Movie Review: Wonder Woman

 

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One of the best comic book movies in recent years, as well as one of the best film of 2017 so far, “Wonder Woman” is a much-needed home run for the DC cinematic universe, after the critically-polarizing “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman.”

The plot is nothing ground-breaking; it’s an origin story of a superhero who overcomes adversity, adapts to the new world she encounters, and overcomes her first adversaries.  But the execution of the story was near perfection, and, most note-worthy of all, was the female-driven elements throughout the film.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman” elevates the female superhero, and female roles in films, to new heights..  Gadot portrays Princess Diana as an enigmatic and confused heroine as she struggled to comprehend the complexities of modern warfare during World War I.  Some of the best scenes of the film were those of when Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) explains the Great War to Diana.

The action sequences, many of which utilize the ultra-slo-mo methods made famous by “300”, takes the technique and improves upon it, making some of the most entertaining comic book fight scenes I’ve seen.  Note to “Man of Steel”: do you know make “having superheroes and villains throw and punch each other, and throwing large objects around while things explode” interesting? Watch “Wonder Woman.”

The film isn’t perfect: there are some plot elements that could have been explored further, as well as a villain that was fairly undeveloped.  But overall, “Wonder Woman” is an excellent film, and a must-watch for all comic book movie fans, as well as fans of entertaining films.

9 / 10

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Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise return in the second instalment of the J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise, an action-packed sci-fi adventure that leans more in the direction of “Die Hard” than “Blade Runner.”

Clocking at over two hours, the movie features non-stop action sequences, gorgeous visuals, and borderline sappy dialogue.  It felt like this film was the very best they could offer without serving up anything new or ground breaking.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘the very best they could offer’ in this case was an excellent action film.  Amidst of all the explosions, ships crashing into each other, and people literally flying through space, the film by in large retains the chemistry of the ensemble cast that made the 2009 film shine.

The villain of this film is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, whom I’ve only seen previously in a support role in “Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy.”  The film did not do his character justice, but in an under-utilized position, Cumberbatch was still able to portray Harrison as an evil, enigmatic, and worthy opponent of Kirk’s team.

The status of the Spock and Uhura characters are also elevated in “Into Darkness,” although I’m not entirely sure of the writers’ intentions regarding their progress.  Both characters have grown from rookies in the first film to experienced battle veterans who are the best in the business, but they engage in dialogue that are reminiscent of the awkwardness and over-sentimentality displayed in the Star Wars prequels (Episodes I-III for those who aren’t familiar).  Although it might be illogical for long-time Trek fans, “Into Darkness” does set up possible sequels starring Spock and / or Uhura without Kirk.

“Into Darkness” is well made, but it lacks the freshness of the 2009 “Star Trek,” as well as the ‘wow’ factor.  I’d recommend it because it’s a solid film, but I believe there are better alternatives out there that are either more entertaining (“Iron Man 3”) or a breath of fresh air (“Oblivion”).