06-16-2017 11:48 AM
I’m a filmmaker’s dream audience. I am willing from the moment I have my popcorn to go wherever the director and actors are willing to take me. I don’t criticize a movie until afterward because the movie-going experience is one of my favorites in life. I’m very selective about the films I attend at the theater, so I almost always enjoy them greatly, hence the overall positive reviews I write.
I’m not one to fall victim to the internet hype machine either really. I don’t think that a film is the best thing since French fries until I’ve seen it for myself. And the buzz around a certain must-see summer blockbuster had me wary already. I figured I was really going to like Wonder Woman because I love period films in general -- Captain America: The First Avenger set a pretty high bar though – and I’ve always liked the Diana Prince/Wonder Woman character.
So did I like Wonder Woman? Very, very much. But not for the reasons I was expecting at all.
Gal Gadot was one of the best parts of the otherwise largely lackluster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. She added a dimension to the film as Wonder Woman that was both unexpected and most welcome. She had a presence that was undeniable. I couldn’t take my eyes from her every minute she was on screen.
That was just a taste, a dalliance compared to her performance in Wonder Woman’s solo adventure and origin story. I cannot sing her praises enough. The contempt she has for the war makers is complemented magnificently her outrage at their permitting the murder and maiming of the innocent. Her abject horror over witnessing one atrocity after another becomes the heart and soul of Wonder Woman. Mortals live in a horrible world and she cares so much for the merest of them that it is palpable. It catches in one’s throat.
Gadot is accompanied on her adventure by acting luminaries like Robin Wright and the erstwhile Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine in yet another exceptional performance). Diana’s introduction to the “modern world” of the second decade of the Twentieth Century begins through him: Steve Trevor is a flawed good guy who wants to save the world, but simply can’t grasp that his most dangerous foe might just be an ancient Greek God. Nor can Diana believe as he does that this is just the way human beings are. It turns out to be the unresolvable conflict between two characters who are both fundamentally paladins.
The clash of the modern and the classical is evident throughout the film as well. The Amazon’s hidden island is idyllic, a perfect paradise, but it seems that their society revolves entirely around the arts of fighting and war. It is colorful and bright and verdant. Even paradise is slave to the war machine? It is a terrifying idea.
Meanwhile, the mortal world is gray with doom, the smog of industry, and the grime of human suffering. Even Diana’s red, white, and blue uniform is muted and dull in the human world. But what is the difference really between the clash of swords in paradise of a people who will not fight for the world, and the explosions of bomb lobbed by those who would possess or defend it? The upshot is that the seed of war is in every being. It’s not an uplifting prospect.
I didn’t expect a comic book movie to provoke such thoughts, especially not one from the current onslaught of inferior, loud, and angry DC universe. But here I am, pondering the gray world in which I live and whether it can be saved.
Art encourages this kind of thought. Does that make Wonder Woman art? What do you think?
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06-17-2017 11:24 PM
I can't stop talking about this movie to my friends and family!! What surprised me the most was the lack of buildup and promotion for the movie, especially for how good it turned out to be; I didn't even hear about it until the night I went to go see it! I'm so glad I did, though. I agree that the movie, while empowering and invigorating, evokes some borderline dark thoughts and questions, examining the inherint battle of good versus evil inside of every human.
I think the cast, special effects, and storyline all blended together beautifully to create one of my new all-time favorite flicks.
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06-19-2017 12:16 PM
I very much enjoyed the movie. Cannot wait for Justice League.