Wonder Woman: An Angel In A World Of Darkness
Written By: Ken Hulsey
I honestly feel bad that it has taken me over a week to post my review of Wonder Woman. I guess that it has taken me this long to be able to get my thoughts together. It also doesn't help that I work a full-time job, run a successful internet business along with three popular web sites ... well actually four now including this one. I know, I'm just lazy. Anyway, after a request from my dear friend Tim Knight over at HeroPress (and some gentle prodding from my dear wife Terri) I have cleared my calendar in honor of writing this long overdue review.
Let's just cut to the chase, I loved this movie! I mean I really loved it. To really punctuate the point, I'm going to refer to the initial Facebook post I made immediately after leaving the theater, and I quote (myself): " Wonder Woman was an amazing film. In my opinion, the best superhero film I've ever seen. Such an intense spiritual message ... it really touched my soul. I still have such an amazing positive feeling. Makes me wish we all could be heroes! #belikeher “Unlike many FB posts made at 12:30 in the morning, I can say that I stand behind that one even now some eight days later.
I know that I stated that Wonder Woman was the best Superhero movie I had ever seen. Well, let’s explore that for a moment. As a comic book fan (purist?) I often find that movies based on the comics that I treasure oh so very much are often lacking when compared their literary and artistic counterparts. This is nothing new as most fans of literature note that films based on books seldom ever stack up against their written counterparts. Of course, as a fan of cinema as well, I understand that movies and books should be looked at as two separate entities that really don't fairly transcend each other and therefor shouldn't factor into the critique of each other. None the less, I normally don't like superhero movies ... except for the first Tim Burton "Batman" movie, first Captain America movie, first two X-Men movies ... the Dark Knight ... The Flash TV series (which I included here for some reason?) (Oh, and don't get me started on Agent Carter being canceled!). Overall, I believe Wonder Woman to be on par with any of those if not on its own merits superior. When compared with that latest batch of superhero themed movies that have invaded cinemas over the last decade, Wonder Woman was a fresh change of pace due to its honest straight-forward origin and one (Main) villain story that relied on character and story as much as it did top-notch special effects.
The second part of my FB post mentioned, "an intense spiritual message" and "an amazing positive feeling" both of which really forced me to step back and take time to process the emotional response I had to this movie. Not unlike "Rogue One" where I think I smiled like The Joker from beginning to end, Wonder Woman caused me to think to myself about half-way through, "This movie is special", a thought that popped into pop-culture riddled brain two more times before the credits rolled. Why did that echo in my mind? After some thought It occurred to me that the true essence of the film, which was brilliantly conveyed, is the underlying reason superheroes have become a modern mythology and part of our popular culture since their introduction. Superheroes, at their best, represent the best of humanity, the people we all wish we could be, the people whose intensions are always to do the right thing and protect the innocent at the risk of their own lives. Of course, our own sinful and selfish nature prevents this. Superheroes also wrestle with these same issues, comic book stories would be very boring and hard to relate with otherwise, yet at the end of the day these people choose to put on their tights and take to the streets to sock the evil of this world square in the jaw (pow ... RIP Adam West). Unlike the flawed heroes of pulp comics, Princess Diana (aka Wonder Woman. wink) is cut from a different jib. She isn't from another planet or a vigilante jaded by the death of her parents, she is the descendent of Zeus (just like Hercules), pure of heart and spirit. The evil of this world is foreign to her and though tempted by it she has no desire to embrace it. Diana has one mission, one purpose, to defeat The God of War and put an end to evil. She is an Angel in the world of darkness. This was a concept that touched both my heart and my faith. If only I could care that much about my fellow man, if only I could be that unselfish in my daily life ... if only I could be hero like her if the need arose (#belikeher).
Maybe as a man with a strong faith Wonder Woman somehow tapped into that? After all it's just superhero/action movie, right? Perhaps there is more to all of this? It appears that the film makers achieved something here that is just simply more than the sum of its parts. It would be hard to speculate if this was an intentional thing or not. I know that a lot of people look at Wonder Woman as some sort of female empowerment statement, but as man I found that the message of the film was not so gender specific. Wonder Woman is indeed a strong female character, and a positive female role model if you will, yet I feel that the strength and positive message transcends gender. We all should look upon Wonder Woman as more than just a great movie and look a little deeper.
Now the stuff Warner Bros would like included:
Gal Gadot stars in the title role of “Wonder Woman,” an epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” AMC’s “The Killing”) marking the DC Super Hero’s first-ever stand alone feature film.
Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, raised on a sheltered island paradise and trained to be an unconquerable warrior. But when an American pilot crashes off their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside men in the war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine (the “Star Trek” films), Robin Wright (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Netflix’s “House of Cards”), Danny Huston (“Clash of the Titans,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), David Thewlis (the “Harry Potter” films, “The Theory of Everything”), Connie Nielsen (TV’s “The Following,” “Gladiator”), Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”), Ewen Bremner (“T2 Trainspotting,” “Snowpiercer”), Lucy Davis (“Shaun of the Dead,” TV’s “Better Things”), Lisa Loven Kongsli (upcoming “Ashes in the Snow”), Saïd Taghmaoui (“American Hustle”) and Eugene Brave Rock (TV’s “Hell on Wheels”). Patty Jenkins directed the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, based on characters from DC. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston.
The film was produced by Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder and Richard Suckle, with Stephen Jones, Geoff Johns, Jon Berg, Wesley Coller and Rebecca Steel Roven serving as executive producers.
Joining Jenkins behind the camera were director of photography Matthew Jensen (“Chronicle,” “Fantastic Four,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Oscar-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (“Amélie,” “A Very Long Engagement”), Oscar-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”), Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Topsy-Turvy”) and two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer (“Life of Pi,” “The Golden Compass”). The music is by composer Rupert Gregson-Williams (“Hacksaw Ridge,” “The Legend of Tarzan”).
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Tencent Pictures and Wanda Pictures, an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual production, “Wonder Woman.” The film will be distributed in 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content.