Review: Wonder Woman

I’ve had a good reason to be hard on the efforts of the DC Extended Universe over the past few years; especially last year considering my thoughts on their previous two pictures: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. This year, the producers of the DC Extended Universe look to turn the page on last year and seek to do so with their first superhero adventure starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

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Image by Warner Bros. and DC Comics

The film opens with Gadot as Diana Prince who receives a parcel from a new friend that compels her to reminisce on her earlier years. From her upbringing on the island of Themiscyra, home to the Amazons, where she was raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta, trained by her aunt Antiope, and encountered a man named Steve Trevor, who would guide her to the world of man on a journey that would change her life and the world at large forever.

To reiterate: I’ve been hard on the DC Extended Universe and I had good reason to be so. Their previous films have compelled me to set the bar low on their films going forward and I had to go into Wonder Woman with a low set of expectations. That being said, I must be blunt: THIS. MOVIE. IS. GOOD!

I must give credit where credit is due. Producers Geoff Johns, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Charles Roven, director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg crafted a solid origin story with coming-of-age themes that culminated in a very engaging, charming and the most entertaining DC movie to come out in years! I was satisfied with how they handled this movie; it wasn’t perfect but this was a great effort that really paid off!

I thought that the strength of this movie lied solely with Gadot’s performance meshed with Heinberg’s script and Jenkins’ execution. Wonder Woman is basically looking at the outside world with the perspective of childlike innocence, guided by a man who exposes her to the good and bad that a world at war has to offer someone who doesn’t exactly need to help.

If Gadot’s introduction in Batman v. Superman didn’t sell you on her ability to embody this iconic character, than this movie will most assuredly convince you! It was a treat watching her carry this movie and her on-screen chemistry with Chris Pine is splendid! Whether Diana is trying ice cream for the first time or feels concern or sympathy for the wounded soldiers on No Man’s Land, she just embodies the strength, compassion and innocence in this iconic character and she is relatable to audiences.

While I enjoyed watching this film, I only wish that the film could have done more with the supporting characters such as Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremmer, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya, Danny Huston and David Thewlis. I also hoped that the film would take more time to explore and examine Themiscyra, the Amazons and their cultures.

The cinematography of Matthew Jensen was solid, Rupert Gregson-Williams’ music was satisfactory, Martin Walsh’s editing was solid, the production design of Aline Bonetto was good, Lindy Hemming’s costumes were very good, the visual effects were to my liking and technically Wonder Woman was very well put-together to give this character the strength to stand on her own.

Wonder Woman clearly raised the bar for films coming from the DC Extended Universe because what separates this movie from the films that came before it: fun! This movie allowed itself to have its own natural fun and that allowed the audience to have fun watching it; this is leaps and bounds better than any DC film that came before it!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Meet Deathstroke!

Last week during the production of Justice League, star and executive producer Ben Affleck took a moment out of his very busy schedule to give fans across the world a look behind the curtain regarding what may in store for his character in a future DCEU motion picture.

In case you were wondering, yes. That is in fact the infamous mercenary from DC comic lore, Slade Wilson, alias Deathstroke and ever since Affleck announced the character, there has been official confirmation that Deathstroke will be coming to Gotham City to challenge Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight. A week later, point-man for the DCEU going forward, DC comic expert Geoff Johns, has officially confirmed who will take up the role of the sinister Slade Wilson: Joe Manganiello.

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Image by Eva Rinaldi, via Wikimedia Commons

For those who are unfamiliar with the character of Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, here is some background information.

Originally the archenemy of the Teen Titans, writers have developed him over the years as an adversary of other heroes in the DC Universe. Over time, DC writers established parallels between him and Batman, as well as his grudge against Green Arrow. The character has been substantially adapted from the comics into multiple forms of media, including several Batman related projects and the Teen Titans animated series. Slade Wilson/Deathstroke later appeared on The CW‘s live action TV series Arrow, where he is portrayed by Manu Bennett.

Deathstroke is and has been a formidable adversary for many of the individual members of the Justice League, and in some instances the entire league. An expert in hand-to-hand combat, military tactics, weapons and an intellect among some of the most prolific villains in the DC mythology, the appeal of Deathstroke for Ben Affleck’s take on Batman must have been undeniably difficult to resist. He’s basically an adversary worthy of Batman’s attention, capable of fighting him on his terms and his level. I for one love this decision and I recall how well Manu Bennett portrayed the character on the CW’s Arrow during its second season.

I took a quick look at Joe Manganiello’s credits and actually, I’m a more familiar with his acting acumen than I thought. He was Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, he has experience with both film and television on programs such as ER, How I Met Your Mother, One Tree Hill, True Blood and films such as Magic Mike, Knight of Cups and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. He’s certainly an actor to watch out for and judging by his physical demeanor, I believe he can step into the skin of Slade Wilson without any degree of difficulty and give Ben Affleck the adversary he desires. Can’t wait.

In the meantime, this may be a preview of what’s to come.

God Bless Comic Con! Why? TRAILERS!!!

I just knew that I would be blogging something today. Didn’t know how, but I knew. At first I thought I would throw up a surprise review on Star Trek Beyond, which IMO wasn’t all that; I’m not a Trekkie, I fail to see the appeal in Star Trek but I’m being honest, fans of the franchise will get a kick out of Justin Lin’s addition to the franchise and its attempt to appease its audience with classic nostalgic tones but for those non-Trekkies like myself: meh.

In case it hasn’t dawned on you: San Diego Comic Con is underway. It is in this time where fellow nerds, pop-culture enthusiasts, comic-lovers, practically people I can get along with confluence together to ooh and ahh all of the new grounds being broken in the worlds of comics, video games, television, films in the coming weeks, months or years even. You can always count on Comic Con to deliver something to wet your pop-culture appetite. While I was distracted by Star Trek Beyond, I returned home to catch up on what I’ve missed and I have missed much!

Kong: Skull Island

When Godzilla roared his mighty roar, someone at Warner Bros. and Legendary must have realized that this could be the beginning of something truly extraordinary but the creatures Godzilla faced did not pose enough of a challenge for the giant! Who could possibly stand against such a foe? The answer: KONG! An expedition led by Captain James Conrad, takes a team of explorers onto an island laden with danger and reigning over this treacherous-loaded-paradise is a creature who has existed long before the time of man but formidable and fearsome enough to hold dominion over his world and he won’t bow before anyone who dares stand in his way! Behold the trailer for Kong: Skull Island!

Kong: Skull Island is written by Max Borenstein, Derek Connelly, John Gatins and Dan Gilroy and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell. Kong becomes King on March , 2017.

Doctor Strange

Just when I FINALLY calmed from seeing that ridiculously trippy trailer from Doctor Strange, they set this on us! I’m not complaining it looks spellbinding all the same! BY THE EYE OF AGAMOTTO ENCHANT US!

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg and Scott Adkins, Doctor Strange is written by Jon Spaiths, directed by Scott Derrickson and will land in theaters by November 4, 2016. WOW!

The LEGO Batman Movie

I confess, I regret not giving The LEGO Movie a chance while it was in theaters. It did prove to be quite the delightful adventure. The film went on to enjoy a LOT of success in 2014, and in typical Hollywood fashion success usually equals sequels or spinoffs and in The LEGO Movie’s case, both. While the sequel is a ways off, a spinoff starring one of the films most popular characters is completely put together and fans are eagerly awaiting for the unveiling of The LEGO Batman Movie.

Chris McKay is the director guy in charge of assembly, who co-wrote the film with Seth Grahame-Smith and Eric Sommers, with the assistance of Jared Stern and John Whittington. Will Arnett will lend his voice to Batman, and rounding out the cast is Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Zack Galifianakis and Mariah Carey. The LEGO Batman Movie will hit theaters with excellent reflexes on February 10, 2017.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Harry Potter’s magical age has come and gone but renowned literary genius J.K. Rowling has started a new story about a new magical hero. Famous magizoologist Newt Scamander’s arrival in 1950s New York City has coincided with strange happenings within the American wizarding community and these bizarre events have involved some form of magical beast or two. Scamander must put his expertise to the test to remedy the problem before the fallout falls onto the non-magical population. This is the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by J.K. Rowling, directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton. A new age of magic begins on November 18, 2016.

Wonder Woman

One can say she made her long-awaited debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, many can argue that she stole the show in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either way, whether you liked Batman v. Superman or not-I didn’t-Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was a revelation and a statement; badass heroes don’t have to be men. Before she stepped back into the light in that intense battle, she had a story and this trailer is a preview of said story about how Princess Diana of Thymiscara set foot onto the world of men, guided by Steve Trevor.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and written for the screen by Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg, Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui and Florence Kasumba. Wonder Woman rides into battle June 2, 2017.

 Justice League

Perhaps no movie will be under no greater scrutiny than the follow-up to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Judging by this trailer, Justice League is saying and doing all of the right things but trailers have been deceiving before. Essentially, Batman is recruiting a team of meta-humans including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. This team of extraordinary individuals with great power will combat a coming threat. Justice League is coming together.

Zack Snyder directs, Chris Terrio contributes the screenplay for this superhero ensemble piece starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, Jeremy Irons and Henry Cavill. Justice League bows into theaters on November 17, 2017.

I have never attended Comic Con before but one day I hope to go and be a part of so much nerdgasmic excitement! Any more trailers come out, I’ll bring them here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and GOD BLESS COMIC CON!

Major Announcement Regarding Justice League

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was my most looked forward to film of 2016. It bombed. Badly. The aftermath of the highly anticipated follow-up to Man of Steel sent shockwaves reverberating throughout Warner Bros; some new additions were made, some losses were suffered, things had to be shuffled around and yet, it is all leading up to Justice League, the film that will bring together the major heroes of the DC Universe to combat a never-before-seen threat to Earth and humanity. Today, a major announcement has been issued regarding the production of Justice League, including a new logo and a new synopsis.

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Image by Warner Bros. & DC Entertainment

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.  Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.  But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions-via Collider

Here is what is known about Justice League at this point in its production:

  • Batman will assemble the team with the assistance of Wonder Woman
  • The film is essentially a recruiting story; how the team is brought together
  • The League will consist of Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher)
  • Superman (Henry Cavill) will return in the film, perhaps after the climax or prior to the 3rd act
  • Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) will play an unspecified role in the feature
  • J.K. Simmons (Commissioner Gordon), Amber Heard (Mera) and Willem Dafoe (Vulko) are confirmed for Justice League
  • Steppenwolf has been confirmed to be the antagonist of the film. He has yet to be cast

  • The three Mother Boxes are of interest to Steppenwolf and have a connection to both Wonder Woman and Aquaman
  • The tone of Justice League will be lighter than that of Batman v. Superman
  • Justice League will NOT be a two-part feature. Instead the story will be condensed into one film with the possibility of a sequel or two to introduce Darkseid
  • The film will occur several months after the events of Batman v. Superman
  • Junkie XL will score the film; Hans Zimmer has elected to retire from scoring superhero genre films but his themes from the previous films will be utilized
  • Fabian Wagner is in charge of cinematography; he will take over for Larry Fong
  • Geoff Johns will step in and act as a producer/godfather for not only Justice League but for all upcoming DC-based feature films in the future.
  • Ben Affleck has been promoted to be an executive producer on the film while shaping his upcoming Batman feature

Zack Snyder will return to direct and the screenplay will once again by crafted by Chris Terrio. Also Amy Adams and Jeremy Irons are also on board the cast. Justice League will bow into theaters on November 17, 2017.

Ben Affleck is working on solo Batman feature

By Medill DC Uploaded by MyCanon (Ben Affleck), via Wikimedia Commons

It was only a matter of time if you ask me. Now that Ben Affleck’s schedule has opened up, and he has his project lineup for the next few years squared away, he has turned his attention to another project that will take up his busy schedule: the long-speculated Batman solo feature for the DC Cinematic Universe.

Since he will don cape and cowl in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, he was clearly the obvious choice to handle the iconic character. Affleck is a worthy choice to star in, direct and co-write a Batman standalone feature; he will write the screenplay with Geoff Johns after his next directorial feature Live By Night. Affleck gained prestige with the Best Picture Argo, he’s an Oscar-winning screenwriter for Good Will Hunting, did an outstanding job directing The Town and somehow, Batman may be in good hands with him. It makes me look forward to how his incarnation of the Dark Knight will turn out next year in Dawn of Justice. I also wonder if Jared Leto’s Joker, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred will join Affleck’s Batman solo film.

Image by Warner Bros.

Currently, the Batman standalone feature has no confirmed release date.