FILM REVIEW: Wonder Woman

If you’re reading this, you must be one of the enlightened. You must be someone who has seen the writing in the chemtrails and has sought out my work in order to broaden your mind and expose the global conspiracies that keep us enslaved. For decades there has been an insipid plot by Hollyweird executives to poison our minds and slowly inoculate (one might even say vaccinate!) us against seeing the strings as they pull their vision for a New World Order into place. Let’s look at the evidence. Ghostbusters (2016), Mad Max: Fury Road and now Wonder Woman. What do they all have in common? Well it’s obvious isn’t but what is the purpose of these films? To destroy our minds? Yes. To emasculate us and turns us into simpering weaklings that can be manipulated with simple electromagnetic mind control? Yes. But even worse than that, they are stealing our films. OURS. We invented cinema, we made it what it is and these so-called “People” are taking it away from us. Well, not any more. Not after this exposé. And I have the evidence needed to overturn their global conspiracy, right here. So, to make sure even the simplest of you can understand it, what is it exactly (if I have to spell it out!) that these films have in common? Well, the overconfident New World Order couldn’t even be bothered to cover their tracks on this one: Look at the list of so-called “Actors” in the so-called “Credits”? What do you notice? Hmmm? Do you see it yet?

Ghostbusters: Ed Begley Jr.

Mad Max: Tom Hardy

Wonder Woman: Chris Pine

Everyone of them a white, straight man. When are they going to realise. We can see what they’re doing! Our cinemas are full of them! White Men on every screen! When was the last time you heard someone say: “Oh boy, shucks, I sure would like to see a film with a man in it. Just any man at all, it doesn’t matter.”?! When? This intrepid reporter suspects, you have never heard that exact sentence. No-one wants to watch these films and no-one wants the  fat cats at Hollyweird pushing their agendas down our throats. Good, honest, clear-thinking, truth-seeking people only want to watch films with a sentient lamp, dogs that talk like people or cars that talk like people and nothing else. Please wake up and look at what your world has become. Signing off, R3dpillTruth69

Don’t we all have a good time popping to the cinema to watch a bit of harmless fun with some likeable heroes and an easily identifiable villain? Except, you can’t, can you? Because inevitably instead being able to actually discuss what I saw on the screen I have to first unpack and analyse what was happening in the world around it.

I enjoyed Wonder Woman overall, we’ll get down to the details, I promise, but for the most part, it was a solid effort. Off screen however, the debate was raging about whether we should still be making films with female leads considering there have been some bad ones. As opposed the 100% hit rate of films with male leads? Or Black leads? Or Virgos? Or people with fork-lift licenses (I’d like to see that venn diagram)? And why have we not had that conversation? Why, when Red Tails was released to stunned and baffled audiences, did nobody say, “Well, we should probably stop making films with Black people in them, they clearly don’t work”? Is it because that would be an insane thing to say? Is it because blaming everything wrong with a film on some arbitrary characteristic of a lead actor, would be complete nonsense that anyone would immediately dismiss as racist and offensive? Yes, that is why. So, why the hell are we having this conversation?

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As I was standing outside the cinema, after the film, a couple walked past who had been at the screening and the snippet of conversation I heard was thus:

Him: Well, they’ve tried to make female superhero movies before and they never really work

Her: What do you mean?

Him: Well… er… y’know… um… er

Yeah, that’s right, mate. Nothing there, is there? Nothing on the other end of that sentence, is there? You can um and er all night, buddy (meant in the most patronising way possible) and you’re never going to come up with anything because you just heard the expression “Female Superhero films don’t work”, stuffed into your mind-bin and then sprayed it out of your face as soon as you felt it was appropriate. Well, it wasn’t appropriate. People’s reaction to this film has nothing to do with whether someone with a vagina can lead a movie and everything to those people’s own prejudices. Some men are infuriated by the idea of a woman in a lead role because they’re terrified of women and their fear has transmuted, as it often does, into hate. They think they, personally, are missing out because if it weren’t for bloody Gal Gadot and her perfect face, the film executive would’ve have made a film starring them because that’s how films work: Everyone gets a film made about them unless SJWs interfere. I know because, confession time, I’ve had similar unreasonable thoughts cross my mind. I frequently see postings for “vegan comedian wanted”, “non-white comedian wanted”, “female comedian wanted”, and for one second I think, damn, that could’ve been me, ignoring the fact that those people haven’t had anything like the number of breaks that I’ve had because my skin colour, the language I speak, where I’m from, my education and wealth. The reason I don’t do that many gigs is because… I don’t book that many gigs. But that thought still creeps in. What about me? The difference is that if you identify those thoughts and are conscious of them and make sure not to act on them, you’re a few steps close to not being a gigantic arsehole.

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Well, now I’ve made a sort-of point about the nonsense surrounding this movie, what was the actual movie like? Well, it certainly had a lot going for it. Like all enjoyable superhero movies, it knew what it was. It didn’t step out of its comfort zone and pretend to be something it wasn’t. It stuck doggedly to the formula and was better off for it. Now that’s not to say it was perfect, it’s no Winter Soldier, it’s more like a good Thor film. Entertaining but fairly shallow. Actually it has more than a passing resemblance to a Thor film, ancient Gods, powerful weaponry imbued with mystical energy, except Wonder Woman, the character, is vastly more interesting that Thor, even if she’s not particularly fascinating.

The film gives us a pretty complete Wonder Woman origin story. We see Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) mature from a feisty child into a Warrior Princess in a few short, satisfying scenes before we’re introduced to main thrust of the plot: The First World War. She meets Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) when she saves him from drowning in a in the wreckage of a crashed plane. That’s right, she saves him. Diana (Wonder Woman’s real name) and her people have lived in isolation on their island paradise for some unspecified amount of time and are brought right up to speed with current event when Steve inadvertently leads the German navy to them.

For all the problems with this film, and there are only a few, it does do some nice things with your expectations. I can’t think of a time when Wonder Woman actually required saving, per se, she was pretty self-sufficient in general. Gal Gadot does a good job of portraying the naivete of someone raised on Ancient Greek folklore and fairy tales without being the “helpless babe in the woods”. She is determined and fierce, her goals are her own and she will accomplish them whether or not there are any men around to tell her she looks nice. The feminist message is somewhat diluted during the “Trying on Clothes” scene but the punchline somewhat redeems it. It is also shown that Wonder Woman really likes ice cream. What do women like? Trying on clothes and ice cream. It was a bit of an eye-roll but I guess it might stop some Men’s Rights Activist from frothing with rage, quite as much: Don’t worry guys, it’s still a bit sexist.

The dynamic duo (Pine and Gadot) embark on a secret mission to uncover the location of poison something-or-other that will change the course of the War, so Pine quickly assembles his crack team, consisting of a con-man and a sharp shooter suffering from undiagnosed PTSD, and then there’s a Native American guy who’s here now too, I guess. The supporting characters (Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock) don’t get a huge amount of depth but they’re not lifeless. Sameer (Taghmaoui) wants to be an actor, Charlie (Bremner) loves to sing and is haunted by his past and The Chief (Brave Rock) is a self-interested entrepreneur with no stake in the War until he suddenly isn’t. They get their chance to shine at the end and despite not having a real narrative arc, they don’t feel superfluous. Pine’s heroic performance was pretty convincing, he was hammy and gallant and a bit ridiculous but he’s a comic book American spy during WWI, so it all kind of makes sense. He has some depth in his motives and shows a moral relativism fitting for a man making hard decisions in war time.

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This being a superhero movie, we should probably discuss the action. It’s pretty good overall. The CG is fairly unintrusive, for the most part, but there are a few places where DC’s relative inexperience shows. It definitely feels like Zack Snyder (Writer and Producer) got more more votes than anyone else when they were deciding how many slow motion flips and jumps there should be: They went with “A shit load”. All the action scenes are short enough to not become tiring and the film moves along at a fairly good pace. It does stumble in a few places, there are a few scenes of exposition which dragged a little but nothing too bad. Some of the slower scenes between Pine and Gadot, were at times overly saccharine, genuinely funny and adorably touching. I believed them as human beings (although possibly not technically in Wonder Woman’s case) with interests and hopes and personalities which is more than I could say for Jurassic World.

MILD SPOILERS

There was one part, early where the Amazons defend their island from invading Germans, losing several people in fight but repelling the attack. The Germans had landed in several small boats launched from multiple warships on the horizon. After they’ve dealt with the initial force, that’s the end of it, no-one seems concerned about any more invaders. There are loads of people on a battleship, right? Like, loads. Where are the other guys from the battleships? Why is no-one concerned?

At one point during that fight Wonder Woman’s arms is cut. She wound is bandaged and when the Doctor Amazon Lady removes the bandage, it’s completely healed, the doctor remarks “Weird”. And then nothing else happens with that information. Is she healing abnormally fast? Is this the first time they’ve noticed? Bullets can kill them but are easily deflected by her bracers, is she bulletproof? It’s not clear. It bothered me, that’s all.

END OF SPOILERS

One very welcome addition is that the villain isn’t a beam of light shooting into the sky that’s opening some kind of rift/portal to another dimension, which is a novelty these days.

Wonder Woman is flawed fun. The choice of late-reveal-villain was somewhat baffling, if only in appearance (you’ll see what I mean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LDpa6EgOh8” target=”_blank”>(mild spoilers in a lateral, tangential sort of way)). It is not a groundbreaking piece of cinema, it is not a war crime. Like “Ant-Man” or “Thor: The Dark World”, it is superhero entertainment that hits average grades all the way through superhero film school. It’s clunky and it could’ve been better (probably by jettisoning Snyder) but it’s not boring even if I wasn’t quite sure what had been accomplished at the end. It doesn’t suffer from the usual, “Right that’s the origin out of the way, what the hell do we do for the rest of the film?” problem, as the actual origin story is over quite quickly. Wonder Woman is entertaining fun but you won’t be thinking about it weeks later or trying to drag your friends to repeat viewings. It’s good, not great. However, you do get to see Diana, Warrior Princess of The Amazons writing a “Thank You” note email, so that’s fun.

STORGY Score: 3-out-of-5

*

Review by Sam Rae

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Three stars

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