Wonder Woman (2017)

Breathtaking cinematography, epic genre-mixes, period/war adventure, passion, & hopeful power of presence unfelt since Reeve ’78 to change filmmaking and inspire millions of girls for generations, WW: the film DC’s 75-year pop icon deserves – why we love CBMs. 9.6/10.

Plot Synopsis: Wonder Woman follows Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), an Amazon princess living on a faraway island of only female warriors. When a male spy posing as a fighter pilot (Chris Pine) washes up & tells the Amazons about the World War I ravaging the world, Diana dons the Wonder Woman name & costume to use her superpowers to restore order.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Official CLC Review

A Cinematic Event 75+ Years In The Making

The Monopolization Of Golden-Age Comic Books By Male Superheroes Was Shocked By WW’s Arrival c. 1941; A Movie Landscape Of How Little Has Changed – Ready For Diana Of Themyscira To Revolutionize Once Again

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The year is 1941. The comic book industry is a nescient publication business dominated by DC’s two iconographical night-and-day heroes: Batman and Superman. The monopolization of the ’30’s characters [now selling like 10¢-hotcakes off the shelf of every news/bookstand in America] saw the perfect opportunity for DC to build a roster of diverse talent around them. That they did, with the first appearances of the core of The Justice League: The Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam, Hawman, Aquaman,.. & one female character shocking the male-driven landscape: Wonder Woman. The golden tiara, vibrational gauntlets, lasso-of-truth, invisible jet, greek-mythological lore, and provocative red-blue-and-gold outfit rocked the preconception of mankind’s only heroes being one gender: and the world was never the same. After 75+ years [& likely the biggest influence of any female character-of-fiction ever on pop culture], Diana Of Themiscyra is finally here on the big-screen: and it just saved the mixed-success, flailing edgebro damsel-in-distress DCEU. In fact, it might be the greatest comic book movie since The Dark Knight (2008). Breathtaking cinematography, epic genre-mixes, period/war adventure, passion, romance, chemistry, mythological allegory, feminist themes, sociological exposition, poetry/art-fueled cultural inspiration, & a hope-driven power of presence by Gadot unfelt since Reeve ’78 to revolutionize filmmaking and inspire millions of girls make WW the film DC’s 75-year-old pop culture icon deserves – a masterpiece CBM epitomization of blockbuster experience; a once-in-a-generation movie.

The Cinematography & Period-Adventure

A Fantasy-Backdrop Like No Other, The Island Nation Of All-Female Amazonian Warriors Themyscira Is Breathtaking – & A+ Period-Authentic Detail Of 1800’s London

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

First and above all, the cinematography and location-sets of Wonder Woman are positively breathtaking. Shot on location in Italy: Craco for the village streets, Palinuro for the beach scenes, and Villa Cimbrione on the Amalfi Coast, WW might be the most exquisitely-shot, vibrant [a big complaint in the DCEU beforehand, comprehensively-fixed here], and ocularly-dazzling blockbusters we’ve ever seen. The visual canvas makes you truly believe in the fantasy and divine power of its adventure & island of Themyscira by the career-work by Matthew Jensen, ASC. The Greek mythological culture it paints is magnificent – weaving a canvas of primal fascination in perhaps the most romanticized and world-celebrated historical civilization [literally-pictorialized in Romanticism/Neo-Classical portraiture-in-motion before our very eyes in its striking ‘history lesson’ scene]. A beautiful, complex religious allegory with revisionist-creation, enslavement, betrayal, original sin, and internal political-quarrel themes in the hierarchy of gods sets the stage epically for its protagonist’s – and antagonist’s – storylines as the flashback fast-forwards to present-day. The awe of the spectacle of female warrior Amazons [ethnically-diverse too for maximum inspiration across the spectrum of colors watching] on Themyscira will unprecedentedly empower millions of girls for generations-to-come – the herculean strength, duty, honor, and sacrifice typically-ascribed exclusively to male soldiers it’s refreshing to see diametrically-contraposed. The performances to bring the warriors to life are magnificent: Robin Wright’s robust/duteous Antiope [sacrificially-becoming a crux of Diana’s character development across the film], Connie Nielsen’s motherly-yet-monarchical Queen Hippolyta put in the paradoxical mortal/immortal position of knowing her daughter’s destiny but not wanting to lose her child, Lilly Aspell’s tenacious & determined fireball of a young-Diana who steals the show and enables projection from every young girl in the audience, etc.

The Greek Mythology & Religious Allegory

Beyond A Zenith Ocular Experience, Mythical Revisionism & Plot-Establishment Evocative Of The Primal Fascination Of Gods & Civilizational Origins Extrapolating Themes Of Creation, Morality, Responsibility

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The existential threat of a rogue American WWI fighter-pilot/spy who crashes & washes up on shore galvanizes the film’s action and central plot – and it’s absolutely glorious to behold. The blockbuster action scenes of WW are the best in any comic book film other than Man Of Steel . Zack Snyder, despite mixed storytelling and directorial-flaws [highly-noticeable in BvS], is a cinematographical and action-staging genius – proven across his filmography from 300 to Watchmen to the criminally-underrated Man of Steel. The signature visual style, auterism, viscera, staging, and [wondrous] secret-sauce of his action scenes is on full-display here: fixed of its only flaw by Jensen’s removal of doom-and-gloom camera filters for the perfect color-palette and vibrance aesthetic by proficient cinematography, fight choreography, technical-diversification, slow-mo, shot-cycles, and compositional dynamism. This is best exemplified [besides No Man’s Land, as I’ll certainly get to later] by the beach-invasion scene of a smaller-scale war between the Amazons and Germans on the white-sand rock-outcroppings of Themyscira. The scene packs jaw-dropping blockbuster edge-of-your-seat spectacle easily 10x worth the price of admission – plus thematic weight not only exposing the achilles’ heel of the Amazons being out-of-connection with the rest of the world’s technological advancements like guns making hand-to-hand combat obsolete, but also tragic casualties of its unprepared Amazons – sparking bloodthirsty, revenge-fueled interrogation of the rogue-pilot who brought the incursion to its shores.

The War To End All Wars

Visceral, Pulse-Rattling, Beautifully-Shot, Action-Packed, & Jaw-Droppingly Powerful, A Cinematographical Paragon Delivering Pure 21st Century Blockbuster Adrenaline

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The revelation of ‘The War To End All Wars’ [aka WWI]: 27 countries, four years, and millions of deaths establishes big/epic stakes for the rest of the blockbuster – as well as highlights selective-heroicism for all except one. Much easier to ignore the cries and prayers of the world around you when you’re sheltered safely away from it, the multi-reflexive conscience of The Amazons is purposely-distasteful/cowardly – magnificently-inaugurating the origin story of the one woman brave enough to risk her life and leave eden to rebuke & fight the injustice she sees in the world: Gadot’s Diana Of Themyscira. The star of the show, Gal Gadot is one of the greatest castings in the history of blockbuster moviemaking. This is what I imagine Generation X must’ve felt like watching Christopher Reeve leap onto the screen and kickstart the entire comic book movie genre back in 1978, making you ‘believe a man [could] fly’ with clean-cut patriotism, Americana, and unbridled hope – for some people, all they had. Gadot is that cinematic magic for a new generation and millennium, bleeding a hope-bursting effervescence and inimitable power-of-presence unlike anything I’ve felt from a lead-casting in eons: a charismatic fizz and projectable emotion-canvas that elevates the movie into the stratosphere of cinematic pantheons. Gadot is truly a once-in-a-lifetime find/casting by Zack Snyder we’re blessed to be living in the era-of-witnessing: one that will go down in the history books as the biggest female-led film of all-time (not only in the best female protagonist in movie history, but helmed by a female director given a groundbreaking budget as big as any male-film and who now has legacy of likely saving a fledgling cinematic franchise of the most iconic superheroes ever on the precipice of complete failure). Gal’s smile lights up the room, stare is sharp enough to cut through the lens to our soul, Reeve-parallels down to even exact-recreation homages like deflecting bullets from civilians and the outfit with trenchcoat/tophat/glasses, and powers amazing – as she leaps buildings, flips tanks, and crushes bullet-casings with feminine grace juxtaposed with genderless dynamism.

Gal Gadot

The Best CBM-Cast Since ’78’s Christopher Reeve & Female Lead Ever, Gadot Bursts W. Purity, Hope, Nostalgia, Charm, Strength, Determinism, & Power-Of-Presence: An Icon For A New Generation Of Millions Of Girls

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The characterization-scripting for Gadot’s Diana is phenomenal: a hyper-ambitious little girl who dreams of nothing-but-continuing the legacy of Amazonian warriors she skips school to watch and wishes to be fighting along, but is held back/stifled by circumstance, ‘protection’, and forbiddance by a Hippolyta evocatively-metaphoric of the patriarchy. The slight cockiness and psychological chip-on-her-shoulder to prove her worth and train 10x harder than any before her is wildly-motivational – reminiscent of ’80’s underdogs and classical Americana: reverberating the origins of our comic book and home-of-the-brave ideolism to-a-science by her burning desire to save the world, unbridled faith and hope/optimism in the benevolence of mankind, and burning desire to fight injustice. The odysseic fantasy adventure of the film takes us beyond the cityscapes we’re used to in CBM’s; we go across the seas, forests, and world in an evolution of the genre. The idyllic, beautiful, tropical-hued paradisiac eden of Themyscria is sharply-juxtaposed by the pollution-laden, violent, darkened, smoky, purposely-dreary midnight-blue streets of an early-1900’s London for a dichotomization loaded with palpable social commentary. The dichotomization highlights the marked difference between Amazonian and mankind’s societies/leadership – another feminist thematization handled subtly without offense and stylishly, with remarkable period-authenticity to the Edwardian/Post-Victorian era England down to even the decór, misé-en-scene, and minimalistic silhouetted costume designs worthy of awards recognition. The exclusionary politics of governmental meetings, near-deprivation of women’s rights like to vote, and physical (subconscious) possessiveness of Trevor alongside submission of women on the streets Diana witnesses shocks her – it’s refreshingly bold to see a perspective of equality/justice like WW come in like a [feminist] jackhammer to the objective-misogyny of this lost era.

No Man’s Land

A Top 5 Comic Book Movie Sequence Ever Shot, NML Deserves Exclusive Celebration: A Thematically-Parallel Revolution Of A Scene

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The character canvas of WW is absolutely-perfect in every regard. On its protagonist’s journey, the film presents a conglomeration of further-diverse presences and fantastic support characters nicely-acted/cast in their own right – from Lucy Davis’ jovial falstaffian featheriness as secretarial Etta Candy [of The Office {U.K.)-fame] to David Thewlis’ warm bureaucratic charm as frailty grandpa Sir Patrick Morgan to Eugene Brave Rock’s gentility as The Chief [bringing important representation & awareness of historical genocide of Native Americans to blockbusters] to Saïd Taghmaoui’s fiery conman Sameer to Ewen Bremner’s Irish-marksmen/alcoholic Charlie. The comedy of WW is hilarious: pure wide-eyed humor with just the perfect hint/note of wry British whimsicality – juxtaposed with satire, farcical sitcom, meta-references, black comedy, and clever banter. The naïvety of a Diana traveling to the world of mankind for the first time brings epic screenwriting-possibilities to find jokes, gags, and clever reversals-of-perspective in the peculiar idiosyncrasies of our societal everyday life – while also packing high intellect and sociological analysis beneath the seams; brains, brawn, and beauty. The institution of marriage, 1900’s high-fashion, biological reproduction/promiscuity, workplace dynamics, capitalism, ethics and psychological ramifications of war, reductionism of letting material objects control/tell us what to do like watches, and cavemen-yelling of governmental backrooms fueled by egocentrism but getting ~nothing done are but a few of the topics WW brilliantly-analyzes on its critique of the civilizational construct of mankind – many of them [black]-comedically. Even big themes like sexual puritannicalities are handled through the smallest of nuances in WW: how aghast 1800’s London and historical societies were [& many still are] of women showing their bodies and how Diana has to cover-up-in-coat while not understanding why. There’s also meta-humor poking fun at fellow-DC heroes like Superman’s specs really helping a disguise, fish-out-of-water farce like Diana carrying a sword/shield while in a trenchcoat meant to help her ‘blend-in’ and constantly-seeking out ‘the war’ like it’s a singular point destination, and the magnificent purity of rejoicing in joie-de-vivre activities like trying ice cream for the first time. These are beautiful sights to see in a DC finally excising the cancers of grimdark and realizing what every true DC fan knows: they have the best characters and IP’s of a wild diversity color-palette in themes, emotions, history, and tones – not every character needs to be cinematized as somber/morose as Batman.

The Art & Mythopoeic Influence

From Delacroix’s 1939 Liberté to The Valkyrie Freize Of Paris To Amazonomachy To Multicultural Tales Of Legendary Female Warriors, WW Draws Inspiration From Centuries Of Feminist Culture To Exemplify

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The journey of the film’s coterie of ethically-contrastive antiheroes finally brings us finally to the center of the war/action – setting the stage for the first cinematic appearance of Wonder Woman in one of the greatest scenes in the history of moviemaking: No Man’s Land. No Man’s Land is a masterpiece cinematic scene of blockbuster action, visual spectacle, feminist representation, and war-heroicism centuries in the making. The cadre of protagonists finally make it to the front, and Diana witnesses the horrors of war escalate into ghastly nightmare visions like people with missing legs, motherless crying children, animals beaten to escape quicksand, and people in the nearby village enslaved without resources. This is far from the idealized version of mankind’s world Diana envisioned – a whirlwind of emotional-overdrive climaxing into her disobeying the commands of men telling her there’s nothing she can do and donning the iconic red/gold armor to officially become Wonder Woman. The character of WW [created by Professor Charles Marston in 1941] draws huge mythological, historical, artistic, feminist, and comics-innovative inspiration. Early feminists like birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger, historical figures like Joan Of Arc, reversion of the damsel-in-distress trope/cliché of comics, LGBTQ+/Pacifistic causes, & avant-garde idealization of a hero being able to save the world by truth and love beyond fists can be found in WW. There’s also depth of artistic inspiration like Paris’ 1792 Valkyrie freize and Delacroix’s 1939 ‘Liberté Leading The People’ [clearly-referenced with its permanent-location: Le Louvre being where Diana works in the beginning/end of the film], and cross-cultural mythological deities/goddesses like Yoshitoshi-samurai in Japan, Ixcel the Mayan goddess of childbirth and war in Mexico, Durga in hinduism, & Artemis/Athena in Greek Mythology, etc. Feminists across eras and continents fought in hopes of a scene and movie like this one day existing, and it’s finally here. Gal Gadot brings life, grace, and honor to the centuries of lore and biggest female pop culture icon ever – charging head-on into the trenches of No Man’s Land [where no man can cross] under ominous cloud skies witho fear, bravely taking all fire from a batalion of machine guns/grenades to lead the army to freedom & justice for a slave village.

The Adventure & Tonal Balance

A CBM-Evolution Beyond Genre Clichés, An Odyssey Of Natural & World Landscapes W. Sharp Juxtapositional Social-Commentary, Gender Exposition, Characterization Depth

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

Quite arguably the most inspirational and sensorially-authoritative action scene ever filmed, NML exemplifies everything comic book films and heroes are at max performance – a magical culmination of the blockbuster experience we project on gods like Zeus does bringing Diana’s clay-fetus to life. The perfection of its cinematography, score, editing, CGI, and execution only further cement a scene it as a science I’ll never forget [and CLC officially-featured in our Top 100 Scenes Of All-Time]. A major part of the power of NML – and the rest of the film – is the score. The theatricality-blazing orchestral score by Rupert Gregson-Williams mimics the visuals in high-passion and heterogeneity. The Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL theme from Batman v Superman (one of the best debut scenes in blockbusters, enough to make the otherwise comprehensive-mess of BvS at least somewhat-enjoyable) is contraposed and expanded into a feature-length film orchestration – packing every bit of the rock n’ roll power with tons of nuance and softer juxtapositions as well. The utilization of instrumentation and diversity of genre-invocations is praiseworthy. From booming tribal drums to electric guitar ballads to soaring violin ostinatos to stealthy spy flutes to plucky whimsical comedy-wurlitzers to tender/poignant emotion in its piano and full-harmonic orchestral swells, the soundtrack is cinematic elegance and works in-tandem with the visuals as its own dynamic-duo. The score parallels/exemplifies how impossibly-diverse WW is as a blockbuster experience: a mixture of war, action-adventure, mystery, period-drama, spy, romance, mythological & feminist allegory, comedy, tragedy, nostalgic comic book supeheroicism, & – most refreshingly to see in DC Films again – hope. The smooth-and-seamless blend of these epically-divergent [& even antithetical] genres into one cinematic experience is a life achievement by Jenkins and the screenwriters – a curated exhibition of everything we go to the movies for and one that brought me, even as a grown man, to tears.

The Score & Tonicism

The Maestro Of Acoustic & Technological Innovation Is Back: Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL’s Epic, Big Drum, Guitar BvS Theme Expanded/Amplified By Gregson-Williams

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

Perhaps best of all these multi-genre fusions/synthesizations is one w’ve been waiting to talk about [and give singular recognition & celebration]: the romance by Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. The chemistry, fizz, and magnetism of the central-pairing of WW is pure cinematic magic – true star-crossed lovers whose romance buds across the film beautifully, with slow escalation in heart-fluttering poignance like in the dancing in the nightlit first snow scene. This is another evolution of the CBM: the romance is more classical and elegant than this comparatively-primitive, lowbrow, explosions-go-boom genre has witnessed. No better exposition of authenticity and effortless naturalism, there have been multiple reports that Gadot and Pine ad-libbed entire scenes and conversations like the Boat dialogue off-script for max realism without need for pre-written cues. It’s time we also give proper credit where it’s due to Chris Pine’s career performance as Steve Trevor, too. Pine’s light, masculine, temperate, palatable, [above-average] Steve Trevor is the perfect counterbalance to Gadot’s Diana of Themyscira – a grounded, cynical presence in acute polarization to WW’s larger-than-life, hope-fueled aspirations to save the world and free mankind of the shackles Ares must have on their souls to make them act so cruel & maliciously. The final act of WW is one of the most ambitious of any CBM, owing major props to one of the most proficiently-executed plot-twists ever pulled-off: who is Ares? The film presents us two villains who are chilling and brilliantly-acted/scripted on their own grounds: Elena Anaya’s ostracized/isolated STEM witch-doctor Dr. Isabel Maru coping with her hatred for the rest of the world & her own beautification-insecurities by formulas and mad-science [even then, fitting in feminist themes with the top chemist in Europe being a woman] to don the name of Doctor Poison and Danny Huston’s pugnacious, aggressive, bellicose, masochistic Nazi-lunatic General Ludendorff.

The Diversification Of Genre-Mixes

One Of The Most Comprehensive Movie Experiences Of The 2010’s: War, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Period-Drama, Spy, Romance, & Comedy; Contextualized Mythos Modernized, [Refreshing In DC Again]: Hope

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

Limitless evidence is provided to us that Gen. Ludendorff is Ares: determinism to keep the war going at all costs, irreverence, apathy, insouciance for the loss of human [and even his own men’s] lives, and manipulation of Dr. Maru with false-pretense of love to materialize his ‘ambitions’ for deadly war-gas wildcards on frontline-warfare. Wait, there’s more: restoration of strength with blue [color of Ares in the comics] chemical mixes, games/acts of bravao showing complete lack of morality like killing the German high-command wanting to sign the armistice surrendering by locking them in a room with one fake gas-mask to bring out darwinistic survival acts even despite the mask’s inability to help. Not enough? He even eulogizes Greek Mythology & ideologies like ‘war being a god requiring human sacrifice and giving man purpose beyond their meaningless lives’. Indeed, there is no plausible indication or even subtle nuance of evidence across the film [I’ve watched through WW 10+x] that posits that Gen. Ludendorff is not Ares. That – along with traditional preconceptions of war and masculinity historically – is what makes the plot-twist of pure genius audience-subversion so jaw-dropping when we first hear the paper-rustling of a tophatted Sir Patrick Morgan appear like devilish smoke right after WW thought she’d won and killed Ares. The revelation of Ares’ true identity hits like a jackhammer or the concussive smack of a ton of bricks on the skull: competence and old-fashioned storytelling prowess evoking (audible) gasps at every showing we attended. There’s no way it could possibly be him. Sir Patrick Morgan had such a gentle, grandfatherly charm and warm joviality of presence. He dons the injuries of a frailty old man’s life [even with a walking-cane]. SPM becomes a financier going out of his way to help the mission of our protagonists. Heck, he’s even seen trying to orchestrate peace through the armistice to bring an END the war, not continue it. If anything, SPM feels like a God-figure akin to Morgan Freeman in the Almighty franchise.. not a villain of genocidal maniacism.

The Finale

Every Previous-Win Of The Coterie Is Neutralized In A Striking, Inexorably-Dark Reversal Of Fortunes – Fueling Rage, Internal Strife, & A Stage For Big, Epic Finale

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

This is one of the strongest, most air-tight locks of a Shyamalan-ic plot twist we’ve ever witnessed to-date, and makes for wicked entertainment-value. Thewlis’ performance reverses every characteristic previously-ascribed: pure measure of the thespian pedigree of an actor [here, even more impressive being the ~opposite of his major role in fellow-WB fantasy masterpiece Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban being presumed-guilty-until-innocent and here contrarian/antithetical]. Thewlis’ Ares furthers his presence of a villain with an inexorably-dark soliloquy packed with morose, nihilism, and cynical social-commentary on the sins of mankind that packs a gut-punch like kryptonite to the hope-bursting optimism and faith of WW beforehand. The behind-scenes manipulation through subterfuge he achieves of Diana’s outlook on the world grows like a malignant tumor in her soul, warping her psychology by positing he only whispers inspirations in our ears of formulas and weapons, but doesn’t make us use them – we choose to use them to kill each-other ourselves; who’s the real villain? The crushing of every semblance of a hero’s fire, virtue, and desire to save the world she cherished so dearly is the hallmark of an all-time great villain – here spinning her and us in the audience in such a narrative whirlwind so cataclysmic, we don’t know what’s up or down. Ares weaves a tale of Shakesepearean betrayal and dissension amongst the gods: painting himself as a noble prophet of the doom he foresaw his father’s creation bringing upon the world – and he has a point: look around at how much we’ve decimated the planet, killed life, and selfishly-depleted resources in just a few comparative ticks of the evolutionary clock of Earth’s history.

The Mystery Arc

One Of WW’s Best Accolades: Who Is The Mysterious God Of War Behind-The-Scenes? A Plot-Twist Of Pure, Old-Ciné Shock Value

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

Cast out & ostracized for his challenge to the throne and judgment of the high supreme king of the gods in his father Zeus, Ares’ characterization and villain origins are allegorically-complex and brilliantly-scripted: a reflexive-paradox of differentiated truth/justice & one only fueling his ambition to destroy mankind even more through our highest institution of religion-humanized: government. After killing & decimating WW’s spirit and perspective on the world of mankind she thought she knew, he tempts her with a Faustian bargain of legacy-everlasting to combine efforts to destroy mankind to take back what was once the gods’ – furthering the religious parallels in the darkest of ways. The even remote considerance of the genocide of this proposition exemplifies how broken and shaken WW is to the foundations of her soul now, understandly-so after having everything you believe in and trusted most shattered – witnessing people you thought benevolent victims do things like kill children in ghastly nightmare visions of unspeakable war/terrorization in a new context of intrinsic rapture. The refusal she musters with the last [lingering] shreds of heroicism left sets the stage for a classically-DCEU epic finale showdown – and boy, does this one deliver. Ares is one of the best villains in years of CBM’s & blockbusters not only ideologically/psychologically – but also physically. Command of the winds and elements makes him amongst the most powerful: making you believe he truly is a god by twirling hurricanes at the flick of a wrist, crushing WW under stone like-insects, bending fire, and manipulating metal/iron off the very weapons he whispered into creation into the beautiful cool grey-blue, jagged, aggressive, provocative-spiked armor straight out of comics’ mythology.

Ares

A Greek-Mythological Villain Of Godlike Elemental Power & WW-Kryptonite: A Reign Of Smoke & Subterfuge, Whispering Devilish Idioms To Siphon Mankind’s Spirit, Corrupt Father’s Creation, Catalyze Self-Destruction

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The power and entertainment value is off-the-charts: the larger-than-life stakes/scale/spectacle we crave by blockbusters and only mountains of money in hundreds of millions of dollars can paint. Wonder Woman has to fight a PhD-level professor of the mystical arts when she’s just a Day 1 student: aided by luscious synergized dialogue like ‘oh my dear, you have so much to learn’. As the film juggles an indescribably-epic and climactic finale-throwdown only Greek-mythological lore could conjure, it also juxtaposes an impressive arc of small-scale humanity to balance/mire it in neutralization. The faction of our coterie led by Steve Trevor becomes heroes of their own, going undercover to stop the plane from taking off and bringing Maru’s gas to millions and save the day without superpowers. The only way to stop it without decimation of all life for 50 miles is flammability while airborne – the crux of the film’s most important and emotional-overdrive character moment. One final goodbye of Trevor to Diana, leaving a memento in his watch [they first bonded over back on Themyscria & thematically-resonant of the time they could’ve had but is now cut-short] douses the Greek tragedy in even more-so: a sacrifice to save the world catalyzing a psychotic break of WW having lost her true love and one positive in the her darkest moment. The canvas of darkness, genocide, and evil she now sees as the world around is now all this broken hero has left; the ‘no’ she screams as the plane explodes and the orchestration crescendoes gave me goosebumps I haven’t experienced in ages, packing a wallop to the senses to make you truly feel the decimation of her soul and shattering of her heart. We – impossibly in an origin film – get to see the hero go rogue and turned into a villain, going god-mode running through on an entire army of soldiers she flings like dolls out of pure anger, hatred, and revenge for making Steve’s death necessary. One final [seemingly-guaranteed] attempt to catalyze her transformation to the dark-side sees Ares bring Dr. Maru: the shining example of the evil of mankind responsible for her love’s, and millions of more, deaths to Diana Of Themyscira’s knees and begs her to kill her. As WW’s about to crush her with a tank and cement her loss of purity/innocnce, though, she remembers Trevor’s flashback and final act of bravery, compassion, and love to give up his life to save ours. This magnificence of characterization is enough to rekindle the lost flower of hope from the depths of hellfire [literally & metaphorically] around her in one of the most powerful character moments in the history of filmmaking.

The Finale & Bold Character Development

A Diana Of Themyscira Who Learns Of The Darkness & Internal Moral Dichotomization In Every One Of Us; The WWI End Armistice Day A Bittersweet One Of Both Celebration & Loss For Our [Pragmatized] Protagonist

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

The act of forgiving [and being able to forgive] the biggest monster of evil and harbinger of death who took everything from you to find hope in a landscape of desolation and love/faith in humanity even after the evils witnessed is pure brilliance of emotion and screenwriting craftsmanship – powerful beyond I can even ascertain further with words. The sociological/psychological/philosophical exposition thus becomes the central morality dichotomization in all of us: the contrastive extremes of good-and-evil capable of humanity symbolized by Dr. Maru & Steve Trevor that are constantly at-war with each other just as WW is with the god of it in-person. The presence of both existential antitheses and free-will requires you to choose a side to fight for: Diana’s being love and to honor the memory of the man who even taught a goddess something in her darkest hour. Similarly-dichotomized is the final scene of Armistice Day. The end of World War I and revelation of victory plus saviorship of millions of lives should be cause for celebration for our protagonists surrounded by the joy/merriment of crowds – but the secretive loss required to bring about that peace for others tempers it in solemnity. This is one final alloyed-brew of emotional complexity for the film, bringing to mind themes foundational to the comic book, superhero, and timeless mythology fictional genres in what heroes have to sacrifice to become one as WW is now. Flaws are so paltry in this masterstroke of filmmaking, it’s ludicrous to even give them any consideration at all. There’s one shot of mixed-CGI when WW drops the tank in the finale, one line where Diana breaks character in the post-governmental meeting argument with Trevor, I wish Thewlis’ mask further-obscured his face/moustache in a couple of shots in the finale, and the frame device of the film does kind of push Batman [obviously, a purposeful decision to fan-service the legions, but one it didn’t need – the rest of the film, emphatically, proves what we’ve known for years: DC is so much more than just Batman & Superman].

Conclusion

A Once-In-A-Generation Movie

Breathtaking Cinematography, Epic Genre-Mixes, Period/War Adventure, Passion, Allegory, & Hopeful Power Of Presence Unfelt Since Reeve ’78; The Best CBM Since The Dark Knight, Film DC’s 75-Year Pop Feminist Icon Deserves, & Revolutionary Blockbuster Amongst Greatest Ever Made

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. & DC Comics

Overall, Wonder Woman is one of the greatest movies we’ve ever seen – and we’ve seen thousands more than the vast majority of the population. This is what I imagine Gen. X felt walking out of 1978’s Superman: The Movie, watching Christopher Reeve leap into flight and launch the comic book movie genre with hope-bursting optimism it’s beautiful to see return as triumphantly as the trumpets in Williams’ score. A post-2016 modern landscape of the nightmare presidency of Donald. J. Trump needed a cathartic canvas for our despair – and WW is the pure elixir of classic, old-fashioned heroicism/Americana to remind us where we came from; that there’s still good left in the world beneath the grime of hate, bigotry, and contemporized despondency. This film will go down in history as one of the most groundbreaking ever made: the biggest-ever female-led, directed, and produced blockbuster in moviemaking as well as game-changing representation for millions of girls with empowering psychological & sociological effects for generations-to-come. Wonder Woman is one of the most visually-striking blockbusters of its era – with jaw-dropping cinematography by Matthew Jensen, ASC, breathtaking action scenes packing the signature ocularly-stylistic punch of Zack Snyder’s filmography with visceral-choreography and larger-than-life-staged fights, quick-cut editing, epic slow-mo juxtapositions, beautiful location-settings, $150,000,000+ CGI, romanticism/neo-classical live-action portraiture, and colorful joie-de-vivre [vibrance lost in the comparatively-sour/doom-and-gloom visual palette of modern DC movies it’s refreshing to see fixed again]. The film packs huge sensory experience in RGW’s larger-than-life orchestral score too: taking cues from Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s epic BvS theme and contraposing it with more electric guitar power-ballads, big blockbuster drums, soft flutes, ostinato violins, and soaring-orchestration to match the emotional-overdrive of its story. Make no mistake though, there’s brilliance and brains behind the exterior beauty of the woman WW symbolizes and epitomizes as a film. There’s sociological/philosophical exposition on the peculiar idiosyncrasies of our civilization like marriage, 1900’s fashion, biological reproduction/promiscuity, workplace dynamics, capitalism, psychological traumatization of war, and cavemen-yelling of governmental backrooms – often handled with wry British subtleties and satirical/farcical humorization. There’s Freudian psychoanalytics on the benevolence of mankind and intrinsic dichotomization of good vs. evil existential battles constantly at-war in real life without need for an Ares, poeticism in its feminist art/literature inspirations from Delacroix’s 1830 Liberty Leading The People to Greco-Roman Mythological hierarchization, and an impossible-mix of genres spanning everything we go to the movies for: war, action-adventure, mystery, period-drama, spy, romance, mythological allegory, comedy, & nostalgic comic book superheroicism mired in optimism. Patty Jenkins & the star of the show, whose hope-driven power of presence is the greatest female lead and CBM-casting since Christopher Reeve’s 1978 Superman: Gal Gadot, have managed to create a film that not only just saved the fledgling damsel-in-distress DCEU, but brought me to actual tears for the first time in years by how powerful and emotionally-passionate a cinematic experience it is to behold. Breathtaking cinematography, epic genre-mixes, period/war adventure, passion, romance, chemistry, mythological allegory, feminist themes, sociological exposition, poetry/art-fueled cultural inspiration, & a hope-driven power of presence by Gadot unfelt since Reeve ’78 to revolutionize filmmaking and inspire millions of girls make WW the film DC’s 75-year-old pop culture icon deserves – a masterpiece CBM epitomization of blockbuster experience; a once-in-a-generation movie.

Official CLC Score: 9.6/10