My Wonder Woman Review. Better late than never.

Author’s Note

This review is coming out waaay later than it should have. However, as a parent of a small child with SPD and ADHA, things like blog posts get placed on hold. But here we go! Let’s talk about Wonder Woman.

As the parent of a child under the age of five, I don’t get to the movies all that often. The count as of last year is around four. Four movies viewed on the silver screen in a calendar year. Before that, it was zero. Now that my semi-nuclear family is back in the states with relatives nearby to watch the wee one, my husband and I periodically make it to see new releases before they hit Netflix and cable. A month back (or so), we made it to a matinee of Wonder Woman. Before I get into how much I love this movie, let’s first chat about the trailers.

I rarely get excited about upcoming releases. With most being stale remakes of old classics, it’s not hard to see why trailers send me into either a yawning fit or make me cringe with horror, especially if it’s a beloved childhood favorite being dragged through the remake mill. Pete’s Dragon, for instance, looked promising and ended up being the worst thing I’ve seen since Plan 9 from Outer Space. Yet, Plan 9 only made me feel bad for Ed Wood. The Pete’s Dragon remake made me angry. My son couldn’t even watch past the first five minutes, having been traumatized by the car accident and wolf attack. But we’re not here to talk about bad movies. We’re here to talk about exciting ones.

Atomic Blond

I couldn’t contain the maniacal grin this trailer produced. Charlize Theron looked so badass as Lorraine Broughton, I wanted to be in the room with her. Not talking with her, she wouldn’t give me the time of day. But I wanted to be near her. Let some of her amazingness flake off her shoulders like golden dandruff onto my five foot three-inch head. The outfits, the lighting, the fight scene choreography. All of it screamed for my pocketbook to be ten bones lighter and my gums filled with popcorn kernels.

 

 

The Dark Tower

A lifelong Stephen King fan, I read The Gunslinger as a teenager and fell in love with Roland immediately. I scared my husband with my gasp of excitement when I learned Idris Elba had been cast as the intrepid Gunslinger. Matthew McConaughey received less than stellar reviews. One review was so disenchanted they linked his portrayal of the Man in Black to Ru Paul imitating Clint Eastwood. But this means little to me. As the Man in Black, that sounds perfect. If you haven’t read King thoroughly, you aren’t privy to the Man in Black. He’s the supreme evil in King’s world. Over and over he shows up in different forms throughout King’s work. He was in The Stand, Needful Things, and Eyes of the Dragon to name a few. Each time he has a new persona and new human skin suit to hide amongst the crowd. Why not a flamboyant cowboy?

Murder on the Orient Express

This was one of those rare occasions where a remake made me sit up and pay attention. Being a huge Agatha Christie fan, and fan of murder mysteries in general, I was probably more excited for this remake than was appropriate for a public venue. But with a star-studded cast, beautiful sets and costuming (multi award nominee and winner, Alexandra Bryne), and great source material to pull from, who wouldn’t be excited? I’ll admit, I can wait to view this one at home, but that doesn’t diminish my excitement.

And now for our feature presentation. . .

Wonder Woman

Before the story ventures away from the island of Themyscira, I had teared up at least four times. That’s how engaging and heartfelt Diana’s origin story is. She’s young and has great potential as a fighter, but her mother, Hippolyta, tries to shield her from what will ultimately become her purpose on earth. In secret, her aunt, Antiope, one of the great warriors of Themyscira, trains her niece to fight.

The relationship between the two women is wonderful and complex and is something that cries for further exploration. In fact, all the Amazonians cry for greater development. I would have been happy as a pig in mud to have had the entirety of the story take place on Themyscira. Imagine that. A superhero movie with a cast of nothing by women. How men’s rights groups would get their boxers in a bunch over that. Fills my shriveled feminist heart with glee. But we live in the real world, not one where an all-female cast can carry an action movie like the menfolk can.

Gods only

Another aspect of Wonder Woman I found remarkable was the use of god as a term. Never is goddess used, which is so refreshing. This places Diana on par with all the male deities in the Parthenon, with the exception of Zeus.

Grammatically, adding ess to the end of a word in English to feminize it is referred to as a diminutive. This added ess signals that the noun receiving the affix is smaller, less important than the noun not receiving the affix. Goddess, actress, waitress, stewardess, hostess, etc. It’s really irritating, and I’m happy to see the practice begin to fall along the wayside. Now if we could just stop calling grown women girls…

I have two beefs with this film. The first is how it shifts as Diana leaves home to help fight Ares, the god of war. It goes from being an all-female cast to one where Diana is the only woman around, with two exceptions. Etta the secretary, played by Lucy Davis and Dr. Maru, the evil scientist, played by Elena Anaya. Etta’s on screen presence blew me away. She was quick witted, saucy, and did her job with efficiency. I kept waiting for her to return, but sadly, she’s only in two to three brief scenes. Dr. Maru on the other hand hardly says a word. Her characterization is comprised mostly of frightening smiles, petulant scowls, and wide eyed anger. There was so much to work with, but it ended up as an Utter disappointment.

The other irritation I have is how love is played with in the story. I am all for love. Love is grand. Love makes the world turn. Well, not really, but you get my point. However, love gets thrown around in action movies like a hot potato. In Wonder Woman, Diana’s love for a man is what makes her become her true self. It’s what makes her destiny possible. If the story had stayed on Themyscira, we could have had the same outcome but with Diana’s love for her mother, her aunt, her people, or her home. Instead become her turning point. Instead, it’s because of a man.

Annoying, over done tropes aside, I loved Wonder Woman and I can’t wait to see what Gal Godot further brings to the role. She certainly proved her chops in this first installment of DC’s re-imagining of Wonder Woman.

Photo Credit

Wonder Woman: Interior artwork from Justice #5 (June 2006). Pencils by Doug Braithwaite, paints by Alex Ross.

Cynthia Varady

Cynthia Varady

Cynthia Varady is an award-winning freelance writer and co-owner of the book review website, DuelingLibrarians.net. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. Cynthia has her BA in English Literature from Sonoma State University, and her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Occasionally, Cynthia can be found voicing characters in casual video games, including Stella in the Aveyond series. She is presently working on a young adult fantasy novel.

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