Friday, June 09, 2017

Wonder Woman - a somewhat tasteless superhero intervention into WW1

Apparently it’s only a matter of time before the god of war, Ares, returns and will have to be fought. Princess Diana (played by Gal Gadot) grows up on the all-female Amazon island of Themyscira, hidden under a permanent cloud. She trains up as a fearsome warrior. When a fighter pilot ditches in the sea, World War One invades their idyllic locale and their use of the bow is challenged by the bullet. Diana sails away with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy working for British Intelligence to find Ares and stop the war.
“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves”

Gal Gadot delivers performances which emphasise her character’s strength, sass, intelligence and independent thinking. The strong feminist theme that runs throughout the 141 minute film is not overly damaged by the Amazon outfits which are shapely but modest by 1970’s Linda Carter standards. (Though the bare-shouldered uniform is perhaps the most impractical of garments for hand combat and sword play.)

Wonder Woman cooks up an origin story, yet stops short of filling in all the details. The fantasy is less about the character’s powers and more about the holes in a plot that keeps jumping forward in time to dissuade the audience from dwelling on the questions bubbling up in their minds. (Like what ever became of the sailors on the German warship who weren’t in the landing party? And how long does it take to sail to London?)

Definitional battles litter the dialogue. A motley crew assembled to raid enemy territory add a comedy element to the chemical warfare jeopardy even though it’s impossible not to believe that they have fallen through a worm hole from the Trainspotting universe. Lucy Davis is delightful as secretary Etta Candy.

Iron Sky brought Nazis from the dark side of the moon to the silver screen. But Wonder Woman’s projection of the battle between Zeus and Ares onto World War One verges on being tasteless and nearly demeans the wartime struggle with its supernatural intervention.
“Only love can truly save the world”

The final chapters of the film neatly weave together three parallel battles. Love and righteous anger threaten to vanquish hatred. The corruption of the human race may yet frustrate Diane Prince’s best efforts. But by now, the manner in which the film concludes is less important than the fact that the credits roll and you can escape the DC Extended Universe.

Wonder Woman continues to play in most cinemas across Northern Ireland.

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