Wonder Woman (2017) Review

The time has come for the premiere woman superhero to finally get a feature film after 75 years. Sure there has been a TV show in the 70’s but after that, it has been little to nothing. There have been numerous attempts at feature films and live action shows that have never materialized. There was a fairly popular animated movie in 2009. But now that the DC Extended Universe is off and running and making a small appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman’s chance has finally come. How does it succeed?

Arguably this is the best movie in the DCEU canon and one of the best superhero movies in years. Origin movies are usually the best way to go especially with heroes whose origins aren’t commonly known. So this was the route chosen for Wonder Woman as well as setting the bulk of the movie in the past during World War I. Wonder Woman is usually tied to World War II but since Captain America: The First Avenger handled that war, you can see why they shifted it. After spy Steve Trevor crashes on Themyscira, Diana (Wonder Woman) agrees to take him back to mainland Earth where he has information on a new weapon to help end the war of wars. People tend to forget how brutal World War I was and this change does not diminish Wonder Woman’s plight against the God of War, Ares.

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Gal Gadot as Diana/Wonder Woman is serviceable as the titular hero. She is not necessarily great in the role. No fault to her as her acting resume is thin with a lot of roles that asked nothing of her. But when she does shine, she does. I can see her growing into the role and becoming a better actor in the process. Chris Pine steals the show for me in the movie. I’ve always been so so on him as an actor until fairly recently. In this movie, he plays a spy who has become world weary due to the war happening. While he is jaded, he always shows that he believes in the good of people. This is a good contrast to Diana’s more naive black and white view of the world. When these two interact, their chemistry is great and help sell the movie. The Amazons played by Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother and Robin Wright as General Antiope, Diana’s aunt are strong presences in the movies despite limited screentime. Diana and Steve’s compatriots played by Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock are solid and help flesh out the war side and also help flesh out the world for Diana. Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, David Thewlis and Lucy Davis are the rest of the supporting cast are solid and help flesh out the movie.

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Patty Jenkins deserves all the credit in the world for this movie. The tone for the movie was perfect. There wasn’t humor just thrown in for the sake of humor. A lot of humor comes from Diana being a fish out of water. The contrast between Themyscira and the actual world is such a beautiful contrast. When Diana enters the modern (circa 1918) and sees London, you can just feel the pollution on the screen. When the war scenes happen, even though it is not an R rated film, you feel the effects of this horrific war. There are no hidden shots of missing limbs or anything like that, you see them. I think it was a tricky balance to not be too heavy but also show the effects of the war and what it is doing to the world. So when Diana finally does step in and become a beacon of hope, you really feel it.

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The action in this movie is top notch as well. Since Diana comes from a warrior group of people, they are much more melee based combat. This reflects in her combat style as she frequently goes for the legs. The opening action scene between the Amazons and German soldiers is unique to see this group of trained warriors go up against modern weapons that they know nothing about, which helps makes things even. Whenever Diana steps into battle, it is memorable since she is no normal person and can do things like no other. A unique battle shows that even though she is all powerful, she can not do everything and it is juxtaposed with her teaming with soldiers and their weapons to help turn the tides of battle.

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This is also a gorgeous movie. As mentioned earlier the contrast the modern world and Themyscira is palpable. Themyscira is a gorgeous place (probably why it’s nickname is Paradise Island) and the hues of greens and blues make you just want to visit the place. Then when entering the modern world and seeing the effects of war and everything is black and gray helping to sell that the world is really at war. Seeing the world in 1918 is also pretty much being like in a different world. Seeing London in this era and war torn Europe is nothing like the world today. The fashion, the vehicles, the lingo, everything about it.

Is it a perfect movie? No. The third act is a little long winded. The whole thing with Ares is a bit on the thin side. He’s a serviceable villain but not much to him. But it is nice to see a movie about a superhero who actually wants to be a hero. Everyone involved in the movie should be proud of themselves for creating one of the best superhero movies in recent years.

 

SCORE: 9/10

 

Justice League Trailer Takeaway

First thing first, no Superman. We all know that the Man of Steel is in the movie and probably more than a cameo. They even brought Henry Cavill out at San Diego Comic Con 2016 to show that he was in the movie. We know Lex Luthor and Lois Lane both play important roles in the movie. We even see a brief shot of Lois Lane looking towards the sky. Maybe she’s looking at her returned love. Who’s to say? But I can commend Warner Bros. on playing coy about Superman.

But other than that, I think it was a good trailer. We see how Batman is the one to bring the team together. This was hinted at in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We still don’t know the extent of Wonder Woman’s role in forming the team. She really does not play that much of an element in the trailer. Instead it mainly focuses on the three new heroes who were introduced in cameos in BvS.

The Flash was always going to have the hardest time. The superhero already has a hit television show on The CW. We even see that they have the same origins with the father being in prison after being falsely accused of murder of Barry’s mother. The way that The Flash’s powers work in this universe make him much more faster than any other live action incarnation. Plus Ezra Miller is the total opposite of what Barry Allen traditionally looks like and younger as well. He does look much like Robin than Allen but he looks to be Batman’s sidekick in the movie.

Cyborg is the one who gets the least amount of screentime in the trailer. I figure this may be due to the heavy special effects nature of his character and these shots might not be done. But we do get a sense of his abilities and what he is capable of. In BvS it looked like a Mother Box (powerful tools used by the New Gods…it’s complicated) helped form him into what he is now. We know that the forces of Apokolips play an important part in this movie as the main antagonist but it makes you wonder what Cyborg will function as.

Aquaman looks to be the life of the party. The one who gets off on the thrill of battle. Nothing cooler than seeing Aquaman ride on top of the Batmobile while Batman can only smirk. There is a quick shot of Mera in the trailer as well. It is known that a Mother Box resides with the Atlanteans but we do not know Aquaman’s status with Atlantis. It will be interesting to see his dynamic with Batman as he seems to grate on Batman at best.

We also see a lighter side of Batman in this. I was not a fan of the way Batman was in BvS. Talking about how “you’re not a man” and “men are brave” and all that. It was all a little too xenophobic for me. But this movie seems to have taken a step back. While Batman will probably not be cracking jokes, he does have a dry wit about him. This is apparent in most of his interactions shown in the trailer with Aquaman, The Flash and Commissioner Gordon. By the way, J.K. Simmons looks great as Gordon.

There is not much to the trailer other than mostly battle scenes which are good and bad. Hopefully WB does not do what they did with BvS and ruin all the set pieces before the movie even premieres. Justice League looks to be fluffy fun which is something that the DCEU can use at the moment. Remember The Avengers in 2012, there was not much in terms of plot when it came to that moment. This movie looks to be following suit as well as assemble the team (and possibly resurrect Superman) and kick ass. I honestly hope this movie does not suck.

I’m Now Worried For The DC Extended Universe 

With all the recent news coming out about the DC Extended Universe, I’m no longer in “wait and see” mode. I’m now officially worried about this cinematic universe. I loved Man of Steel and more ambivalent towards Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and have grown to really dislike Suicide Squad. So I am more about where this universe is going. But The Flash movie has now lost two directors and getting a page one rewrite. Ben Affleck has left directorial duties on the upcoming Batman movie. Suicide Squad was such a mess because of the studio being reactionary about the reception of Batman v. Superman. The DCEU is a ship that is moving but there is no singular voice and thus it doesn’t know where it’s going. 

I’ve already made my opinions about Ben Affleck stepping down as director known. The Flash losing another director and getting a page one rewrite raises some eyebrows. I can applaud the execs at Warner Bros. not rushing something as they tend to have been doing ever since the announcement of Batman v. Superman. But a complete rewrite of the script? Then there is the Shazam (aka Captain Marvel) splitting into two movies with Black Adam starring Dwaynr Johnson. 

Warner Bros. is in the business to make money. Makes total sense. But their biggest problem is rushing to a billion. Man of Steel didn’t make a billion so let’s scrap a pure sequel and instead let’s introduce a new Batman, introduce Wonder Woman and lay the foundations for Justice League while also paying homage to The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman. That’s a lot and probably the film’s biggest shortcoming. 

It has been said time and time again that there needs to be a central figure in charge of these movies. Too many cooks in the kitchen is what’s making these discombobulated. Is there hope for the DCEU? Of course. These are some of the most beloved heroes and villains in superhero fiction. But there needs to be action done and quickly to help right thr ship. 

Justice League Image Revealed…But What Are They Looking At?

2017 is upon us and that means it is time for more information about blockbusters to be revealed. Other than a set visit and certain images, not much has been revealed about the upcoming Justice League. We know the lineup, we know the villain and the basic plot. But with what is known, there are still a lot of questions especially concerning Superman himself. 

We see in this image that the team is leaving some sort of ship and are staring into a field. Well where was Clark Kent/Superman buried? In a field. Is this a subtle way yet not actually showing the team going to see the body of the Man of Steel? We know that Superman isn’t dead per se but his role in the movie is being kept under wraps. This is similar to the Luke Skywalker situation in The Force Awakens.

Either way it is a nice image of the team before the one key member returns. Justice League will be released in November. 

‘Justice League’ Trailer Reaction

The first teaser trailer for Justice League was revealed at San Diego Comic Con 2016. To say that I was pumped is an understatement. The Justice League is my favorite team in all of comics so even though I was not the biggest fan of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I am all about second chances. To be fair there is something uneven about the trailer and that is probably because they are only about halfway done shooting the film. But it still does a good job of establishing what the second DCEU film in 2017 will be about.

Bruce Wayne/Batman and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman are assembling a team. We see Bruce Wayne encounter Arthur Curry/Aquaman and Barry Allen/The Flash. These two quickly establish what the tone will probably be in the film. The interactions between Bruce and Arthur are more tense with an of levity in them while the interactions between Bruce and Barry are more lighthearted. Barry immediately jumps at the call to join the team while Arthur does not. This is highlighted in a humorous scene between Bruce and Diana where they joke about Arthur not wanting to join the team.

One of the biggest complaints about Batman v. Superman was how dour the film was. This film seems to be rectifying this as well. Though things seem to be very serious such as Bruce’s narration as to why he’s assembling the team, most of the characters seem to be more lighthearted about the events. I don’t expect this to be the tone throughout but it is nice to see. Not everything needs to be serious especially when it’s just characters interacting with one another.

There isn’t much in the way of Batman and Wonder Woman as we have seen those characters. We do get to see more of the new characters such as The Flash and Aquaman and Victor Stone/Cyborg. The film goes out of its way to differentiate this Flash from the television counterpart. Whenever he uses his super powers, he seems to create lightning storms in his wake. We see Arthur Curry and Bruce mentions how he likes to come and help the village that he is visiting. So we establish that Aquaman is a man of the people but it seems like he will be the hardest member to join up. There is not much of Cyborg, probably because he requires a lot of CGI work but we do get a taste. His interactions show that this a man who is now mostly machine. His voice is bordering on robotic but there is some humor again played up between he and Batman.

Of course there is the elephant in the room. Where is Superman? It is no secret that he is in the film. I won’t spoil the events of Batman v. Superman but he was left in a peculiar predicament and none of the characters know about that. So what brings him into the film? This is all exciting as there is no Justice League without Superman.

Has the DC Extended Universe had some problems? Absolutely. But let’s attribute them to growing pains. It seems that with Wonder Woman and Justice League, things are finally getting on track. The future of the DCEU looks bright. There is no star more important to it than the Justice League.

‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer Reaction

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The first trailer for Wonder Woman dropped during San Diego Comic Con 2016 and it was amazing. This has been a movie that I have been looking forward to since this whole DC Extended Universe has gotten off of the ground. There is no skirting around the issue but the superhero genre of film has been devoid of diversity. It has been typically about white males and the few female superheroes are usually part of ensemble movies. Wonder Woman is the first in a wave of change and it looks to be off to a great start.

I am not the biggest Wonder Woman fan myself. She is probably my fourth favorite female superhero. Even though I am not a big fan of the character, I can say that I am familiar with her various origins. The most common one is pilot Steve Trevor washes ashore Themiscayra aka Paradise Island aka the home of the Amazons. Diana aka Wonder Woman is the one to find her and this pairing is what brings her into “man’s world”. This movie is a period piece and takes place during World War I.

A unique setting as World War I isn’t really covered that much in popular compared to World War II. Anyone familiar with history can tell you that the first World War is when war took on a whole new dangerous and nastier face. During her appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman hinted that something happened 100 years ago that turned her off from man’s world. So what happened during the events of this movie that left her to become the somewhat jaded and cynical person we meet in Batman v. Superman?

Chris Pine as Steve Trevor is also unique as since this is a female lead superhero movie, he essentially plays the role that women have played in superhero movies. I won’t necessarily say him doing this is “brave” but it is one you wouldn’t expect a Hollywood leading man to make. But times are changing and so are the roles. So it is appreciated and nice to see that he did this. Since he is such a name actor, it makes me wonder if he will survive this movie or he might have an identical grandson type of situation.

Patty Jenkins, is the director on this film. Her last major film was the critically acclaimed film Monster in 2003. She was in fact supposed to direct Thor: The Dark World but left due to creative differences. Jenkins has a unique situation as she is directing the highest grossing film to be directed by a woman and also the first major female superhero film in decades. I have full confidence that she has risen to the challenge of this film. The action scenes look great, there looks to be a good balance between humor and serious, and there is definite chemistry between the two leads in Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.
Wonder Woman comes out on June 2, 2017. This is a very important film. It looks to set the tone for the future of the superhero genre as it is shaking things up in a good way. This trailer was only the first step. Wonder Woman has always been a household name but you’d be pressed to find anyone who knows anything substantial about the character. Things will definitely change come 2017.

Analyzing The New Justice League Costumes

 

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  • The Flash – The Flash’s costume looks to be some sort of spandex with plates of armor on top of it. It’s not a pure armor suit as he does need to be able to move. But even though he is the fastest man alive, he can still be hurt and thus needs the extra protection.
  • Superman – There is something that tells me that this is a placeholder image. This is the same suit that he has in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. As we know from that movie, he was left in a peculiar incident. From what we know about the movie, Superman’s role in the movie is being kept a secret.
  • Cyborg – This is what one would expect from a character called Cyborg. The sleek but sharp design is reminiscent of the look in the Transformers movie. He still has all the trademarks that Cyborg has had since his introduction in the 80’s.
  • Wonder Woman – This also looks to be the same suit that she has in her solo movie. If anything the suit does look to be brighter but there isn’t much difference in her suits between any of the movies.
  • Batman – While the suit in Batman v. Superman was more fabric, this suit looks to have more armor elements in it, particularly in the abs. Either Ben Affleck is less bulky or the suit is more form fitting as he looks to be slimmer. The cowl is also slightly different.
  • Aquaman – From his brief appearance in Batman v. Superman, the costume doesn’t look to be too different either. The other major difference is that it seems to be another set of armor underneath the golden parts.