Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Today I went to see the DC Comics movie Wonder Woman, Staring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.  This movie was directed by Patty Jenkins.  Going into this movie I was only vaguely aware of who Patty Jenkins was and I have not seen her other directed movie Monster (2003).  I was very aware of who Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are and hopeful that this movie would better than some of the past DC Comic movies.

Right up front, I am a long time Marvel Comics fan and have been for well over 35 years.  I have enjoyed some of the DC Comic flagship tittles;  Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern, but I would not consider myself anywhere near as big of DC fan as I claim to be a Marvel fan.  With that said, this movie was fantastic!  My wife, who was not a comic fan but since our marriage she has picked up a lot of comic knowledge and appreciation for the written material and movie adaptions, upon the last credit rolling.  She turn to me today and summed up the movie fairly concisely.

"Wow, now I am excited to watch the Justice league movie...I hope Batman doesn't screw it up."

let me continue by addressing the previous DC Comic movies, since this film in a continuation of the DC Cinematic Universe.  I am not big fan of Zack Snyder's darker and angst filled DC movies.  There were parts of Man of Steel that I did enjoy but over all the movie didn't feel right and I found myself soured to this presentation Superman.  Then came along Batman vs. Superman, once again not a big fan.  In my opinion the best parts of the film were in two scenes;  when Batman fights the thugs in the warehouse while saving Martha Kent and then the second scene was actually Wonder Woman fighting Doomsday near the end of the film.  You know the scene where Doomsday knocks her back and she get up and smiles before jumping back in to the battle.  So Batman vs Superman fell flat and did not deliver and failed to set up the "Dawn of Justice".

Now Wonder Woman.

Did they deliver on a beautiful actress to portray Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta?  Yes and not only that but director Patty Jenkins brought her to life with grace, skill, and respect to her being a powerful confident woman.  Many a comic fan has cried for a positive female roll model to lead her own film in our renaissance of Comic era movies.  Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins have delivered.

I won't get into spoiler territory with this review out of respect to those who may not have had the opportunity to go see the film.  What I will speak to is the fact that Gal Gadot portrays Diana as educated, mature, and confident woman.  She doesn't pander to the damsel in distress tropes that plague female characters and she does not need her co-star Chris Pine to save her.   At times his presence in the film served as more of a plot device than that of a co-star.  Yet, with this powerful woman leading the charge, literally at times, she does find a centering force in Chris Pine's character Steve Trevor.  The movie managed to address the issue of a confident woman and sex.  Granted the scenes are off camera and very tastefully done but the message was clearly sent that this character is a mature woman who can have a physical relationship and in a healthy fashion.  I was worried the Patty Jenkins would skirt the issue and just avoid any hint of sex, but she did not and it was handled with grace.

Since this is a period piece set during World War I and gives us the origin story of Wonder Woman, I have read many comparisons of this movie to Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).  In that regard, yes there are some similarities, but they don't go much farther than the general approach to the film.

I have hopefully delivered sufficient praise for for what the movie does well.  So lets move on to the few items that I felt were detractors.  First off the special effects were fantastic but there were a  few effects that suffered from poor cut-aways from the action or seemed to have been rushed in post production.  For example there is an explosion that has the structure intact and then seems to "skip a frame" and the building is rubble while the explosion is still occurring.  The next item I have is that this is a period piece but due to camera angle and placement in several scenes some of the sets feel small.  In those scenes you only get a few angles and see the same background repeatedly.  The final nit pick I have is the creation of the small group that appears in the picture from Batman vs Superman,  it felt forced.  I wish it had a more organic feel and gave each of the characters a stronger sense of history between them.

With all that said, I enjoyed the movie.  My wife and I are planning on going to see it in the theater again and we haven't done that since Star Wars Episode.  If you have the opportunity make sure you catch this one on the big screen.  This movie worked hard to redeem the DC Comic Movies and raises my hopes for a good Justice League Movie.

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