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Overall Rating
4.47

Awesome52.94%
Worth A Look: 41.18%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings


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Wonder Woman (2017)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Bigger than just a movie."
5 stars

Towards the middle of 'Wonder Woman,' when the central heroine Diana of Themyscira (Gal Gadot) is running through the no-man’s-land (ha) of a battlefield and deflecting hundreds of German bullets, either you recognize the subtextual power of this image or you find it a typical bit of superhero-movie action.

I’d submit the latter is not the most productive lens through which to view Wonder Woman, here as well as its earlier iterations. This ideal of strong femininity has always been greater than the sum of her parts. I could say that the movie has its flaws particular to its status as a superhero film inside a larger superhero narrative, but it doesn’t matter. Wonder Woman is an indelible symbol of sane female compassion against nihilistic male violence. She didn’t make the cover of the first Ms. magazine for nothin’, and this fourth movie of the DC Extended Universe (after Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad) stands well on its own and will gather deeper relevance than any other superhero flick.

Gal Gadot does what’s needed as Diana; the role is bigger than she is, but she gives Diana’s heroism a nice underlayer of sadness and regret. Diana has lived all her life with the Amazons on what we used to call Paradise Island, hearing about war (and its author, Ares) without knowing it. War soon invades the idyll of the island in the person of American pilot and spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), with German soldiers in hot pursuit. It’s late in World War I, or, as Trevor calls it, “the War … the war to end all wars.” The retrospective irony of that phrase is bitter, as is Diana’s realization that there isn’t just one convenient supervillain to blame for war. Ares whispers in our ears; we take it from there.

Diana carves a swath through the German army, seeking only to defend or to deflect. She isn’t a stone killer, just as she wasn’t in the cheesy but beloved TV series with Lynda Carter, who could knock thugs or Nazis for a loop but preferred to be strong to be kind. Diana is, of course, a warrior, trained as such by her fierce aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) against the wishes of her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). Wright and Nielsen, both 51 and seemingly still peaking physically, show us what power without masculinity looks like. Diana takes a bit from each woman. She will fight, but only when absolutely necessary. For the most part, her strength is hidden behind fake glasses and under a gray uniform, much like that of Superman.

Wonder Woman may be part of the doom-laden, ugly, “dark” and gritty DC film-verse, and by virtue of unfolding during one of the more costly and grotesque wars it certainly has its grim moments. But its director, Patty Jenkins — who helmed 2003’s excellent Aileen Wuornos biopic Monster and hadn’t directed another feature film until now — brings a refreshing clarity to it, a productive mix of gravitas and winking. At certain times, the movie seems very aware of being a cultural lightning rod with a lot of eyes on it. At other times it forges ahead swiftly (Wonder Woman runs two hours and twenty-one minutes but goes by fast), uninterested in anything outside itself and its musings about the nature of war and the nature of mankind.

As has become a tradition with superhero films, there are too many villains, though our time spent with them (including an uber-proto-Nazi played by Danny Huston and a mad mutilated genius named Dr. Poison played by Elena Anaya with a half-mask recalling Jack Huston in Boardwalk Empire) is agreeably pulpy. Pulpiness is sort of baked into the concept; Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston was working out ideas about femininity — seeing no reason why a strong woman couldn’t also be submissive, he contrived to put Diana in bondage in a bunch of the powerfully idiosyncratic feminist-cum-fetishist comic-book stories of the ‘40s. The movie’s Diana is briefly restrained, but not a lot of Marston’s thoughts inform the film, which is fine; Wonder Woman is bigger than he is, too.

Lynda Carter can wear her, or Gal Gadot, but ultimately she belongs to all girls and women, a symbol of gentle power that can’t help but endure. Or persist.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=30549&reviewer=416
originally posted: 06/08/17 08:30:16
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User Comments

7/21/17 Chaz Walter My brother and I saw this opening day, and we both LOVED it. Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman. 5 stars
7/02/17 damalc Best DC movie since Dark Knight 4 stars
6/18/17 Koitus I really liked it. You can NOT take your eyes off her, from the trench scene, forwards. 5 stars
6/18/17 Sniffy Crotch Now this is a summer movie! 5 stars
6/08/17 Bob Dog First half great / second half poor 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jun-2017 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2017

UK
  01-Jun-2017 (12A)

Australia
  02-Jun-2017 (M)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2017




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