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Monday, June 12, 2017

Wonder Woman Review: The Man who Can.

...I want this poster.

In the history of superhero movies, Wonder Woman is sadly unique. Sure, there have been a few decent female superheros (Black Widow, Gamora, what have you) but those are foils to their male counter parts at best. Wonder Woman is a movie for women by women and it's about goddamn time. This is a superhero film without the male gaze and it's embarrassing how big a difference it makes. Now male charters suffer the same underwritten fate of Snyder's Lois Lane and there is some fun irony in that. Especially since Snyder has top screenwriting credit... we'll get into that. The take away here is that this is best DC film yet and it's exactly the kind of movie the world needs right now. A movie about badass, fearless, and compassionate women who get sh*t done.

Let's start with the great: the action sequences! For a movie as terrified of blood and dismemberment as this is there is still a lot going on. The amazon cavalry charge set against pearl white cliffs puts the lion's share of Marvel movies to shame. I may be a sucker for bow and arrow trick shots, but throw in some cliff diving and you got yourself the best fight scene this year. The centerpiece of the film takes place in the German front and the trailer didn't even spoil the best parts. Always appreciated. 

The second thing this movie nails is screwball comedy. Pine and Gadot's chemistry is f*&king electric and the best non action moments of the film exclusively come from their conversations. I was pretty tickled at how much bearing the lasso of truth had on the story... but it still looks pretty goofy in action.

But here comes the hard part. This movie can be... aggressively mediocre. The cast is uneven in talent and too many scenes with the mercenaries are drowning in first draft clich├ęs. Worse still, are the venerable English actors sleep walking through their lines and look like they're dying on the inside. After seeing David Thewlis having a grand old time chewing the scenery as a Russian mobster on Fargo; it's devastating to see the albatross of this nothing role weigh him down.

Just... here, watch this and then tell me I'm wrong:

Now that, that, is a villain. Something else the film is sorely lacking. At first it has one, then two, then 3. None are given enough room to breath and one is completely forgotten until the last minute of the last fight (which is also a weightless flaming ball of CGI bullsh*t. There's even highlander lightning). When I saw Snyder's writing credit I howled with laughter. I'm sorry. I'm sure he's a great guy and fun to work with, but he's the reason even mediocre Marvel movies blow DC off the board.

Remember how I said I like this movie? I really do, there's a charm here you haven't seen since Cap's debut. An earnestness that should have been all over the last couple Superman movies. The great war killed thousands of children and the way Diana's shaking anger about it rips through everyone else's war fatigue holds the film afloat. If you boiled down her character to a sentence it would be "None of this horrible sh*t should be happening and you know it." She is resolute in the face of cowardice and pessimism. That strikes a chord with me. According to the box office it strikes a chord with a majority of movie goers as well. I think that's pretty neat.

I'll play myself out:

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