Tag Archives: DC Comics

Wonder Woman Sails Into Shiny Waters

So obviously a lot has been going on in recent months all about, but I did manage to go see the long awaited and much speculated about Wonder Woman movie, starring Gal Gadot. I enjoyed it overall and give it about a B+ grade, which, given the DC multiverse’s film record the last few years, is quite good. The action scenes were mostly great, very cleverly done, the cinematography and use of color and audio with homages to the comics themselves was interesting and nicely shaped by the director, Patty Jenkins. The special effects were sometimes a bit uneven – some of them were great but a few looked a bit too electronic game animation-like. That’s going to happen, though, and it’s pretty amazing at how extensive a range of things they can CGI create now. There were a few points of the plot that didn’t make a great deal of sense – par for the course in action movies – and the ending had some very good dramatic stuff but also a fair amount of hokey stuff that didn’t quite pull it together as well as it might have been done.

But that also is a bit of a Wonder Woman tradition and they managed to set up Wonder Woman’s role in the up-coming Justice League movie quite well. There were a lot of shout-outs to the Wonder Woman comics, although the story and action were moved to World War I, the war that greatly changed both war itself and the idea of empire. They managed to jigger together the character’s many re-booted back stories to give her a cohesive background origin that worked with the movie’s main arc.

Gadot herself gave a very strong performance. She brought easy physicality to the role and handled the tricky mix of naïvety and smarts that is Diana first leaving her island about as well as could be managed. The main costume was still too Xena-ish but the movie may have started a new fashion trend of swords down the back of evening dresses (and the use of the sword was explained in the film.) Chris Pine showed his all to the audience as American spy Steve Trevor (and I do mean literally all.) He also had a tricky balance between playing a man of the 1918 time period trying to explain it to Diana and one who accepts backing her plays as leader in a changing world, as well as an island of warrior women, and I think he did a good job. Their canon romance was a bit rushed for the movie’s sake, but that really couldn’t be helped and they had good chemistry. The movie did a good job on the difficult issues of war and humanity that both of them have to grapple with, (though again the ending could have been stronger.)

Non-white representation in the movie was not great, which was a bit of a disappointment. Two major black canon characters were cut from the Amazons and WOC were token among them (though they did beautifully in their action scenes.) The main Amazon roles went to white, not particularly Mediterranean  appearing actresses — Robin Wright was steely sharp as Diana’s “fun” aunt and Connie Nielsen had the rather thankless role of Diana’s worried queen mom, Hippolyta. Two major supporting characters were non-white men and both actors, Said Taghmaoui and Eugene Brave Rock, did really good performances with what they had. Problem is that what they had were awful stereotypes, which may have been partly because their characters were actually drawn from the DC Comics, but things definitely could have been improved in the script. The film seemed to acknowledge itself on the sad state of Hollywood in this area, including one very pointed line of dialogue delivered by Taghmaoui. So here’s hoping DC does better in the other movies.

Ewen Bremner also had to deal with some stereotypes – Scottish ones for his part – and managed to also give a nice performance nonetheless. Elena Anaya and the renowned Danny Huston made interesting villains. And Lucy Davis, who I particularly enjoyed in Shaun of the Dead, is a national treasure here as Trevor’s British assistant Etta, stealing every scene she’s in. The movie was not a laugh riot, given the subject matter, but it did use healthy doses of humor very effectively throughout, which is again a considerable improvement on the dour, muddled DC film universe so far. If you haven’t had a chance to catch the film yet, I’d say it’s well worth your time even if you’re not the biggest Wonder Woman fan, for the action visuals alone.

If the movie Wonder Woman had been a regular big action film in our ideal world, my little review above would be the only things needing to be talked about. But of course the movie in the sexist system we still have was made the flashpoint of “will woman superhero movies ruin us,” with an enormous amount of pressure, including the responsibility to prop up sagging enthusiasm for the entire DC franchise in preparation for the up-coming Justice League movie.

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Various Geek Article Links

Some interesting bits and news from the Internet:

 

Mindy at Skepchick ponders the science of Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Starkiller base

And speaking of Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Starkiller base, blogger Matty Granger fisks and debunks a really obnoxious article in the Huffington Post about plot holes in the movie. Not that there weren’t any plot holes in the movie, but I agree with Granger that there’s a big difference between inattention and actual plot holes.  Plus, it’s just a fun piece if you’re a Star Wars fan.

An announcement that Vanessa Hudgens will headline a new DC Comics sitcom. Which sounds like an interesting experiment.

The New York Times digs out a business piece from 1985 expressing that laptops and mobile computers is going to be a limited market, just to show that tech prediction is frequently not very predictive about how we’ll use tech.

Author Kevin Hearne gets author Ursula Vernon to do her rant about the potato apocalypse on Twitter.

An interesting experiment based on the Harry Potter world, though she seems to have cheated a good bit.

A rundown on everything you need to know about upcoming Disney movies. (The Mouse will not be stopped!)

 

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Wonder Woman is Haunting Me

I’m actually not the biggest fan of Wonder Woman, although I am fond of her as the most successful female superhero we’ve ever managed to have. So it’s a source of some amusement to me that she keeps popping up lately. First, it was the costume issue:

https://katgoodwin.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/the-costume-is-still-impractical/

Then it was the news that unlike Superman, Batman and various other DC heroes, Warner had decided to scrap the plans for a Wonder Woman movie and relegate her to a new television series.  This was soon followed by the news that Superman is getting yet another reboot and a new director, Zack Snyder, of 300 fame. And then an alert friend turned me on to this clip from the television Justice League cartoon, via SFSignal:

Apparently, Wonder Woman has been frolicking romantically with both Superman and Batman in the various DC comics, which is hardly a surprise, and there has also been a flirting romance going on in the Justice League television cartoon between Wonder Woman and Batman. It’s included such classic bits as the two pretend kissing in subterfuge (this one requires that annoying double-click):

So I think it would be kind of neat if in the next Batman movie, Wonder Woman showed up as the love interest, but obviously that’s not going to occur now with the television plans. Maybe some of the Smallville crew can show up on the new Wonder Woman show. But until that show is up and running, Wonder Woman — shoo!

(On the Marvel side of the fence, the new, totally unnecessary Spiderman reboot has hired actress of the moment Emma Stone to play Gwen Stacy, Spiderman’s first love. This seems to be an attempt to give old Gwennie an actual personality. )

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The Costume is Still Impractical

Of all the female superheroes who have graced comics, the one who is most well known, on a par with Batman, Spiderman and Superman, is Wonder Woman. The comic was not exactly a feminist landmark, even for the 1940’s,  and was initially saddled with fetishist content, but the icon outgrew her origins, turning into a pure-hearted, kick-ass warrior woman in a star spankled leotard, useful accessories and boots, and paving the way for countless female hero characters in spandex. Over the years, Wonder Woman made the transition to animated films and television shows with the other major superheroes and in the 1970’s, got her own live action show in the U.S., starring Lynda Carter, a woman who so looked like the embodiment of Wonder Woman, it was frightening.

With all the work to reboot major comic franchise characters from both the comic titans of Marvel and DC Comics, there has of course been interest in having a live action film of Wonder Woman in some form, but the project has been in limbo forever. One of the problems cited is that Wonder Woman looks like this:

wonderwoman_large

 

It being no longer the 1970’s, how, they wonder, do you get a live young actress into an outfit like that and not have it look utterly cheesy? (Although, seriously, in the days of reality shows and Lady Ga Ga, I don’t really understand why they are having this concern.) So DC Comics has now revamped Wonder Woman’s costume and completely changed her story in one of those alternate universe things that the comic folks like to do, and now she looks — at least in some comics — like this:

This has caused enormous debate, and it’s not all because the costume is slightly less sexy. Essentially what the rejiggered look does is make Wonder Woman look like every generic action movie heroine in a body suit and half the female comic characters as well. She’s Laura Croft with more jewelry. This then makes it very easy for an actress to slip into the costume, if the film ever makes it that far.

Will it matter if Wonder Woman’s new look has the personality of a toaster? Hard to say. But even with the update to a hip club ensemble, I am once again struck by the great impractibility of superhero costumes. The lack of pockets. Of lightweight body armor to dull the impact when the superhero is thrown. (Sure, Superman’s skin won’t be battered when he gets driven into a building, but if he had armor that absorbed some of the impact, he might not be driven so deep into the building and have to waste seconds climbing out of it.) Of practical boots with thick rubber soles. Basically, the old Wonder Woman fought crime in her bathing suit and the new one is fighting crime in her comfy pajamas. You’ve come a long way, baby. 🙂

And if they’re done now, could we have the movie please?

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