Friday, October 27, 2017

Wonder Woman: A Class Above Most Other Superhero Movies

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)
Version: Library borrow

While my daughter and I saw Despicable Me 3 in the theater, my wife saw Wonder Woman. She said it was a great movie, and having seen it now myself, I can say she was right! I loved Wonder Woman, a class above most other superhero movies I have seen lately.

Diana is the princess of the Amazons, living on an island hidden from the god of war Aries, where she lives a sheltered life of privilege and protection. She has been secretly trained by her aunt, her mother the queen thinking she will never be in danger because their world is shielded from discovery. And then a war plane crashes off the coast and German war planes and warships come crashing through the shield to find the pilot, Steve Trevor, who tells her of the evil beyond her shores. Diana decides she can't stay in her safe haven while the world struggles beyond, and she leaves with Trevor to use her powers to save the world. And from there, it's Wonder Woman against the powers of World War I Germany and, she is sure, Aries who motivates them. Trevor is at her side, along with a small crew of memorable soldiers of fortune, who help Diana take down a huge host of bad guys.

Portrayed in the old TV series as a hot chick with amazing powers, this new film version features a woman superhero with substance. Diana is clearly a force to be reckoned with, and while she shows human vulnerabilities, there is never a moment in the story where she can't overcome them. Far from it. Yes, it's her uncertainties that put her in danger, yet it's when Diana realizes her full potential and the responsibilities of privilege that she dominates what at first seem like weaknesses to beat her enemies. And while the men cower behind metal in battle, Diana steps out to fearlessly battle bullets and bombs to win the day. She's one badass Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman features a great cast. Gal Gadot is commanding as Diana, with Robin Wright as her imperial mother, Antiope. Chris Pine is irrepressible as Steve Trevor. The lovable soldiers of fortune are played by Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer, Ewen Bremner as Charlie, and Eugene Brave Rock as The Chief. You won't find a more eery pair of bad guys than Danny Huston as Ludendorff and Elena Anaya as Dr. Maru (Dr Poison). David Thewlis fits in there somewhere as Sir Patrick, although I refuse to tell you how -- you'll just have to watch it to find out.

Now, no film is perfect, and Wonder Woman has its flaws. For instance, there are the occasional plot holes. Such as the battleship that pierces the island's shield to find Trevor's downed plane, but then just disappears without explanation when the story tellers are through with it as a threat. And Trevor suddenly appears with a German uniform to sneak into a military installation, without telling where he gets it. Those are just a couple of examples. But you can forgive these indiscretions when you enjoy the basic plot of the movie and characters and the acting.

There are so many superhero movies these days, it's easy to get tired of them and say, "Oh, not another one!" But I can tell you, Wonder Woman isn't just another superhero movie. It has great depth, with good writing, great acting, and a fresh take on an old story line. See it!

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