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!

Movie of the Week: Wonder Woman

For too long, the fight against the forces of evil has been spearheaded by men. The greatest heroes who have fought for humanity against foes driven to bring hurt and pain to the innocent are great men, but still men. The time has come for a woman to rise against those who would do harm to those who cannot protect themselves. It is time. It is her time! The Princess of Themiscyra, with shield on one arm, a sword in her hand, and a mystic lasso at her hip will rise to bring an end to the war that will end all wars. Diana’s crusade for justice is only the beginning of a journey that will place her in a league of her own. This is the story of a new age of heroism. This is the tale of Wonder Woman.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Written by: Allan Heinberg

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Florence Kasumba, Ewen Bremmer, and Saïd Taghmaoui.

What am I expecting to see?: The last three films produced from the DCEU have underwhelmed to say the least, especially the films that flew under Warner Bros. and DC Comics from last year, so Wonder Woman is going in with an advantage of a low-bar already set. In the limited time we’ve seen her in the role already, Gal Gadot has done enough to sell audiences on her as Wonder Woman and now that she has this feature film to elevate herself, I’m hoping that she has clout to seize this initiative of being a powerhouse film hero in her own right.

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!

Updated: Rick Famuyiwa Will Not Direct The Flash

I’m going to be honest, my stock in the DC Entertainment Universe right now is low and not much of anything, except Zack Snyder getting a demotion or termination, is going to restore it, but yesterday I received a little bit of news that truly piqued my interest.

Image by RattledMachine

The Flash will be featured in Justice League, portrayed by Ezra Miller who already made his brief debut in Batman v. Superman, but a few weeks ago Seth Grahame-Smith left the standalone The Flash feature over creative differences, much like Michelle MacLaren did with the Wonder Woman feature. DC and Warner Bros took time to find a suitable replacement for MacLaren in Patty Jenkins and they did the same for The Flash by landing Rick Famuyiwa, credited for acclaimed indies such as The Wood, Brown Sugar and last year’s smash hit at Sundance, Dope.

Image by Africultures

Warner Bros is looking for the right chemical mix on its superhero picture line based on the DC Comics heroes that started with Batman V Superman, and the feeling internally was that Famuyiwa provided a vision that would resonate with young viewers and that vision was very compatible with the script that the studio is moving toward the starting gate with. That vision was executed to strong reviews in Dope, the 2015 film about a young geek trying to survive in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood

I LOVE this move! Dope was one of the best films I saw in 2015 due to its fresh approach, savvy direction and excellent execution all around and I credit Famuyiwa for such an excellent change of pace picture. I can’t wait to see what he can bring to The Flash; perhaps that fresh and funny appeal from Dope will rub off on the rest of the films in the DCEU lineup. Justice League Pt 1 will bow in theaters on November 17, 2017. The Flash races into theaters on March 16, 2018.

Update: It has just been brought to my attention that due to creative differences with producers, Rick Famuyiwa has elected to leave The Flash, thus marking the second time the superhero feature will be without a director. It also puts the timetable to get The Flash into production into jeopardy as Warner Bros. now races to find a suitable replacement.

Chris Pine Signs On for Wonder Woman

By Eva Rinaldi Uploaded by MyCanon (Chris Pine), via Wikimedia Commons

The DC Cinematic Universe is expanding. Man of Steel was enough to launch an established universe of heroes and villains which will be showcased next year in the highly anticipated blockbusters Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad and post-2016, DC has a slate of films scheduled for release which will ultimately lead to a Justice League feature. One of the heroes waiting in the cinematic wings is the iconic Wonder Woman, who will make her big-screen debut in Dawn of Justice starring Gal Gadot. Her solo feature will be directed by Patty Jenkins and the Wonder Woman feature will gain some star-power thanks to Chris Pine.

In May, rumors circulated regarding Pine joining Gadot in the female-superhero installment as Diana Prince’s love-interest Steve Trevor. Speculation also swirled regarding Pine as a candidate to play Hal Jordan in Green Lantern Corps, so obviously, he was courted heavily by Warner Bros. and DC Comics, but instead of taking the Green Lantern oath, he opts for something more “down to Earth” in a manner of speaking.

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Image by Warner Bros

Gal Gadot will debut as Wonder Woman on March 25, 2016 in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman‘s solo movie will arrive in theaters on June 23, 2017.

Wonder Woman works quickly to replace Michelle MacLaren

Image by DC Comics and Warner Bros.

Yesterday, I was saddened to learn that Michelle MacLaren bowed out of directing the Wonder Woman feature for the DC Cinematic Universe. I was exited to hear that the female-led superhero venture tabbed a female director and MacLaren has extensive experience in directing dramatic television material such as Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead. With MacLaren and DC fostering creative disagreements regarding the Gal Gadot-led feature, work needed to be done to find a suitable replacement for MacLaren and apparently DC did their work quickly. Patty Jenkins has been tapped as new director for Wonder Woman.

Image by Frazier Harrison of Getty Images

I was impressed to hear that Jenkins landed the gig because her name sounded very familiar. She was speculated to direct Thor: the Dark World two years ago, but she couldn’t find common ground with Marvel, thus opening the door for Alan Taylor. Jenkins also directed Monster, the film where Charlize Theron won her first Academy Award in 2003. She has been making a living with television projects such as Entourage, The Killing and one episode of Arrested Development. Looking at Jenkins’ resume, Monster does give her something of an edge; she has experience directing a female-leading cinematic vehicle and maybe she can stick with DC since she was burned by Marvel a while back. Good luck Ms. Jenkins.

The only known details about Wonder Woman are thus: Gal Gadot will star after she debuts in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jason Fuchs is writing the screenplay, Scott Eastwood is said to co-star and Wonder Woman is scheduled for a June 23, 2017 slate in theaters.