The Modern Pantheon: Wonder Woman

 

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I finally got around to renting Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, directed by Zack Snyder; image credits to Warner Brothers). Let me get my critiques out of the way first:

1)  It had an impressive ensemble cast (including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, and Gal Gadot), of which it could have made more effective use.

2) It was reasonably entertaining, but the plot was choppy, requiring too much prior knowledge of the characters from DC Comics, especially Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg. I had to watch the extras to make sense of the sequence in which these additional characters are introduced.

3) I wish the screenwriting had been better (see 2). Some bits of dialogue made me wince.

4) Some of the action sequences seemed choreographed and unconvincing. Others were quite good.

5) To my sixty-three-year-old eyes (which remember the Silver Age of DC), the CGI effects were often chaotic to the point of being visually unsatisfying. There were notable exceptions. For the purposes of my blog, I will cite the introduction of Wonder Woman.

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Gal Gadot was not given enough lines this time around for me to get much of a sense of the depth and breadth of this character. I was, however, pleased to see that her character was given an intriguing set-up (impossibly young and impossibly old as evidenced by an old photograph) and that she was given a commendable measure of stature and dignity. Wonder Woman is perhaps the most iconic of all female superheroes, and she is more properly mythological. I say this in spite of the “battle of the gods” references made to the contest between Superman and Batman (Aquaman also has  a mythological pedigree, but this was not really explained in this particular movie).

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I had seen Gal Gadot in one other movie and was given the impression that there is more to this actress than meets the eye. After a quick word search, I learned that she had served in the Israeli military. She completed some rigorous physical training, and this lends credibility to her performance in some of the action sequences. Of the three main characters in this movie, I felt that Wonder Woman was the most effectively portrayed. Her appearance was a fairly impressive bright spot in a plot which I felt could have used some help.

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Having seen the trailers for the upcoming Wonder Woman release, I think that this movie could be the best of the DC cinematic universe, so far. I look forward to reviewing it, and I hope that it turns out to be a truly worthy representation of this character. From her inception, she has had attached to her what I consider some unnecessarily kinky baggage. As I have mentioned in my Graphic Mythology category, there are some honorable aspects to her character, and I would like to see more emphasis given to these.

So now, after a hefty head start by Marvel, we have the DC cinematic universe to keep track of. Hopefully, this is a work in progress and will improve in the future.

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13 thoughts on “The Modern Pantheon: Wonder Woman”

  1. As a kid I would have died for the great DC comics movies of today!

    My favorite as a kid was Captain America and there was precious little of him ever on the Golden Screen.

    But today’s Captain America with Chris Evans is very enjoyable.

    And Wonder Woman with Linda Carter was too Barbie and made me feel as if my IQ was cratering.

    Gal Gadot is perfect for the part!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You hinted at what I thought the biggest problem with this movie was… I had read a lot of the complaints and bashing for literal months before I watched it on PPV late last year.

    What I thought was… there seemed to be a LOT of story there, but it was arguably too much story. Way too much for a single movie… and even at 2.5 hours or so, it felt like a lot of stuff was rushed and glossed over… and many scene transitions felt clumsy to me.

    One it of oddness too, that I haven’t seen anyone else mention… When I watched this movie, about an hour into it… I looked at the clock. I realized at that point that while I had been watching for an hour, I had been entertained, so it didn’t feel like an hour BUT I also couldn’t tell you hardly anything of merit that happened in that first hour.

    So… in addition to feeling rushed, disjointed, and like a lot of important connecting bits were missing… it also felt there was a lot of lingering on stuff that, in the scheme of things, ended up unimportant to the major plot development.

    That said… I still liked the movie, apparently, way better than most reviewers did… so I’m optimistic on the DC Universe going forward. I do agree, though, that they seemed to do the best job with Wonder Woman so I’m really looking forward to her movie.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Marvel has for the most part been adapting comic stories to their movies. They are changing some things up a little of course, but largely are pulling bits and pieces if not outright major plot from comic stories.

        DC is doing mostly original stuff in their movies, even in this unified universe path they are now on. I think the DC movies might have been more strongly received IF they had taken a similar approach to Marvel and made a Batman, Superman, and then Justice League movie more directly lifted from existing comic stories that have been tried and true tested.

        The original stories are new to everyone, but are harder to construct. I think Marvel mostly lifting from existing comic stories has let them focus more on the rest of the movie knowing they had a solid plot going for them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I grew up with the justice league animated series and the flash has been my favorite superhero ever since…so when they announced the dceu, I freaked out.

    Now, I love man of steel. I believe it’s a masterpiece. https://motionpictureaficionado.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/man-of-steel-2013-the-superhero-movie-we-need-but-not-the-one-we-deserve/

    But even I admit that BvS was sloppy and suicide squad was somewhat of a misfire..

    So yeah, here’s hoping that wonder woman is great and that we get an awesome justice league movie…because if we don’t, I’m gonna be very sad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought that Man of Steel started well. I found the treatment of young Clark Kent as a special needs child who sees the world differently quite innovative and interesting. I did have a couple of disappointments with the end sequences. I must be too old, but I found the visuals of the conflict chaotic and rather unsatisfying. I was also a little let down by the screenwriting toward the end because it wasn’t gratifying for me after such an intriguing set up. Unlike most of the commentators I have read, I actually think Henry Cavill was a plausible Superman. B v S was, as I have written in another post, poorly written to the point that it made poor use of a stellar cast. As a general comment, I think DC has (to varying degrees) gone with the wrong looks for their admittedly rich collection of characters and the wrong storytelling approach for their extensive history. If it were up to me, they would have elaborated on the tone and visual appeal of Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. Thank you so much for checking in. I enjoyed this exchange. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kingdom come would be a great place to go to…but we need to establish the superheros a bit more before they can do that. Although Affleck’s batman certainly looks and feels like the part.

        Liked by 1 person

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