The Ultimate WONDER WOMAN Movie Review (SPOILER FREE)
June 9, 2017 By Brett Jett
“A porous film, filled with invisible substance and emotional ‘Boom!’ ” —Brett Jett, independent author and Marstonian scholar.
“This modern epic’s structure is decidedly Yin…intuitive.” —Brett Jett, a 2nd viewing.
I am just recovering from overwhelming emotion last Thursday & Friday when I went to see this movie with family, and only now was I able to sit down and write this SPOILER-FREE review (You can skip to it below). The torrent of emotions was just overwhelming! I had been waiting my whole life for this movie! Remember, I was once the kid who’d hoped to be where Zack Snyder and Patty Jenkins were today…until I had to take another path in life. Though all those years ago I still wrote my own screenplay as a hobby (http://www.mediafire.com/view/f8d9z1vn1pdsa5l/Y_S_S_2.pdf).
I wished the release would’ve stayed with the June 23 date. Embarrassingly enough, the new release date was shared with CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS (lol) and–VERY interestingly–a Chinese-made movie called GOD OF WAR…Hmmmm! As planned, me and my family came to the June 1st premiere dressed as Amazons warriors. We looked grand! Of course, it was probably a funny sight AFTERwards to see a dozen adult men & women dressed to look tough, yet bawling our eyes out!
And because it was Wonder Woman, we were hoping that the spirit of WW would touch everyone, and that there’d be NO shootings or any such incidents. Thankfully there were none, at least where we were in Southern California. But there was one thing that upset me: Of all the movie premieres that you’d expect people to be extra kind, this was it. Instead, I found people were as cold and sullen as they always were. I spotted a panhandler outside while standing in the lobby after the movie. Not one person even looked at him, much less donated! I came up to him and found out he’s a homeless vet trying to get money to buy outta town to be with an old family member. I chatted him up a bit before dropping a few Jackson on’em. Then I left with my family. Fans…I’m gonna challenge you guys to get over yourselves and at least pretend to have a caring heart, at least for the whole day that you go see this movie, okay?
Because of my emotional high and long anticipation, I didn’t want to write this review right away for risk of spouting faulty snap praises. To be more objective & deeply precise, I went alone the next morning to see the movie again, but in 4D. My family chose not to…they didn’t want to lose their high. Then later that same night, I saw the movie a 3rd time, in 3D. My advice: Don’t spend your money on 4D. The technology needs improvement. The wind machine make too loud a noise, the air puffs aren’t precise, and the smells are mono. Its best seen in 3D on an extra large screen. Why? Because this movie is about a journey you take with Diana…that’s best experienced in large 3D as if you were there with her…and on Paradise Island!
THE ACTUAL REVIEW
Firstly, before I bore you with the details, I’ll cut right to the verdict….I LOVED it! This movie was BETTER than I had anticipated, and was different than I had imagined all those years ago. Also, lesson learned: Don’t ever listen to what the directors or writers say about the film before its released…its never congruent with what you actually get! Both visually and emotionally, the movie was five levels removed from the trailers that didn’t even give a hint to how stupendous it really was. The rumors that it’d feel like the 1978 Superman flick are false! As for a rating from 1 to 10? I can’t! Its not one of those movies that I’m able to give a quantity verdict. Only a quality verdict…either thumbs up or down. Stupendous & two thumbs up, btw. No bad reviews here! Oddly, it’s no-less a stupendous movie that simultaneously had room to improve, whereas most good films can’t be made any better.
The stupendous final verdict was easy. But explaining WHY it deserved that verdict is the tricky part. Very few people can tell you exactly why they loved this movie or what made it great. Even I had difficulties during my high.
The Zeusian explosion from WW’s bracelet slam is the perfect metaphor for the emotional “Boom!” that the movie triggered in me and everyone else and lasted long after the credits. A certain un-nameable batch of emotions that dominated any logical critique of the movie. So its greatness didn’t come from any conventional factors. Kinda like how a woman gets attracted to a man that logically she shouldn’t be with, in a way that defies all logic. It’s the invisible emotions-producing forces.
The reason I can’t give this movie a number rating is the same reason (according to psychological studies) girls tend to do better on essay tests than multiple choice. The movie has a feminine structure to it, which then in turn triggers feminine-type reaction (intuitive emotion), and thus the viewer gives value to it beyond any visible logic.
‘Feminine’, as in Yin, not female. As opposed to Yang. The intuitive rather than the logical, smooth curve rather than sharp angle, etc. You dig what I’m saying? The shining excellence of this movie was of such type that can only be judged by how it made you FEEL rather than any review of the events. I don’t know if Patty or Zack purposely designed the movie to have this effect, but regardless…that’s what has happened!
SOME CONTENT TID BITS
Now that I got my verdict outta the way, I’ll just quickly review some points on the movie’s visual contents.
Annoying that Batman was the first image I saw in the beginning logo credits! Then the story started with an image of the globe…just like in my screenplay. Goosebumps all around! But the crowd began giving their loudest cheers just before Diana charged the frontline of No Mans Land!
Chris Pine did a good, consistent job worthy of the Steve character, and was only limited by the script. Gal Gadot’s acting wasn’t as good, however, most times she didn’t need to act…because “she was WW”. Her speech patterns were incongruent at times. The Amazons accents were inconsistent, as some of them didn’t have any! Did Gal even spend enough time rehearsing her monologs? This and others are reasons why this incarnation is rightfully called Wonder Gal…This role was really hers, rather than her borrowing the WW character.
This version of Etta Candy was like what the Golden Age Etta would’ve been like had she allowed herself to grow older and responsible to finally get a job. And yes, I got my wish: She said “Woo! Woo!” several times! LOL
The period accuracy was mediocre and incomplete…ie. no mythological exclamations. And they should’ve have used date stamps on some scenes…There was no way for people to know how many years passed!
The original sex/gender themes were there, but in varying degrees…mostly minimal. The good thing: it was devoid of sexist messages that plagued past WW incarnations. It was more about (as it should be) mankind’s inner self going either evil or good, and the horrors of war.
There were also MATRIX and Christian themes. I could also see the influence of writer Brian Azzarello, the animated WW DVD, and probably the Marston family, as I saw them in the credits. I should get a spot in the credits for the work I’ve done in the last decade. But a star, not my name. Me being off-the-record & all. Like how agents KIA get a star on the wall of CIA HQ. But my star could be misconstrued as a WW decoration. At any rate, this movie was comparable to my own screenplay and Joss Whedon’s—an analysis of which I’ll do in another review.
The best word I’d use to describe this entire movie incarnation of WW is SIMPLIFIED. Compared to the original intricate complexities of the WW mythos, this movie was pared way down to the point of things just not being there.
They made great use of innuendo!—a Marstonian tradition. A lot of things were unspoken that you’d have to pay attention and tap your intuitive side to comprehend. The prevalent trend in this movie: OMISSION. I had a feeling that this production was rushed.
Never have I seen a movie that left so many relevant questions unanswered!…much less a stupendous movie!
As you can see, there’s nothing in the analysis of the movie content that would indicate a stupendous verdict. Because those “logical” things are besides the point. Its the invisible forces that created a powder keg of emotional explosion in us. What evokes those forces isn’t in the central theme, the main core of this entire film. It isn’t even the message, which is simple and not that profound: WW knows that she can only fight with her fists & firepower, but never really conquer…only with love can she do so. No. Its in the JOURNEY…the indescribable, intuitive emotional ride it gave. This movie was a trek that you take with Diana on her Heroine’s Path. She & Steve were two devoted people on a mission. Its not like the modern day, civilian life of Superman & Lois. This was more of a “We’re in this together till the end” type of deal. The journey made the message dynamic and meaningful with depth of substance, thus creating the dominant emotional magic that supersedes all the imperfections and gaps. I wonder if the Marston family were in tears during/after the movie. I’m sure even the viewing femi-nazi fanatics submitted to this magic, just accepting whatever it presented rather than mentally debating what they thought the movie should be. All of you can use this for your lives…Focus on your journey, not the destination.
Did Patty & Zack & Allan read Dr. Marston’s film book? Because whether by design or inadvertently, they ended up creating what can properly be called a “Sensation Movie”! Having studied & gotten inside his mind for years, I can honestly say that Dr. Marston would’ve been proud!
(Hey, there’s a catchy name for a future production company dedicated to WW films!)
Here I am, years in the future from where I was as a kid hoping to produce a WW movie….
Did it stay true to the WW character?….That’s an easy ‘yes’…All you need is the core and overall spirit of the original…Everything else is an interesting interpretive creative process.
Could it achieve its desired goal of finally making WW & her story better known? Yes, but just the basic foundation. That’s the important thing, as people can do their own reading if they wanna dig deeper.
Did it stay true to her personality?…Yes, they covered the main points, in all their organic dimensions…the stranger, the bluntness, competitive challenger, martial eagerness, humanity, etc. And they did right the timeline of her growth (she’s not static). And because they used Gal Gadot, it was done in a way that even matched my own incarnation of WW, with the accent and all.
Would I have changed anything in the film to make it better?…NO!…Maybe I’d ADD stuff to fill in the “hollows”, making it only a bit better from being already stupendous.
It wasn’t what I anticipated, nor were my reactions. I felt as if I were just coming to witness WW relive her story. There was a lack of that “alien-ness” feel one gets with new movies. I had almost forgotten how much being exposed to WW all the time has affected me. She’s just too familiar to me.
But I am so glad to have FINALLY gotten to SEE what WW would be like in dynamic live action, 3-dimensional form! It beats all those years trying to visualize a bunch of 2-dimensional concepts put together.
My final thought on this long-awaited movie: It was so much greater than I thought, that I cannot possibly write just one review! My long-awaited WW movie review has expanded to three more! This one you’re reading is the basics. Be on the lookout for the next three where I analyze the deeper details… NOTE: they contain spoilers!
Do you know when in the movie Diana was called ‘wonder woman’, and by whom? See the movie to find out, or wait for my spoiler review. And…
I can’t think of a number. Its beyond numbering. A square peg to a circle hole.
What is the Hollow?
Tune in next time to some of my articles here. Same wonderful website…same wonderful writer!