Wonder Woman Review

June 8, 2017

Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as Diana and follows her journey off of Paradise Island into World War I.  Chris Pine portrays Steve Trevor as she pursues Ares and seeks to end the war.

Overall, this movie was fantastic.  It got a lot right.  It just looked right.  The Amazons looked right.  Everything felt right.  I especially liked the World War I angle, choosing not to go to the World War II where she actually debuted.  It made a lot of sense to have her involved in the “War to End All Wars” and learn about humanity through that than the Second World War.  Having the decades to follow the events that unfolded in this movie would explain her general disconnection from the world that we saw in Batman V. Superman.  And I do think this added a bit more depth to the character that we saw in that movie.

I did like the way her birth/heritage was addressed, as it added one of the elements of the New 52 I found more interesting.  I know the current story arch is retconning that out a bit, but I personally liked it.

Right now, I’m feeling like this has been the best DC movie in their DCEU.  Man of Steel was solid and did a good job of establishing Superman as an outsider trying to find his place in the world.  Batman V. Superman continued that, but tried to do too much in one movie.  Suicide Squad was a fun concept they just did not figure out how to have fun with.  Wonder Woman did a myriad of things and accomplished them effectively.

This is the fourth DCEU movie to come out and by my count the MCU has come out with thirteen movies.  The DCEU had its fourth film centered their top female character and are already planning another centered around Batgirl.  Marvel… I think the upcoming Captain Marvel is the first that will be their first of that nature, so we’re talking film eighteen or nineteen.  Even without a female title character, has the MCU really kept up?  Let’s break it down.

DCEU

Man of Steel:  Lois Lane and Martha Kent.  Essentially they guide Clark on how to be human and do so effectively.  Lois encapsulates this sentiment perfectly at the end of the film when Perry is telling her to show Clark the ropes and she says “Welcome to the Planet.”  The Kryptonian woman seen in the film–Faora-Ul and Lara Lor-Van–while only minor characters at best, are used effectively for the most part in their time on screen.  More so Faora-Ul.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Lois and Martha continue in much the same role, although Lois does have a more proactive role in searching out the truth of what is unfolding–seen more in the extended version of the film–before having a part in the battle with Doomsday.  Wonder Woman’s presence could have been utilized more, I won’t deny that, but I do think her solo movie has changed my perspective on how that came across.

Suicide Squad:  Ensemble movies are weird.  This movie was weird in that it essentially didn’t know what the hell it wanted to be.  The women?  Enchantress was a fairly generic villain.  Katana was not nearly utilized enough in that she really could have done a lot as a straight character for others to joke off of.  Amanda Waller was kind of uninteresting.  Harley Quinn was someone they did a lot with and effectively so, but seemed afraid to go some of those places with.

MCU

Iron Man:  For the most the Iron Man movies had one primary female lead in Pepper Potts.  Fairly generic love interest.  Black Widow debuted in Iron Man 2, had an effective supporting role.  The potential female villain of Iron Man 3 was kind of a missed opportunity in my mind.

Captain America:  Peggy Carter could have been used more, given more than a handful of episodes of a TV series.  Despite the build up, Sharon Carter really has not become much of anything.  Black Widow played an effective supporting role again.

Avengers:  Black Widow and Maria Hill were the primary female leads here, but there wasn’t really time for them to do much of anything in ensemble movies like this.  The first one did lay out a load of backstory for Black Widow though.  Enough for a movie or two.

Thor:  Jane Foster was a fairly generic love interest.  Sif is barely more than eye candy.  Queen Friggia had a couple of key scenes though.

Guardians of the Galaxy:  Gamora and Nebula provide an interesting subplot, but these movies are really more about Star Lord than anybody.  Gamora really is there to roll her eyes at the rest of the group more often than not.  Mantis was a wasted opportunity and Ayesha was kind of disappointing.

Ant-Man:  I actually liked the way Hope Van Dyne came across.  Glad she’ll get a larger role next time around.

Marvel TV:  Between Agents of SHIELD, Jessica Jones and the Agent Carter series, it feels like Marvel has made more effort with female characters here than with the big screen.

 

Overall, I just think by now we should have had a Black Widow movie.  Fifteen plus movies is kind of ridiculous when the other guys had a female led movie before their fifth one.  So the DCEU hasn’t necessarily done as much as they could have, but Wonder Woman has been a leap ahead.

Keeping the spoilers minimal.

Just got back from seeing Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  The plot focuses on the response to world’s response to Superman’s emergence in the first movie, dealing with the aftermath.  The film opens on the murder and funeral of Thomas and Martha Wayne before advancing to the battle between Zod and Superman over Metropolis from Bruce Wayne’s perspective.  From there it advances to the main action of the film, centered around the aftermath of Superman’s emergence into the public eye and the response.  Batman has reemerged in Gotham while Superman struggles to come to peace with the role he has been forced into.

Overall, I thought this movie was fantastic.  I do actually enjoy the way Zack Snyder has brought Superman to the big screen.  Realistically, does anyone really believe a being of Superman’s capabilities would be universally embraced?  That his arrival as a figure of prominence would not be met with a heavy skepticism and fear?  Over the years, the Superman comics have developed the concept of Superman being a Christ figure, sent to bring hope for a better world–which was the central message Jor-El gave in Man of Steel.  Like Christ, he would have to learn how to do that and a lot of this film dealt with that struggle while reminding how human he actually is.  Amy Adams as Lois Lane does a masterful job of keeping him in touch with humanity.

Ben Affleck’s Batman was exactly what it needed to be.  Dark, weary, but determined.  His past as Batman was touched on–really only hinted in dialog and the appearance of the vandalized Robin costume–while a bit of heavy focus was given to the death of his parents.  Makes me wonder what Jena Malone’s Barbara Gordon would have added to the story.

The main villain is essentially Lex Luthor, portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg.  His performance was actually fairly entertaining and a good source of some comedic relief.  The manic xenophobia came across effectively as an individual who actually believed he was confronting a threat that needed to be eliminated by any means necessary.

The last big hero to appear was Wonder Woman, portrayed by Gal Gadot.  In a lot ways she came across as a half-way point between Batman and Superman–battle-weary and looking for something to hope for.  I would say the main drawback of the character was that there really wasn’t enough movie for there to be more of her.  Despite the limited screen time, this gave me cause to look forward to her upcoming solo film.

The story itself was a bit problematic.  It got a bit too dependent on dream sequences and visions.  I won’t go into detail about it, but the one that really bothered me just dragged on for too long and really did nothing for the story.  It was cool to see the Parademons though.  The actual cameos for the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg were actually well done and served a good purpose in the course of the story.

Overall, I liked this movie.  I think Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment have a good thing going here.  Like I said about the dream sequence that ran on too long, I think there was maybe a bit too much effort to set up a Justice League movie.  I think that was going to be the biggest obstacle in making this movie, trying not to go beyond telling a good story and setting up a franchise.  I think the story would have meshed better and there would have been plenty of set up without relying on visions.  Looking forward to seeing where Suicide Squad goes with building on the foundation established here.

Deadpool Review

February 23, 2016

The Merc with the Mouth.  Took a week longer than I intended, but I did eventually get to see Deadpool.  It was everything I had hoped for and more.  Admittedly I did feel a small bit of pain when I reflected about how I had a copy of his first appearance that I sold when the movie was first announced and realized how much I might have made today–Hard to complain about $600, more than a 200% profit on my end though.

Deadpool.  The long, strange journey we had from comic to screen has concluded.  It had everything from poorly conceived interpretations of the character to purposely leaked footage.  After so many years, everybody had hopes and dreams riding on this movie.  Trailers indicated we would see them come true, but we needed the movie to be sure.

Overall, it was about as close to perfect as one could hope.  The story was essentially his origin, revealing how he met the love of his life before being diagnosed with cancer and getting tricked into joining a shady program.  From there he gains increased healing while getting disfigured in the process.  From there, he teams up with Colossus from the X-Men to get the girl and get revenge.

Ryan Reynolds played Wade Wilson/Deadpool and does a superb job.  Really just captures the character perfectly.  Morena Baccarin plays Vanessa, his girlfriend, and matches up perfectly.  I’m hoping to see it revealed that’s she in fact a mutant, like in the comics.  The villains were maybe a bit underdeveloped, but they filled the role well and helped to establish the tone of the movie.

The weird characters were the two X-Men that appeared.  Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.  Colossus was obviously portrayed completely different than the previous X-Men films, which worked, but might be a bit difficult to process.  He also seemed more inclined to play a role similar to what Cable’s would have been, trying to get Deadpool more aligned with the forces of good rather than as a force of chaos.  Meanwhile, he had a trainee in Negasonic Teenage Warhead.  Her powers were more like Cannonball’s as opposed the psychic abilities that she displayed in the comics, but that seemed more fitting in some ways.

Overall, as well done as it could have been, with few complaints that were not expressed during the course of the movie.  Looking forward to a sequel and/or appearances in the other related movies.

Got the “Valentine’s Day is kinda weird” post out of the way yesterday, so I’m going to write a quick review of PPZ.  The movie came out last week, starring Lily James and Sam Riley, with some memorable appearances by Lena Headley and Matt Smith.

Overall, an enjoyable movie.  The movie was amusing and enjoyable, well balance throughout.  Lily James plays an excellent Elizabeth Bennett, parlaying the untouchable warrior to perfection.  Sam Riley portrays Mister Darcy–probably the character I most related to for a variety of reasons–with the challenged stiffness would only expect to come of the character.  Matt Smith’s Parson Collins was perhaps a bit over the top, but he definitely added a bit more amusement to his scenes.  Lena Headley’s Lady Catherine might have been a bit too much like too many other characters she’s been cast as–Cersei Lannister, Sarah Connor, Queen Gorgo, etc.–but she’s good at it, so why complain.

It was a well-shot film, maybe took a few more liberties with the story than I would have liked to have seen.  Minor spoiler here, but the whole subplot of the zombies being able to hold onto their intelligence and self-control by feeding on pig brains/blood did seem a bit… unnecessary.  Other than that though, it was fairly well-done and enjoyable film.

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