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. 9.7/10.

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 The Arrival Of A Female Pop Culture Icon In 1941; A Movie Landscape Ready For Paralleled Groundbreaking

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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 76 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 DCEU. In fact, it might be the greatest comic book film I’ve seen since The Dark Knight (2008). Breathtaking cinematography, epic genre-mixes, period/war adventure, passion, romance, chemistry, mythological allegory, sociological exposition, poetry/art-fueled cultural inspiration, & a hope-driven power of presence by Gadot unfelt since Reeve ’78 to change filmmaking & inspire millions of girls make WW the film DC’s 75-year-old pop culture female icon deserves – a masterpiece CBM epitomization of the 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 – & Period-Authentic Detail/Diversity A Beautiful CBM-Innovation

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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, strikingly-fixed here], and ocularly-dazzling blockbusters I’ve ever seen in my entire life – making 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 before our very eyes in its ‘history lesson’ scene]. A beautiful, complex religious allegory with revisionist-creation, internal politic-quarrels in the hierarchy of gods, enslavement, betrayal, and original sin/corruption 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 [culturally-diverse too for maximum inspiration across the spectrum of colors watching] on Themyscira will be highly inspirational to millions of girls for generations-to-come – a canvas of herculean might, 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 [sacrifically-becoming a crux of Diana’s character development across the film], Connie Nielsen’s motherly-and-monarchical Queen Hippolyta put in the paradoxical position of knowing her daughter’s destiny but not wanting to risk losing her, Lilly Aspell’s tenacious & determined fireball of a young-Diana who steals the show and will catalyze inspiration for countless young girls projecting from the audience, etc.

The Greek Mythological & Religious Allegory

Furthering The Film’s Jaw-Dropping Visual Experience Is Its History Lesson & Plot-Establishment – Evocative Of The Primal Fascination Of Mythology & Religious Civilizational Origins

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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 I’ve ever seen in a comic book film. Zack Snyder, despite mixed storytelling and directorial-flaws otherwise [highly-noticeable in BvS], is a cinematographical and action-staging genius – proven across his visually-striking filmography from 300 to Watchmen to the criminally-underrated Man of Steel, modernizing and adding new layers of depth to the world’s first and greatest superhero for the 21st century. The signature characteristics, 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 visual canvas by proficient cinematography, fight choreography, technical-diversification, slow-mo, shot-staging/cycling, and composition. 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 and guns making hand-to-hand combat obsolete pushing the world’s greatest warriors to their limits, but also tragic casualties sparking bloodthirsty 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, WW Captures The Imagination & Delivers Blockbuster

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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 – but magnificently-inaugurates 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 have. 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. Gadot is truly a once-in-a-lifetime find/casting by Zack Snyder we’re blessed to be living in the era-of-witness: one that will go down in the history books as the biggest & first headliner to ever get a mega-budget blockbuster as big as male ones (bonus: helmed by a female director who has now saved a fledgling cinematic franchise of the most iconic superheroes ever). Her smile lights up the room, stare is sharp enough to surgically-cut through the lens to our soul, Reeve-parallels down to even exact-recreation homages like deflecting bullets from civilians and outfit with trenchcoat/tophat/glasses, and powers amazing – as she leaps buildings, flips tanks, and deflects bullets with feminine grace juxtaposed with genderless dynamism.

Gal Gadot

The Best Casting & Lead Since ’78’s Christopher Reeve, Gadot Bursts With Hope, Nostalgia, & Power-Of-Presence: An Icon For Millions Of Girls

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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 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 warrior is wildly-inspirational – reminiscent of ’80’s underdogs and classical Americana: reverberating the origins of our comic book idealism and home-of-the-brave ideological strength 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 phenomenal adventure of the film takes us across the seas, forests, and world in that pursuit – an evolution of the CBM not seen in many [or any I can think of] genre-entries, adding odysseic fantasy and travel intrigue to the canvas that feels beyond a comic book movie in scope. 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 exposition highlights the marked difference between Amazon 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 vote, and physical 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.

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 of 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 Chief [bringing important representation & awareness of historical genocide of Native Americans to the big screen] 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 together. 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. 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: a beautiful sight to see DC remove the cancer of grimdark and realize not every character needs to be 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 For Maximum Power

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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, feminine 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 and officially becoming Wonder Woman. The character of WW [created by Professor 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, avant-garde idealization of a hero being able to save the world by truth and love beyond fists, LGBTQ+/Pacifist causes, artistic inspiration like Paris’ 1792 Valkyrie freize and Delacroix’s 1939 ‘Liberté Leading The People’ [clearly-referenced with its permant-location being Le Louvre Diana works at 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. all died in hopes of a scene like this one day existing. 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 w/o 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 Taking Us Across The Seas, Forests, & World Landscapes With Sharp Juxtapositional Social-Commentary, Gender-Exposition, And Odysseic Journey Of Character Development

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

Quite arguably the most inspirational and heroic scene ever filmed, NML exemplifies everything comic book films and heroes are at peak idealization and performance – a magical culmination of the experience of moviemaking and fantasy we sculpt/project on these powerful gods from our imagination like Zeus did bringing WW’s clay-fetus to life. The perfection of its cinematography, score, editing, performances, CGI, and execution only further cement a scene I’ll never forget [and CLC officially-put in our Top 100 Scenes Of All-Time]. A major part of the power of NML and the rest of the film is WW’s 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 of WW’s arrival from Batman v Superman 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 striking – from booming tribal drums to electric guitar ballads to soaring violin ostinatos to sibylline spy flutes to plucky whimsical comedy-wurlitzers to tender/poignant emotion in its piano and full-harmonic orchestral swells that capture lightning in a bottle: one of the best sensory compilations ever packaged in one movie. 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 allegory, comedy, tragedy, nostalgic comic book supeheroicism, & most refreshingly to see in DC Films again: the power of hope/love. The smooth-and-seamless blend of these epically-divergent [or 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 Technological Innovation, Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL’s Epic, Big Drum, Guitar BvS Theme Expanded/Amplified By Gregson-Williams

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

Perhaps best of all these multi-genre fusions/synthesizations is one I’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 beautifully-rendered, poignant, heart-fluttering scenes like dancing in the nightlit first snow. This is evolution of the CBM as well: more powerful and emotive than any romance arc I can remember – so effortless/natural, there have been multiple reports that Gadot and Pine ad-libbed entire scenes and conversations like the Boat dialogue off-script for maximum realism. No better exposition of the talent of actors and authenticity of a romance than to be able to sublimate life from the heart 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.Chris 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 greatest and most ambitious of any CBM, owing major props to one of the most strikingly-executed plot-twists ever pulled-off: the revelation of 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] and Danny Huston’s pugnacious, aggressive, bellicose, masochistic Nazi-lunatic General Ludendorff.

The Diversification Of Genre-Mixes

One Of The Biggest & Most Diverse Culminations Of The Movie Experience: War, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Period-Drama, Spy, Romance, Allegory, Comedy, & [Most Refreshingly In DC Again]: Hope

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

There is limitless evidence 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 for frontline-warfare. Wait, there’s more: restoration of strength with blue [color of Ares in the comics] chemical mixes, games/act showing complete lack of morality like killing the German high-command wanting to sign the armistice & end the war by locking them in a room with one fake gas-mask to bring out darwinistic survival acts even though the mask won’t help them, and eulogization of Greek Mythological ideologies like ‘war being 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’s what makes the plot-twist so jaw-dropping and 10x more shocking – when we first hear the paper-rustling of a tophatted Sir Patrick Morgan appear like devilish smoke right after we thought we’d won and killed Ares.The revelation of Ares’ true identity hits like a jackhammer or concussive smack of a ton of bricks every time I witness it: pure, old-fashioned magic of storytelling and screenwriting-prowess eliciting gasps across the audiences and goosebumps. There’s no way it could possibly be him, right? Sir Patrick Morgan had such a warm joviality of presence, gentility, grandfatherly-charm, injuries of a frailty old man [with a walking-cane], and even becomes a financier going out of his way to help the mission of our protagonists. Heck, he’s even seen orchestrating peace through the armistice to bring an end the war, not continue it – if anything, SPM feels like a God-figure hiding in the flesh instead of a Devil of genocidal proportions.

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 The Big Epic Finale Of WW

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

This is one of the strongest, most air-tight locks of a Shyamalan-ic plot twist I’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 masterpiece Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban being presumed-guilty-until-innocent and here contrarian] being able to play two such-antithetical roles perfectly in sharp juxtaposition with rich, delicious evil in his voice. Thewlis’ Ares furthers his presence of a villain with an inexorably-dark soliloquy packed with morose, 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 sibylline 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/want to use them to kill each other ourselves. 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 a great villain – here spinning her and us in the audience in such a narrative whirlwind, 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 clock of Earth’s history.

The Mystery Arc

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

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

Cast out & ostracized for his challenge to the throne and judgment of the high supreme king of the gods and his father Zeus, Ares’ characterization and villain origins are allegorically-complex and beautifully-scripted: a reflexive-paradox of differentiated truth/justice & one only fueling his ambition to destroy mankind even more through our highest institution: government. After killing & decimating WW’s entire spirit and twisting her entire perspective on the world of mankind beyond the paradisiac borders of Themyscira 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 your heart broken believing in the benevolence of someone or a group of people – then witnessing them do things like kill children in ghastly nightmare visions of unspeakable war/terrorization. The refusal she musters with the last glimpses of heroicism left in her soul sets the stage for a classically-DCEU epic finale showdown – and boy, does this one drop jaws. 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: twirling hurricanes by 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 the comics lets us witness the true power of a god unleashed.

Ares

A Godlike, Powerful, Greek-Mythological Villain Of Smoke Who Hides Behind Subterfuge, Whispers Devilish Idioms To Siphon Mankind’s Spirit, & Commands Elements: WW-Kryptonite

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

The power and entertainment value is off-the-charts – larger-than-life stakes/scale/spectacle we beg to be delivered by blockbusters as Wonder Woman fights a PhD-level professor of the mystical arts when she’s just a Day 1 student, metaphorically. 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, bringing Maru’s gas to millions. The only way to stop it without decimation of all life for 50 miles is flammability in the air far away from the ground – 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 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 nightmare canvas of darkness, genocide, and evil she now sees the world around. The ‘no’ she screams as the plane explodes packs a wallop to the senses to make you truly feel the decimation of her soul and shattering of her heart – and goes god-mode taking on an entire army of soldiers flinging them like dolls out of pure anger and revenge for making Steve’s death necessary: a display perhaps even more impressive than Ares’ in WW-gone-rogue. 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. Just as WW’s about to crush her with a tank out of revenge, though, she remembers Trevor’s flashback and final act of bravery, compassion, and love to give up his life to save ours – and the previous-beacon of inspiration and hope throughout the film is inspired and faith-restored herself in one of the most powerful character moments in the history of filmmaking.

The Finale & Bold Character Development

The Events Of Its Screenplay Reveal A Diana Of Themyscira Who Learns Of The Darkness & Internal Dichotomization Of Benevolence In Every One Of Us – The Armistice Day End Of WWI A Bittersweet One Of Both Celebration & Loss For Our [Pragmatized] Protagonist

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

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 cinematic emotion and masterpiece control of your craft by Jenkins – powerful both metaphorically and physically as it catalyzes abilities even WW and Ares haven’t seen before to put an end to his reign and restoring our faith/hope in mankind within the audience as well. The sociological/psychological/philosophical exposition painted of the darkness living within the light of all of us highlights the contrastive extremes capable of humanity: Dr. Maru’s and Steve Trevor’s. The presence of both existential antitheses makes life worth living and choosing a side to fight for: Diana’s being love and to honor the memory of the man who even taught a god 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 the saving of millions of lives should be cause for pure celebration for our protagonists surrounded by the joy/merriment of crowds – but the secretive loss required to bring about that peace for all tempers it in solemnity for one final impressive alloyed-brew of emotional complexity as the film closes. 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

The Best CBM Since The Dark Knight

Breathtaking Cinematography, Epic Genre-Mixes, Period/War Adventure, Passion, & Hopeful Power Of Presence Unfelt Since Reeve ’78, The Film DC’s 75-Year Pop Icon Deserves–& Can Change Movies

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros.

Overall, Wonder Woman is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen 1,000’s more than the 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 to its stylistic mixes for this achievement today. 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 starred blockbuster in moviemaking and a canvas of powerful representation for millions of girls – 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 visual-style and punch of Zack Snyder’s DCEU 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 brilliant BvS theme and contraposing it with more electric guitars, 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 WW. 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 internal dichotomization of good vs. evil existential battles, 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 supeheroicism, & [most refreshingly to see in DC again]: optimism. Patty Jenkins, the film’s perfection of cast bringing diversity and pedigree-talent to the breathtaking worldwide adventure, & star of the show whose hope-driven power of presence is the greatest lead-casting since Christopher Reeve’s 1978 Superman capable of delivering that world-shaking/genre-creating impact for a new generation: Gal Gadot have managed to create a film that not only just saved the DCEU, but made me cry for the first time in years and packs enough power of emotion and love to restore faith in mankind just like was done for its Amazonian protagonist. Breathtaking cinematography, epic genre-mixes, period/war adventure, passion, romance, chemistry, mythological allegory, sociological exposition, poetry/art-fueled cultural inspiration, & a hope-driven power of presence by Gadot unfelt since Reeve ’78 to change filmmaking & inspire millions of girls make WW the film DC’s 75-year-old pop culture female icon deserves – a masterpiece CBM epitomization of the blockbuster experience; a once-in-a-generation movie.

Official CLC Score: 9.6/10