Posts Tagged ‘Connie Nielsen’

Wonder Woman Film Review: A Movie Worthy of its Heroine

June 2, 2017

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Well it’s finally happened, gang. After decades of watching the boys get movie after movie, we’ve finally got a Wonder Woman solo film. And here’s the good news: It’s really, really good. Great even. Full of heart and action and excitement. It’s far and away the best film from the DC cinematic universe so far and, more importantly, it does Wonder Woman justice and captures the heart of the character well. Let’s dig into it all, first with some spoiler-free general thoughts, and then with full on spoilers after a jump so anyone who hasn’t seen it yet won’t have anything ruined for them.

So gosh, where to start? With Wonder Woman herself, probably. Gal Gadot is pretty much a perfect Wonder Woman. We got to see her for a few minutes in Batman v Superman and she totally stole the show, and now with a show all of her own, she absolutely shines. Gadot captures the heroism and compassion of Wonder Woman so well; she’s fierce when she needs to be, kind when she needs to be, and just has so much heart. She smiles a lot, which is a lovely contrast with the grim darkness that’s dominated other DC movies, and it’s the most earnest and charming smile. It’s Wonder Woman’s smile, really. It’s something that could easily turn corny, but Gadot makes it utterly genuine, sincere, and believable. And while Diana’s got an interesting journey throughout the film, a sort of loss of innocence as she leaves her utopian home and experiences the horrors of war, Gadot does a fantastic job playing this evolution and it’s darker, questioning moments without losing the heart of the character. She’s just so good. I want to see her continue to play Wonder Woman again and again and again.

Holding his own with such a stunning take on Wonder Woman was a tall order for Chris Pine, but his Steve Trevor was excellent. I’m steeped in Wonder Woman comics and very familiar with every incarnation of Steve Trevor, and this was my favourite version of him ever, by a considerable margin. He was written really well; it’s a sidekick/love interest role that keeps the focus squarely on Wonder Woman, and Pine plays it spot on. He’s a tough guy with some skills, but he very quickly realizes he’s no Wonder Woman and is totally okay with that, in part because he’s just kind of in awe of her. Gadot and Pine’s chemistry together is delightful, Pine’s got charm to spare and is also hilarious, and the two of them made for a really winning partnership.

The supporting cast is pretty solid, too. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright do great work as Hippolyta and Antiope, guiding the film well through it’s early scenes with young Diana. Wonder Woman’s crew in Europe are all fun too, but Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy is a total scene stealer. She’s so funny and enjoyable, albeit underused. I could have done with a lot more Etta Candy! The bad guys were suitably evil, as they should be, if somewhat underdeveloped, but such is the case with most superhero films.

In terms of the directing, Patty Jenkins did a remarkable job. While Wonder Woman had a lot of the beats you expect from a superhero movie, it also had its own unique style and tone. The action was especially spectacular; I’ve never seen fighting like that in a superhero movie, particularly some of the amazing acrobatics we got from the Amazons. They were astonishingly good. I also loved the little touches throughout the film, like the gorgeous, sweeping establishing shots we got for Themyscira, London, and the front. There was a real flair to the film that set it apart from other superhero movies. Jenkins also¬†smoothly married the action¬†and stunning visuals with the emotional aspects of the film. All of the humourous, romantic, and quiet reflective moments rang true, and everything flowed together nicely.

It was just fun to look at, too. Themyscira was so epic and cool, uniquely ancient and breathtaking in its scenery. I want to go to there. A lot of the movie was spent in the cramped confines of London or on the front, all of which was nicely done, but there was a good amount of time spent outdoors in lovely, natural settings that were shot exquisitely. On top of the settings, the costumes were quite striking. Wonder Woman wore an updated version of her Batman v Superman outfit, one that actually had colour this time, and it looked fantastic. All of the Amazons got cool costumes, with everyone wearing something a little bit different but yet thematically similar to the each other. The costumes in the outside world were a little bit drab in comparison, of course, but all of the major supporting characters had their own special look that suited them well.

If I wanted to nitpick, there are a few things I would change. For me, the final fight scene wasn’t quite as cool as the earlier ones and got a bit messy with all of the fire and chaos and CGI. Also, some of the supporting characters got outshone by the leads. To be fair, Gadot and Pine were ridiculously good, but a few folks did fall a bit flat. And there were a few changes to the Wonder Woman mythos I didn’t love, but we’ll save that for the spoilers section.

All in all, though, it was a great movie. Well executed on every level, so much fun, and most importantly, true to who Wonder Woman is and what she means to so many fans. I loved it. Now, that being said, I’m not sure that this is the movie they should have made. Setting the film in World War I was a big change that made a lot of elements very different from what we usually get with Wonder Woman, and while it was all done well and a lot of those changes were interesting, I don’t think it was the best showcase for what is great about Wonder Woman. Don’t get me wrong, it was an excellent showcase for Wonder Woman, but in an intriguing alternate universe way rather than a relevant, modern way. An origin set in the present day could have been more resonant and more reflective of the character, her past, and what she means, especially in terms of tackling modern women’s issues rather than poking fun at sexist attitudes that are a century past. I get that the film is what it has to be given the existing framework of the DC cinematic universe, and it succeeds triumphantly at that, capturing the heart of the character beautifully. I just think that setting up Wonder Woman as this older, wise superhero who predates Batman and Superman limits her in certain ways, and I’d rather see this young, plucky Wonder Woman dealing with the modern world, rather than the more experienced, somewhat world-weary Wonder Woman we seem to be getting with Batman v Superman, the framing device of Wonder Woman, and what we’ve seen from Justice League thus far. But so long as Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, it’s absolutely a Wonder Woman worth watching, and Patty Jenkins and the whole team did an amazing job making this new setting and backstory work for the character and stay true to who she is.

Let’s move on to some spoilers now, after the jump!

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Wonder Woman Movie’s Mattel Figures PLUS Build-a-Figure Revealed at Toy Fair

February 21, 2017

Toy Fair 2017 was this weekend in New York City, and it provided us our first official look at Mattel’s upcoming Wonder Woman movie action figures. We saw some action figure/doll hybrids last week that were very cool, but these are the official 6 inch action figures that are part of DC’s larger “Multiverse” line. And they look good! There are only four of them plus a larger “Collect & Connect” figure you can build with parts that come with each of the primary figures, but there is some fun stuff in the mix.

Let’s take a look at them, thanks to the excellent reporting of Toy Ark; it’s my favourite toy news site, and their coverage of Toy Fair was great as always this year. We’ll start with Diana on Themyscira:

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We’ve seen a blurry picture of this toy before, which didn’t do it justice. This one looks very cool, and is a solid likeness of Gal Gadot. Plus it’s got a lot of points of articulation, which should make her easy to position in rad action poses. The only accessory appears to be a sword; I’d like to have seen a lasso as well. But still, I like it.

Next up is Wonder Woman in a cloak:

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I’m guessing that they did this cloaked figure because the “Multiverse” line has already released a standard Wonder Woman figure as part of their Batman v Superman run. Rather than duplicate that, it seems that they decided to go with this slightly different take. I understand the why of it, but this is sort of weird figure. The cloak is going to get in the way of doing anything cool with it, and it doesn’t appear to be removable. It’s kind of a bummer that they went this direction with the only proper Wonder Woman figure in the line; I’m worried this is going to be the trench coat Batman of the line, i.e. the figure every store in America has 472 of because NO ONE buys it since it’s just a superhero in a coat.

Hippolyta, however, looks amazing:

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First, how great is it that we’re getting a Hippolyta action figure? Plus she’s dual weaponed! We get a sword AND a spear. The sculpt looks great as well, and the cloak doesn’t seem nearly as cumbersome as Wonder Woman’s. I’m excited to pick this one up, and for Connie Nielsen’s Hippolyta in general; I can’t wait to see her on the big screen!

Next up, good old Steve Trevor:

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I remain underwhelmed by the texture, coloring, and all around look of this figure. It feels too action figure-y, if that makes any sense. The rest have a touch of realism to them, but this one looks kind of flat all around. I’m glad we’re getting a Steve, I just wish it was a little more detailed and capture Chris Pine a bit better.

Finally, all of the parts included with each figure add up to Ares:

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This is our first decent peek at how Ares will look in Wonder Woman, and it’s not bad. It’s got touches of the classic, Perez-style Ares with the darker, more ominous angle that’s characterized the DCEU movies thus far. I don’t know if I love the helmet, but I can see how it might look cool on the big screen. I’m curious if there’s a face in there or if it’s all just helmet. The figure also comes with a red sword and a shield, which is fun. Though in my mind, Ares should have a proper long cape; I’m too steeped in Perez comics not to want to see that!

So overall, it’s a cool line. Diana and Hippolyta are the standouts for me, and the Ares is kind of cool. I’m not sold on the cloaked Wonder Woman and the Steve is a bit underwhelming, but they could both still be cool. Only four figures is a bit of a letdown, though. Perhaps we’ll see more in another wave. I’d love to get an Etta Candy, and the movie’s take on Dr. Poison looks rad and action figure worthy. Keep your eyes peeled for the figures; they should start to hit stores later this spring.

More Wonder Woman Movie Toys Revealed, And They Look Super Fun

February 15, 2017

We got an illicit look at a couple of action figures from the upcoming Wonder Woman film a couple weeks back and they were intriguing, but now we’re getting some official images of upcoming Wonder Woman toys. And they’re kind of awesome! Mattel’s got a full line that looks to be a mix between and action figure and a Barbie; the figures are poseable and have the joints you’d expect from an action figure, but also have the hair and clothes you usually get with a doll. Entertainment Weekly had the first look at the toys, and let’s run through them now.

First up, we’ve got a fully armored Wonder Woman:

Photographer Dennis DiLaura Stylist Mary Jordan

I don’t know that the resemblance to Gal Gadot is spot on, but it kind of looks like her. And getting the full array of weaponry is very cool. I’m definitely interested in this one.

Next is Diana in her Themyscira garb:

Photographer Dennis DiLaura Stylist Mary Jordan

This one is fun as well. Also, I’m impressed with the braid; I hope it holds, because if it comes undone I have no idea how to rebraid it! The bow looks a little dinky in terms of scale, but arrow shooting action is pretty rad.

This one is a lot like the first one:

Photographer Dennis DiLaura Stylist Mary Jordan

But without all the extra stuff? It’s a cheaper, bare bones figure, I guess. It does retail for $5 less.

Next up we get Diana in her formal wear:

Photographer Dennis DiLaura Stylist Mary Jordan

This is from the scene in the trailer where she has the sword hidden in her dress, and apparently you can do the same with this figure. Glamorous AND dangerous!

Hey, there’s one with a majestic horse:

Photographer Randel Urbauer Stylist Lin

It looks like the first figure, plus a cloak and a dang horse! This might be the best deal of the bunch, really. You get the Wonder Woman figure and all of the accessories as well as a cool horse for her to ride on. It’s only $29.99 too; that’s a deal. I proclaim this the bargain of the bunch!

Hipployta’s got a horse too:

Photographer Dennis DiLaura Stylist Mary Jordan

Hers is white, and also majestic. She’s also got her own unique weapons and armor, just like Connie Nielsen in the movie. This is pretty rad. I love that there are going to be Hippolyta toys! And even better, she looks really cool. I may end up getting the horse pair, really. Mother daughter horse adventures!

Finally, a two pack:

Photographer Dennis DiLaura Stylist Mary Jordan

Steve and Diana, in their island garb. Chris Pine’s even got a wool turtleneck. And it looks like the Diana figure is a version of that second figure, but with a cloth outfit, which is neat. I like this set.

Entertainment Weekly also lists a bunch of accessories you can get, like a sword, Nerf bow and arrow, and a tiara. They are probably kid sized instead of grown up sized, which is a bummer; the sword looks rad. But that’s how toys go. Dang kids, getting all the fun.

With Toy Far just around the corner, I expect we’ll see even more of the Wonder Woman toy line this weekend, including the rest of the action figure line we got a peek at two weeks back. I’m going to go broke, gang. There’s just too much cool stuff.

First Image of the Amazons in the Wonder Woman Movie Debuts

March 24, 2016

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hitting theaters tomorrow, Warner Bros. is already ramping up the excitement for their next major superhero feature, Patty Jenkins’ upcoming Wonder Woman film. We’ve seen only small teases of the film, due out in theaters in June 2017, and most of them have been set in England during World War One rather than on Diana’s mythological home. But that ends today! Entertainment Weekly has premiered a picture of four Amazons, including some familiar characters:

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From left to right, we’ve got Lisa Loven Kongsli as Menalippe, Gal Gadot as Diana, Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta, and Robin Wright as Antiope. Diana was raised by the three women who surround her, a triumvirate of mothers with different focuses ranging from the military to ruling.

My first reaction to the image is a bit of a shrug, to be honest. Which isn’t a good sign, seeing as that’s how I’ve met every Wonder Woman-related reveal thus far, dating back to her first Batman v Superman image; they’re just not releasing exciting pictures for some reason. But at the same time, despite the ho-hum first pic, Wonder Woman looks AMAZING in the Batman v Superman trailer and is poised to be the film’s breakout star, so first impressions aren’t necessarily all that important.

I’m more excited in theory than in practice. It’s so cool that a Wonder Woman film is on the way and that we’re going to get Amazons on the big screen, and they all look suitably bad ass. However, while the photo is slightly brighter than Batman v Superman‘s dark, muted palette, it’s still pretty flat. There’s not a lot of colour here. Not that it needs to be bright and garish or anything, but all of these costumes are crying out for a pop of something to liven them up and give each outfit a little character rather than this sort of blah brownness.

Along the same lines, this armor isn’t particularly unique or special or “Amazonian” to me. It’s fine and all, but it’s all stuff I’ve seen before, a sort of mash up of Vikings and Thor and maybe a bit of the Immortals. It lacks any sort of origin in fun versions from the comics, but in going in a new direction it’s actually not all that different or cool. These are women who have been separated from the outside world for thousands of years; they should have a rad, awesome look that is totally their own.

Also, these are some dour looking gals. I get that they’re going for tough, warrior women, but Amazons who aren’t smiling just aren’t Amazons to me. Being an Amazon should be a blast: You’re awesome at everything, you’ve got no bros cramping your style, and your society is advanced and pretty much utopian. I’d like to see a little more joy in the photo, or a little more fun. Just something other than this stare down.

This photo is really white, too, which is a bad call for a few reasons. First, where is Phillipus? She’s been a key part of the Wonder Woman mythos for decades now as Hippolyta’s general (and lady friend), and is a fan favourite. Her military role seems to have been taken over by Antiope here, though hopefully Phillipus is just off to the side and we’ll see her in the actual film. But for the four main Amazons that Warner Bros. decided to debut, it’s all white women, despite the fact that the Amazons have been portrayed as a multi-ethnic group in the comics for some time. Moreover, if you want to get all “historical” about it, the Amazons shouldn’t be white at all, nor have any Greek trappings; in the ancient stories, the Amazons are defined by their lack of Greekness and are usually depicted as originating in Northern Africa or the Middle East. So yeah, all white ladies is dumb on multiple fronts.

Patty Jenkins also makes a comment in the Entertainment Weekly article about the Amazons having heels which is too silly to bother to discuss. Just, no.

So I’m generally underwhelmed by this first look at the Amazons, though I’m still very excited that this picture exists and that a Wonder Woman movie is happening. I still have a lot of faith in Patty Jenkins as well, regardless of the high heels goofiness. That’s the only thing she’s said about the film thus far that struck me as odd; she’s been encouragingly on point in everything else I’ve seen. The picture also checks some important boxes, in that these are great actresses who totally look like warrior women. That’s what we’re looking for. It’s just that, like with everything in the DC cinematic universe thus far, I’d like to see a little bit more joy and colour in the mix.


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