November 20, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • “Wonder Woman,” unlike so many of its contemporaries in the incessant tide of superhero wish-wash, is great fun not because it’s overly ridiculous but because it perfectly balances all the elements that normally drag a superhero movie down and gets all those elements just right.
    Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
    “Wonder Woman,” unlike so many of its contemporaries in the incessant tide of superhero wish-wash, is great fun not because it’s overly ridiculous but because it perfectly balances all the elements that normally drag a superhero movie down and gets all those elements just right.

Superheroic Success With New “Wonder Woman”

Audrey Ruppert
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June 28, 2017

I’m not normally a fan of superhero movies, especially the reboots of late. They often follow the same, tired formula: too much cheesy backstory with cringe-worthy dialogue, oversimplification of complex moral questions, hacky “patriotism,” over-the-top battle scenes and questionable use of “futuristic” technology. I’ve spoken before about the “line of ridiculousness,” the threshold that must be passed before a silly superhero movie can go from stupid to just plain fun. “The Avengers” passes this test and “Captain America” fails miserably. “Wonder Woman,” unlike so many of its contemporaries in the incessant tide of superhero wish-wash, is great fun, not because it’s overly ridiculous but because it perfectly balances all the elements that normally drag a superhero movie down, and it gets all those elements just right.

“Wonder Woman” begins with the origins of Diana, an Amazon from an island inhabited only by women. It does feel cheesy and the dialogue is stilted at times, but Robin Wright really carries this part of the film. She plays the part of Diana’s mentor and trainer, and takes the same feminine fierceness she exhibits as Claire Underwood (House of Cards) to her role as the warrior of the Amazons. The battle scene on the beach is positively entertaining; scores of Amazon women kick the behinds of German soldiers using bows, arrows and roundhouse kicks.

Diana rescues Steve, played by the lovely Chris Pine, who, in my opinion (perhaps I am biased), is the best part of this film. “Wonder Woman” was directed by a woman, a rarity in Hollywood, and was definitely made with a female audience in mind. Finally, we as women are given our own love interest to slobber over. Chris Pine has often played the role of the supportive boyfriend in previous films, but he does a particularly excellent job of supporting the lead in “Wonder Woman” without stepping on her toes or being reduced to nothing but a sexual object either (one can only hope female love interests will start to take this shape in Hollywood).

The chemistry between the two is nearly magical. Certain scenes are loaded with innuendo that will have the girls giggling, but these scenes are cheeky and lighthearted rather than heavy handed or overtly sexual. The two embark on a quest to put an end to World War I, an appropriately lofty goal for a superhero like Wonder Woman.

Diana’s naivety about the world outside her Amazon home often puts her in awkward situations, and Steve seems to be in perpetual race to keep her from embarrassing herself or doing anything inappropriate. At the same time, Diana has a certain optimism unfettered by social conventions she never learned, and her willingness to try what Steve views as impossible challenges his perceptions as well. They are a positively charming couple, and you will find yourself more emotionally invested in them as the film progresses.

All in all, “Wonder Woman” balances the standard elements of a superhero movie perfectly to create a genuinely enjoyable film. The battles are fun to watch, Diana kicks butt, the laugh lines are actually funny, the bad guy is a wonderfully comical bad guy, and both the male and female lead are swoon-worthy. The character development is well done, so that when sacrifices are made, you will actually feel sad about the losses (unlike the notorious plane scene in “Captain America,” which just had us asking why Captain America had to “die” over an easily resolvable plot hole). Nothing stands out as particularly noteworthy, but none of the elements are overdone or eye-roll inducing either, making “Wonder Woman” the perfect action-packed, fun summer blockbuster.


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