Thursday, 1 June 2017

#48 & 50 WONDER WOMAN


Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Said Taghmaouri, Ewen Bremmer, Eugene Brave Rock and Lucy Davis. Written by Allan Heinberg from a story by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs. Directed by Patty Jenkins. Budget $149 million. Running time 141 minutes. Certificate 12A.

Well, here it is – the cure for cancer, the Holy Grail and the first functioning perpetual motion machine all wrapped up in a single film, well according to the whole of Geekdom, or Fandom or Nerdville if you prefer. Who, all seemed to sigh a huge collective sigh that this wasn't as bad as DC's last three efforts, much in the same way that the Star Wars nerds all agreed that Revenge of the Pissed wasn't as terrible as either The Phantom Dennis, or Attack of the Clowns.

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, this is the fourth installment in the DC Extended Universe after the very disappointing Man of Steel, the dreadfully woeful Batman vs Superman and the frankly fucking awful Suicide Squad and properly introduces us to William Moulton Marston's character Wonder Woman, whom he created way back in 1941.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is Diana Prince, the demo-god daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta raised on the secret, magically-hidden, male-free island paradise of Themyscira; that is until American spy, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane into the island's tranquil waters and brings the true horrors of the First World War to the idyllic Amazonian island paradise and sends Diana and Steve on a break-neck speed chase across Europe in search of Ares, the God of War in a bid to end the 'War to end all wars'. The film, bookended by the present, is squarely set at the tail end of the First World War and sees Diana a world-naive immortal young woman set out on a journey of self–discovery in the complex, confusing and paradoxical world of mankind as she tries to hunt down her Uncle Ares, the God of War whom she believes is responsible for the war, but where or more importantly who is he? Meanwhile German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his psychotic, hideoulsy disfigured sidekick, Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) are creating a new poison gas and doing their best to prevent peace from breaking out.

Meanwhile back in Blighty, Diana is barrelling through polite society with wanton disregard of the rules of polite society while Steve does his best to reign her in and his boss, Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis) offers to help her in her quest to vanquish Ares, which all leads up to the obligatory showdown between uncle and niece. Along the way we get some glorious action, some nice chemistry between the rapidly expanding cast, especially the two leads and some well-directed, good looking set pieces, including the superb sequence where we get to see WW in all her glory for the first time on the battle fields of WWI, it's a long time coming, boy is it an exciting and thrilling moment.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of BVS was its decision not to give Wonder Woman an origin story but just have her leap into action, however for this, her first ever big screen outing, we're given the whole nine yards of her origin story from precocious 9-year old, action-hungry wild-child to the greatest warrior princess e-ver! And what a good decision that is, for this is sequence perfectly creates a heroine we find ourselves rooting for right from the off. She's someone we can relate to, you know, she's not some insanely rich orphan, grimly fighting crime dressed as a bat, or super strong orphan from an alien world wearing his underpants on the outside of his tights, she's the kickass warrior princess and daughter of a god! You know, someone we can all identify with, hell yeah! Plus, she's the first proper female superhero of the 21st Century and it's about bloody time!

This was a well directed, well cast and very well art-directed action film with a good sense of humour and a lightness of touch sadly missing from all the previous DC universe films and it stands along the best that Marvel can do. Special mention too of the direction by Patty Jenkins, best known for the 2003 film Monster.Overall, a solid, satisfying and entertaining action movie, marred by some occasionally ropy special effects and a bum-numbing running time.

8/10

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