Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Wonder Woman - in review...

What's it about?
The original superheroine finally gets her day in the realm of big budget blockbusters. This is the origin story of Diana, Princess of the Amazons, the warrior birthed of the Gods, who encounters mankind for the first time against the horrifying backdrop of World War I as she seeks to put an end to Ares, the God of War.
Who would I recognise in it?
Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielson, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, and others.
It triumphed at the box office and was a critical success story (almost predictably so after the orchestrated clickbait bullying that Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad both received, pitched like some kind of Damascene conversion for DC) - but how does Wonder Woman sit outside all of the initial media interest and flash-in-the-pan obsession with box office numbers? The answer to gaining more female superheros in the genre is to create new, female superheros, not to lazily do an arbitrary bit of stunt writing to ask "what if this guy was a gal?" - because, if you really think about it, how insulting is that to everyone?

Newcomers to comics are disappointed to find that new releases aren't reflective of the hugely popular Marvel movies, while swapping the sex of an established character is a slap in the face to everyone. Not only is it a lazy move on the part of the writers and head honchos of the franchises, it also makes the suggestion that women aren't worthy of having their own custom-made superheroes. Furthermore, the binary sex-swap makes the insulting suggestion that women are incapable of enjoying male superheroes and that men are incapable of enjoying female superheroes, and that both can't find role models in the opposite sex - quite simply, that is utter bullshit.

Wonder Woman's history is a long one that pre-dates a vast swathe of rival Marvel's line-up of household names. Gal Gadot wowed in Batman v Superman (with a spine-tingling soundtrack riff to accompany her), and with DC getting a handle on their 'Expanded Universe', it was likely that Diana Prince's solo flick would turn out to be a cracker - and it certainly is. The film finds the perfect balance between DC's ability to 'go dark' (the merciless slaughter of World War I) and a sense of humour, warmth, and compassion...

Click "READ MORE" below to continue...

Clearly, Wonder Woman is no slouch, she's on equal footing with both Batman and Superman, and her fish-out-of-water tale pokes the absurdity of early 20th Century society right in the eye. Combining action with an appropriate level of emotion, Wonder Woman wins you over through sheer merit and good, old fashioned entertainment.

DC's special features have always been far superior to those of Marvel, with hefty supplemental packages going far beyond generic EPK blandness to offer insightful glimpses into the actual making of the film in question. Wonder Woman is no different, with a healthy wedge of extras that explore numerous aspects of the production and the history and importance of the character herself (Marvel would do well to take note and not rest on their laurels).

For all of the film's successes, there are naturally a couple of wobbles here and there, with the inevitable injection of a 'CGI boss fight' feeling a smidge underwhelming after what has come before. Naturally, you need a climax, but can we figure out something more than Marvel's obsession with sky -bound destruct-o-ramas and DC's fondness for CGI brutes? Nevertheless, Wonder Woman's clarity of vision - and tone - neatly housed within a reasonable running time should go a long way to showing DC (and it's competitors) exactly how it should be done. It also shows how there is still plenty of life in the years-long glut of superhero flicks that we've experienced of late (a large number of which have been getting churned out from the Marvel factory line, which is beginning to show a 'mixed results' mentality). So, along comes Wonder Woman to keep everyone honest.

Circling back to an earlier point, Wonder Woman provides a refreshing hero worth idolising by both men and women of all ages. On my own part, Ellen Ripley (the Alien movies) and Dana Scully (The X-Files) were two women in film & TV whom I was awed by during my formative years (Sigourney Weaver and Gillian Anderson's performances are ones for the ages). These were characters who, to me as a boy growing up, proved to be characters to learn from, and they continue to sit alongside the other strong female role models in my life: members of my own family, friends, and colleagues - and they, too, sit alongside the male role models (of reality and fiction) that have been there throughout my life. Wonder Woman provides a fresh update on a role model who entertains as much as she commands respect. Great.

No comments: