Wonder Woman

Day 72. 13 pages, 6,109 words.

Some spoilertext, but not much. Don’t want spoilers, skip the review and go and see the movie.

Well, this was just a grand old time at the cinema. I can’t really think of any part of it I didn’t enjoy. It was visually stunning, the plot and premise were elegant and very timely, the writing was tight, the action was exciting and as many things exploded as I could possibly have wished for.

There were superhero landings, epic duels of Massively Overpowered Divine Beings, and no spinning sky-vortex of death.

sky-vortex

Okay, some of these are a bit on the nose … but come on. I know we suck too much to actually even think about going into space anymore, and we’re going to be ground-crawling shit-monkeys forever – but do we really hate the sky that much? This is getting pretty Freudian, yo.

I don’t feel the need to complain about anything here. Yes, there were similarities between this story and the first Captain America story. That’s inevitable and I think the parallels – and the cultural commentary – were really interesting. It’s probably a side-effect of where I am with my own writing and current events in general, that the over-arching theme of “maybe it’s not Ares, maybe we’re just fucking savages” really speaks to me.

Diana’s battles on the Western Front were amazing, the folding together of superhero kickassery and World War 1 ordnance and machinery was raw and brutal and just brilliant to watch. And she managed to be basically Kryptonian-level unstoppable while remaining very human, which is an impressive line for the filmmakers to walk. My hat is off to the writers, director and of course actors involved.

Although as Mrs. Hatboy also pointed out, I can’t help but wonder what Diana had to say about it when World War 2 started. I mean, she stuck around until Batman vs. Superman, that’s some serious benefit of the doubt.

bomb-blast

“Wait … you mean there were Gods after Zeus and Ares? What was Their stance on the whole ‘war’ thing? Was it bad? … It was bad, wasn’t it.”

And yes, the plot was relatively standard: Superhero / Demigod[1] saves the day, learns stuff about people, saves them anyway, makes friends, loses friends, has a fight with a big CGI baddie, has a special weapon, loses special weapon, finds out the special weapon was Them All Along … yes, it was somewhat by the numbers. But so what? Deadpool was by the numbers. And Deadpool was fucking amazing.

[1] Or just flat-out God, really.

We’ve seen what happens when DC in particular tries to be edgy and clever. Give us by the numbers any day. And this isn’t to say that Wonder Woman didn’t have surprises, twists, and clever stuff in it – it did. But it met expectations first, and then went the extra mile.

Very well done.

And that soundtrack. So good.

Although…

Where did she get the sword from when fighting Doomsday in Batman vs. Superman? Is it a different sword that just looks the same? Just a random sword because she found out long ago that the weapon was Her All Along? And where was Aquaman? Don’t give me that “he wasn’t born” cop-out. Where was he damnit?

So many questions.

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41 Responses to Wonder Woman

  1. brknwntr says:

    I’m not going to spoiler text this because
    a) I’m on my phone, and I cant
    b) I know for a fact that your other regular commenter was at the movies with you last night.

    We saw her copy Ares power of flight when she had been previously unable to do such. Although this does spoil my hopes for an invisible jet….. thats beside the point. He was able to craft his armor and weapons from his surroundings, and they appeared to be more than simply bits of rubble. I assume as she still has the hilt of the sword she simply remade it.

    • stchucky says:

      Good points. But yeah, she did have some pretty solid power-sets there.

    • dreameling says:

      The Amazons of the movie seemed pretty backwards with their technology. Diana certainly was no engineer. Where would the Invisible Plane even come from? If they are going to introduce it, I’m guessing Bruce Wayne’s probably gonna build it for her. (But since she can fly, there’s no need for the plane, as you say.)

      Speaking of which, why were the Amazons so ancient-world-y? Did no one ever leave the island to keep tabs on humans and maybe keep up to date with science and technology? This movie is sending such a wrong message for girls interested in STEM fields!

      • stchucky says:

        I think the idea was that they were the ancestral enemies of Ares, and had this set idea of what “war” meant. In making war personal, swords and spears and fists, you make it about bravery and resolve, you make it between warriors and generals, and the innocent are left out of it.

        That was the driving point of the movie for me – her shock and horror when she saw what men had made war into, in the centuries since the last Battle of the Gods.

      • dreameling says:

        Sure, that makes thematic sense, but it doesn’t make story world sense. The Amazons just hid away on their island for thousands of years with zero contact to the outside world and with apparently zero cultural or technological development? Man.

      • stchucky says:

        Makes perfect story world / in-universe sense to me. So I guess I’m on the happy side of this conundrum once again.

      • stchucky says:

        And whaddaya talking about, Doctor Poison was clearly an advanced chemist.

      • dreameling says:

        But she’s not the ROLE MODEL! Well, she’s not supposed to be one.

      • stchucky says:

        Isn’t she by gum.

  2. Mrs Vindictive says:

    Aquaman! Wooo!!!

  3. dreameling says:

    Yeah, this was a good one. Had fun watching it, and enjoyed the heck out of watching Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Chris Pine was also really good, definitely above average.

    The big CGI-driven boss fight at the end was the only bit that didn’t grab me. Too familiar, to CGI, too bulk, too meh. If only they’d done something cool and different with it. (No spinning sky-vortex of death was a definite bonus, though.)

    • stchucky says:

      I think they painted themselves into a corner a bit, because Diana was a physical superhero, who needed to defeat Ares by punching him. Could she have solved it some other way, by refusing to fight or by joining the effort to end the war on human terms, thus rendering Ares powerless? Maybe, but that’s a big ask.

      So they were left with making Remus Lupin into the Skyrim Guy. Which, okay, that happened.

      I get that he made sense as a “twist” Ares, but I really thought Doctor Poison was going to have more to do in that final fight as well. Maybe there was a solution for them there?

      Ah well, it was fine the way it was. And Pine was actually pretty darn good.

      • dreameling says:

        I’m not opposed to big end fights. Bring it. But they could’ve done something more interesting and fresh than CGI + explosions + CGI + punching + CGI + more punching at a very uninteresting airport. And the CGI was so-and-so at points, which usually takes you out of it.

        The setting and the action could’ve been more interesting. For example, they could’ve taken it back full-circle to the Amazon island, and made the whole Amazon mythology and backstory stuff more integral to the plot and Ares’s endgame. With less but higher-quality CGI.

        Something other than a bulk CGI fight in a bulk tarmac setting with bulk explosions and bulk superpower effects.

      • stchucky says:

        I like to think they’re saving Themyscira for a later movie’s end game. It’s hard to believe she never went back there in a hundred years, but even if she really is living by her “never return” policy, I guess there’s a trip back there for the back pocket.

        And you complain about every Big Bad in these movies. Dormammu wasn’t other enough for you. Ares wasn’t interesting enough for you. I shudder to think what you would have had to say about Ego, the Living Planet, if you hadn’t been busy shitting all over that entire movie.

        (Yes, because apparently it now needs to be said every time: 100% hyperbole. Crybaby.)

      • dreameling says:

        Ego was OK. I didn’t quite buy the sudden hurry the ancient immortal had with carrying out his master plan with Peter, and the whole “I’m actually evil” twist was a bit meh, but Kurt Russell certainly got more chewy material than most big baddie actors (since big baddies in superhero movies have been notoriously underwritten and weak characters).

      • stchucky says:

        Fair to say. I agree (pre-emptively already did so in my review, anyway).

      • brknwntr says:

        I think it depends on where her mother put the emphasis in that sentence.

        “If you leave, you may not return”

        Although her bit at the end seemed to indicate it was a choice, and I seem to recall comic book WW being able to return home. However when she was leaving I got the impression that her mother was saying she couldn’t come back, and only later did I feel that maybe it was an implication that she might die.

        Not being able to return would explain the locked in place technology though.

      • stchucky says:

        Not being able to return would explain the locked in place technology though.

        That’s true.

        I was also surprised at how apparently easy it was to stumble on the island, it was a day’s sailing trip from London and ze Germanz were able to just cruise on in there. What were the odds of it being hidden that long?

        Or – bear with me on this – is it the same as the island in Lost, and moves around? That would make getting back difficult.

      • brknwntr says:

        It wasn’t even a day, it was one night, at MOST 8 hours, and he brushed it off by saying “we caught a ride.” I was supremely unhappy with that explanation. The logical place for an island of Amazon’s, descended from the Greek gods would have been the Mediterranean Sea. So I could have accepted them coming ashore on the African coast, or anywhere in France, Italy, or Greece. Which a map of the WWI Western Front reveals to me were all under Allied control. It would not have been hard then to show them traveling to London, or even just to jump them to London if they didn’t want to be all LoTR about the traveling scenes. It felt lazy to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out later that a scene had been cut there. Hell, they could have had Aquaman (Woo) give them a seen or unseen helping hand as their “caught a ride.” Even THAT would have been less annoying.

      • stchucky says:

        Yeah, I assumed (obviously as we all did, and were supposed to) that it was that big old boat, but even that would have taken a while to get anywhere. I vote missing scene too, or a bit of lazy writing.

      • dreameling says:

        Although her bit at the end seemed to indicate it was a choice, and I seem to recall comic book WW being able to return home. However when she was leaving I got the impression that her mother was saying she couldn’t come back, and only later did I feel that maybe it was an implication that she might die.

        It was ambiguous, I agree, but I got the impression Mom was talking about Diana dying.

        Not being able to return would explain the locked in place technology though.

        It would, absolutely. But that did not seem to be the case, since people were entering and leaving freely. And didn’t that first German guy even stuck his head in and out several times?

      • brknwntr says:

        This is true.

      • stchucky says:

        Not being able to return would explain the locked in place technology though.

        It would, absolutely. But that did not seem to be the case, since people were entering and leaving freely. And didn’t that first German guy even stuck his head in and out several times?

        That leaves us (magic just being science the rules of which we do not properly understand yet) with a few options.

        The first and easiest answer is that the shield completely hid the island, making it intangible right up to that point – because that was the point at which Ares started to show His hand and Diana’s time of Destiny had come. So the shield then let people through, while maintaining the Skull-Island-esque mist and stuff, and hiding it from view.

        Another option is that we have wandered into Stargate-tech areas. The Stargate always seems to know when a complete object has gone through it. It won’t shut down (until 38 minutes later) when you’re halfway in. The German bloke stuck his head through, withdrew it, then went forward again, he didn’t seem to completely withdraw – the air was still funky around him. And the front of his boat was sticking through either way.

        It’s also possible that that sort of brief motion through the veil (sorry, this shit’s a veil now) is fine, but fully leaving closes the door behind you and you find yourself just adrift in an empty sea, no way back. So you can go there, and you can leave, but you can’t go back a second time.

        Or the island has always been that way, and just nobody ever crossed that bit of water. And you can go back anytime as long as you know where you’re going, because the “you may not come back” just meant “you could be killed”.

        Plus, we know basically nothing (in this incarnation of the character) about the Amazons, and the rules of their universe. Are they actually immortal, or are they just like Asgardians? They don’t seem to have normal lifespans, on account of the queen having been queen for a long time. But do they become immortal when they leave the island? Or was it just Diana? The rest of them seemed much more vulnerable to “modern” weapons than Diana was, even before she really started coming into her power. There were women of different ages on the island, and Diana of course grew to adulthood. How many actual years passed? When was Diana “made”? Is the shield and the lasso and other stuff technology by another name? Or are the Greek Gods for-real Gods and it’s all magic? What does that do to the DC universe? Do we really want to get into the God-vs.-higher-life-form thing again?

        It depends where you fall on the spectrum from “I’m fine with hand-waving as-the-plot-demands states of affairs” to “I demand a rational explanation for this or my crabapple-sized head will explode with a funny little pliff sound”. And no, I am not suggesting any of us are at either end of that spectrum, I just thought the extremes made for funny writing.

      • dreameling says:

        Sure, there are any number of in-universe ways you could explain the shield and the Amazonian cultural non-development. The problem is that the movie offered zero explanation, which leaves me defaulting to the simplest answer: The writers didn’t think about it. There’s no explanation. Theme and story required the Amazons to be a certain way, so that Diana got set up a certain way, and that’s all there is to it. And that makes the Amazons look kinda dumb. Which, to my mind, is a disservice to the DC movie verse.

      • stchucky says:

        I don’t draw the connection you obviously do between “the writers didn’t explain it / the writers didn’t think about it / the writers left this open” and “these characters are / this in-universe concept is dumb”. That seems really unfair to me.

        But again, sleep deprived and not giving this proper thought. If that’s the impression you got, that’s the impression you got.

        To be continued.

      • dreameling says:

        It is unfair. But that’s the impression I’m left with if writers don’t put effort into thinking about background stuff in a way that’s apparent on-screen, even if only subtly. I’m happy to speculate about background stuff, but there needs to be something in the movie to hang my ideas on, for them to have any weight and sustain me until a sequel comes along with proper canon explanations.

      • stchucky says:

        It is unfair. But that’s the impression I’m left with if writers don’t put effort into thinking about background stuff in a way that’s apparent on-screen, even if only subtly. I’m happy to speculate about background stuff, but there needs to be something in the movie to hang my ideas on, for them to have any weight and sustain me

        No, on sleep and reflection it’s entirely fair. As you said yourself, it’s a disservice to the characters and story, but that’s on the writers, not on you.

        Carry on, sir. Carry the fuck on.

        until a sequel comes along with proper canon explanations.

        Heh, you mean like Covenant explained Prometheus?

      • dreameling says:

        It’s unfair to the characters and the world, since the writers didn’t do their job to the fullest. But yeah, if the writers/creators fail to do something or include something in the story/movie, then obviously the finished product will lack that, and that reflects immediately on the characters and the world.

      • dreameling says:

        Heh, you mean like Covenant explained Prometheus?

        You motherfucker. Too soon. Too soon.

      • dreameling says:

        Which is to say that not all sequels actually compensate for the failings of their predecessors. 🙂

      • stchucky says:

        But, every one of these discussions makes me prouder of your appreciation for my worldbuilding, dreameling. At least this writer puts in the effort, am I right??

      • brknwntr says:

        I wasn’t surprised by Remus being Ares, but maybe that’s because I have a very cynical outlook on humanity. I fully expected the “good guys” to turn out to be harboring the “bad guy.” That just made sense to me with where it seemed like they were going with the “humanity doesn’t deserve you” and “there is much you do not understand about mankind” themes.

  4. stchucky says:

    Half in the Bag is on point as always.

    • stchucky says:

      Buttercup levelled up and made Wonder Woman. What a lovely crossover.

      It is sweet. I’ve seen it and had it posted to me too many times (often with the disclaimer OMG I HAD NO IDEA THEY WERE THE SAME ACTOR) to give it a fair go now though. It just seems like another facet of the over-political Meaning and Importance this movie has been given, I just want to avoid that whole thing. Plus, obviously, finding actors who were in other things and making bizarre crossovers is totally my thing and nobody else is allowed to do it.

      This was cute though.

      • dreameling says:

        I don’t care about the gender politics involved either. I think this movie’s been saddled with too much feminist and gender package, and given too much feminism cred. I just like the idea that a character I like (Buttercup) played by an actor I really like (Wright) did this meta-crossover to a movie I like (Wonder Woman).

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