Tales of the Cool and The Wicked


Wonder Woman

Popcorn...check. Milk Duds...check. Plucky female companion...check.

Lucy Lawless should be very proud. Way back in 1995  Lawless' television series Xenia: Warrior Princess proved that a female protagonist could establish a strong market share in the action adventure genre.  Fast forward to 2017 and Gal Gadot has echoed that success as an adventure heroine. Did I have my doubts about Gadot's ability to rock the magic lasso of truth? Absolutely. Mainly, because my only exposure to Gadot was from  her screen time in the Fast and Furious franchise. The Gadot of FF didn't seem to have the range of gravitas or physicality needed to embody the Amazon from Themyscria.  Those initial reservations were put to rest by Gadot in last year's Batman v Superman. In fact, I felt her presence in Batman v Superman made for the most intriguing  moments in the film. She displayed the screen presence of an ambassador of peace who had personal experience in the murkiness of war. She also proved she could achieve an action physique of Frank Zane quality aesthetics and classic proportions.   Overall, I was primed for great things from Gadot's solo outing and in that regard Wonder Woman did not disappoint.  The film takes it's time with a metered cadence that has some of it's best moments during Diana of Themyscria's childhood. As a person of high melanin content, I was very happy to see the diversity of the women inhabiting Paradise Island. Subsequently, I also felt that Themysicra was were the director exhibited the best application of lighting and cinematography skills. Themysicra rose beyond it's fictional Paradise Island setting and actually seemed more real than the later seen set dressing of London.  Perhaps, the neo classical inspired design structure of Themyscira held more of a familiarity because it was so reminiscent what we've be conditioned to expect to see.  

I enjoyed Chris Pine in the role of Steve Trevor. It would be nice if Pine could channel a bit of his Trevor mannerisms while in his day job of James Kirk. Hey, I'm just saying; Pine's Kirk is a jerk that nobody would follow into battle...but I digress. It was also a treat, pardon the pun, to see the delightful appearance of Etta Candy once Diana reaches London.  Woo woo, it was admittedly a little campy to watch Etta introduce Diana to 1918 era haute couture but I did find myself laughing along with the gag.  After that the film takes a somber turn as the idealistic Diana encounters the politics and utter senselessness of war. She is helped along the way by Steve Trevor and a ragamuffin crew of not so Howling Commandos. Again, I really liked the diversity of Diana's crew however,  having the Native American throwing smoke signals was not cool.  

Did I enjoy the movie? Hell yeah. Would I recommend it to a non comics fan? Yes, but mostly because the strength of the early Paradise Island scenes. The first 30 minutes or so of the film were strongest and easiest to relate to. This is because Diana's childhood on Themyscira had many universal themes as defined in The Hero's Journey. Plus, the beautiful location shots almost served as a character embodiment. Paradise Island seemed to breathe life.  I will add that all the action scenes were on point!  First of all, those Amazons got rowdy as mofo. Secondly,  Wonder Woman  was apt to put a fool in check with absolutely  zero hesitation. Ultimately, that portrayal of Wonder Woman as someone who stands up and speaks truth to power  when there is foolery going down is the film's high point. Director, Patty Jenkins, had an excellent handle of that defining aspect of Wonder Woman's character and the emphasis elevated this film.

Robert StewartComment