Mike Dorn Wiss

Better to blaze your own trail
Than to follow another's, unwinding
For in the slippery path of life
The search is greater than the finding
MDW/1963

Wonder Woman

 

 

Wonder Woman (2017) – 5.3/10

 

There were a lot of very good reviews for this heavily anticipated flick, yet another in the plethora of MARVEL stu…er…superhero extravaganzas produced to birth trilogies designed to milk entertainment dollars from an unwitting public. Certainly this flick figured to be seen as one of the better attempts, as indeed it was, at least for the well-directed first third of it. After that it was only the director and actors who carried it through the second part, while nothing short of a match could save the last. Accordingly I decided to break my scale of ten rating points into rough thirds. I gave the opening segment 3.0, the second 1.7, and the last a generous 0.6.

I’ve always found that films both written and directed by a single person tend to be the best, so when I learned three writers were involved in this one I did not not hold the best of expectations for the final product, and I wasn’t disappointed. Not even the directorial skills of Patty Jenkins could save it. It started with a high note on the mystic island home of the Amazonian race, slipped into boredom as the tale entered the conflicts of the first world war, and finally descended into the typical mano-a-mano – whoops – womano-a-CGImonstero  so common to the Marvel universe.

Credit needs be given not only to the direction, but also to most of the acting ensemble, who didn’t have a helluva lot with which to work. Gal Gadot was a marvelous Wonder Woman, and an even better Diana Prince, and Chris Pine was his usual charming Captain Kirk self. Both played well off each other, although their obvious and predictable mutual attraction had similarly predictable consummation problems. How else to ensure that the flick had a PG-13 rating, except for also eliminating bloodletting in the scenes of violence? This is a flick meant for barely pubescent females, after all. No way was any war gore a-la Spielberg or Tarantino going to splatter onscreen, not even enough to suggest a modicum of realism, and no way was Steve going to go down on Diana and show her that guys can hold their breath as well as girls, never mind giving her an introduction to a pleasure appendage she apparently had no idea existed.

The first act gets a 3.0/3.3; pretty darn good. The island home of the Amazons was almost as fascinating as the Na’vi home in the Avatar flick. Almost. The backstory and setup were well written, at least until a few boatloads of manfodder broke through a fog and beached on the island with the intention of killing all babes in sight, rather than screwing them. After all, Wonder Woman needed to be shown proof of a madness beyond the fog since there was little reason to believe the hunk of Pine that fell from the sky and into her metaphorical lap. And naturally it needed to be shown that Amazons have bigger penises than Nazis. Were it not for that scene I might have given the segment another tenth.

The second act found Wonder Woman as her alter ego Diana Prince, a clever disguise that allowed her somehow to be privy to the inner sanctum of top warmongers, and for her to waggle a righteous finger at them all. The story slowed, became contrived, and started to drivel. But for a few of the contrived giggles of the supporting cast and the continued charm of the lead actors I probably would have dropped this segment’s rating down to a 1.0. I was especially moved by the ludicrous hypocrisy of our heroine telling all that perhaps the poor German army was composed only of frightened boys wishing they were home with their families before she charged into the field of battle to bloodlessly off a platoon or two.

There’s little to be said about the third act. It was a cartoon with live people, and not nearly as endearing as the cast of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When the inevitable final fight began and the blithering buffoon of a bad guy morphed into a creature from a Transformer’s acid trip I had had enough. I walked out and never did see the actual ending. Who needed to? I’ve been told there was a touching girl-boy scene in it ‘though. I have no idea what it was about, but I have little doubt it set up a sequel.

 

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Author: Mike Dorn Wiss

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