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Wonder Woman

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:52 PM

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Just a warning: There will be spoilers in this review. I'll try to keep them towards the end of the review and will give a warning but I want to talk about all aspects of this movie.

For a spoiler-free quick summary I will say that this was a fantastic movie. For those who thought this would be another DC dud I can happily say it is not. It's a great origin story for Wonder Woman that gets her character so right and has an important message, kick ass action scenes, some really moving moments, some truly hilarious scenes, and great acting. Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman.

The story starts with a young Diana wanting to be trained in combat. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, doesn't want to train her young daughter since Diana is the only child on Themyscira and the Queen wants Diana to keep her innocence. Antiope, Diana's aunt, trains her in secret and eventually convinces Hippolyta to train Diana openly.

The Amazons lead peaceful lives, but they are on the look-out for the return of Ares and the war that will end all life on Earth. When Steve Trevor crashes near their island and brings an army of Germans with him, Diana believes that war has come and decides it is her destiny to kill Ares and stop the war.

From there she and Steve head to London and eventually to the front, where Diana sees the horrors of war up close and personal. German General Ludendorff opposes the armistice, and he has Dr. Maru (aka Dr. Poison) create a chemical weapon that is deadlier than any other chemical weapon used in the war thus far. It has the potential to kill millions of people.

This movie does just about everything right. It's an origin story but it doesn't get bogged down in setting everything up. Paradise Island, the Amazons, Diana, and their back story are introduced fairly quickly and Steve shows up right away. That leads to the first spectacular action scene as the Amazons take on the German soldiers. It really is glorious and a sight to see. It also introduces Diana to the horrors of war as she sees Amazons that she has known and loved her entire life cut down by German bullets.

In fact, the horrors of war feature heavily in the movie. It really is an anti-war movie at heart. Diana's mission is to end the war and save lives though she's never seen war up close. As she, Steve, and their small band of soldiers gets closer to the front she sees the wounded soldiers, the fleeing civilians, and the brutality of trench warfare up close and personal. She begins to question whether humanity is truly worth saving.

That leads to one of the best scenes. Diana and co. are making their way through a British trench when she learns from a woman that the Germans have attacked her village on their side of No Man's Land and are killing men, women, and children and forcing the survivors into slavery. Steve says they can't do anything; the British army has been fighting in that trench for a year and only gained a few inches. Diana sheds the coat she's wearing, revealing herself in her Wonder Woman finery for the first time, and marches across No Man's Land using her shield and bracers to block bullets and rockets. She then heads to the village and almost single-handedly takes out the Germans there.

The men she's with have also been affected by the war. Charlie, a highly accomplished sniper, finds that he can't shoot anyone anymore because he's just had enough. Sameer just wants to be an actor but because of his skin color his options are limited and he was forced into the war. Chief is a smuggler who takes no sides in the war because, as a Native American, he doesn't see a good reason to support the Americans who killed and drove out his people.

While the movie does deal with heavy themes, it's not all doom and gloom. There are some great moments of levity spread throughout the film. A lot of them come from Diana and her fish out of water comments when she reaches London. She doesn't understand why woman would wear dresses that limit the ability to fight. She doesn't get why walking around with a sword and shield is a bad thing. She has no time to deal with the sexist attitudes that men throw her way. Some of her early conversations with Steve are hilarious since she's never met a man before.

Etta Candy is a delight, and I wish she had been in the movie more. She gets a lot of good lines here.

Gal Gadot deserves to win awards for her performance. She shows Diana as a multi-faceted woman who truly wants to help people and can more than hold her own but also has a naivete about how the world really works. She has lived a sheltered life on Paradise Island and truly believes that if she kills Ares the war will stop and humanity will all be friends. Despite that, she never comes across as dumb. She also doesn't let anyone silence her. When a British general ignores Steve's warning about Dr. Poison's new chemical weapon and says that soldiers will die because that's what they do Diana goes off on him. She calls him a coward and says he's despicable for not caring about the lives of his men. It's great.

Then there are the scenes where she delights in things that she hasn't experienced. She goes nuts over seeing a baby for the first time. She absolutely loves ice cream, and finds snow magical. Basically, all the things we take for granted are amazing experiences for her. That kind of fish out of water character has been done to death, but thanks to the directing, writing, and Gal Gadot it feels fresh here.

Chris Pines is equally as good as Steve Trevor. He brings charm to the role and a certain amount of world weariness. He handles the awkward conversations with Diana wonderfully. He's excellent with the comedic moments but can switch gears and be dramatic when the scene calls for it.

Being incredibly shallow, I loved that the tables were turned in this movie. Usually it's the women being sexually objectified in superhero movies (and just movies in general) but here it's Steve Trevor. He's taking a bath on Paradise Island and gets out right as Diana walks in. He's naked for longer than I thought he would be and he looks great. It's also a funny scene as Diana asks if he is an average man to which Steve replies that he likes to think he's above average.

I loved the WWI setting. Yes, Diana is traditionally linked to WWII but setting it in the Great War gives it a pretty unique setting since not a lot of American films get made about this war. Hollywood has a deep love affair with WWII. I also think it highlights just how awful war can be. Obviously the Nazis and the Holocaust can show how terrible war is just as well but this setting works. Plus, WWI really caught the world off guard in just how long, brutal, and costly in terms of human life it turned out to be. Most people thought it would be a quick war and that the soldiers would be home in time for Christmas. It was a war unlike anything the world had ever seen before, and lends credence to Diana and the other Amazons believing Ares has finally started the war that will end humanity.

Warning, there are some major spoilers here on out.

The villains are decent. Ludendorff is okay. He's basically a power mad general that doesn't want to end the war with an armistice. He wants Germany to win. He gets a few good scenes but I felt that he was more or less wasted. Dr. Poison fares better. She doesn't get a lot of scenes but she is definitely a creepy villain who is off her rocker. Poisons are to her what fire is to pyromaniacs. She basically gets off on watching her chemicals kill people.

Then there is Ares. For a good portion of the movie it's left ambiguous if Ares is even real or responsible for the war. Diana is sure he is and comes to believe Ludendorff is Ares in disguise. Steve isn't convinced, though. When Diana kills the general she's dismayed that the war is still going on. Steve says that they don't need a god of war to cause them to fight; humanity is capable of atrocities all on its own. This causes Diana to lose her will to fight and she believes that maybe humanity deserves to end.

Of course Ares does show up. He actually has some good points. He says that he isn't evil. Once humanity was created he saw their capacity for evil and was angered when the other gods didn't. He drove humans to war to show the gods just how bad humans were and that they all needed to be killed but the other gods still didn't listen to him.

With Diana he sees his chance to finally end humanity. In the movie Diana's origin is as a god, fathered by Zeus, but they also mention her clay origins as well so it seems to be a mash-up of both. Ares wants Diana to help him wipe out humanity and return Earth to a paradise. He says that he didn't force either side of the war to do the terrible things they did. Sure, he might have whispered in their ears but the humans didn't have to act on it or take it as far as they did.

Diana rejects him of course and says that you can't end war with more war and hate but with love. She defeats Ares and brings peace to the battlefield. It was a pretty moving scene as the Germans (who were all wearing gas masks as they handled Dr. Poison's chemicals) take their masks off and many of them are just scared young men. One of them even hugs Chief.

I don't have many complaints. I do wish the movie had better addressed what Diana has been up to since the end of WWI and her re-appearance in Batman vs. Superman. Has she just been living in London this entire time under the radar? Did she ever find her way back to Paradise Island? It's possible that those years were left vague on purpose in case a future sequel decides to fill in the blanks.

As I wrote above, I wish more had been done with the villains. Ludendorff could have been a good villain but wasn't given much to do. Dr. Poison had a lot of potential but most of it was squandered. Ares was great when he was finally revealed but it's literally at the end of the movie so most of his scenes involve him and Diana duking it out.

I haven't been one of the doomsayers that believe DC is never going to make a good movie and can never compete with Marvel. I absolutely loved Man of Steel. I wasn't too keen on Batman vs. Superman at first but it's grown on me, especially the Extended Edition. Suicide Squad was a fun, if very flawed, movie. Still, Wonder Woman is a slam dunk and a movie that I believe most fans will get behind. I think it proves that DC can be just as good if not better than the Marvel movies.
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#2 QueenTiye

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:58 AM

Logged in to say... YES! The movie was all kinds of awesome! :D  I went in full WW Regalia, of course. :lol:  My husband says that during the action sequences I was thwarting bullets along with Wonder Woman.  Well...I had the gauntlets to do it...!

To be clear - I've liked all of the DCEU movies to date.  I liked MoS, and I liked BvS, albeit less than MoS.  BUT - I LOVED LOVED LOVED Wonder Woman.  Seriously - Loved it.  All of what Virgil says above, is accurate, but here are my additional comments:

First, PRO: I happened to love the Amazonian training, and especially loved that Steve Trevor got to see the Amazons in battle, as that gave him a clear tactic for ridding themselves of a sniper later in the movie.  YES - I LOVED that scene.  I LOVED Etta Candy, who was bright, competent, and funny- as Etta Candy SHOULD be.  The actress NAILED the role, and the material given to her didn't fail.  In spite of seeing some of the action sequences in trailers, in sequence of the movie - they are spectacular, exciting, and fresh. Unlike Virgil, I wasn't terribly sold on the ice cream scene, but almost every other "fish out of water" scene was simply wonderful, and frequently funny.  SEE: Revolving Doors. :insanosmile:  +5 stars

Second, CON:  Well - I honestly didn't need some of the last scene, and the "love conquers all trope" was appreciated but not effectively sold - I think it came too fast and therefore read as a cliche.  AND, we once again have the DCEU's unfortunate tendency to kill characters we'd like to live with for a while.  Let me not spoil who dies.  Simply put - setting this story 100 years in the past means that all the wonderful people we met in the movie, are now dead or dying by the time we get to Justice League.  Whereas - these were great, colorful characters who we'd like to see again!  LIke, in a sequel!  And yet, some of them we won't, simply because they'd have to be 140 by now.  SO... :-(  AND, I don't think that hiding Diana's true origin added anything to the story - it just made the reveal of her powers kinda confusing. - .5 stars

SO - a total rating of 4.5 stars.  DCEU Grade to date:

Wonder Woman: 4.5 Stars
Man of Steel: 3.75 Stars
Batman v Superman: 3 Stars
Suicide Squad (didn't see... so..)

As you can see - Wonder Woman is SO far ahead.  Here's hoping Justice League either gets the 5 stars (doubtful) or at least gets 4 stars and restores confidence that the DCEU is going to be awesome for a long long time.

QT

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#3 Themis

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:12 PM

I may actually go out to see this.  All the clips have looked great; good reviews nationwide; awesome reviews here.
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#4 Norville

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:58 AM

Forgot to mention earlier that I saw this on Saturday, because good female-led movies should be supported, and really loved it. What an awesome woman Diana was. :insanosmile:
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#5 G-man

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 02:58 PM

Absolutely.

I caught this yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite some anachronistic dialog.  Gal Gadot works as Wonder Woman, and I'm pleased to see that her cinema debut proved to be such a smash.

I suppose this means I ought to catch Batman vs. Superman at some point, if only to be caught up when the Justice League film debuts.

/s/

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#6 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 05:11 PM

So you felt that the dialogue was too modern for WWI?
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#7 G-man

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:12 PM

Yes.  At least those lines uttered by Steve Trevor.

However, the rest of the movie is good, and it even managed to include a couple of twists, as well as an engaging supporting cast.  Admittedly, it was kind of fudging time and geography for the sake of plot, but that's nothing new in movies.

/s/

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Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#8 RJDiogenes

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 06:17 PM

That's too bad. The thing that's appealing about period pieces, of course, is the period ambiance, which can be undercut with too many anachronisms (I love researching the lingo when I'm writing a period piece-- it really takes me into the era).  I'll still catch it when it comes to Pay-Per-View, or maybe blind buy it, depending on how the reviews hold up.  I'm hoping that if enough of these period pieces are successful we'll finally get a real Fantastic Four movie set in the 60s.  :lol:
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#9 Themis

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:13 AM

I absolutely loved it!  No quibbles with anything, including any perceived anachronisms which I didn't even notice.
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#10 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 01:31 AM

I absolutely LOVED this movie. There were a few minor nitpicks, but overall LOVED it.

One nitpick that just irked me was when Steve Trevor stole Dr. Poison's notebook and escaped in a plane, taking out the other planes in the process. He is in a plane, yet somehow ships are right behind him when he crashes on Paradise Island?

Wonder Woman can fly in this universe, apparently. So she really shouldn't have needed that shield boost to take out the sniper tower.

Wasn't too keen on the similarity between Steve Trevor's death and Steve Roger's in Captain America. Although I do have to say, when Wonder Woman sees Steve die, man does she go nuclear.

I liked Ares disappearing trick, with Wonder Woman trying to kill him. So wasn't expecting the GodKiller sword to fail like that. And it left the burning question of how did she replace it for Batman V Superman? Yes, a lot of time passed between the end of this movie and Batman V Superman, but I don't think just a normal sword is going to harm Doomsday like hers did?

Absolutely loved Etta Candy, she really should've had more lines.
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#11 Themis

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 12:17 PM

See LOTS - we can strongly agree on something!

I may go so far as to see this again on the big screen.  But I want the DVD NOW!!!
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#12 sierraleone

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 07:07 PM

Saw it yesterday. I am not on the up and up on the Woman Woman mythos. It was awesome.

Regarding the character, Chief, who is Native American, I had wondered if he *was* a soldier at one point and either AWOL, or declined returning to North America when his deployment was up. I imagine European smugglers largely outnumbered non-European ones in that time/place. I don't think such a backstory would knock the themes in this movie at all, to the contrary (though it does make me glad it was WW1 and not WW2).

A minor quibble, regarding Chief, I wished there was another couple lines he had around the fire place with Diana, after he me mentioned his oppression by Steve's people and implying that is related to the fact he is a smuggler and he won't taking sides, something like this:

Diana: So, your people do not fight in this war?
Chief: No, my people fight. They fight and serve under Steve's flag, at rates that pass his people.
Diana: Why?
Chief: Some, for paying work. Some, for love of our peoples, and our lands. Many for both.

20 seconds! And they could have left it there, or used that as to have a brief probing into Chief's character or backstory.



When I watched it I felt a thematic issue at the end, but it appears I had a much different interpretation of Sir Patrick ("Ares") then the rest of the world before reading reviews, so that probably fed into my nascent querulous feelings near the end.

While Sir Patrick did confirm to Diana he was the one she was looking for, I thought I heard him identify himself as the God of Truth. Probably putting on airs, from my internet readings I see. The Greek pantheon is huge, so it wasn't too far out of left field as far as I was concerned. I don't recall a God (or Goddess) of Truth…. At least one of Justice…. I don't recall one of math, or science, specifically. But Hephaestus was a god of metallurgy IIRC, and was quite the outcast. In any case, I thought they were drawing upon other Greek mythology, and/or making up their own (saving Ares for a WW2 movie? ;) ).

So, with this in mind, (and a bit of the current political environment thrown in ;) ), seeing Diana fight and intend to destroy the God of Truth seemed thematically wrong. Even if the truth led this God to believe he should foment discord and wars (and armistices?)… as I watched that movie in theatre, everything else thematically was good, but watching her seemingly fight truth with belief (even if those beliefs are well-meaning and positive), was a little of a head-shaker :D

Loving in spite of knowing the truth good (people can be hard to love sometimes ;) ), within healthy boundaries.
But loving to the extent of ignoring or hiding (or destroying) truth, too far ;)

Especially with her wielding the lasso of truth ;)

(Greek mythology side note: funny thing, the God of War had plenty of affairs with the Goddess of Love :D )

Edited by sierraleone, 18 June 2017 - 08:59 PM.

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#13 G-man

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:25 AM

^^^Well both Ares and Aphrodite were gods of passion, he representing fury on the battlefield, and she desire in the boudoir.  So it actually made sense.

Now, as for Ares being the "God of Truth" that is unique to the film, and I'm of the opinion that this self-proclamation is self-serving.  Remember, we only have his word on it, and what Truth is he promulgating?  That humans are a flawed, violent people?   That his actions actually coincide with the tales Diana heard about him, suggests that he is more the provocateur than the prophet.  Then there's the whole matter of Humanity doing it to themselves without his influence or intervention which calls into question the relevance of gods.

I think Ares was simply talking through his hat in order to turn Diana, rather than being wholly accurate in what Truth he was telling her.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 19 June 2017 - 05:25 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus



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