Jun-6-2017

Reel Snippet – Wonder Woman

Synopsis: Long before Batman or Superman stepped into the limelight, there was a woman named Diana (Gal Godot, Lilly Aspel at age 8, and Emily Carey at age 12), princess of the island of Themyscira where the Amazons of Greek lore have been living in sanctuary for ages. Theirs is a life of peace, but that all changes when U.S. Army Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes just off the shore and brings news – and the reality – of the horrors of World War I. While Queen Hypolita (Connie Nielson) is reluctant to act, Diana is convinced that this is the work of Ares, the god of war, who the Amazons are sworn to fight should he rise again. Taking battle gear from the island’s vaults, she accompanies Trevor back to “Man’s world,” where she learns of a deadly German weapon being built by one known as Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) and being overseen by General Ludendorff (Danny Huston). Teaming up with secretary Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) and some seasoned war survivors (Saïd Taghmaoui, Eqen Bremner, and Eugene Brave Rock), Diana makes her way to the German front in hopes of finding Ares with the weapon. She left her island as Diana, but she will enter the world as Wonder Woman.

Review: Wonder Woman is the best DC Extended Universe movie to date and an outstanding movie to boot (yes, those two can be exclusive). The sheer amount of heart and effort that went into this movie is to be applauded and enjoyed. The dialogue is sharp and full of soul, the action is full of breakneck intensity, and the story is solid, well-paced, and flows nicely. In short, it’s everything Batman v. Superman wasn’t, least of which being good.

The character interactions are the film’s strongest point; they range from extremely funny to heartbreakingly sincere. Diana and Steve have some of the snappiest dialogue this side of Tony Stark and all of it hits close to home on a lot of issues. Gal Gadot deserves immense praise for having such a wide range of acting talent from her intense action scenes to her serious scenes to her lighthearted moments to acting like an outsider in a strange world. Throughout the movie, you see her idealism getting stripped and tested as she’s forced to face injustices, prejudices, and humanity at its ugliest. It’s all very believable and paints her as quite the diverse and interesting character.

This movie reminds me a lot of Mad Max: Fury Road because quite a bit of the story is told through expressions and small details. You can tell much more from a facial expression than a round of exposition and in a much shorter time, which this movie takes massive advantage of. As for the story itself, it sticks close to the standard Joseph Campbell Hero’s Journey with all of the beats the story goes through. This makes sense, as this is the first high profile female superhero movie and the filmmakers would want to do something familiar to make sure it succeeds. The details of the story, though, are quite fresh and fleshed out with plenty of twists, some you’ll spot from the beginning and others you won’t.

If I had to knock one thing, it’s the special effects. They’re not bad — there’s no CGI clipping (computer generated objects moving through solid walls) or effects that look like they were made in bootleg Photoshop — but they are a bit obvious at times. There were quite a few moments where I could tell that it was done on a greenscreen set and it took me out of things a little bit. This became a problem when the climax came along with was a bit of a CGI spectacle. Still, this is a minor problem in a sea of quality.

Words cannot describe how grateful I am to finally get a DC movie I like after all these years. I’ve admired DC’s heroes since I was young and seeing one done justice as an adult makes me feel complete. I gain no pleasure for hating the previous DC Extended Universe movie, as that reminds me of how bad they were, but watching this movie was one of the most enjoyable moviegoing experiences of the year. Everyone in my theater applauded at the end and several female friends in the audience said this made them proud to be a woman — all with good reason. You owe it to yourself to see Wonder Woman, a story of human trials and trying to find one’s place in a world of violence, confusion, and deep down, hope.

A genuinely diverse cast doesn’t hurt either.

Fun Tidbit: Don’t look for any stunt people in the ranks of the Amazons, because those are bona fide athletes. Yeah, many real life champion athletes were hired to give the Amazons some physical credibility, including Swedish kickboxer Madeleine Vall Beijner, crossfit champion Brooke Ence, and Nigerian heptathlete Moe Sasegbon.


Goto Home Page
Posted under