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Ken's Blog / Movie Reviews / Movies & TV

If Kal-El was the embodiment of HOPE in Man of Steel. Diana Prince is LOVE.

Diana Prince - Wonder Woman

 

Wonder Woman sends a powerful message about love, hope, and women power. ??

The DCCU curse is broken! The amazing cast and Director Patty Jenkins broke it!

Let’s start the review with, The story and plot.

(Brief Plot Overview) (Warning: Spoilers below!)

The movie’s story/plot is quintessentially a setup to the plot of Justice League. Apart from the prologue, the story begins with the Amazons who were created by the God Zeus. Their purpose is to protect mankind against the corruption of Ares, the god of war and other evil gods. In a mythical Ragnarok event, Ares slays all the gods in Mount Olympus until Zeus the last surviving god, withdrew all his last power to mortally-wound Ares. The god war then retreats from his heavy wounds. In Zeus’ fear of Ares return, he forged a weapon and gifted the Amazonians, the “Godkiller”, a ceremonial sword that was hidden and stored in Themyscira. “The god’s gave us many gifts, one day you will know them all” as told to Diana by Queen Hippolyta.

 

As a little girl, Diana eagerly desired to become an Amazon warrior, however her mother, Queen Hippolyta the leader of the Amazonians has a strong motherly instict of being over-protective of her child, for she hides a secret on what Diana truly is. However, that didn’t stop the little Amazonian princess from getting what she wants; with the strong encouragement of her Aunt, General Antiope, Diana was trained intensely by her through her younger years. She grew to be a formidable fighter, in midst of her training, here she discovers her hidden power.

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In the midst of self-contemplation, Diana witnesses a plan crashing, piloted by Steve Trevor. She witnesses her first sight of man, but her curiosity is cut short as a small platoon of German soldiers pursues the allied soldier. A battle ensues as Diana’s Aunt responds to the pursuing German forces, General Antiope is killed in combat, ths angers Queen Hippolyta, thus forcing her to take Steve into custody and put him on trial. With the help of the Lasso of truth, another gift from the God’s, Steve reveals he is a spy working for the Allied forces, revealing a stolen notebook from an evil chemist called Doctor Maru/Dr. Poison, who is planning to make a poisonous gas more deadlier than the mustard gas used in the war. The evil chemist is revealed to be influenced by a German Officer, General Erich Ludendorff. Ludendorff wants to continue the war with his deadly gas for global domination. This instinctively leads to Diana’s belief that the war is orchestrated by Ares himself, she hatches a plan and makes a deal with Steve in finding Ares so she could ultimately destroy the God of War.

 

When Diana and Steve reaches London, they waste no time to finish their individual goals. Steve, being the opportunist tries to use Diana as his cover and muse in order to get the attention of the Imperial War Cabinet and reveal the grand-plan of General Lunderdoff by showing the encrypted chemist journal of Dr. Maru’s deadly chemical weapon, given the stroke of luck, Diana is able to understand and read the combined languages of Greek and Ottoman that Dr. Poison cleverly tried to conceal in her chemical solutions. However, the War Council General is uninterested in listening to General Lunderdoff’s plan, and aims more for a diplomatic armistice to end the war, rather than foiling the General and evil doctor’s plan. Sir Patrick, a political diplomat who’s opinion is highly valued in the War Cabinet is mystified and impressed with Diana’s knowledge, curiosity struck him and therefore offers his help in Steve and Diana’s quest.

Diana Prince - Wonder WomanDiana is eventually convinced that Lunderdoff is Ares and urges Steve to pay up his deal and take her to him, Steve uses this as an advantage to go after Lunderdoff and stop his plan. The allied spy then suggests to bring the Amazonian princess and infiltrate the Western Front in Belgium, where Lunderdorf is currently situated. With Sir Patrick’s support and accompanied by Steve’s bohemian team, the witty spy Sameer, the rude marksman Charlie, and the jaded Indian smuggler Chief.

As they reached the Western Front, Diana eventually shows her true demigoddess powers by heroically pushing through a no man’s land trench and destroying enemy German soldiers with her shield and bare hands. This leads them to a nearby village where the people are used as slaves. Diana, without hesitation saves the town by destroying all the occupying German soldiers inside. In their brief victory over the trenches, the group gets their picture taken (a memorable photo seen earlier in the film and in Batman V Superman, discovered by Bruce Wayne). As the team bonded, Diana and Steve grew closer and develops a relationship.

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The team eventually finds out that Lunderdoff is hosting a gala at a nearby castle in their town. Quietly, the Steve sneaks in and infiltrates the party, as Steve intends to find out where Lunderdorff hides the deadly chemical weapon. Diana, however also sneaks in, and is now fully convinced that Ludendorff is Ares and realized, if she kills him, she can end the war of all wars. Steve confronts her and explains not to jeopardize the main mission, as the two argued, Lunderdorff escapes and releases the deadly gas in the nearby village their team has liberated, murdering every living thing in the village. Diana is angered by Steve’s intervention and goes alone to pursue Lunderdoff. She catches him in an airport with a bomber being loaded with the deadly gas, which is bound to bomb London. Diana then battles with Lunderdorff which she effortlessly wins and overpowers him, subsequently killing him, however she is surprised that he was not Ares. Sir Patrick suddenly appears, revealing that he was disguised all along and he is the real Ares. He informs Diana that his has no hand in this war, for he merely and subtly given humans their ideas and inspirations, it was mankind’s decision to act upon them and impose war and violence on one another. Ares then destroys the false “Godkiller” Diana wields, and tells her she is the real “Godkiller”. She is a demigoddess, the daughter of Zeus, and his half-sister.

Ares then tries to recruit Diana, he encourages her to destroy humanity once and for all, he tries to convince her that the humans have no place on this earth and that they should destroy all of them, but Diana has none of it, and fights off Ares in a godlike Ragnarok fashion. As the Mount Olympus gods clashed, Steve succeeded in hijacking the bomber carrying the deadly gas, as he flies off in a distance, he commits suicide by sacrificing himself, he shoots the gas containers on the plane, sparing and saving millions to where it was headed. Inspired by Steve’s sacrifice, selflessness and her envisioned last of words of his, “You can do nothing or something and I already tried nothing” Diana musters all her demigoddess strength and overpowers Ares, ultimately destroying him by using his own lighting.

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After she defeats the God of War Ares, Diana reunites with what’s left of the team, she is heartbroken by Steve’s death but she is still inspired nonetheless. After a few years has passed, and on to the present day, Diana is seen communicating with Bruce Wayne. She tell him, she now understands her mission, inspired by the love she felt with Steve Trevor, Diana reconstructs her mission, which is to protect all life, this explains her actions in Batman V. Superman and opens to the plot of the Justice League.

Here’s our five breakdown factors for our review:

Plot/Story/Character Dimensions/Dialogue: “What matters is what you believe”; said Wonder Woman, as naive and cheesy as it may have sound, Wonder Woman is what the world really needs right now. Her character contains the perfect amount of good, passion and power. It completely sells, and is relevant to the contemporary world today, her moral compass and conviction is her true strength beyond her demigoddess physical/magical powers. This new image of Wonder Woman who’s strength is not seen through physically but, within… embedded well in her naive yet bold and daring character.

The plot/story really took its time, the pacing wasn’t rushed at the beginning, Patty Jenkins let us slowly absorb what the Amazonians were all about, but it does not drag us all along as it swiftly intertwines with the narrative and character progression of Diana. The star couple, complemented each other with the optimism and pessimism of both, their ideals clashed into a single moral compass on what is realistic and what is idealistic, the two never figured it out until the end, that we may need both ideals to survive and win a war. The supporting characters had its fun points and serve as a fair comic relief, yet none of them were really distinguishable enough to remember.

The villains, unfortunately were all still one-dimensional, General Lunderdorff’s (Danny Huston) character only seemed to have one purpose but does not give enough reasons in his motives, while Dr. Maru/Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) may have been slightly rob for proper background story, what was her end goal? what catalyst of anger has she conjured to hate so much in humanity that motivated her to create the deadly gas? Lastly Ares, as almost cleverly hiding his character in Sir Patrick (David Thewlis), his hatred for humanity was not profoundly explored, but maybe it was wise enough to leave those for it could may have been a very lengthy movie, and the story is about Diana’s anyways.

Cast Acting Performance: Let’s start with the the most beautiful woman on earth, Gal Gadot, an Israeli born native who was born and raised in Rosh HaAyin. She received unfair criticisms back in 2015, some fans  were ridiculously commenting about her acting and the size of her chest, implying Amazon women were supposed to be voluptuous, Gal cunningly responded by saying. “The true amazons had only one breast, they cut the other one so it wont get in the way in their archery. So it’s not going to be like real amazons. We always try to make everyone happy but we can’t.”

Regardless of her chest size, Gal Gadot delivered a stellar performance of the naive Diana, who slowly learned the complexities of the humans through the patriotic Spy, Steve Trevor. (portrayed by Chris Pine), she quickly grows with her character development and convinced all of us, she really is Wonder Woman! The American accent is ditched with a far more believable Amazonian origin accent, but its her facial reactions that give life to Wonder Woman, from her despair, smugness to enlightenment, Gal convinces us she really is a demigoddess dealing with humankind.

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Chris Pine, backed up Gal on her performance, with the pessimistic, yet witty and “above average” Steve Trevor. Chris knows when to put slyness and awkwardness together and pulls off every scene he appears on. Every time Gal and Chris appears on the screen, whether together or not, these two animated the film and gave life to the story.

Supporting characters, such as the side-kicks, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock and Lucy Davis; all gave out good performances and individual comic relief, but none of them were really memorable enough to be iconic. The villains Danny HustonDavid Thewlis and Elena Anaya were all portrayed fairly well but their one dimensional characters prevented them from exploring and expressing their characters more, thus they seemed constrained and bounded on their dialogue to the script. The Amazonian cast support on the other-hand were quite memorable, even though they were seen in the beginning of the movie, Connie Nielsen majestically yet effortlessly portrays Queen Hippolyta the leader of the Amazons, she is poised to return in Justice League. The tough exterior, General Antiope, was well portrayed by Robin Wright, she convincingly showed us that she was a seasoned Amazonian fighter who knows how to kick-ass! She passed as a noble mentor to Diana.

Cinematography and Location: Wonder Woman has amazing locations, Themyscira is more enchanting and beautiful that I’ve expected. Rather than using greenscreens and CGI sets, the beautiful homeland of the Amazons was shot in 38 locations and across 3 countries in Europe. Several scenes of the Amazons’ city were shot in Matera, Basilicata (where little Diana was running through a market in the start of the movie) and other various locations in Italy, such as Castel del Monte, Andria,  Apulia, and many more.

The first battle scene where Diana and Steve first met was shot  in between the towns of Palinuro and Camerota, in Spiaggia di Capogrosso, Mingardo, Capogrosso and cala d’Arconte. A beautiful scenic scene where a bad-ass fight scene choreogprahy was shot between the Amazonians and the World War 1 German soldiers. Most of the principal filming was were shot in London, England. Sicilian Avenue, Trafalgar Square and various England streets where shot and re-modelled in CGI to capture the 19th century streets of London. The famous Louvre Museum in Paris had a brief cameo in the prologue and ending of the movie. Some of the closed-quarter scenes (Example: The French village, the Amazonian Courtroom) that required detailed designs of the background and surroudings were shot in the British Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden in Hertfordshire.

Production, Fight Choreography, Costume Design & Effects: The production and effects is downright believable and flawlessly blends with the films direction and tone. From the sets made, to the costumes of the Amazonians, to the World War 1 European costumes, every detail was believable. There are subtle homages to Zack Snyder style of slow-motion fight scenes and majestic poses, notably in the beach battle and in the Belgian trenches. Ares’ armor could have been done better but he still passed off as a believable Norse god. Wonder Woman’s iconic American costume was cleverly re-designed to an Amazonian origin but still remained the main colors to pay homage to the original American patriotism tone. Overall her armor may serve purpose and identity, but its her performance of the character that brought life to it.

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Soundtrack: The film has an animated soundtrack, which compliments well to each scene, from the subtle Amazonian theme song in Themyscira, to the subtle Victorian background music in London, and of course who could forget the iconic Wonder Woman main theme in the end, composed by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, first used in Batman V Superman as her introduction music, it sounds as chilling and awesome at the same time, and as Saïd Taghmaoui’s character Sameer said to Diana, “I am afraid and aroused at the same time.”

Overall: The film certainly still has laws but it is the best DC cinematic movie to date. It truly surpasses from the its predecessors like Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad. Hopefully this kind of tone is maintained in Justice League, coming this Nov. 2017, Joss Whedon  takes over post-production helm due to the tragic event that prompted Zack Snyder to temporarily relinquish his post. Patty Jenkins is announced that she is poised to still helm the second sequel, no release date has been declared yet, this gives a positive view that the Wonder Woman planned trilogy is in good hands.

Superman was about hope in Man of Steel, Batman bears Vengeance, while Wonder Woman sends a powerful message about hope, women power and of course LOVE. 

Wonder Woman (2017)
Rated: PG | Running Time: 2 hrs 20 min

Studio: Warner Bros./DC
Director: Patty Jenkins
Producer: Zack Snyder
Writers: Allan Heinberg (screenplay), Zack Snyder (story by)
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen,
David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Saïd Taghmaoui  & Ewen Bremner.

Talastas.tech Movie Rating

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Verdict: 4.9/5  Talastas.tech Stars

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