WONDER WOMAN [Review]: Her Universe.
I sit here, writing my thoughts on the Wonder Woman movie on fucking Wonder Woman Day — a Wonder Woman Day, an actual day designated by DC Comics dedicated to The First Lady of comics. Having seen the movie on Thursday, I’m stilled with so much inspiration, admiration, excitement and hype for a character that debuted in December of 1941, who just now got the big screen Hollywood treatment. Throughout the years there have been many incarnations of Diana Prince, and I’ve applauded most of them for the sole notion that Wonder Woman is getting another 15 minutes. However — not this time.
I grew up with more male heroes where the women were portrayed as “Girl Friday’s” and sidekicks. I mean, at an adolescent it was easy to be thankful for April O’Neil and the Turtles, I loved Gadget and the Rescue Rangers, and of course Demona and the Gargoyles, and so on. But the one constant about those cartoons that influenced my younger years: those women would not exist without the male leads. With Wonder Woman, she stands on her own, she stands to save mankind and love mankind. In Diana I found a leader and a fighter, filled with compassion, knowledge and the determination to follow her heart regardless if it meant defying tradition. I found a hero and traits in which I could aspire to be and she was a stand alone heroine.
While it’s true she was created by Dr. William Marston, a man, behind his action was the “unusual” suggestion of his partner and psychologist Elizabeth Holloway Marston to make his new All-American comic hero a woman. As mentioned above, I haven’t been able to process all my thoughts on the actual movie details just yet. There were some points during CGI that were off, some of the acting was slightly less than heroic, and the villain reveal was obvious halfway through — and wouldn’t have been my first choice for casting. But, overall, it’s still a near-perfect movie. After years of failed attempts to treat a super heroine right, hundreds of thousands of identifying wonder women finally got to see our hero on screen, with tears of happiness, relief and wonderment–and that’s the most important beat of them all.
Diana Prince, our Wonder Woman is filled with love, believes in love and cherishes mankind and wants to save it. It seems like a typical cliche, but also the purist. Diana left her home, her world, and her family–all that she ever knew–to save mankind even after she’s told we don’t deserve her. If cliche, I can’t think of a better one; the world could use more.. hell.. needs more of the sweet love, compassion and determination punched through by the Warrior Princess. 4.75/5 Bad-ass Guitar Riff Themes. – Taffeta Darling
I’ve never felt so much pressure writing a movie review in my life. After praising two would-be DC Extended Universe disasters in Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (hey, at least I got Suicide Squad “right”, right?), nerd parishioners around the world had to be chomping at the bit to hear my say on the official cinematic debut of Princess Diana. But first, let’s get this right off the bat: Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. Despite initially receiving nearly as much hatred for the casting as Batfleck — Gadot is beyond perfect in the role in every way imaginable. She’s the righteous blend of brilliant, beautiful, bold and the brave. She’s the right touch of enthusiastic naiveté and unbridled compassion. She’s an entirely believable superior daughter of a goddess and gifted warrior princess. She’s every woman’s everywoman (as an adorably out-of-touch fashionista who likes ice cream). In fact, there’s never been a superhero played by an actress who had this much of a magnificent on-screen aura and presence about her.
As for the film itself, a lot of fans and critics are going to overlook its more “comic bookish” elements in favor of its enjoyable performances, heart-pumping action, and outstanding framework–but I can’t. Much of Diana Prince’s origin tale should have been shown on the Paradise Island of Themyscira, and we only get that for one act. It feels forgotten. While that likely helped with the film’s overall pacing, her Amazonian upbringings are an arguably far more intriguing time of origin (see: George Perez’s Gods and Morals). Unless you’ve played the first Injustice game, we simply don’t know enough about Ares other than a rushed foretelling of him as the Godkiller — which sets up a slightly predictable end-game. Diana Prince also comes out full bracelets blazing without much of an explanation. WW’s costume/armor is arguably one of the most fascinating things about her and its cosmetic aesthetics seem to take precedence over importance.
But my favorite thing about Wonder Woman the movie–besides Wonder Woman, the character–is that it feels right at home with the other DCEU films. Many were worried that DC/WB/Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) was going to “Marvelize” Wonder Woman in response to all the harsh criticisms this cinematic superhero line has received. Aside from its obvious comparison to fellow superhero period piece, Captain America: First Avenger (more-so for its WWI setting than anything else, really; tell me you don’t miss ABC’s Agent Carter after viewing all the great costume work in this one!), WW still packs an ominous tone with sprinkles of organic humor — nothing that detracts from the otherwise strict philosophical and moral fiber of a world-spread identity crisis. The audience isn’t beaten over the head with the whole “fish outta water” scenario, either. That’s much in thanks to a wonderful script from Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy, Young Avengers comic) and the akwardly delicious chemistry of Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Gadot. Just wait till you see the outstanding “love” boat scene, an absolute favorite.
As for other precious experiences, I also had the pleasure of viewing Wonder Woman in a very limited 4DX theater (LA Live’s Regal Cinemas). While getting your upper-body cranked around in a mechanical chair for 2-hours and 20-minute could be a bit jarring for some, the experience went totally hand-in-hand with the tremendous action of the flick. The action scenes fully utilize the following and more: extra pressurized air during heavy environmental conditions; heat pumps during explosions; light water sprays during jaw-snapping fistacuffs (bring a tissue for your 3D rims); slight lower back pokes during falls (which I wish would’ve kept going for selfish massaging purposes); and even a chair that sways either back or forward (in the slowest of motion possible) during the film’s more subtle moments. If you enjoy riding on the Star Tours at Disney, then go ahead and give this golden 4DX lasso a whirl. 4.25/5 Themysciran Bibles.
Wonder Woman has become a kind of wonder to young women, such as myself, that we needed men to make movies in the first place. Although filled with cliche superhero moments (i.e. a CGI-filled battle that makes a clunky-paced final act that much clunkier), the Wonder Woman movie had me otherwise teary-eyed, filled with laughter, and even–at least on one occasion–had myself imagining myself.. as Wonder Woman. Now, as an action film geek, martial artist, and, quite frankly, all-around badass.. I love this movie.
Gal Gadot shines as Diana Prince, an acting job so superior you’d forget she was in Fast Five. Gadot was believably bad-ass, ourspoken, tender, and intelligent. The full package! It was also a blast to see the oh-so-talented Danny Huston (whom I have had the pleasure of working in a movie with on Newness, directed by Drake Doremus — shameless self-plug), as the real first World War General, Erich Ludendorff. While his role makes more of an impact in the film’s second act, Huston certainly sold me on his inspirations for conspiring with Doctor “Poison” Maru (Elena Anaya), last seen in the New 52 Wonder Woman comics. Sadly, her mustard gas subplot is arguably underdeveloped and used more as a gateway mechanic of sorts, while Ludendorff — as a man at loss and desperation — comes off as a far more dimensional bad than both Maru and who we see later on.
Yet, the real reason above all to adore and support WW: Patty Jenkins (Monster). She is the first female to direct a big-budget comic book/superhero film, also shattering the 12-year long period of drought of non-female superhero main character movies — especially one so damn awesome. So fuck yeah, ladies, let’s hope Wonder Woman gives us more, great female superhero movies (Black Widow, please?) from a female perspective we can count on. 4.25/5 Bibles.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman is in theaters now.