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.

Advertisements

I’ve been working on this science fiction novel for awhile now, basically humanity in the far future encounters this “supreme being” that might or might not be the next step of human evolution.  The story generally had this heavy influence of Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock stories from the seventies–which I’m a huge fan of–and novels like Dune and Stranger In A Strange Land.  Still have a lot of work to do on it, but I’ve been chugging along with it.  I’ve posted a chapter or two here.

Anyway.

I was working on a scene where Tristan–the “supreme being” at the center of the story–encounters Pax, who appears to be a similarly advanced human.  I’m still working on it, but there’s this line of dialog that’s I felt like sharing.  Tristan is discussing her nature.  For context, there are different racial factions called Avians, Sand People, etc… in the story.

“You act like you’re better than them,” he laughed.  “Man, woman.  Baseline, Avian, Sand Rat, Plains folk… You.  All just different words for human.  You can apply all the labels you want to yourself or others, but in the end it all means the same thing.  You’re all human.”

 

I was thinking about the Women’s Marches over the weekend.  I did a haphazard post about the way women’s responsibilities are viewed and wanted to review some of those ideas.  At times I’ve described myself as a feminist, but being a guy and using that term can be tricky.*  I recall a couple of quotes that help to formulate my viewpoint.  First is from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg–who’s middle name I keep wanting to write as “Badger” for some reason–where she was asked about when there would be enough women on the Supreme Court.  Her answer was “When there are nine.”  Now I would argue for something more in line with a thought of equality, but men are not really doing that good of a job, so why not let some women have a real shot?

The second quote comes from Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones.  In the process of being a twelve year-old trying to understand the concept of feminism, she came across this brilliant thought.

“And then someone explained it to me. And I remember thinking, “Isn’t that just like everyone?” And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists “feminists” and just start calling people who aren’t feminist “sexist” — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.”

That actually really fit my perspective.  Gay or straight.  Black or white.  Christian or Muslim.  Feminist or sexist.  They are all different words that really mean human.  In my mind, being human means trying to keep moving forward.  That’s all there is to it.  People have got to think of each other as human before anything else so we can all move forward.

 

*I don’t deny that my rambling about my ex could be seen as somewhat contradictory to that idea and sexist.  I’m far from perfect.  Working on it, but not quite yet.  I do feel like in exploring a lot of those thoughts I have found some conclusions and questions that frame a debate on that though.  Like isn’t it kind of sexist for a woman to cite a lack of initiative to propose as a reason to break up?  As I’ve said, a lot of it was to grok a deeper fullness of understanding and I think that has been accomplished in a lot of ways.

CRS

March 25, 2016

In my Wednesday post, I was discussing a bit of work drama that had a been getting annoying.  There were a few things I wanted to expand on in that blurb and chose not to due to the fact that I did not want basically shove a full essay into a general post like that.  That would be monumentally annoying.  There were still a few points to expand on and get into a little more detail about.

First off, there was one sentence that has really hung with me over the last day or two that I wanted to expand on.  It was “They strike me as the type whose girlfriends are as much surrogate mothers as anything.”  This was a statement I really could have expanded on a lot.  It was based on an observation of having seen one of these guys getting food out of the vending machine on a regular basis–the other I suspect would have been if he didn’t have a girlfriend.  I am merely stating that there is a habit among men to look for certain things in a significant other.  Someone that can cook, clean, do all the laundry–all the domestic stuff basically so the men can do the “real work.”

That’s a poisonous notion in today’s world.  On some level, I like to think an unexpected benefit of feminist movements has been that is has pushed more men to learn to cook and clean and do the laundry or whatever else.  But, there are still a lot of men who struggle with that and are looking for someone to take over all those tasks.  It not so much a gender role thing as a basic element of survival.  Despite living with my parents at the moment, I do most of my own cooking and I prefer it that way.  As I said at one point or another, there is a spirituality to cooking that people–myself included–need.

The other thing I wanted to touch on is where I get today’s title from.  There are any number of conflicts that could be resolved by simple means.  But that only happens when people man up to their responsibility and get things done.  In the sequence of events I vaguely outlined the other day, I touched on this.  Everybody can learn to do better and do the little things to make the whole situation better.  But that requires an open mind and a willingness to work at it.  As I said, a lot of people in the sequence of events could have handled themselves better.  Workers and management.  CRS stands for “Cranial-Rectal Separation.”  Essentially this is a polite way of me telling someone to get their head out of their ass.  When you get your head out of there and realize that your basically working with a bunch of young kids on probably the most unstable shift at work, you might realize the need for some patience.  And other the side, they realize they still have a lot to learn and can do better.

%d bloggers like this: