Monday, June 12, 2017

Ten Thoughts on Wonder Woman (2017)


  1. The beginning is trouble. So much info dumped through voiceovers and narration, spinning my brains as I struggled to get into the movie. A cool three-dimensional renascence painting punched me in the face with the mythology when all I wanted was to settle in.
  2. Robin Wright makes the most of the Ren Fest dialogue. I hate high fantasy movies because of the faux Shakespearian dialogue.  I struggled with this opening. I'm just not the audience for this stuff. Lord of the Rings? Nope. Game of thrones? Snooze. I liked Dragonslayer, except to the lead. I'm picky. Robin Wright has some great badass moments. Watch this with The Princess Bride to see the evolution of Buttercup.
  3. Gal Gardot. I wanted more Olympic athlete and she comes off like a supermodel just off the catwalk. But hold on! She has this wide-eyed doe quality that works. Innocence, vulnerability, and idealism in the most terrible and unbeatable situations. This is not the ultimate badass versus Nazis. This is not Angelina Jolie or Atomic Blonde. Wonder Woman is not a man in a woman's body. She does not show boat or kill someone just to look cool. She is very feminine, and acts only from her deep-seated values. This is the major conflict and what I loved most. Take a mythological goddess, a cartoon character, and put her in the middle of a complicated political mess, World War One, where there are bad guys on every side, and have them deal with that. It is her coming to grips with humanity's self-destructive nature that sets this movie and apart, and makes it into an interesting thought experiment. Gal Gardot took me through this transition, with not the most polished subtle performance, but with enough charisma and humanity to bring me over.
  4. The wish fulfillment that war is caused by a third party devil that leads people to acts of violence, and if you slay the dragon, evil will be vanquished gets tested against the fog of war. Myth vs reality. One thing I have not liked about the new run of comic movies is their use of real world aesthetics, except for the one blue underwear character. I like a more unified world so our hero doesn't look so out of place. When I saw the trailer for Wonder Woman I thought it was the ultimate example of this, but her contrast in this environment is the whole theme of the movie. In dark complicated times, we need a bright beacon of idealism that represents the best of us. Something uncompromised and pure and mythic to guide us back into the light. Her presence in this mud drenched war torn hell illustrated that idea beautifully.
  5. So, a Syfy Original medieval flick, that turns into a fish out of water comedy when Diana comes to black soot London and has to hassle with dumb men and corsets. I thought it was all fine and good, but not very interesting. But once we get on the front lines, and Diana steps for the first time into the Wonder Woman role, that was so dramatic and earned, it made the hour buildup worth it. This moment could have been tossed out, but it comes at that perfect moment when we've heard all the reasons she can't, and when she does, it was pure movie awesomeness. Gardot and the movie pulled me in and I had a great time from that moment on.
  6. Such a great cast of interesting faces that look like comic drawings. Very distinct profiles and personalities. The thing that I hate about movies is bland wooden characters that could be replaced by anything, a frying pan, and it wouldn't make a difference. If a sock puppet would be more interesting, you need to beef up that script and performance.  This movie was so well cast. Danny Houston looks like a drawing. The team that joins with Wonder Woman are given a few moments to show their characters. In this you don't have the typical cold hearted sniper, but a man who drinks himself to sleep and who can't bring himself to pull the trigger.  I like that there was an attempt to give them personalities, though the Native American made me think of the old Jeanne Garofalo bit about the movie Speed. If that character was not here though, we couldn't muddy the moral waters of America's past, so thematically we are still cool.
  7. Doctor Poison. I really liked her. I wish she had more scenes. She has the best wicked witch laugh. I wanted just one more greasy act of evil from her.
  8. So many gas masks. World War One. Gas Masks. I loves me some gas masks, and when all the soldiers take the masks off at the end, that worked as a nifty metaphor.
  9. MAYBE A SPOILER???? How great is David Thewlis? Best actor ever? He gets to play quiet and loud here. My wife had some issues with his casting during the climax, it can be a funny contrast of head and body. I get it, but seriously, he's the best.
  10. The female director's gaze on Chris Pine made me feel very body conscious. I wrapped up and gave my wife the stink eye.


SHOW STOPPER! That first Wonder Woman action scene will go down with Spider Man learning he can go up walls and "I'm always angry" from Avengers as one of the greatest comic scenes ever.

Mad Nerd Moment - It has that CGI over saturation that looks cool but feels plastic and takes me out of the movie. There is enough real mud to get me back into it. And gas masks.



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