Sunday, June 04, 2017

Haiku Review: Wonder Woman

Amazons, at last.
Overdue, but still thrilling.
When will she return?

So, beyond that, my take is that the Wonder Woman film should finally put to rest the idea that a woman as the lead protagonist can't be successful. This should be a seemingly obvious proposition, but ongoing arguments have been that exceptions such as the Aliens franchise; Fury Road; Rogue One; The Force Awakens; etc. have been ensemble films. 

I'm certainly glad that Wonder Woman came out before the Black Widow film, and despite the flop that Ghost in the Shell deservedly was, hopefully there will be some good lessons extracted so that the script for the Black Widow film can have the even greater depth and thrills than even the very promising looking Atomic Blonde film due out later this year.

I'd easily place the Wonder Woman film as an excellent baseline for what any superhero film should aspire towards, up there with the late Christopher Reeves' Superman 2. (Sorry, I found the first Superman film a little dull to watch). I enjoy many elements of the Nolan Batman films, and the kitschy ambition of the Burton and Schumacher take on Batman but Wonder Woman, while dipping her toes in the Grimdark atmosphere of many DC comics films, ultimately embraces a brightness, a light that should be admired and brought forward in more works. Heroes who are actually heroes, trying to do the right thing.  I'd be worried because it's tempting to let such a character descend into parody. Wonder Woman as Don Quixote. But I appreciate that the film dares to present an unflinching, if challenged optimism. It's refreshing.

It's a fine film that kicks works such as Hancock and My Super Ex-Girlfriend to the curb. For non-comics fans, its accessible, and easy to follow. For fans of the comics, adjustments to the classic mythos of Wonder Woman are solid and provide openings to more interesting updates and storylines in the future that may well be worth watching. 

Is it as groundbreaking and transgressive as Fury Road?Compared to that or Logan, Wonder Woman is very near, and what it's accomplishing is a bit more subtle, but sill well worth watching. I feel bad for Aquaman and other DC films if they aren't poised to address as many interesting questions as Wonder Woman sought to explore. 

I look forward to discussing this with many of my students in the years ahead especially as we consider how a Lao and Southeast Asian perspective might have approached the material, and where her character might resonate with us. I do have one nagging quibble with the film that I won't get into for now because it would involve a massive spoiler, but it's a minor compromise given all of the other interesting things Wonder Woman explored for a Summer blockbuster.

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