Wednesday, July 19, 2017

‘Wonder Woman’ Earns Her Place as a Super Hero

Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman. (Warner Bros.)

MOVIE REVIEW

While both Superman and Batman haven’t fared that well with critics and moviegoers so far with Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman proves that maybe DC just needed a woman’s touch. The film made $223 million during its opening weekend making it the largest female-lead superhero movie opening of all time. (Of course, anything would be better than Warner Bros. last female super hero movie: Catwoman.) Unlike the previous two films, Wonder Woman has an impressive 93% “fresh” Rotten Tomatoes rating (the other two received 55% and 27% respectively) and finally, here is my better-late-than-never review.

Before this movie, my only real connection to Wonder Woman was from watching SuperFriends on Saturday mornings and the occasional viewing of the Lynda Carter show. I never read the comic books. According to the movie, Wonder Woman was born Diana the princess of the Amazons. Legend has it that Zeus first created man in his own image but men being men, they couldn’t help but kill each other, so Zeus then created woman and that created peace and harmony for a while. But then the Greek God Ares (God of War) became jealous of mankind and destroyed all then men. Zeus then hid the woman on a remote island of Themyscira and leaves behind the "God-killer" sword should Ares ever come back.


Review of "Wonder Woman"
(L-R) Lucy Davis as Etta, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
and Gal Gadot as Diana. (Warner Bros.)
Years later, pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) somehow manages to crash land in the waters that surround the island and Diana (Gal Gadot) rescues him. She is just as surprised to see a man as his is to see that the island contains only woman. However, Director Patty Jenkins smartly did not give Rogers any “Hey bay-bee” lines nor is he surprised that a woman saved him. Instead, his character is very much the gentleman. Unfortunately, the “bad guys” chasing Trevor catch up with on the island and Amazonians are forced to fight.

Wrapped with the Lasso of Hestia, Steve is forced to tell the women who he is and that he has stolen a notebook from the chief chemist Isabel Maru, also known as Dr. Poison, who is under orders by General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) to create a deadly gas that will kill many people. Convinced that his man is be controlled by Ares, she agrees to join Steve as he goes back to battle. She packs up the God-killer and they are on their way.

Back in London, Diana meets Etta, who explains that she is Steve's secretary which Diana says that where she's from she would be called a slave. Etta then takes Diana clothes shopping to find clothing that is a bit more appropriate. Etta is played by Lucy Davis who is excellent in this role.

Gal Gadot as Diana and Danny Huston
Gal Gadot as Diana and Danny Huston as Ludendorff (Warner Bros.)
Diana and Steve go under cover at a gala that Ludendorff is attending but Diana has ulterior motives than Steve's plan. She thinks that if she can kill Ludendorff, the fighting will end because in her mind, he is Ares and it is he who is controlling these men to fight. When she discovers that these men have free will to fight on their own, she then wants to destroy them too. This is when the film shines. Steve tries to explain that some humans are better than others, but that they are all imperfect and worth fighting for, but she isn’t convinced until Steve performs an unselfish act of his own.

Like the other current crop of current DC heroes, this Wonder Woman is overly serious, but overall, this film is a lot more fun to watch than the others and gives a lot more positive messages about fighting for one’s country and sacrificing one’s life for others. I was also impressed in how this movie proves that you can empower women without dragging men down. You never get a sense of "I am woman, hear me roar" type of vibe here. When Diana saves a small village, the villagers treat her like Superman with gratitude, not with shock and awe that a “woman” saved them. Not all of the women in the story are saints either. One villain, Dr. Poison (who is very scary by the way) is played by a woman. Diana and Steve make a good team and one that is more equal than one would think.

I don’t have any daughters, but if I did I would definitely let them see this movie, at the appropriate age of course. There is a lot of fighting and war scenes, but the actual graphic violence is at a minimum, swearing is rare too and while there is some suggestive content, there is no sex. The overall message of the film overshadows the rest.

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