The Wonder of the Praise of Wonder Woman

W Woman 2017

The final verdict: It was okay, but Dr. Strange was a better movie. It’s hard to say if this was one of the top tier comic genre films, as they are coming at us so fast and furious-couldn’t help that one!…And, there seems to be such a dearth of fairly good Hollywood Blockbusters at this juncture, that any movie that follows a fairly cohesive plot line is heaped with immense praise.

There were some good moments in Wonder Woman, but the wonder of it all was why there was so much praise heaped upon this one film? Perhaps the bar has been lowered to the point that simply being able to tie the plot points together and end the film with a plug for the rest of the DC Comic Universe (as opposed to DC!) makes for what passes today as decent film-making.

The films of the comic-book era that stand out include Batman, the original and the Dark Knight series, the first Thor film, and Dr. Strange, with Benedict Cumberbatch mainly supplying the added zip to the series. But, this film has been notable in that a female director was chosen, Patty Jenkins,to film a story that included the Amazonian women of Paradise Island along with the beautiful ingénue, Gal Gadot, playing the lead of Wonder Woman.

The suspicion is that many of the males seeing this were perhaps overawed by the female power knitted into the fabric of the super-hero genre that produced the ultimate fantasy woman-Wonder Woman. However, the film’s rise and fall really wasn’t with the acting chops of  Gadot, or any one stand-out performer. It touched on the naivete and simplistic dedication to the cause of justice that overrides all the knit-picking realities that crop up with the super-heroes who are intertwined into the actual history of the world.(In this case, the history of World War I).

Lending the film some mystery was the dark cinematography of the second half of the film; it seemed to be in stark contrast with the bright and beautiful landscapes from the fantastic world where Wonder Woman originated. That, and the CGI that dominates all comic films was the journey and the medium’s message for the extent of this film.

So, the verdict is to see this or not, depending on your radar for the love of comic characters, or CGI, or simply good-looking and athletic Amazonian women who dedicate themselves to the causes of justice and freedom. You may want to wait for the small screen, or go for it, depending on your own dedication and predilections. In any case, make sure to catch Dr. Strange if you haven’t seen it. That one remains the better film of the two.

Capsule Review: Dr. Strange

Except for a brief mention of the Infinity Stones, this film pretty much stands as a separate story and isn’t mired in the Marvel Universe. This is an origin tale, but with Benedict Cumberbatch, it’s more about the character than the comic book. The film feels as if it’s not simply the glib and at times desperate for laughs stylized pieces like the “Guardians’ movies appear to be. Dr. Strange is a darker and somewhat more studied hero. Perhaps because at times, the style is reminiscent of Christian Bale’s portrayal in “Batman Begins”. Cumberbatch is more in league with this version than the other Marvel-ians, as the character travels to the Far East to study the mystical teachings of the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton.
Cumberbatch is excellent in the part, with humor that is much more subtle and in keeping with his Sherlock persona. The script manages to keep the action sequences intact, providing an enjoyably escapist adventure throughout the length of the film. A stand-alone story is preferable, as this is, to one where you must be in the loop regarding all the lore of the universe of heroes now populating the culture. The tone and range of this movie set it apart as a worthy entry in the annals of the comic genre film fare.