Wonder Woman

It pains me to say this so I’m just going to spit it out first thing: I hated Wonder Woman.

The film opens with young Diana, the only child living in idyllic Themyscira, a secret island free of men, where all the women are trained to be warriors strong in mind and wonder-woman-movie-gal-gadotbody. Her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) is the fiercest of them all, the greatest warrior the Amazons have ever known, and she’s in charge of training. Though Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) wants to protect her daughter and extend her childhood, Antiope teaches Diana in secret. Themyscira is hidden from mankind, but you never know when the enemy might arrive. Themyscira is lush and beautiful. Filmed on location in Italy, the production is fantastic. The opening scenes where the diverse population of Amazonian women are all training with Antiope are gorgeous. The fight choreography is top notch, with particular sequences slowed down to showcase athletic feats. But we all know utopia can’t last forever, and as soon as Diana (Gal Gadot) is grown, one man does penetrate their paradise: a pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is shot down in their waters. Diana saves him from the wreckage but they’re pursued by Germans. An epic battle between Amazons and Germans unfolds on the beautiful beaches of Themyscira. The Amazons fight unlike anything anyone has ever seen, but the Germans are armed with guns and the Amazons suffer loss. Steve Trevor tells the women that the world is at war (WWI to be exact) and that millions of lives have already been lost. Aghast, Diana swears to accompany him back to where he came from so she can help bring peace, as is her sacred duty.

What did I hate so much about these first 20 minutes that sound so well crafted? I hated that it made me cry, and more than once. I wasn’t prepared to feel so emotional seeing Themyscira, a mythical land only for women, where all these badass ladies are just going about their business. I’ve never seen that on the screen before, and I thought: so this is what men feel when they watch a movie, when they see images of themselves being heroes. I felt proud, and moved. Each woman is highly capable and specialized but in WONDER WOMANbattle, there is no ego; they work together. The costumes are not sexualized as I feared, but instead they highlight muscular shoulders and toned legs. There can be no doubt that the Amazons are capable of truly anything. The fight sequences are among the best you’ve ever seen, the hand-to-hand combat precisely choreographed with as much grace as intensity. And it made me cry to see it. And I felt ashamed to cry, as a woman in 2017, ashamed that it’s taken this long to see a woman successfully take up the mantle of hero, and a woman behind the camera as well, capably directing a tentpole film. Patty Jenkins has so much unfair pressure placed on her shoulders but she’s made a movie that’s close to perfection, that far surpasses anything the DC Extended Universe has produced so far.

After such a soundly convincing start, I could relax and enjoy the rest of the film as intended, feeling confident that my entire gender wouldn’t be blamed if this movie was anything less than spectacular. It is fucking spectacular. Wonder Woman, though never called that in this movie, is a sight to behold. Gal Gadot is well-cast, which has proven to be of utmost importance in these franchises. We have to believe that she is a hero. Her comedic timing works just as well as her dramatic turns. And she’s got great chemistry with Chris Pine.

Wonder Woman is long overdue for a stand-alone movie as she is truly a phenomenal Chris-Pine-and-Gal-Gadot-in-Wonder-Woman-moviesuperhero. The action sequences in this film are among the best, a delight to watch, full of energy, strength and ferocity, as good and frankly better than the stuff we we’ve seen from other comic book movies lately. And arguably, the reason she’s so strong is because she welcomes her softer side. Believing in fighting honourably, while looking your enemy in the eye, Diana never picks up a gun. She runs toward machine guns with only a shield and her cuffs to protect her. And she fights from a place of love. Not duty, not fury, not patriotism or revenge. She fights because she loves. Male superheroes seem to think that love is a weakness, but Wonder Woman knows better: love is the greatest motivator you could ever have.

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64 thoughts on “Wonder Woman

  1. blogbadmovies

    Can’t wait to see it! I’ll be checking it out at Alamo Drafthouse 1. because its the best place to see a movie 2. To support its fantastic women-only Wonder Woman screenings.

    So glad this movie is being received well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Oh that’s very cool that you get to do that.
      We don’t have Alamo here but I encountered it for the first time a couple of months ago in Austin Texas for SXSW and really enjoyed it then.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. joel watches movies

      you scared me with that first sentence, jay! haha. and i had read another really positive review right before this, so i was kind of bummed my trusted assholes didn’t like it! thankfully, it was a red herring. beautiful review, jay. really excited to see this!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay Post author

      I know, I’ve had such comic book burnout that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stomach this. This has all the super hero elements, but also a distinctive flavour to it that just makes it new and exciting to watch.

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  2. Jay Post author

    I believe this movie has everything a typical DC fan (often but not exclusively male) would want, and does it better than anything else in the current DCEU. But it also has something more that I think will expand the female audience, something that’s been missing from super hero films generally. Sean drags me to each and every one of them and my boredom and wariness has only increased. The only one that I had a shred of patience for in the last couple of years was Guardians Vol 2- though upon reflection, a strong female presence was one of the things I liked best.

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    1. Sean

      This movie definitely will serve fans of DC. Wonder Woman was the best thing about Batman v. Superman and her solo film takes it to another level. This is a film for all fans. Gender doesn’t matter – this movie has something for everyone.

      Liked by 2 people

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  3. Sean

    This is one of the best superhero movies ever. The action sequences are amazing and I loved seeing how Diana’s fearlessness inspired everyone else. I also loved that emotion was not weakness here, and I bet that would not have come across nearly as well with a male director.

    So many cool scenes from start to finish. You hit on a lot of them. I bet our nieces will be deflecting imaginary bullets with their wrists like Wonder Woman for years to come and that’s a nice thought. I can’t think of a better hero to emulate.

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      1. Sean

        That would be even better, you’re right. I would like to see that but I have a feeling that at least one of them will say this movie has “too many ladies”.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jay Post author

      Enjoy. It’s a great little piece of film that has a little bit of everything. It never feels slow or bloated between action scenes, which is a feat in itself.

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  4. tarmac492

    This was a well written review. I am glad it moved you as much as it did. It is why we see movies. I think we are suffering from too many super hero movies, at the moment, but the WW I setting has me interested, Gadot may very well be the next female action star.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I’ve been beyond burned out on super hero films for years now! I hoped I would like this one and was determined to vote with my dollars for it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I could enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Spoken Like A True Nut

    Haha, you troll you. Love it. I admit this wasn’t originally one of my priorities to watch (She-Ra was my Wonder Woman growing up) but that’s changing by the minute as the praise pours in from all directions.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I was a She-Ra girl too. I have no love of comic books so Wonder Woman was a stranger to me until Sean started playing Lego Dimensions, which has all sorts of super hero characters. I got WW because I balk at the dearth of female characters, period, but she stayed my favourite because she’s pretty powerful. And I love her invisible jet!

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  6. In My Cluttered Attic

    I’ve been hearing nothing but fabulous reviews about this movie. I at first had no interest in seeing the film, but I do now. As for Pine and Gadot having a chemistry together I recently saw a clip and have to agree. Sorry, you cried, Jay, but on the plus side films are suppose to make us feel, and that’s a good thing. ‘O)

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, they have a cute thing going in the movie. He’s the first man she’s ever met, and he’s the flustered guy who gets asked a lot of really personal questions! Plus, he’s used to being a war hero and now he has to come to terms with the fact that she far surpasses him on the battlefield. It’s an interesting dynamic.

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  7. Katrina Morrison

    Congrats Jay 💪🏻
    You just wrote a fitting “Kick Ass” review. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
    Of course, I cant wait to see it; and, I feel excited at seeing women portrayed as strong, loving human beings. I love your review and most certainly will love this movie💕

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay Post author

      It’s great that the first big female super hero is such a GOOD one, not just a woman trying to be as much like the boys as possible, but doing her own thing in her own way.

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Christopher

    Yeah, like many others I was panicking at that first paragraph. And thinking, “Well, Wonder Woman is so much more complex than some other superheroes and tough to capture in a single movie…” I’m so glad Jenkins pulled it off.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, they did the origin story well. I agree that she springs from a more complex back story and they haven’t touched on everything with this film, but you feel you have a solid place to start from.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Well what I meant to convey was that I hate that a movie can make me feel this way in 2017. This shouldn’t be a milestone, it should be matter of fact.

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  9. Widdershins

    A superhero movie with woman director and a woman star! Who knew? 😀 I think the two of them just saved the DC-verse.

    You have a bit of a nasty streak, ya know. 🙂 I was all prepared to do a ‘bah humbug’ cos I knew if the ‘Assholes’ didn’t like it, it was in serious trouble, but I forced myself to read on.

    It is heartwrenching to know that this vision of who we are as women when we’re together, when we have the opportunity to be our authentic Selves only exists on the big screen and in a few moments of our lives.

    It also is a cause for hope though. We know it exists, and we know what it feels like. There’s no going back.

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  10. J.

    I’m not all that familiar with Wonder Woman, but this sounds very brilliantly good!

    I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it, but you’ve sold it! Hurrah for woman… and hurrah for a strong female superhero flick.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, and even if we’d had dozens of successful female super heroes, this one would still stand ahead of the pack, it’s good even on its own merits! But I did feel it was important to support this one with my dollars.
      And I don’t know squat about Wonder Woman either. It’s a pretty noob friendly film.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. Jay Post author

    Something else that I really responded to: we see her confusion. She has always been led to believe that humans are essentially good, and that if war has broken out, it must be the war god Ares. But what she sees is another thing. But she has compassion for the Germans and sees the darkness in the Allied troops. She’s not black and white. And even if they don’t deserve it, she’s going to help them anyway.

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  12. Jay Post author

    And I suppose after some very broody, moody Avengers movies where the heroes can’t even get along between themselves, it was nice to see a hero who smiled and danced after a victory, who seemed to enjoy doing good.

    Liked by 2 people

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  13. reocochran

    This a gorgeous, professional review that I am proud to know the reporter, You, Jay. I loved the way you led is to believe you disliked this newest film. I will go see this, very soon! . . . with my granddaughters

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  14. Susan Leighton

    I would like to see this movie since I enjoyed the Lynda Carter series growing up. You have echoed so many sentiments that I have heard about this film. There are also detractors but as with anything, I will determine my own opinion once I view it. Very proud to see a woman directing a major tentpole event. Great review, Jay.

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  15. Tom

    This really was a fantastic movie, and you nailed it!

    This was huge for me: ” She fights from a place of love. Not patriotism or revenge. She fights because she loves.” That dynamic, combined with what has got to be Gal Gadot’s career-defining role/performance, really made this a different kind of movie. It’s almost totally antithetical of all that DC has presented in their little universe thus far. And I agree this really is better than most of what the MCU has put out in recent years. I haven’t been this emotionally involved in a superhero movie and the plight of the character since The Dark Knight.

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. sati

    It’s no Logan but it was a great movie. There were few glaring instances of studio’s interference to shorten the movie but other than that the film had so much heart it raised it to greatness. I cried too, it was very emotional to finally see a movie like this.

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  17. 5minutemovieguy

    You worried me with that opening line, but having seen it and loved it as you have, I know exactly what you mean. Despite being a grown man who is quite good at hiding his emotions, Wonder Woman had me holding back tears at least 4 times. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Even when it wasn’t tragic, I was so deeply moved by the beauty and social significance of it. While I was a little embarrassed to have been so emotional during the movie while watching it with a guy friend, I have no shame in saying that it is now my all-time favorite superhero movie and the best one I have ever seen. I am so grateful for this film that jeez, I’m getting teary-eyed right now just writing about it here. I have nothing but the highest praise for it and for Patty Jenkins who created such a wonderful and unforgettable film. I love that it embraces its feminism, that it doesn’t sugarcoat anything, that it doesn’t sexualize its characters, and most of all, I love what it means for all the little girls and women who finally got the hero they deserve. Loved your review! Thanks for the read!

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. Jeff the Chef

    I almost cried at the same spot in the movie, for the same reason! It all culminated in that battle on the beach, which was one of the best – if not the best – combat scene I’ve ever watched. It was a glorious display of woman power that set me up to love the rest of the movie, including Chris Pine falling into the usually-feminine roll of gratuitous nude scene – which he did with expert humor (and with the help of clever, almost Bond-style writing). The movie’s climax, although it was still fun, crossed into that currently-fashionable kind of superhero writing that seems to think that if they can make it look real, you’ll believe it, but on which I just have to call bullshit. To me, that was one of only two small weaknesses (that Lynda Carter didn’t have a cameo was the second), neither of which was a big deal in comparison to how much I loved, loved, loved the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay Post author

      They tried their best to get Carter in there. She tours with a band now and that schedule kept her from appearing – but there’s always the sequel!

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  19. Chris Scott

    I too loved it but even better for me was seeing my wife and daughters enjoy it. My five year old wanted her hair done today like child Diana so that she could go to school as Wonder “Girl”. It is a film that is long overdue and I’m glad that everyone has rallied behind it because it really is great.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay Post author

      Aw, that’s got to be a great feeling. I was reading how Patty Jenkins so deliberately kept that rating down so that little girls could go see it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  20. TheMumblr

    I read the first line of your review a couple days ago but I wanted to watch the movie and review it myself before reading the rest. Suffice to say it took a surprising turn after that first line! 😄

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  21. Hazziesof

    Wonderful review! It’s so funny because I teared up at almost every fight scene. I already knew this was possible, but finally seeing it done so well after so long is just amazing. It’s about darn time.

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  22. Pingback: Mission Impossible: Make The Mummy Good | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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