love you.” Love wins the day.

With Ares destroyed (perhaps not forever), the war ends and the soldiers lay down their arms. Diana accepts victory with quiet relief and gentleness. Such a different character than any we’ve seen. Back in London, she finds Steve’s picture on a board with the photographs of those who gave their lives during the war. Then we’re back in the present where Diana thanks Bruce Wayne for the photograph he sent her.

Wonder Woman is a refreshing film with heart, tenderness, action, and no brooding in sight (that isn’t to say it doesn’t have its dark moments but it’s a brighter film than we’ve seen from DC recently)! It’s humor wasn’t the quippy, snark-infested waters of typical Marvel fare. Plus it delves deep into the mythos, which I loved. It’s unlike anything Marvel has put out or can put out, and it’s unlike anything DC has done since the first Superman. I really want to see it again!

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The 8-bit Review
visual Visuals: 
8/10
First off, I need to say that the promotional posters for this movie are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life. They eschewed the dull silvers and blues of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, as well as the comic-bookey chemical colors of Suicide Squad, for a “fire and light” contrast that’s evocative and gorgeous. They’re amazing.

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As a blockbuster film, there are plenty of amazing special effects. For the most part, they’re really awesome. One of the best moments in the film is the one in the trailers where Diana steps up out of the trenches and strides toward the enemy line, deflecting bullets and at one point even a mortar shell. A lot of the coloration from the posters did translate into the film, particularly when Diana lost it after Steve’s death and mowed through a whole battalion in her blind rage.

There was a moment very early on in the film which had me worried though. Little kid Diana is running through the island, escaping evidently from her overbearing nursemaid, when she jumps over a rampart. The next shot looks up at the child’s face as she’s falling, flailing her arms around. It looked TV show fake and it was pretty cringe-worthy. Fortunately, the moment was brief but it put me on alert for effects later in the film.

The first big action scene is the Amazons riding to war to fight the Germans that have landed on the beach. The scene is beautiful and elegant with these graceful assault patterns by the fighting women, but there’s an air of physics being broken that subconsciously points to the wires we all know must be there. It’s eloquent action but it can’t escape a little bit of the obviousness of special effects. A few other moments that come to mind later in the movie are some of the other action scenes, like the fight in the village, CG London, and of course the final apocalyptic battle with Doomsday Ares, the god of war. His armor just seemed to miss something. Maybe if they’d made him even bigger and got rid of that gentleman’s mustache.

I’ll have to include in my review of the Visuals that the slow motion effects are probably not going to be for everybody. Slow-mo has leaned toward being heavy-handed since The Matrix but here I felt it was used to highlight the fact that this is a comic book movie with insane action and ridiculous physics. When the scene slowed for just a few seconds, it felt like I was looking at a comic panel, a splash page, and that’s a neat, innovative effect for this genre of film.

All in all, Wonder Woman is a gorgeous film. We’ve seen some incredible fight sequences from the DCEU. The battle in Smallville, Batman rescuing Ma Kent, the fight against dual-wielding Enchantress all take the cake, so Wonder Woman sits comfortably among them. Maybe a head taller than the rest. Loved that Renaissance-y art for Hippolyta’s exposition!

 Audio: 8/10

 

I have no idea why they opted to make the Wonder Woman theme sound the way it does but soak it up in all of its Tina Guo electric cello glory. It’s a high-pace, pounding drum-line with an airy, almost screaming recurring melody. It makes Diana seem otherworldly, both modern and tribal, electric and ancient. I appreciate that they filled out her theme song a little more here. I’m looking forward to how her theme evolves over the next several films.

 

The aforementioned moment of bestness when Diana dramatically steps up out of the trenches and marches toward the German encampment, there’s this swelling, orchestral theme that plays. It continues to build, playing upon that tribal drum rhythm, higher and higher as Trevor screams Diana’s name. It builds as she crosses no man’s land under heavy fire. It felt exactly like the climax of an intense war film. One of my favorite moments.

 

Ask me and there’s plenty that Rupert Gregson-Williams did to put this soundtrack on a shelf above the rest of the typical blockbuster movie music fare.

story Narrative: 8/10
The storyline is not without its foibles or flaws but on the other hand it’s nowhere near as obviously hacked up as Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were. Watching those two theatrical releases, it was clear that a majority of character development and key scenes had been severed and left bleeding on the cutting room floor. I didn’t feel that much at all in Wonder Woman.

The only things I would like to see rectified or explained by a director’s cut with deleted footage are as follows: exposit for us the nature of Wonder Woman’s costume that she took from the Amazonian armory and why they had it there at all and how and why it differs from her comic-canon star-spangled booty shorts; elaborate on what “seeing ghosts” means for Charlie (Ewen Bremner) who probably had his triumphant moment cut; explicate the open-endedness of the end of the movie by revealing what’s to come, if indeed that was ever a part of the film’s vision.

Wonder Woman is narratively great for its single-mindedness and simplicity due almost entirely to the fact that it doesn’t have to be a slave to world-building. At this point in filmmaking, tent pole franchises are expected to build huge, interlocking, self-referencing universes after the Marvel model. The biggest downside to this is that every film has to reference other films, has to include cameos and appearances, leaving us with the upcoming Iron Man 5… I mean, Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s a burden which films haven’t really had to bear too much before unless they were part of a trilogy, but now stretch much further than that.

Because Wonder Woman is a prequel set decades ahead of all the other DCEU films thus far, it doesn’t have to concern itself with telling us where Superman is or what Batman is doing or why Aquaman didn’t come to help save the day. None of them existed yet. Wonder Woman is free.

message Themes: 9/10
There a lot to consider thematically in this film but I’ll touch on only a few considerations.

First, the unspoken theme of inspiring others to be good, which is inherent in most superhero films, has more impact in this film because of Diana’s innocence, power, bravery, and optimism. She’s a character unlike any other superhero and it’s wonderful to finally see what makes Wonder Woman so special and indeed so surprisingly enduring. This is a film which nails the characterization of its lead and thus the theme of inspiration to virtue and selflessness flies higher and feels less ham-fisted than it has in previous films. Heck, even Trevor’s act of self-sacrifice felt more potent than Superman’s, as one of my friends pointed out.

Second, the film’s approach to feminism not as dominating but as cooperating echoes the sentiment among Trevor and his crew he assembles. Among them Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), an Arabic actor and conman, Charlie (Bremner’s character), a Scottish marksman and drunkard, and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), a Native American tradesman. Add to that Trevor’s American allegiance and Diana’s Grecian descent, not to mention her being a woman and a feminist icon, and you’ve got a pretty diverse group, diverse enough to include a few lines on Sameer being “the wrong color” to become an actor and Chief having his people’s land taken away by Trevor’s people. But this is the real point: they all got together and got the mission done. If that’s not an inspirational example of how people from all backgrounds can come together and put aside their differences, then I don’t know what is. It’s a tender example for our hardened world.

Third, Diana’s faith is essentially challenged after she kills Ludendorff and the war does not stop. She believed with all her heart that Ares was the cause of things, that Ares was behind all of the bloodshed. Steve Trevor tries to shake Diana out of her shock and get her back in action but in doing so he must admit that human beings are at fault for the evils in the world, that they cannot blame things on invisible spirits or say “the devil made me do it”. This exchange caught the attention of the theology-nerd in me. The logical approach to answering why evil and suffering exist if God exists goes all the way back to Augustine, but in the space of a conversation, Trevor put his finger on the button: humans cause a lot of the suffering they complain about. Of course in the end, Ares really did exist and supposedly killing him ended the war, but did World War II happen in this universe only a some years later?

Diana’s faith is rewarded and the invisible world is revealed but at the same time she now has a greater and more terrible understanding of what lies in the heart of men. When she was but a youth, her mother mused that if she understood what was out there that Ares would find her sooner. I think that mysterious line has something to do with this.

Fourthly, finally, love. Love conquers all. Love is the chief thing. Love is self-sacrificial: “Greater love hath no man…” Love is patient and kind. One of Diana’s last lines in the movie crystallizes how love is central to her character, how love defeated the god of war and stopped millions from dying, how love was the catalyst that created Wonder Woman, the icon.

Oh, and no, they never once call her “Wonder Woman” in the whole film.

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familyfriendliness Family Friendliness: 5/10
A few things come to mind: the innuendos and conversations. There’s a scene where Chris Pine is naked, standing in front of Diana, and he doesn’t seem to hide his junk. There’s a bit of awkward banter between them and some penile confusion (haha!) before Trevor realizes that the little thing that Diana was pointing out was in fact his watch not his… y’know. There’s another scene a bit later when they’re leaving Themyscira that they start to awkwardly talk about marriage and Trevor tries to explain why men don’t just sleep with women willy-nilly, at least not socially acceptable men in the 1910’s. For a minute, I was like “Is this what the whole movie is going to be like?” Thankfully not and the awkward exchanges between the two talking about the pleasures of the flesh ended as soon as they began.

Other than that, there’s a lot of violence but no gore, only a few frightening images, barely any foul language (compared to Suicide Squad’s ubiquitous use of sh-t), and some Greek god mythology if talking about that in a fantasy world that bothers anyone. This is a PG-13 Wonder Woman movie so it’s not exactly a kid’s film while not at the same time being really adult.

cast Cast: 8/10
What an enjoyable cast. Finally, can we just lay the arguments against Gal Gadot being Wonder Woman to rest?! They said she was too skinny. They said she couldn’t act. Well guess what? She looked amazing in that costume and yes she can act. She didn’t deliver an Oscar-award winning performance and some of her outrage scenes came off as scripted but she could conjure some real depth of emotion in her eyes when she needed to. I got a little misty eyed when she’s looking at Trevor’s picture on the board back in London after the war. I’m definitely excited for Gadot’s career as Diana of Themyscira and I hope she does many more films in the future. She’s now the definitive Wonder Woman as far as I’m concerned.

Chris Pine is a magnetic joy to watch. He was a perfect cast as Steve Trevor, who he plays as a softer kind of Han Solo roguish individual who wrestles against his better nature and his baser instincts. I’m actually sad that he met his end so soon. Actually I was expecting the film to end with Diana finding him old and weary in a retirement home years later. Oh well.

Lucy Davis as Etta Candy, Trevor’s secretary, got laughs any time she opened her mouth. It’s a shame that the trailers spoiled some of her better jokes but her bumbling and Britishisms were delightful. She felt like a welcome comic relief character without putting an eye-rolling strain on the film.

While little kid Diana (Lilly Aspel) may be the worst of the Amazonian actresses, at least she’s cute. The other Amazons have varying success with their strange accents. I’m not sure if Robin Wright and Queen Hippolyta were trying to match Gadot’s exotic accent or if they just really sound occasionally clumsy in real life.

Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, and Eugene Brave Rock all lend enjoyable performances to the film, with Chief’s probably being the weakest.

Danny Huston as Ludendorff has a perfect sneering frown the whole film and a wonderful, gravelly German accent. Beside him, Elena Anaya’s Doctor Poison exudes her raspy lines and dead-eyed stares. Both of them seemed somewhat underutilized and I would’ve liked to have seen more from both of them.

David Thewlis plays the big villain as Ares god of war and his human guise, Sir Patrick Morgan. As Morgan, Thewlis seems like an unassuming British gentleman, posh but not overly eccentric, warm and harmless, even a figure of moderate repute and wisdom helping the heroes forward on their mission. It made his reveal all the better and he went for full on creepy with his unblinking gaze and slow line delivery. I ate up all that stuff where he’s talking to Diana through the window, and then when she comes around to the doorway he’s gone. He was actually less intimidating once he got in full CGI armor (-10 to intimidation but +5 lightning damage). Something about his older gentleman’s face didn’t translate into the embodiment of violence and bloodlust, probably because they kept everything about his face, mustache included, intact under that spiky helmet. I was waiting for the black eyes of Ares from New 52, but didn’t get it. If anything, the dude should be a recurring villain, despite having his chest blown open. He is a god, after all. Maybe they can improve upon his presentation someday. If not, no skin of my nose.

unique Uniqueness: 10/10
Wonder Woman was truly a refreshing film. I’m a comic book reader and I’ve been a superhero fan for a very long time, but even I started feeling the so-called “superhero fatigue”. With so many films in this “genre” coming out in one year, I simply chose to stop seeing many of them. I made sure to see the DC ones at least and a couple other ones now and then, but it just got too expensive. On top of that, a lot of what I was seeing started to feel formulaic.

Though there are echoes of every superhero’s origin story in Wonder Woman, with the influence of Christopher Reeve’s Superman infusing the film, Diana’s tale ends up being a game changer and hopefully it’ll lead to a paradigm shift in superhero movies. Maybe we can get back to more wholesome heroes that stand for virtue and not brooding. Maybe we can care less about deconstructing heroes than about see them inspire others. The DCEU was in need of some genuine levity but not at the expense of constant quipping to take you out of the intense scenes.

Ultimately, this was not a movie we’ve seen the likes of before in the DCEU and it’s certainly not a movie that Marvel could ever make. They don’t have a character like Wonder Woman. Thor? Too abrasive, too blunt and gruntish, too stereotypically masculine. Black Widow? A woman, yes, but full on femme fatale, too over-sexualized, cold, emotionless, efficient, Hulk-loving, with a personality that changes in every outing, and nowhere near as enjoyable as Wonder Woman. Who does that leave them with for MCU females that could lead a film and be an icon and inspire others to be better people and display all the best of femininity and be refreshing? Gamora? Scarlet Witch? Peggy? Someone as downright unlikable as Jessica Jones?! Hahahahahaha! *cough cough wheeze* Hahahahahahaha! *takes a sip of water* Hhahahahahahahahaaahhaaa!

pgrade My Personal Grade: 9/10
No armpit hair in sight! This movie honestly makes me much more excited for this DCEU again and more hopeful for the upcoming Justice League. While Mr. Snyder deals with the tragedy that struck his family and Joss Whedon takes the helm of JL, I at least hope that they learn something from Wonder Woman’s success. I don’t want them to overdo the things that made WW wonderful. I want this film to be unique but I think they can learn a lot while still maintaining the darkness of other characters. Maybe the next time we see Superman, he’ll be more inspiring like Diana was?

At any rate, I hope that the themes of Wonder Woman don’t die. I hope that this movie forever remains at the core of her character. Perhaps, strangely, it’s going to be Wonder Woman who saves the DCEU with her love. Maybe she will be the greatest asset to uniting the seven. “The greatest of these is Love.”

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Aggregated Score: 8.1

 

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31 thoughts on “Wonder Woman (2017)

  1. I went to see this movie yesterday and honestly liked it. The music was one of the best points for me, up around where the first Thor movie is.

    Yet, I felt that while I saw a hero rather than a character on screen. The villain was not threathening and I rolled my eyes that they had to fight, when Zeus…ehm I mean Ares went the sneaky route to confuse Diana.

    Though the themes stood strong and it’s the second good movie to come out of the three from DCEU. Since I enjoyed Man of Steel which was a good way to tell the story, of a new Superman. The story felt uninspired, nothing new came out of this and you could see every marker being crossed off as it went on.

    Probably my biggest gripe with this movie and every superhero movie in general, is that when they are in another country…well use that country’s language. German is a beautiful language, so it’s sad they all went with German-ish dialect (which Chris Pine even make fun of in one scene) mixed in with natural sounding english accents.

    To cut it short, I know it’s a fictional world set in a setting that happened in real life, which reminds me…it made me so happy that it was in the first World War.

    Loved the review, many of the things you point out I agree with. However, there are also quite a few I disagree about. Still it was a good movie, a great review and both should be recommended to others.

    Stay Cozy and have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey thanks for your comment and thanks again for sharing our review via Twitter! I also enjoyed Man of Steel. To address your concerns with the film, I also felt that the villain was very weak. Actually, I thought all three of them were pretty weak. WW hasn’t really had any great, iconic villains, not even Cheetah. So that’s knock one. I also made the comment to a friend after the movie about why Germans would speak English to each other but it is a blockbuster, after all, and movies do this. It’s annoying to me but doesn’t detract from enjoying the film. I laughed and told myself at least they found actors who could pull off German accents without sounding like Dracula, a la Captain America: the First Avenger.

      I think at this point we’re seeing a lot of cut-and-paste storylines in comic book movies. Suicide Squad looked like it was going to mix it up but it ultimately didn’t. BvS had a slightly different structure, or it could have, but it ended up being largely the same, too. At this point, the only differences in these films I think is going to come from the characters themselves and their lore/mythos, since there’s no hope for dramatically changing up the structure. Just some off-the-cuff thoughts. Thanks again for your comment!

      Like

  2. I waited to read your review until I’d seen the movie and I agree with many of your points. I love that quote from Gal Gadot – I think it’s important to celebrate that strength of character is what makes women strong, and being feminine isn’t the same thing as being weak. I particularly agree with your point that she has an innocence and earnestness that really makes her character inspiring; the whole movie I was rooting for her and I found her character really refreshing and fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well thank you very much for coming back to read our review after seeing the film! I loved this movie and can’t wait to see it again. Given how refreshing and fascinating Diana’s character was, I definitely stand by my assertion that no other company could make this movie with the superheroes that are currently in cinema. This movie made me realize why Wonder Woman is so important and what makes her so special. Her creator made her because he felt that comic books were dominated by too much masculine violence. Here we are over three quarters of a century later and Diana pops onto the superhero film scene and she’s just as refreshing and different. There’s no other character quite like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I honestly knew nothing about Wonder Woman before seeing the movie, and I definitely had no clue that her origin was a direct response to overly masculine violent content – with this film you can really see how unique she feels as a result of that. Very cool.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah that angle is very interesting to me. I was also interested in how she was a feminist, empowering icon over the years but they (thankfully) chose not to take her to the extreme that modern feminism has decided to go to. She’s the perfect partner to Superman and Batman, as they are to her, forming DC’s Trinity. Her thing has always been empathy and love so I’m so happy that they got that across. I don’t know if you’re a comics reader but I definitely recommend George Perez’s work with WW (circa 80’s some time) and the New 52 Azzarello/Chiang run that’s amazing. Diana can tend to be interpreted as too brash and warlike so I love that this DCEU version is much more… well feminine I guess.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I like comic books but I’ve always felt like it would be really hard to get into the hobby seriously – all these series have gone on for so long that I feel like I wouldn’t be able to understand what’s going on by just jumping in wherever, if that makes sense. Starting with New 52 seems like it would be a bit easier to figure out, though.

            Liked by 1 person

            • As someone who’s read comics off and on for years talking with others who are skeptical or at least unsure about getting into comics, I can definitely say that their inaccessibility is monstrous. I picked up reading them again just by reading the stand alone graphic novels, self-contained stories that are awesome. Some of DC’s best books are graphic novels. However, when the New 52 hit, it was the perfect chance to just start reading other characters I hadn’t before since they sort of “rebooted” everyone. Definitely recommend the Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman series from New 52. The latter two are shockingly good. Let me know if you ever pick one up! There’s Action Comics that I started getting into but I never made it as far as when they started taking Superman into horror territory there. I’ve got plenty of other recommendations so let me know if you need any more.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Watched Man of Steel just before went to see BvS, and I was bored out of my mind. My family went to see BvS, and they said I needed to pay them for having to sit through it (even though the tickets were basically free). Skipped SS because it didn’t look good and got poor reviews. This, I could actually sit through and enjoy it. Although I was a little confused on how

    *spoiler alert*

    she has her big “it’s what you believe” moment… then she stops working as a hero? She skips WWII for some reason? And somehow loses the watch?

    *end spoiler*

    I mean, I guess the sequel will answer these questions, but it still felt odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the sequel will answer these as well. Someone mentioned that the director indicated the next film will take place in the US, so that doesn’t necessarily get us to the Louvre. It could be a WWII film, which would be great, and it could show how she loses the items and continues to develops her character. The “it’s what you believe” moment I took as being the catalyst that got her into doing something in the world, despite human evil, but yeah, her retiring and giving up on humanity in BvS is strange then, ain’t it? We have to wonder too what she was even doing in Gotham in BvS, what she wanted. So I guess that’ll be answered eventually.

      Your poor family! Haha! You didn’t miss anything with Suicide Squad. I do slightly more recommend the director’s cut for BvS if in some other dimension you want to rewatch it. Definitely gives more to the movie. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Going to see the movie soon, so I skipped the review and glanced over the first half of the article. Actually, I thoroughly read the first few paragraphs (up until the third picture) and then skimmed… Anyway….

    I’m glad the movie isn’t all hype. I’ve loved Wonder Woman since I was a little girl, because she was everything I wanted to be. She was smart and brave, kind and beautiful – I was worried that the movie would be a “statement” but it seems like the movie made the best kind of statement: Diana is a superhero because she’s a kind, loving (and therefore great) person, not because she’s a “woman in a man’s world” or any other political nonsense.

    Too bad some folks seem to have missed the point.

    And the fact that she’s not referred to as “Wonder Woman” in the film makes the title a little more profound, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for skimming and leaving me a thoughtful comment anyway! I think you’ll very much enjoy this movie. It is just an enjoyable film with some really enjoyable performances and scenes.

      Hype is a powerful thing but I think at this point the DCEU has proven that not even the iconic status of Superman and Batman combined can make a movie beloved, even as much as I wanted to love BvS. I would’ve just been so depressed if Wonder Woman had failed and had failed to impress, so I’m so very happy it didn’t. I walked out of that theater proud to be a DC fan again. This movie will make you inspired to be like Diana, a great person for her bravery and innocence. And yes, it was so amazing that this movie avoided being a billboard for modern agendas rather than being true to its character. Wonder Woman is a feminist icon that I enjoyed because she wasn’t hateful (not saying all feminists are but that’s a stereotype at the least). The complainers are missing the point. Her femininity was obvious and powerful, and she’s unlike any other character in superhero films right now. It was being heavily politicized but it was a joy to see that virtually none of that made it into the actual film.

      Yes! I really liked that they didn’t call her Wonder Woman. They’ll probably have to eventually but it made sense that they didn’t in this film. Sorry if I spoiled anything for you! I’m thinking of going back in and hiding proper spoilers, despite the tag at the beginning.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked it a lot. Personally I think it peaked a bit early, hitting its high point in the second act with a weaker third act final battle but I really enjoyed it. Wonder Woman was something that DC and Warner really needed. It’s the perfect film to be matched against the more conflicted and humanized Superman and the super dark broody Batman of Man of Steel and BvS (and I enjoy the depictions of both of those characters in those two movies). But there needed to be something pure and untainted and I think this did that. Politicized or not, watching my wife and daughters experience the film was a pure joy. It has been a long time coming.

    I too was starting to feel comic book fatigue and last year I skipped Doctor Strange, which was the first Marvel CU film that I didn’t see in theaters. The Marvel films have hit a rut where they are generally just good and enjoyable but nothing more special than that. Wonder Woman felt special. That said, I, like you, don’t necessarily want them to push too far in this direction. I think she makes a nice balance against the dark brooding and I think The Flash will do so as well.

    I’m not sure I agree that Marvel doesn’t have a character that can pull off this kind of movie. I think a proper teenage Spider-Man could do it quite well. I have high hopes for Homecoming, although I do worry that Iron Man is going to feature to heavily in it (even if I love RDJ’s portrayal of Tony). And I wouldn’t mind Marvel exploring the current Ms. Marvel on the big screen either.

    And now I’ve rambled on to long so I won’t go in to detail about how I don’t necessarily agree that DC has better villains than Marvel. I think Batman’s villains are better than most Marvel villains but I’d argue that Spider-Man’s villains are better than most DC villains and then from there… sans maybe Lex and Magneto, everything else is a wash. And I prefer DC over Marvel. But we won’t get in to all that today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! It’s my favorite counter-point friend! So glad to hear you enjoyed Wonder Woman. To clarify my own position, I liked Batman a lot in BvS and thought he was the perfect comic book Batman, though of course more calloused and jaded, but I disliked a lot of what they did with Supes especially in the theatrical version where he had no enjoyable scenes that demonstrated his warmth. Thankfully, the ultimate edition brought some of that back by restoring scene after scene of Clark Kent. I also agree that WW seemed to have a weak third act. That was something I got the gist of from review titles which emphasized the usual CG fight-fest third act. I enjoyed it but it lacked some impact. I also definitely agree that Wonder Woman was a necessity for DC/Warner. They needed the softness and love of her character, and for once it makes a lot of sense why she’s the third leg of DC’s Trinity, which speaks to the uniqueness of her character (more on that in a bit when I address your other point). Watching my wife enjoy the film was a delight, and we went with several other female and male friends who adored it. I was worried the film was going to end up being as ugly and polarizing as so much of our current politics are but I’m infinitely happy that it didn’t turn out that way. This film was pure.

      I stopped watching the MCU with Age of Ultron, when I hit a crisis imagining how much I’d spent this far on Marvel’s films and how much I wasn’t enjoying them anymore. I really liked the first Avengers but Ultron was a disaster. I was really bothered by the constant quipping and the many other ruts the MCU had driven into. Unless there’s something really special that comes along, then I’ll have to just save my limited finances for only a few films per year. Since I’m more of a DC fan, that means seeing Wonder Woman and Justice League this year. That balance is going to need to happen in DC films, and I hope they continue to feel different than Marvel’s.

      One thing I had to ask myself is why I enjoyed WW’s humor so much more than I did Marvel movie humor, and that thought comes on the tail of having others assume of me that I only like “dark and gritty” because I love DC. I think it boiled down to the way that Marvel humor relies on witty, snarky remarks and one-liners, especially in the heat of action sequences, but in WW there was a lot more character-driven warmth to the humor (Diana’s naivete comes to mind as does the likability of Trevor and his crew). They didn’t make jokes in the middle of fighting World War I so it felt more engaging, at least to me. I can also speak for a few of my friends who expressed the same thing when we got out of the film. And it’s on that note that I’ll contest your first counter-point, reasserting that Marvel doesn’t have a character that can pull of this kind of movie. Why? Because they don’t have a character with a combination of likability, innocence, purity, and femininity that Wonder Woman has. Spidey, much as I love him, is far too “street-smart”, nerdy and snarky to be close to Diana at all. Certainly a teenager boy is nothing like an Amazonian princess in all her purity. Not to mention Pete cannot hope to answer the clamoring for a female lead superhero film that the world has waited so long for. Part of the beauty of Diana’s character was how powerful she was in her femininity. Again, I’ll assert that Marvel hasn’t shown any character like Diana, the kind of character who didn’t pose in front of an explosion at the end of the war but who stood in silent satisfaction and joy after defeating Ares, the dawn rising behind her. Ms. Marvel may be the closest thing they could pull but she’s not in the MCU yet, so they’ve got to play catch up now.

      As far as too much RDJ, this is something that WW did well in escaping, not having to care too much about world building.

      And as for our final point of contention, I really just can’t see any comparison between DC and Marvel villains in terms of the degree of their evil, their influence, their iconic status, their scope. Spider-Man has probably the best set of villains in Marvel and then who’s next? The X-Men? While Magneto is great, DC has got the New Gods, the Suicide Squad, Bat’s asylum inhabitants, Flash’s rogues gallery (at least as silly and street-level as most of Spidey’s), a set of Superman villains that are better than the rest, the Legion of Doom, the villains on the evil spectrums of light fighting against Green Lantern, to name some few. They’re more visceral, elemental, fundamental, iconic like DC’s heroes. Even the direct Marvel rip offs are weaker, ex: Ultron vs Brainiac. DC has actually banked on writing up their villains with numerous publications over the years and other adaptations that highlight their villains in ways that Marvel never has and probably couldn’t scrape together (Forever Evil, Joker’s Asylum series, Blackest Night, and Suicide Squad come to mind as fairly recent examples). I’ve had several discussions with Marvel fans who actually dismiss DC’s emphasis on villains as taking away from their heroes and making them less than they should be, which is silly considering the top tier status of many DC heroes. I actually thought this was common knowledge that DC had the better villains while MCU fans have started to argue they have better heroes, so the counter-point is interesting. Thanks! I love getting in to all that, anytime. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure they are having to play much in the way of catch up. I mean, Wonder Woman is one film in the DCEU, and depending upon how Captain Marvel does, Marvel could be back on equal footing with them in terms of female heroes. That said, I’d prefer they bring someone like Ms. Marvel to the front.

        I do agree that a lot of the humor works because it is so innocent but I don’t think that DC will get to play that card again, and certainly not with Wonder Woman. It is similar to me how the first Captain America movie felt so different from the other Marvel movies (almost like an Indiana Jones adventure type feel) but they had to change that once they brought him forward in time. Regardless I’ll be interested to see where they take Diana next because it is sure to be set after the events of Justice League.

        I did a quick breakdown at work today (shhhh…. don’t tell anyone I was toiling in comic book villains instead of working) and I came out about even between both Marvel and DC villains that I think are worthwhile. But while the numbers came out even, I’d place Doctor Doom, Doc Ock, Norman Osborne, Kingpin and Magneto, above almost everyone in the DC gallery. That said, I’ll take the Bat-Family books (and the awesome crazies within) and Green Arrow over anything Marvel has to offer (I don’t even regularly read an Marvel hero books anymore). The key here of course is that I think they are worthwhile, whereas you may certainly see that differently. I just can’t get in to Superman despite liking Lex and Zod as villains. And I’ve never been a GL fan, although I thought Sinestro was cool enough in Injustice.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kingpin??? Well alright, I’ll take “even”. 😉 I used to think Superman was boring, same with GL, but I’d recommend Blackest Night, Kingdom Come, the New 52 GL and Action Comics runs, the Injustice comics (not sure if you’re referring to the game), and All-Star Superman and Birthright for good Supes books. Not sure if you’ve read those or not but some of them are what got me hooked on the Man of Steel.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I was careful where to tread because of the spoilers that were ahead (what a great line by the way), so I skipped a bit of the review, but promise to get back to it, as soon as I have seen the movie (I live in Holland and it comes out here on june the 15th, and will see it in the 18th). But the parts that I have already read from your review were awesome. It looks like a great film,and judging by all the reviews that I have read so far on the film, pretty much everyone is very positive. Great stuff. I love the way you do this reviews, they are very extensive and informative: great stuff indeed 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why thank you! I stayed up all night trying to come up with that line 😉 Thank you for the kind words. I’m irked with having to commit to this reputation for long reviews sometimes but with Wonder Woman, I just had so much on my mind. I can’t wait to see it again. I hope you let me know what you think when your time comes to see it. Are you planning for an opening day showing?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t have much care for it simply because of where DC was going, but I’m hearing some great stuff, good review

    “It’s immensely tragic that petty people would take something so sincere as Wonder Woman and try to twist her big screen debut for their own”

    This statement speaks wonders. It’s sad that people have to try and drag art down for selfish silly reasons and can’t let it just be a film that’s meant to entertain and inspire. Glad to know it didnt’ sucumb to the silly things the world throws at us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! As a very un-casual DC fan, I had to see this film even though the previous two entries specifically had been very disappointing. I would say this that DC’s approach in giving their director’s far more creative freedom than Marvel has with aiming for consistency means that there’s going to be some flux in their films, but in this case the pendulum definitely swung toward awesome. You certainly need to see Wonder Woman.

      As for that statement about the state of Wonder Woman and politics, it really is sad that people need to try to hijack things to make their agenda feel better. This film stays pure for virtually all of that. Do let me know if you get the chance to see it for yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup I think I’ll convince the wife to go see this with me. I kind of like that DC directors have some more creative freedom. Even if the end results are all over the place, each film does do some interesting things at parts. Batman vs superman had a few cool things hidden within. I find marvel follows a set formula and each film kind of ends up turning out the same way. Hoping DC can get to a point that forces Marvel out of that safe bubble.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved it! This is the first time I’ve enjoyed a DCU movie since the first half of Man of Steel 🙂 I loved that the film had a conscience, which is absolutely what the DCU needs right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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