Movie Review- Wonder Woman

Most obviously, Wonder Woman was the reason Batman Vs Superman was even watchable. As soon as her theme hit the audience knew she was there to save Batman, Superman and all of us from banality. Gal Gadot filling Wonder Woman’s boots and bringing the Princess of Themyscira to life in her own major motion picture filled many fans with excitement. But still many were cautious… or even critical of her armpits.

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The movie begins first in the present day with a gift from Bruce. But we are quickly treated to Diana’s origin story. A young Diana, running through the roads of Themyscira. The only child on the island, she’s impatient to start her training to be an Amazon warrior. Destined to protect the world from Aries’s corruption. She grows up on a diverse island of bad bitches, everything is going so well. Until Nazis show up. (Okay, not really, just Germans.)

To be fair. First it’s Chris Pine. Who is a British Spy with no sign of an accent. He’s taken with her and the other Amazons (and their bioluminescent springs), but he is on a mission. Diana quickly decides to join him as she is discovering her true strength. Compared to even the other Amazons she is strong, she is trained 10 times harder (they say trained, not that she is naturally more powerful) but she doesn’t know what waits across the ocean.

People have been right to draw parallels between the behavior of Diana and Thor. Smart, although somewhat bewildered because of being raised without the industrial revolution. Honorable. Hyper capable. Muscular. Armor clad.

People also have some interesting ideas about how her upbringing affects to her ability to consent. The blogger, Christina Cauterucci states that there’s a love story “shoehorned in” is positioned as a “no homo” to Diana’s “inherently queer backstory”. I would argue that it’s not. The love story develops quickly and expectedly, yes. But why the upbringing is “inherently queer” when the other main characters on Themyscira are Diana’s mother and aunt and Diana is a generation younger than everyone else… I’m not sure. Cauterucci quotes Diana as saying that she learned about sex from books and knew men were necessary for reproduction but not pleasure. So maybe Diana did get some. It’s not implied any further than that whether she has or hasn’t had sexual contact. How this leads Cauterucci to the assertion that Diana’s ability to consent is blurry, I am unclear. Diana has never met a man, but that does not mean she has a child’s mind, and she barely had a sip of beer before they went to dance.

Steve Trevor doesn’t doubt her, he does talk down to her a bit because she doesn’t understand social conventions which could be annoying, if it wasn’t under the context of Steve urgently trying to stop WW1. Although they did have time for a clothes shopping montage in the midst of it which I did find obnoxious.

There are a couple other women central to the plot, one is Steve’s secretary, Etta. Etta didn’t ask for more responsibility but she handled it competently enough and she even got a brief moment of heroics. And then there is Dr. Poison. I was actually surprised there wasn’t more conflict between the two women, because usually there can be only ONE powerful woman. And they seek to destroy each other above all else. But that’s not the case here. Although Dr. Poison does get jealous over a distracting Diana in a blue dress after Steve accidentally wavers his attention. Dr. Poison is never fully fleshed out but her motives are her own and she takes great pride in her work… there’s something to be said for that… right?

Diana appreciates everyone for their efforts, whether its flying, sailing, fighting or singing, but she stays focused on her own quest. She is truly a Wonder Woman.

5 Stars

Alright, so leave me a comment if you want to debate consent, pit hair, how men control the whole world but don’t even know to take the eggs from the back when they go to the grocery store, if you think Wonder Woman could lift Mjolnir, if Steve Trevor is average or if you think I should have boycotted because Gal Gadot is a Zionist.

(Nerd) Newsday Tuesday

Freddie Prinze Jr says Kiefer Sutherland is unprofessional… and nearly everyone replies “Who is Freddie Prinze Jr?” Kiefer’s people address the situation the most obvious way: by pointing out that he has a lucrative career, and that Fox wouldn’t have brought “24” back after 5 years if he were.

While those stars are squabbling, “Walking Dead” actor Steven Yeun addresses racism in Hollywood. He discusses that he has trouble getting roles because there simply aren’t roles for Asian men -and worse, many roles meant for Asian men a whitewashed. You can read more on that here.

Geeks Of Doom gave fans the low down on blu-ray special features for “Agents of SHIELD” they link up a pretty rad blooper real, too.

Quentin Tarantino, now making his foray into comics with Dynamite’s Django Unchained/Zorro crossover series announces that he’ll be directing 2 flicks due out in 2015, one called “The Hateful Eight” and the other? A superlength version of Kill Bill with a 30 minute anime scene.

Also straight out of Comic-Con: Jensen Ackles talks about “Demon Dean” in the season 10 storyline. & Sam Raimi announces an Evil Dead TV series made for Groovy Bruce himself!

In the world of non-entertainment news from San Diego ComicCon: A man plowed into a “Zombie Walk” He started edging out trying to get through the crowd. People/zombies upset about his dangerous driving started banging on the car and sitting on the hood. The man freaked out and drove into the paraders and also injured an 84 year old woman who was not part of the walk.

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For the record, I like Wonder Woman’s get up, it’s serious + powerful. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and it’s just one Amazon emulating another after all. I’ll count it as a nod to Xena and hope that Gal Gadot can hurl and insult or deliver a battle cry half as fiercely as Lucy Lawless.

Princeless #3 + a commentary about female heroes’ costumes

Princess Adrienne is trying to find her sister. She’s now being pursued by the king’s guards. She stops at a local blacksmith and meets the string bean, pixie cut rocking, Bedelia is the real craftsman behind the armor. Adrienne finds that Bedelia only has a selection for women based on- well, what we’ve seen in the media for women warriors. 

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So we’ve got the Red Sonja get up

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which was recently addressed in Legends of Red Sonja #3 as a method of distraction. As in the mens will be distracted by your curves. As someone who loves Red Sonja, I also think there’s some level of cockiness that shows through that get-up, not just about her curves, but as a “yeah right, you’re not going to make it within a stone’s throw from me anyway.” Sonja’s also presented as a very sexual being and being flashy is her thing.

As is true with Xena.

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Her get up is not too gaudy, protective leather and minimal armor plating is not unreasonable for a traveller who can’t be weighted down. Besides, her male contemporary, Hercules, walked around with no armor and his shirt open all the time. Like Sonja, she is a grown woman who hooks up with Gods (for Sonja, recently a forest god, for Xena it was Aries).

I’m not innately anti-sexy-costumes. In fact, here’s a picture of me at Rhode Island Comic-Con rocking some spandex. (With Rory and Amy and fellow Radio Of Horror host dressed as Indiana Jones)

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I like showing off my body, and I’m a grown woman and I do what I want.

But this bugs me out:

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Batman and Superman look gruff and …like adults. Diana looks maybe 16, like she has an E cup, no rib cage and is wearing undies. The men are big and huge and Wonder Woman has zero muscle definition. That’s absurd. But mainly, what I’m mad about is the infantilization. Say it with me, Wonder WOMAN. It’s also absurdly out of character. In Justice League War Wonder Woman’s costume was skin tight, under scrutiny by anti-supes she says that her outfit makes her feel powerful. And there’s nothing wrong with showing off what you’ve got. Of course her JL War costume is “modest” compared to the photo above:

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And there’s a duality where woman are made to feel vulgar for liking to show themselves off while being bombarded with sexy women. sexy women are presented as fierce and confident, but is “The Sexy Woman” really empowered?

Back in the comic, Princess Adrienne runs around dressed as the Amazonian and experiences street harassment and learns how to work a lasso. Bedelia finishes up her armor and its spectacular. 

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Fantastic Female Friday: Abernathy (Death Proof)

Rosario Dawson is one of my faves. The Puerto Rican/Afro-Cuban/Irish American actress has played in-genre fatales such as Gail in Sin City (and the upcoming sequel Sin City 2: a Dame to Kill For), Maya in The Descent, Roxane in Alexander and Mariana in the Rundown in 2008 she starred in and executive produced the show “Gemini Division” playing an undercover cop who stumbles on covert genetic exeriments perpetrated by the government. She’s clearly no stranger to getting her action-chick on. And one of the her go-to confidence tips is “Standing like Wonder Woman” (More notable since she voiced the character Artemis in 2009’s animated Wonder Woman), she created her own comic book miniseries (“Occult Crimes Taskforce“- which at one point was being considered for a film adaptation) Need more to love about Rosario? Probably not, but there is plenty more.

But I’m actually, not here to fangirl Rosario Dawson.

I’m here to shout out my favorite character from one of my all-time favorite movies.

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Abernathy from Death Proof.

Before we get to “Why Abernathy?!” Let’s talk about “Why Death Proof?!”

Because I hear this all the time, “There’s too much talking,” “it’s so long/slow” “That movie where the girl rides on the outside of the car?!”

Why Death Proof?

I hear you. I have mentally logged every complaint of this movie. Even Tarantino said it’s his worst film. And I’m telling you that you are wrong. And he is wrong. Kill Bill part 2 is his worst film. Anyway, the plot. After dispatching a group of girls who take Wild Turkey shots and pull outrageous dares on each other, namely radio personality Jungle Julia (played by Sydney Tamiia Poitier) setting up a challenge that any man who recites a poem to “Butterfly” (played by Vanessa Ferlito) gets a lap dance from “Butterfly.” The butt of this joke is the first to realize that Stuntman Mike isn’t just a hillbilly has-been and that he’s a nefarious dude. Stuntman Mike gets his kicks stalking show-biz types (he’s out of Hollywood seeking revenge on the industry that left him scarred up through rising stars -unluckily for Jungle Julia, she just got her first billboard). B-scream queen Jordan Ladd and Rose McGowan’s characters get caught in the collisions as well.

Only after that are we introduced to Kim (Tracie Thoms), Zoe (Zoe Bell as herself), Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Abernathy.

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They’re picking up Zoe from the airport when Stuntman Mike starts his stalk. They’re working on a film together, Lee’s the lead actress who just got her first cover, Abernathy does make-up and Kim and Zoe do stunts.

And for all the complaining about dialogue: come on, this surpasses all movies ever for the Bechdel test, and the POC Bechdel test. You can’t have it both ways. And for me it’s not just that they talk, it’s what they talk about. Which is anything from Italian Vogue to John Hughes/classic action films to Gun Control.

All Zoe wants in the whole world is to drive a car like the car in Vanishing Point and play “Ship’s Mast” she sees her chance. While their stunt driving, they run into Stuntman Mike. No, literally, he runs into them with his car.

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So why Abernathy?

So we have 2 bad ass stunt people, Zoe “The Cat” and Kim whose preparedness was essential. Why Abernathy? Abernathy isn’t an action chick. She does make-up, she likes European Fashion mags, 16 Candles and has lefty views on gun control that if Kim shared would have doomed the lot of them. She’s a mom. And that’s why. Be honest with yourself, how many Molly Ringwald movies have you seen? Are you an action chick or a sandwich maker? Why do we treat it as a deficit when a character behaves like a regular human being? Abernathy is the one who convinces the hick to let them take the car for a drive. Zoe and Kim try to leave her behind, but she’s all “Hell, fucking no, I’m as cool as you” and she is. When it’s time to go after Stuntman Mike she stays strong and sticks with her girls.

And let’s talk about these bangs:

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I try to cut mine like that all the time and I look like a child who shouldn’t have scissors. For serious.

In short, she’s a real girl who defends her girliness like when Kim says “Of course you haven’t seen Vanishing Point, you’re a girl.” and Abernathy responds, “Excuse me. And what the fuck are you two?” But when it counts she’s down for her friends. Proving you don’t have to be an action-chick with “no sense” to make it to the final scenes.

Wonder Woman Villains! (Cheetah and First Born)

Villains month is over. I figured I should catch up before I hit the comic shop today.

DC Comics Unleashes CHEETAH in The HUNT 

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Dr. Barbara Minerva came to ARGUS, and while she was the curator, came into contact with an artifact called “the God-Slayer knife” which made her faster than the flash and gave her an insatiable blood lust. With Wonder Woman MIA there is no one formidable enough to stop her. 

In a flashback we see an altercation between Dr. Minerva and Diana, in which the still human doctor stabs Wonder Woman with the God-Slayer knife because she wasn’t presenting herself as “Amazon enough” for Dr. Minerva. 

Turns out Barbara Minerva’s Aunt raised them “amazon style” and pit her and her brother against each other Battle Royale/Hunger Games style. Lyta also commands Barbara to find the God-Slayer knife and stab herself with it. …I’m not really sure how Barbara got away from Wonder Woman with Cheetah powers: LOOOK

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I know you love when I take pictures of my comics with my iPhone.

In the end, Cheetah declares Barbara Minerva dead. TBC in FOREVER EVIL (maybe that will help me like that particular series).

The second villain is FIRST BORN

I know less than nothing about this character.

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Ohhhh… he was the son of Zeus, like Wonder Woman is now. Zzzzzzz

He was supposed to take over Olympus and rule alone so Zeus had him killed, only the woman charged with killing him couldn’t bring herself to do it. So she dumped the infant in the desert where he was raised by hyenas. And fathered Hyena/Human hybrids…

He became a hateful monster to impress the Gods.

Apollo and his hoodrat oracles narrate the story. It’s fun.

The winner?

Story: Even with the glaring unanswered questions… Cheetah

Art: Fist Born Aco nails it, and the colors are on point. Bright colors in LA and stark silhouettes for the ancient flashbacks. 

Who would will in a Battle Royale Hunger Games style? Cheetah. First Born is fueled by hate (and wanting to impress his “family”) Cheetah has cut all ties and is trained for the hunt. She has the God-Slayer knife, too. Take that demi-god.