Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wonder Woman

My favorite Golden Age female hero is Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado, who put on a costume to rescue children kidnapped by members of the mob.

My second favorite Golden Age female hero is Wonder Woman.

Ma Hunkel is not likely to get a movie in my lifetime, but Wonder Woman now has a highly successful movie that I have now seen twice, which is twice more than I usually see movies in the theater. I saw it last Friday with my sister, who was visiting, and tonight again with my husband.

First off, I'm going to get some of the non-movie thoughts out of the way. There were four previews on both showings I saw. The first was for Blade Runner 2049, which I was unaware of for some reason (I blame my constant brain fog). The second preview was for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and both audiences laughed when the other guy tried on the suit. The third preview was for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and hubby-Eric turned to me and quietly said, "Did Mark Hamill just say more in this trailer than he did in all the previous movie?" And the last trailer made me squee both times I saw it on the big screen, although not as much as when I saw it on-line first... Justice League. I cheered Aquaman (I wore an Aquaman t-shirt to both viewings) and wanted to see it again. In fact, I almost convinced myself that the only reason I agreed to go see Wonder Woman again was to see the Justice League trailer on the big screen a second time.

I was reminded again why I don't like going to theaters to see movies. At the first showing, the first seat I sat in was bad, with the seat apparently broken and sloping down. I sat in a different seat for the movie, but if it had been crowded, it could have been an issue. Also, there were a number of people texting and talking throughout both viewings. The talking was quiet enough it almost never bothered me, but the texting was blindingly obvious - I mean literally blinding. I don't care how low you've set the brightness on your phone, it's going to show up in a dark movie theater and it's going to annoy me.

Right... on to the movie itself. Warning - there may be spoilers ahead.

I enjoyed the framing device, which was another reminder of the Justice League movie. When the movie heads to Themyscira, it gets good, though. The child they got to play young Diana, Lilly Aspel, is wonderful. She was so cute I wanted to hug her and tell her it was going to be all right. Seeing Robin Wright, Princess Buttercup, as a mighty warrior and general was so lovely I could hardly contain myself when she came on screen.

Speaking of great roles, Lucy Davis was spectacular as Etta Candy, and I really wish there'd been a bit more with her character. What we got was hardly enough to do justice to such an awesome supporting character. I was, however, very happy with what we did see of her. None of the nonsense, all of the strength. To see her carry the sword *and* spot the spies was great.

I also really enjoyed Eugene Brave Rock, who played a smuggler helping the team. His frank discussion with Diana about the history of his people after "the last war" was very well done - underlining how enemies become allies and what war does to people. Because he spoke so plainly it didn't hurt to hear until after I thought about it.

Gal Gadot was truly wonderful in the title role, and at times I swear she was channeling Lynda Carter. The only thing missing was the spin move to change clothes. However, the trench scene where she unpins her hair and drops all pretense was almost as good. On the second viewing I focused on the looks on the faces of the soldiers watching her in that scene. Nicely done.

For me, the no man's land scene was the best in the movie. Her rising from the trench and swatting away a couple of bullets before the full on attack started was great. The way the men in the trench all wanted to follow her - you can hear the commanders telling them to stay down - it was inspiring. The whole sequence was just perfect for a superhero movie. What led up to that scene was also important, starting with Diana seeing the wounded on the dock, to seeing people fleeing the war, to seeing people she can help but her team refuses to stop - you can see the frustration growing, and the battle for Veld is literally Diana being sick and tired of not acting. It is a relief and a release for her, and the audience.

There were lots of great scenes. I loved when Diana meets Sammy and has a multi-language discussion with him. I also enjoyed her surprising the gathered generals with her knowledge - and her surprise that they didn't recognize the languages as well. In fact, the flat-out establishment of Diana as knowing a ton of languages was just a great touch. It's a super-power that many people can attempt to acquire, and I hope it inspires more children to learn multiple languages.

On the first viewing of the movie, I felt it dragged a little. There were scenes that seemed to go a little too long, and a few too many slo-mo shots. But on the second viewing all of those magically disappeared. I don't know why - perhaps because I was ready for them? In any case, this was one of those movies that definitely got better on a second viewing. I caught more bits and pieces, background moments and stuff that I knew to look for on the second round. Looks between people, and just good acting. I am actually looking forward to seeing it again when it comes out on video.

If I had the energy, I could certainly go on a bit longer. But it's getting late and my brain is already fried from reading a novel and watching a movie today, so I think I'll close this post with this thought - DC got this one right. They had BETTER get Justice League and Aquaman right, too, darn it!

And one final non-movie thought. My favorite Golden Age character is Aquaman. My second favorite is Ma Hunkel. And Wonder Woman is third... but it sounded a little better to start with the female favorites, for some reason.

Have you seen Wonder Woman? What did you think?