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June 5, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017) --- "Apparently Crossing No-Man's Land Is Not Impossible For A Woman."

Plot Summary
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that's raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny. 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
       The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) was off to a rough start, trailing far behind the Marvel universe and failing to deliver much of fans expectation in the previous three films. DCEU needed a saving grace…or, in this case, a Wonder Woman. Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) accomplishes the impossible as this film exceeds expectations and provides a comprehensive cinematic experience. The film takes great advantage of its 140-minute running time by explaining where Diana is from, who she is, and her road of self-discovery. Although it begins at a somewhat flawed and uneven start, this allows for the story to build into a compelling and exhilarating cinematic performance from a princess to a warrior and delivers affectionate sentimentality that carries a sense of strength. The theme of the film touches many different topics: love and peace, sacrifice and courage. And while at times it feels a bit overdone and preachy the story delivers exactly what it set out to do with grace and accuracy. One aspect that I admire is that Jenkins does not abandon the idea of terror and mass destruction, especially since Diana Prince is still very innocent in those areas, but escapes the confines of a cliché superhero film where all the bad guys are evil and the good guys are purely good. In everyone, there is both dark and light, the difference is which side you chose and why.

     It would not have been surprising if the production team chose to portray Diana Prince as a bitter and vengeful woman who goes far beyond hating men but that does not happen here and I greatly admire that. Throughout the film, Diana Prince is never actually addressed as ‘Wonder Woman’ because that is not only who she is, her story is powerful. One trait that sets her apart from every other superhero, both Marvel, and DCEU, is that she embodies and also integrates courage, compassion, truth, justice, selfless, and purpose into everything that she does. Simply put, there is more to Wonder Woman than just her brute strength and super powers, she has integrity and compassion. Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by psychologist William Marston, who was interested in the women's suffrage movement and in Margaret Sanger, the birth control and women's rights activist — as well as his mistress's aunt. His interest in these movements begins when he is a Harvard freshman in 1911 and is caught up in a big controversy on campus. In the fall of 1911, the Harvard Men's League for Women's Suffrage invites the incredible Emmeline Pankhurst to campus to speak in Sanders Theatre. The Harvard Corporation is terrified because women are not allowed to speak on campus, so eventually, Pankhurst is banned from speaking on campus. And this becomes a cause for a big fracas across the country. When Wonder Woman appears 30 years later one of the defining elements of Wonder Woman is chains. If a man binds her in chains then she loses all of her Amazonian strength so she has to break free - "in order to signify her emancipation from men” says Marston. Those chains signify the feminist and suffrage struggles of the 1910s that Marston had a front-row seat for. [1] Rarely have we seen a strong female protagonist with a well-developed character who decides very early on to be the author of her own destiny, deciding for herself who she is.

     The dramatic and comedic tones among the cast were perfectly balanced as the jokes were delivered better and on time. Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious) portrays the humanity of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and will steal your heart by being both charming and bad ass. Chris Pine (Star Trek) is great as Steven Trevor and he stands out in his own moments, which is incredible for a male character in a film that emphasizes on female empowerment. The chemistry between him and Gadot was automatic making their one-on-one dialogue that much more believable. The performances of Robin Wright (House of Cards) as Antiope, Lucy Davis (Shaun of the Dead) as Etta Candy, as well as the other characters that we meet are also noteworthy. However, it is ultimately the direction and script from the writing team that makes these characters. Because it’s the script that determines whether a film makes it or breaks it. There is only one small negative that I have for this film is a weak villain. Both DC and Marvel films have had problems with this area. If you’re going to have a villain then you need to make sure that he is a VILLAIN. For example, in Harry Potter Lord Voldemort is the villain because he is purely evil and is not afraid to do what he has to in order to achieve his goals. The same goes Lord of the Rings, both Saruman and Sauron are purely evil villains. Here our villain is a particular man of high rank or standing and while he is bad and his motives are horrible, he is not as evil as I was led to believe. Instead, it felt like the real villain of the story was war in general. This was a nice twist despite the initial bad guy being an underwhelming adversary.
     Overall, Wonder Woman is a greatly entertaining movie filled with humanity, humor, heart, action, and some romance. Not only does the film act as a fresh start for DCEU films but it also stands out in the superhero-movie-genre on a whole new level. This film wears its heart on its sleeve--it never loses it and only continues to grow to even more awe-inspiring, albeit predictable, resolution. Considering that the film features female protagonists and feministic themes, it is not surprising that Wonder Woman is set during WWI; it is both a superhero movie and a war drama. I say this because “fighting for what you believe in” is a big theme in this film and some of the best war movies are more show and less tell. Wonder Woman shows what war really looks without appearing like some abstract concept.

“I cannot stand by while innocent lives are lost. I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
- Diana Prince (Wonder Woman)

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  5 of 5 stars

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Movies Similar 
Aquaman (2018)
Assasin's Creed (2016)
Batman Begins (2005)
Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Clash of the Titans (2010)
The Flash
Justice League (2017)
Justice League Part 2 (2019)
Man of Steel (2013)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Wrath of the Titans (2012)

Cast & Crew
 Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Writing Credits:
(Screenplay) Allan Heinberg
(Wonder Woman created by) William Moulton Marston
Produced by 
Wesley Coller              ---     executive producer
Tommy Gormley        ---     co-producer
Geoff Johns                 ---     executive producer
Stephen Jones             ---     executive producer
Charles Roven             ---     producer
Rebecca Steel Roven  ---     executive producer
Enzo Sisti                     ---     line producer Italy
Deborah Snyder          ---     producer
Zack Snyder                 ---     producer
Richard Suckle            ---     producer
Cinematography by Matthew Jensen
Film Editing by Martin Walsh 
Production Design by Aline Bonetto
Gal Gadot                                           ---       Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Robin Wright                                    ---       General Antiope
Chris Pine                                           ---       Steve Trevor
Connie Nielsen                                 ---       Queen Hippolyta
David Thewlis                                   ---       Sir Patrick
Elena Anaya                                      ---       Maru / Doctor Poison
Ewen Bremner                                 ---       Charlie
Lucy Davis                                          ---       Etta Candy
Danny Huston                                  ---       General Erich Ludendorff
Eleanor Matsuura                           ---       Epione
Doutzen Kroes                                  ---       Venelia
Samantha Jo                                     ---       Euboea
Saïd Taghmaoui                              ---       Sameer
Mayling Ng                                         ---       Orana
Florence Kasumba                         ---       Senator Acantha
Lisa Loven Kongsli                         ---       Menalippe
Emily Carey                                       ---       Young Diana
Eugene Brave Rock                        ---       Chief
Brooke Ence                                      ---       Penthiselea
Ann Ogbomo                                      ---       Phillipus
Dominic Kinnaird                          ---       Rüdiger Gerhard
Ann Wolfe                                          ---       Artemis
Jacqui-Lee Pryce                             ---       Niobe
Madeleine Vall                                 ---       Egeria 

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