Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Princess Diana of Themyscira

Superhero moviedom gets a good dose of “Girl Power” in DC Extended Universe’s ‘Wonder Woman,’ director Patty Jenkin’s highly anticipated and “trail-blazing” film featuring a superheroine in a genre overrepresented by men (just ask yourself, how many such movies end with the suffix “Man”?).  Much hand-wringing and no small amount of feminist drama, including a controversy over WW’s shaved armpit (hairy armpit "controversy"), preceded the movie’s release as Hollywood held its collective breath to see if the world is finally ready to embrace and, more importantly, financially reward a movie with a female headliner.
Having made more than $100 million over its first weekend in North America and twice that globally, we can all now breathe a sigh of relief.  Not that there’s really any doubt, since WW was well-received and a bright spot in 2016’s ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (reviewed here: Bats vs Supes: Dawn of Justice), her very first appearance in the DCEU.  Israeli stunner "what a Gal!" Gadot was nothing less than gorgeous as the Amazonian Goddess Diana Prince, the greatest warrior princess on an invisible island full of Xenas.  After British pilot and spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) unwelcomely crash lands on her secluded island paradise, she joins him and embarks on a mission outside her sheltered world to stop Ares (as in the God of War) and put an end to man’s greatest folly, which happens to be World War I at the time.
Relying on familiar storytelling tropes such as the opening scene in which an old war photograph from Bruce Wayne triggers her story via flashback, WW’s origin is a nostalgic affair reminiscent of the story of another idealistic red, white and blue-clad do-gooder who fought Germans during the last century in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’  Partly set in London during the early 20th Century, WW also provides some levity in the way of a British comedy of manners.  And even though Zack Snyder stepped aside as director this time his influence is still evident, like the 300-esque visual style and jerky slow motion action scenes throughout the movie.

Grade: A


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