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: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (6.5/10)

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Talking about disappointments.

I walked into “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” hoping to see one of the best comic book movies of all time, a cinematic masterpiece by director Zack Snyder.  What I got instead was a film that was mediocre at best, and a director who clearly was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of setting up the DC cinematic universe.

The film clocked in at around two and a half hours, half an hour of which could easily have been cut out without diminishing the movie.  It’s almost as if they have no idea how to utilise two of the biggest comic book superheroes of all time, and that they have no comic book movies from which to draw inspiration (yes we know Warner Bros. wants to make the DC cinematic universe darker and grittier than Marvel’s but that doesn’t mean they can’t look to Marvel movies to learn how to make good comic book movies.)

This review would seem endless if I delved into spoilers and picked apart all the film’s flaws.  To summarise, the writing is sloppy and tedious.  Lots of pointless dialogue that does not further the plot.  The film even uses the same device twice to reveal things to the audience.  At certain points, scenes would seemingly build up to something exciting to amp up the audience, only to cut to something completely off tempo, leaving the audience frustrated.

Worst of all, for the most part, the film is just plain dull.  Not just the signature Snyder-saturated palette, but the tone of which the acting took place.  Speaking of the acting, there was a range of good (Ben Affleck was great as the new Batman, Gal Gadot was perfect as Wonder Woman, apparently also a woman of few words) and bad (my god that overacting from Jesse Eisenberg, did not work at all.)

Even the Snyder-isms were off.  This guy is known for using extreme slow motion to good effects (like in “300”, “Watchmen”, even “Sucker Punch”).  But here, he puts the slo-mo in all the wrong places, missing out on creating iconic cinematic moments in the process

There were moments of brilliance in the film, such as when Batman finally faced off against Superman, and the first DC Universe team fight against Doomsday.  But these were overshadowed by the salient flaws of the film.

I’d almost say it’s not worth seeing in the theatres, but there are a few redeeming points to the film.  It all depends on whether you want to spend that money and sit for two and a half hours for brief moments of coolness.

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6 (Mindless Popcorn Action at its Best)

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“Fast & Furious 6” is so ridiculous that even if you  suspend all beliefs in logic and physics heading into the film (as you should), you’d still be awing at the ridiculousness it all.  Yet, the film succeeds by proudly embracing its stupidity and tells the audience “you’re gonna enjoy this because it is damn good entertainment!”

The filmmakers of the sixth installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise have capitalized on making it James Bond-esque in that they can churn out more sequels from now on without feeling franchise fatigue.  Walking in the footsteps of “Fast Five,” which was a success beyond everyone’s expectations (it reached #66 all time box office!), “Fast & Furious 6” had some tough shoes to fill to keep the franchise going, and delivers.

Almost all of the cast from “Fast Five” returns for “6”, joined by new characters played by Luke Evans and MMA star Gina Carano, as well as returning characters played by John Ortiz and Michelle Rodriguez.  Add this to the core cast played by Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Tyrese, Sung Kang, Elsa Patalky, Gal Gadot… and you have a lot of… people.  Surprisingly, the film doesn’t feel bloated despite the huge cast as it manages to allocate some special moments to all of these characters.

Here is an accurate synopsis of “Fast and Furious 6”:  Good guys chases some bad guys.  The bad guys chase back.  Spectacular car chases occur.  Gun fights and fist fights galore.  Bodies fly in the air.  Things blow up.  Hit and miss attempts at humor.  Plot ‘twists’.  One side wins.  The end.

“Fast & Furious 6” is a Michael Bay film without the pretentiousness.  It is more implausible than all of the “Die Hard” films combined.  It has set the franchise up for more sequels better than Stallone’s “The Expendables”.  But it’s all for good.  And if the film doesn’t put a smile on your face, the ending will.