12 June 2017

A DC Film That's Wonderful

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In 1913 the Suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of the King's horse and lost her life in the name of equal rights. From then on, all was right with the world and the two genders have been treated as absolute equals ever since. Well.. you know.. other than the slight difference in pay that women face. And the glass ceiling. Oh, and the shockingly high levels of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual objectification that they suffer. By all means they do have the vote now, but if somebody dares to do an all-female reboot of Ghostbusters then that's where we men-folk draw the fucking line, it seems! As such, Wonder Woman is a revelation. It's the first big-studio Superhero movie to have a female lead in over twelve years. Of course there was Catwoman and Elektra before this, however like that time I was asked to do the dishes and so smashed them up the fucking walls to ensure I'd never be asked again, those two films were beyond shite. It's also the first ever superhero film to be directed by what Moonraker's Bond would refer to with surprise as 'a woman'. Oh, and it's also the largest budget film to be entrusted to the gender that we men have constantly referred to as, 'darling', 'sweetheart', 'love', and under very special circumstances, “sugar tits”.

The film begins with the young Diana on a hidden island inhabited exclusively by a population of independent and incredibly fit women who have never seemingly laid eyes on a man before. I have no memory of the name of this island but I'll be booking my next holiday to go there right away. Diana is trained how to fight and grows up to become Gal Gadot just in time to see Chris Pine crash land a plane near the beach of her island as he's being pursued by Germans. Rather than it being a race to see who can put their towel down first however, it turns out that outside of their island, Earth is enduring its prequel war to World War 2 and Pine has just stolen plans that the Germans want back. I mean, this sequence is like the comic book movie equivalent of when the pubs would shut in the 1950's. The women are all alone and minding their own business before their peace is ruined by the men barging in and fucking everything up. However unlike the 1950's, these are super-cool Amazon warrior women who don't take no shit. Diana listens to Chris Pine's story of Earth's current situation and decides to help him in order to stop the war, and the two discover that the Germans have invented a new form of gas that is capable of killing millions. If Diana is to learn anything now that she's left the confines of her lady-island, it'll be how men are more than capable of using their gas to devastating effect.

So as mentioned, it's absolutely true that this movie is a big deal for the world of women. However even more shocking than that is its status as a film within the world of the DC Extended Universe. So far we've had the average Man Of Steel, the terrible Batman V Superman, and the borderline un-watcheable Suicide Squad. Wonder Woman has therefore achieved something astonishing in that despite everything going against it.. it's completely fucking brilliant. It's proven this horrible misogynistic world wrong and it's wiped the floor with everything else in its crappy shared Universe. And when I say it's wiped the floor with it, I don't mean because it's a cleaner and that's the only kind of employment that women are eligible for after they'd served their purpose of raising the children. But because it's just such a great fucking movie. I suppose its biggest influence is in the original Christopher Reeve Superman movie which mostly comes across in the nostalgic and wide-eyed depiction of its title character. This is also a nice change from the rest of the DCEU which has so far been about as depressing as watching a children's hospital burn down on 'national drown a puppy day'.

Wonder Woman is a film of charm, heart, romance, nostalgia, and kick-ass action. The central relationship between Diana and Chris Pine is reminiscent of Superman and Lois, except with Pine taking on the part of the chick with a dick. However unlike the other films in the DCEU which seem to have no other purpose than driving the audience into a spiral of nihilism and despair with their characters screaming out, “Martha, Martha, Martha”, for literally no fucking reason.. Wonder Woman is also a film of substance. By joining our world as an outsider, Diana is able to view our society and conventions with fresh eyes and therefore see the way we live for the bullshit it is. Whether this is in how women are expected to behave in public or even in the way that politicians solve their inability to maintain diplomacy by throwing lives at the problem until enough people have died that the other team has to give in. In fact, it's this latter aspect which gives the film what I feel is it's greatest moment when Diana has enough of our fucking shit and decides to cross what we tellingly refer to as 'No Man's Land'. As she steps up to sort our shit out, I found myself punched in the feels as my body began to suffer from that debilitating disease known only as... emotion.

Sadly it's not possible to say that this film is completely perfect as like Christopher Reeve's Superman film it also drops the ball slightly in the final twenty minutes. In the case of Superman it was his decision to fly up into the sky, spin the Earth round the wrong way and turn back time, therefore undermining any real threat that the character might ever face again. In the case of Wonder Woman, it's its decision to conclude with a plot twist we all saw coming a mile off and a CG battle that's a little too much like a cut-scene from the end of a Tekken knock off. In the original comic books, Wonder Woman's main weakness was getting her hands bound by a man... which is a bit fucking weird. Kind of like if Superman's main weakness to Kryptonite was only under the condition that some woman had just used it to whack him in the bollocks. However Wonder Woman's issue seems simply that it's bound to the 'third-act fuck-up' of almost ever action film ever. However there's so much brilliance in its opening hour and fifty minutes that to knock it for a twenty minute fuck up feels a bit uncalled for. At the end of the day, this film was so good that it made me want to re-watch Batman V Superman to see her in it, and it even warmed me to her stupid electric-cello theme that literally does sound like it should be called 'Player two has entered the game'.

To put it bluntly, Diana is as cool as fuck which is odd considering that she's a woman. If films are to go by then I've always been told that to be cool you need a sausage shaped organ between your legs and at least a couple of squishy meat-eggs. I saw a photograph of myself on my fourth birthday recently in which I was wearing an Incredible Hulk shirt and surrounded by toys of Batman, Superman, and the X-Men. In honesty, that could also have been a picture of me on my twenty-fourth birthday because being one of those people that's been a geek since the womb, nothing has really changed. As a kid I've had all these heroes to look up to, but it was watching this that it occurred to me just how badly served girls have really been. Off the top of my head I can name three really cool female characters, but unless you have the coolest fucking parents off all time then most little girls aren't going to be too familiar with either Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor. That leaves just Princess Leia who, despite being great, wasn't actually the main character in her franchise and did once get off with her own fucking brother. Wonder Woman however is the film to change that by having a central character that's everything that you'd want her to be. In fact I'd argue that Gal Godot's performance as her is even the best performance of a lead character in a family film to have tits since Roger Moore's James Bond. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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