Thursday, June 15, 2017

DC (Finally) Gets It Right!

I've waited a little while to write about DC's latest release, Wonder Woman. I think I simply needed time to process my reactions to this film. So much was riding on Diana Prince's Amazonian shoulders - and not just for the DC movie franchise. Films led by female comic characters have not done well at the box office - see Catwoman and Elektra for evidence of my point. However, the suits tended to think that the problem was with the fact that the lead character was a woman, as opposed to looking at the problems caused by weak scripts, sloppy direction, and indifferent marketing.

Wonder Woman might change all that, for the film is certainly is a game-changer. Director Patty Jenkins, who is best known for her 2003 debut feature, Monster, had much to prove here and the critical as well as commercial love for her film should go a long way towards dispelling the long-outmoded idea that "boys won't go see a movie with a girl lead character, so we don't want to make them." Currently, the film is sitting pretty at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the box office take is estimated to be well in excess of $200 million.

There is simply so much to love about this movie - Gal Gadot is perfectly cast as Diana, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor reminds me of why I enjoyed Hell or High Water so much, and the supporting cast is amazing. Special shout-outs go to Lucy Davis as Steve's grounded assistant Etta, and Robin Wright as Diana's warrior aunt Anitope made me punch the air in delight.

All that said, I wouldn't take very small ones to this. Wonder Woman moves the origin story from WW2 to WW1 and there are a few graphic scenes of battlefield violence. (Not Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge violent, but still - I'd keep the under 10 set outside.) The film carries a rating of PG-13 for the scenes of violence, which don't seem especially "comic-booky," so use caution with the young fry.

The film is taking the Internet by storm, including some fantastic reactions on Twitter.  Patty Jenkins shared a note sent to her by her producer showing the reactions of a kindergarten class (again, I think that's too young for this film, but that's me) and some of the audience reactions are just heartwarming (#17 is my favorite of this list). Alamo Drafthouse (a private business, by the way) in Austin, TX decided to have a women-only screening, which was generally well-received. And, it being Austin, when one man decided his feelings were hurt by this, the mayor responded with wit and humor. And Texts from Superheroes had more fun with this idea than should probably be allowed.

Diana is a warrior who wants to serve the cause of peace. May we all remember that no, it's not about what we deserve; it's about holding fast to our ideals. And perhaps about making swords fashion accessories at society soirees.

Will this save the upcoming Justice League movie? Only time will tell.

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