Wednesday, November 29, 2017

OSCAR WATCH: Wonder Woman

As we enter the thick of awards season, filmmakers and publicists are very busy trying to get attention for their fall releases. But it's worth remembering that the year is 12 months long and has already delivered Oscar-worthy fare. One such example is Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman", a summer box office hit that was an unexpected critics darling and sparked significant Best Picture talk.

"Wonder Woman" is the origin story of its titular character, a member of the famed comic book superhero team known as the Justice League. But before becoming one of Earth's most vital protectors, she was just Diana, a gifted child growing up around a civilization of women called Amazons. These women are fierce warriors created by the god Zeus to protect mankind. After man was irreparably corrupted by war and hate however, they retreated to the secret island of Themyscira. But one day in 1918, a mysterious American man stumbles upon them, bringing the ongoing World War with him. With her world and that of the humans now under threat, Diana must venture out into to fulfill her personal mission to stop the forces of evil and restore peace.

As Diana embarks on her adventure, "Wonder Woman" essentially shifts between 3 different films, of which the first is the best. The opening act is a coming-of-age fantasy tale, as we are introduced to the mythology surrounding the Amazons and Diana herself. Handsomely shot, it provides effective world-building as it captures the untouched beauty of Themyscira. This segment also offers the most thrilling action sequences through its training montages and the aforementioned invasion. The awesomely choreographed athleticism is truly something to behold.

The film gets increasingly more familiar after this promising start however. Still, it never fails to keep your attention thanks to terrific performances from Chris Pine and Gal Gadot. The former is effortlessly compelling in his role as both an Allied spy and Diana's eventual love interest and partner. He has excellent chemistry with Gadot, who once again proves that she was indeed the right choice to play this beloved character. She has the perfect combination of girlish naivety and womanly strength that pays off wonderfully in the middle act's "fish out of water" humor in London and an enthrallingly feminist scene in the aptly named "No Man's Land".

Subsequent to this World War I subplot, the film unsurprisingly devolves into the usual explosive battle royale between our heroine and the "Big Bad" that often garners Oscar nods for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects. But even within this formulaic conclusion, there's an unabashedly moralistic message that distinguishes the film from the typical superhero film. Despite her incredible powers, Wonder Woman is more importantly a beacon of goodness and love. And this sentimentality is ultimately refreshing in a genre that usually caters to the "cool" bravado that appeals to young men. "Wonder Woman" is funny and thrilling, but it also has a sweetness and sincere romance at its core. In other words, it's a comic book movie that anyone can enjoy. I know I did.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing the review. It's so nice to see a good review about the movie I like.
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