Monday, June 5, 2017

Wonder Wonder brings it on

Image result for wonder woman gal gadot
I'll say from the start of this rushed diatribe that I've enjoyed, vastly, the movies that DC comics have made so far in their efforts to establish their own franchises in contrast to that of their competition, Marvel Comics. The uniform negative responses, to be sure, have their points that deserve to be discussed, but the wave of hate seems more product of the internet's tendency to encourage an echo chamber effect; nervous fans, not sure of what they actually desire from a movie, suspend their critical faculties and dive head long into the noisy bull run of nay saying. Objections are over stated, insults are hurled, and feelings are hurt. And still, I like what DC and Warner Brothers have done, for the most part. 

Not to get off on a longish defense of particular films, I will assert here that Zack Snyder is one of the      few directors who gets the dynamism and flair of the graphic novel and produces resolutely beautiful and exciting action sequences, however dark and grim they may be. And, of course, "Man of Steel" is a masterpiece, in my view,a compelling show of a young man with the fabled powers greater than that of mortal men who awaits the right moment to emerge, that moment arising only in great need and when his moral compass is formed an inextricable part of his emotional DNA. If you like, you can find my longer defense of that film here  and post your thoughtful dissents in the comments section. 


The fact that "Wonder Woman" is presently at 94 percent critic approval on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes makes me smile. Director Patty Jenkins directs with a sure, firm and confident hand, efficiently and effectively establishing the WW mythology as it relates to a re-imagined Greek mythology, the origin story of the young girl who would become the eventual super hero, and the first adventure of Wonder Woman in full costume, in the WW 1 trenches, fighting with the British against the Germans, searching for her foe Ares, the God of War. It works remarkably well, I think.  A wonderful cast featuring wonderful work from Chris Pine and Robin Wright. Gal Adopt as WW, a controversial casting when first announced, is quite good here. Athletic, naive, ironic, fierce in combat sequences and sweetly ironic in the comic parts, she turns in a star-making performance. Gadot hasn't the broadest range as an actress, a fact that led the objections to her being casted in the role of the defining super heroine, but what she does here is akin to what other limited-commodity screen thespians have worked well with, which is to perform splendidly within the limitations.

 Emerging from the vapor and gusty disgust of all the protests, we have director Jenkins making make strong use  of Gadot's strengths: the athleticism in the combat scenes are a wonder to behold as she her debut in the world of men, and she more than delivers with the dialogue she's given to handle. Naivete, rage, a hint of vulnerability, a nicely turned bit of comic timing, Gadot establishes a superhero personality that is convincingly conflicted yet firmly dedicated to ridding the world of the evil that fouls the potential of men to do better and greater things. It's not the case that Gadot is carried along by the superb     cast of Wright, Pine, Connie Nielsen and others, although those assets are a large reason why this movie moves as well as it does across the screen. It is an ensemble effort. Wonderful work by all involved.