Wonder Woman 1984 | A Season Finale of a Superhero Television Show

Sequel to the 2017 Wonder Woman, director Patty Jenkins returns with stars Gal Gadot as the title character, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Robin Wright as Antiope, and Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta. They are joined by Kristen Wiig (Walter Mitty) as Barbara Ann Minerva, a co-work of Diana’s who is both admires and envies her and Pedro Pascal (The Mandolorian, GoT) as Maxwell Lord, who is a wannabe oil tycoon.

Premise: In 1984, Diana works as a senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., specializing in the culture of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. She secretly continues to fight crime as Wonder Woman. After foiling an attempted robbery, the FBI asks Smithsonian to identify a cache of stolen antiquities, including the a stone with peculiar powers.

Review: Most work of fiction need some, if not complete, suspension of disbelief. Depending on the work, the level of which you’ll need that intentional avoidance of critical thinking or logic in examining something surreal varies. However with Wonder Woman 1984 I had to use it a lot. It was mainly a problem of consistency for me. Even putting BvS and Joshtice League aside this movie feels like an alternate version of the character we met in Wonder Woman.

The plot works for me on many levels but it was in the execution that they made some bold artistic choices. The stunts and action sequences look cheap and yet expensive. To me it’s a glossy version of what a rag tag team of amateur filmmakers could do with a limited budget, or a season finale of a superhero tv show – because most series don’t have movie level budgets to work with. I mean what did they spend money on? For every action sequences after the opening scene, I was baffled by how amateurish it looked. I could see the wires, well guess, where the wires were. I’m all for CGI light, practical stunts but I’ve seen those look better. I could also see what the creative team was going for, something campier, cheesier that would mesh with the 1980s and be reminiscent of the TV show but they didn’t have to make it look like it was made back then.

Anyway, the story is quite brilliant, from the opening scene in Themyscira to 1984, the film is laced with strong themes and ideas that are reflected throughout the piece. The idea of cheating and conning your way to what you want, may lead you to lose a lot more in the long run. It’s a glaring theme in the movie but it works quite well. Everything has a price, and if everyone got what they wanted, we all lose out.
The cast does a great job in conveying the ideas and messages of the film with the emotional weight it needs. Pascal and Wiig are nuanced and compelling as the vilains of the piece. Pascal is obvious – in the sense that you know who that guy is, and think that you wouldn’t fall for his BS – yet he’s convincing. The threat that his character represent seems small at first but it quickly becomes real and interesting. Not that I had any strong feeling about her casting but I understand and loved what Wiig did. Pine and Gadot are strong in their performance, individually and together. They have an amazing dynamic and a great grasp of their characters.

Wonder Woman 1984 is more about the message, it’s more intellectual, which is apt for the character and was a great idea for the film. It’s something that’s carried over from the first film, the emotional beats and messages / lessons of the film. It works as a whole but instead of a crumbling third act, there’s a cartoonish quality to the stunts and action sequences that didn’t work for me.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Wonder Woman | Review

This character has a lot of things going for it as far as I’m concerned. I’ve always like the idea of the Amazons, a group of badass female warriors, what’s not to like? And whenever I’ve watched a DC animated movie she was often a stand out. As for her portrayal by Gal Gadot, I might have been a bit worried when her casting was announced for two main reasons: one, I’d only ever seen her in sexpot roles so I didn’t know how useful of an actor she would be; the second one, she didn’t seem strong enough, even after pictures of her in costume came out. However I very much liked what they were going for with casting, between Gadot and Jason Momoa it was clear that there was some apt out of box thinking. I also liked what I saw of Gadot in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the trailers.
Directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster), this movie also stars Chris Pine (Into the Woods), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Danny Huston (The Constant Gardner), David Thewlis (The Theory of Everything), Connie Nielsen (The Following), Lucy Davis (Shaun of the Dead), Elena Anaya (The Infiltrator), and Saïd Taghmaoui (The Kite Runner).

Premise: When a pilot crashes on the secret island of Themyscira and tells the Amazons of the conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Review: This movie is beautiful and classical looking in a way that works well with the superhero genre. The esthetic is there and it’s stunning, from the beaches of Themyscira to the trenches of World War I the cinematography is on point. There are also a lot of references to other movies in Wonder Woman that added to the experience, because whether you realized it or not these were familiar and iconic moments from cinema history mirrored in this movie in a newish none rip-off way. I was surprise at the comedy laced throughout the film. It was racier than I expected and well used.

Gal Gadot is so effortless in the role that it’s impressive, that doesn’t mean that the acting doesn’t falters at time. She’s not trying to be pretty in the film, she just is but that doesn’t take away from her skills. Often in action movies women are either pretty first than somewhat skilled or very Manish but there’s a nice middle ground here. Diana might have the pretty clothes and nice hair but she’s not afraid to get down and dirty. She sold the action. Chris Pine is also amazing in this movie, portraying a great character, and working in tandem with Gadot, which made their banter excellent.

As for the story, it is a little rushed and in need of tightening. The third act isn’t as smooth as the rest. They smartly gave the Amazonians a distinctive accent and esthetic yet I have no clear idea of their history. It was minimal. The same goes for what Diana’s powers are in the film. This could be explained away because Diana herself doesn’t know for sure, but there’s another character, who should at least have similar powers and know what they are but he didn’t seem to know either.
The odd thing about this movie is, as good as it is it has low re-watchability, in my opinion. Like books, I tend to re-watch scenes action or otherwise instead of watching the whole thing. The problem with this movie is that 90% of the film is so tightly woven that watching chunks of it doesn’t really work because the feelings, the pay offs are not the same. To feel the same level of excitement for a scene I like, I’d have to commit to the whole thing.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

The Finest Hours | Trailers

Review: I saw this trailer at the movies in front of Ant-Man, and I have to say it looks epic. The trailer sucked me in within seconds, the action does not looked too CGI-ish, and it showed enough about the story and the characters to peak my interest. The Finest Hours looks like a good dramatic thriller with award worthy performances. 

I like the cast, the time period, the accents, and the action but what about you guys what did you think of trailer?

Into The Woods | Oh so that was Into The Woods

Based on Stephen Sondheim’s musical of the same name and adapted to the screen by James Lapine, Into The Woods stars Merryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Chris Pines, & Billy Magnussen. 

Premise: A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.

Review: I thought I was the musicals loving kind but turns out I’m not. I could barely sit through Les Misérables and the only reason I sat through Into The Woods was its comedic aspects. It was almost a parody at times, they didn’t seem to be taking themselves too seriously, so it was funny. Not laughing out loud funny but it put a smile on my face. 

There is a wonderful combination of all the famous fairy-tales in one story. They’ve incorporated the drama, the comedy of these tales, and obviously added a music into the new story. They’ve humanized our fairy tales characters, adding a little more edge to them, making the story is somewhat interesting but not enough for me to be invested in it.

Although the singing was good – I’m talking quality here – I wasn’t blown away by the songs, I didn’t once want to sing along and I can’t remember a particular song I like, except maybe the Merryl Streep one from the trailer. 

It’s a nice ensemble of a cast, they’ve picked the right people for the right roles. Depp is right in his wheelhouse but he’s not on long enough to be annoying. Streep struggled to get me on board with her character but by the end I was in. James Corden & Emily Blunt are a lovely pair, they were great together and Blunt really impressed me – mostly because her and musicals, I mean singing, didn’t ring true – she was good and really stood out for me. One last thing about the cast, I liked Pines in the movie ONLY because he delivered my favorite quote from the film “I was praised to be charming, not sincere.”

I might not have liked the film but you maybe did so let’s talk about it: tweet, comment, or DM me?