Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wonder Woman


This is a bit late as I saw the movie last week. I don't normally post full reviews here, but this movie is so important and so wonderful, I have to share my thoughts as widely as possible.

My non-spoilery review of "Wonder Woman." First, just to get it out there, while I started reading Wonder Woman comics in my teens, she wasn't the female character I idolized or identified with. That was Supergirl. The original Supergirl and I were of an age. We overlapped in life experiences at various times, or at least shared them at different times: high school, college, first jobs, back to college/grad school, trying to figure out what we wanted as a career. When DC killed her off in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985, I was devastated and pretty much stopped reading nearly all comics for a decade. I never had that kind of relationship with Wonder Woman. I cared more for Donna Troy/Wonder Girl, actually, because she was in the Teen Titans, which I loved. So I was completely unprepared for how deeply and emotionally the Wonder Woman movie hit me. It got me in the feels, to use current vernacular. I started tearing up fairly early on with Diana's training scenes and pretty much had to force myself to not cry so I wouldn't miss seeing anything due to too much moisture in my eyes. More on this at the end of this review.
Second, this was the most fun DC movie since the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie and the best DC movie since the Nolan Batman trilogy. Disclaimer: I passed on Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman, and Suicide Squad.
Third, the inevitable comparison with Marvel movies, mainly those from Marvel Studios. I love the Marvel movies. My favorites are Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and both Guardians of the Galaxy, with Ant-Man and Captain America: First Avenger, The Avengers, and the first Iron Man as runners-up. Deadpool was awesome, too. But even at their very best, they felt like comic book movies. Wonder Woman felt real, just an ordinary adventure movie set in WWI that just happened to focus on a mythical woman with superpowers. And that's due to the tight, focused script and the brilliant direction of Patty Jenkins. The story felt intimate in the middle of a war. It was a coming-of-age tale, a good vs evil story that wasn't quite about good or evil but more about love and human nature and how those two are often in conflict but not always. At its hard, it was about real people. Very believable people, and for all my love for Bucky Barnes, Scott Lang, Steve Rogers, and every member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, I don't believe I could meet them in real life the way I felt I could meet Diana and Steve Trevor and Etta Candy and all the rest. The humor in the film doesn't come from intentional quipping but from normal human interactions, including Diana's encounters with things in man's world she'd never encountered while growing up. The human interactions didn't feel added on or like interludes they way they do in some superhero movies. Every moment felt earned and justified.
This was a perfect origin story for Wonder Woman, a good reworking of the various versions in the comics that felt right. The casting was amazing, and the two young actresses playing younger versions of Diana were great.
The movie not only met but exceeded my high expectations. When I got teary-eyed, it wasn't just because of the emotion on screen, but more due to the iconic comic book shots Jenkins gave us. Just seeing Wonder Woman leap, shield in hand, sword held high put a lump in my throat and moisture in my eyes. The DC TV-verse has become the epitome of a filmed DCU, something the movie-'verse couldn't compete with. That will change if DC keeps giving us movies like this one.

~~~o0o~~~