Posts Tagged ‘Gal Gadot’

Justice League Review: It Was Fine, I Guess? Not Good, But Not Awful

November 17, 2017

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Justice League isn’t a terrible movie, and that in itself is a major achievement. Director Zack Snyder’s past two superhero outings were dour, unwieldy affairs that fundamentally misunderstood almost every character who appeared in them. Justice League is a much more conventional movie, leaner and even fun at times. It’s not great by any means. I wouldn’t even say it was good. But I didn’t leave the theater angry, so that’s a plus.

Everyone seems to have learned a few lessons from Wonder Woman, which is the far superior film by leaps and bounds. Justice League is lighter and funnier than its predecessors, though since those films weren’t light or funny in the slightest it really wouldn’t have taken much. But Snyder and his uncredited co-director Joss Whedon appear to be actively trying to set a new tone. There are jokes this time, and considerably less brooding and angst. The team bickers which each other instead of trying to kill each other. People smile sometimes. The success of this new approach is hit and miss, with a lot of corny dialogue and quips, but it’s a far better direction to move the franchise toward than the dark, miserable drama of the past.

In terms of plot, Justice League is a little bit thin. Steppenwolf and his evil plan to terraform the Earth and turn it into a hellscape is pretty standard stuff, and neither he nor his nondescript legion of Parademon minions bring much personality to the movie. Luckily, the good guys are far more endearing and enjoyable to watch. Jason Momoa’s gruff Aquaman is a good time, Ezra Miller’s socially awkward Flash is amusing, and the complicated interpersonal dynamics of bringing a group of very different heroes together for a common cause made for some decent scenes. Everyone is new at this team thing, and several members were new to their powers, so watching them all find their way together makes for an interesting angle. That’s really what the movie is about more so than the possible destruction of the world or how to bring back Superman (SPOILER ALERT: They bring back Superman! I know, I was shocked too).

Between assembling the League and Steppenwolf’s nefarious activities, we get a tour of the franchise as a whole and a peek at where things are going. We stop by Themyscira again, and I missed Patty Jenkins so much. The scenes there highlight that this was a film written, directed, and generally designed by men, as do many of Wonder Woman’s scenes. Nonetheless, the scene is a good reminder of the larger superhero world at play here. As is the visit to Atlantis, peeks into the backstories of the Flash and Cyborg (who was particularly cool; I’m excited to see more of Ray Fisher’s take on him moving forward), and a fun cameo that I won’t spoil. All of this will be fleshed out in solo films to come, and this is a franchise that could grow in interesting ways.

Watching the film, I realized that my main issue above all else was characterization. Having grown up on DC comic books and researched them extensively in my professional life, I feel like I know these characters very well. And as much as Momoa was fun, that wasn’t Aquaman. Ditto for Miller and the Flash. Affleck’s Batman and Cavill’s Superman have been off for multiple films now. No one feels right to me in the way that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman does. She captures the spirit and legacy of Diana so well, in ways that the boys just don’t with their characters. It felt like I was watching Wonder Woman plus a bunch of alternate universe impostors.

In short, while they’ve made an okay movie with the characterizations they’ve decided to go with, it just doesn’t feel like the real Justice League to me. That’s 100% my personal taste, of course. But by not being true to the characters, I found this turn toward the light to be a little bit underwhelming. Composer Danny Elfman even integrated iconic bits of his own 1989 Batman score and John Williams’ Superman theme, which was super clever and cool, and it still didn’t move me because these versions of the characters don’t fit the iconic mold for me. For example, there’s a mid-credits scene with Superman and the Flash that is classic comic book fare and I should have loved it, but because the personalities are so different from my experience of the characters it fell flat. While I appreciated what they were trying to do, it just didn’t land for me in any emotionally resonant way. Meanwhile, I wanted to cheer every time Wonder Woman did anything rad because Gadot’s take on her connects with me so well. With everyone else, I felt a disconnect.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, I enjoyed her role in Justice League for the most part. The franchise painted itself into a corner by having her stay out of the public eye for a century in Batman v Superman, so trying to reconcile that with the engaged, inspirational character we saw in Wonder Woman was a bit awkward but narratively necessary. Her action scenes were excellent, especially her solo outing busting up an attempted bombing; there’s so much bullet deflecting, and it’s glorious. What I enjoyed the most, though, is that she’s the heart and soul of the team. No one particularly likes or trusts each other as the League comes together, but they all respect and admire Wonder Woman. There’s a scene where she and Batman are arguing in front of everyone and she gives him a forceful shove, and the Flash says something along the lines of “If she’d killed you, we would have covered for her.” As much as Batman is the one who works to assemble the team and Superman is set up as some sort of great, inspiring unifier, it’s Wonder Woman who brings them all together.

Another of my favourite ladies, Lois Lane, is in the mix as well, and although she isn’t given much to do, she does have a couple of amazing scenes. When SPOILER ALERT Superman comes back (I still can’t believe it! They pulled the wool over our eyes on that one!), Lois plays a pivotal role in what was the only really emotionally impactful moment in the entire film. Her connection with Superman is shown beautifully, and Adams and Cavill have great chemistry together that really makes for a powerful reunion. I wish that Lois could have had a bigger role, perhaps tracking down a big story or some such, but Adams make the most of the limited screen time she’s given.

Overall, Justice League isn’t awful and I’m glad about that. It’s not good either, and this cinematic universe really isn’t for me apart from Wonder Woman, but there was nothing egregious or terrible about it. I mean, the Amazons should have beaten the hell out of Steppenwolf; they screwed up there. But other than that, it is a run of the mill superhero film that isn’t entirely unpleasant to watch. It’s easily the second best movie from DC’s current superhero line. It’s just far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far behind the first best.

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Wonder Woman Movie Action Figures: Reviewing the Entire Fantastic Line!

June 22, 2017

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I don’t know how things are where you live, but here in Halifax it’s been hard to track down the DC Multiverse line of Wonder Woman movie action figures. Luckily, I have a sister who lives near the American border and was able to order the entire line up! And she brought them all last night (the picture above doesn’t include Hippolyta, because I was able to get that one earlier), so now I have the entire set. And they are GREAT. I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of the line because there are definitely a few missing characters I’d love to see, but it’s a fantastic start. As an action figure enthusiast, I’m really pleased with the quality of the work here. So let’s take a closer look at all of them!

We’ll start with the main Wonder Woman figure:

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Honestly, it’s kind of an odd figure with the cloak and all. I understand that the Multiverse line did a (not so great) Wonder Woman figure for Batman v Superman last year so they’d want to mix it up a bit here, but this one is hard to play with. Also, full disclosure, I am 100% a take it out of the package sort of dude, so playability is key for me. Still, it’s a pretty nice figure. She comes with her sword and her lasso (which is hidden under her cloak) and the costume underneath the cloak is very nicely done. The face sculpt is decent as well. It’d be a better figure if the cloak was removable, though. I know she wears it for a lot of the movie, but it’s hard to play with.

Luckily, there’s a Wonder Woman variant figure that’s a Toys R Us exclusive, and it’s awesome:

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It’s the Batman v Superman sculpt with brighter colours and a new face, and it’s a vast improvement on both that original figure and her cloaked counterpart in the Wonder Woman line. She looks a lot more like Gal Gadot, and she’s got a variety of points of articulation that make her easy to play with. Her accessories are rad too; while we’ve got the standard sword and lasso, the shield is the most impressive piece here. It’s a detailed, accurate recreation of the movie shield that will allow you to stage all kinds of fun poses from the film. If you want a good Wonder Woman figure, I suggest going to Toys R Us and tracking this one down.

We’ve got a third Diana, in her Themyscira outfit:

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She comes with the sword and lasso yet again, but everything else is new including an alternative head sculpt with a braid and of course an entirely different costume. The figure is very poseable, and looks good all around. It’s a great representation of her Themyscira look, and with some other Amazons in the line you can recreate some sparring scenes! It’s a simple figure, but a fun one.

Queen Hippolyta is slightly more ornate:

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They did a great job with the costume here, capturing all of the elements quite nicely. She’s got a cloak as well, which makes playing with her a little bit difficult, but it’s not as cumbersome as the black cloak on the main Wonder Woman figure. The figure also comes with a sword and a spear; all of the weapons in this line look good, plus they’re fairly sturdy and easy to put in the figure’s hands, which is always helpful. Hippolyta’s face sculpt makes her look a bit stern, but that’s in keeping with the character, really.

Our final Amazon is Menalippe:

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And honestly I have NO idea why she has a figure and Antiope doesn’t. That makes no sense at all. But it’s a super cool figure nonetheless! She comes with a spear as well, but I’ve got her in this awesome bow and arrow pose. The costume looks great, the weapons are cool, and she’s pretty good to play with despite some limitations due to the length of parts of her skirt. It’s a fun figure all around. I just don’t know why she’s not Antiope. Maybe we’ll get one in a future line!

Now onto the boys, starting with Steve Trevor:

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He’s fine. This was never going to be a super exciting figure, since he lacks the visual flair and cool weaponry of the Amazons. He’s got a gun and that’s about it. And that green jacket isn’t exactly a stunning outfit. But the textures aren’t bad and for the simple figure it is, it looks pretty decent and is good to pose and play with. He’ll look good running behind my Wonder Woman figure!

And finally, the Ares build-a-figure:

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So, I think the filmmakers changed their mind on how Ares should look during production because both this figure and the Lego Ares look like this, with old fashioned armor and a ram skull helmet and such, and his look in the movie is kind of different. The toys must have been developed so far that they couldn’t change things when the movie did, and so we get this figure that’s not terribly movie accurate. The good news is, I think the figure looks a lot cooler than the movie version! He’s kind of awesome. I’ve got him pictured with one of the fiery swords that come with Menalippe and the shield that comes with the Toys R Us exclusive Wonder Woman, but there’s another sword that comes with someone in the main line that’s fine as well. He was easy to build and very fun to put together. I’ve never collected a full line before, so I’ve never made a build-a-figure. It’s fun! And he’s bigger than everyone else, which is cool for a bad guy. Here’s a comparison shot:

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It’s a great Ares all around, and he’s a blast to play with.

There are a few figures I’d love to see in a hypothetical second line, Antiope first and foremost among them. It’s bizarre that she’s not in this line. It’d be fun to have an Etta as well; she was such a joy in the movie, and I’d love to pair her with one of my Wonder Women. Dr. Poison would be cool too, to give us another villain, and perhaps a Ludendorff for the same reasons. I’d also be okay with a Diana Prince figure, in her London garb, just to have another Wonder Woman in the line. Sameer, Charlie, and Chief I can take or leave. It’d be fun to have the team, but there are other characters that I think would be more fun. So hopefully there’s more coming! But if not, this line is great and there’s a lot of fantastic figures in the mix.

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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Is Warner Bros. Doing a Poor Job Marketing the Wonder Woman Movie?

May 2, 2017

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We are exactly one month out from the theatrical release of Wonder Woman, and first off, oh my lord we’re only a month away from Wonder Woman! How amazing is that? Fans have been waiting years, decades really, for a Wonder Woman movie and we’re finally about to get one. Plus it’s actually looking pretty cool. From everything we’ve seen thus far, it feels like Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and the whole team have put together something fun, exciting, and most importantly true to the character. We got two TV trailers at the end of last week that made me increasingly hopeful about the film:

We also got this longer preview during Gotham last night, and it was great too:

The trailers are funny, which is good to see because that’s something the DCEU’s been sorely lacking, but they’re also stylish and action packed. I also appreciate that neither these nor the full trailers have given away too much story. We don’t even have an official look at Ares in full on Ares mode yet, and that shows some admirable restraint.

More importantly, these new trailers are telling me exactly what I want to hear about the Amazons and Wonder Woman, namely that the Amazons were created to bring peace to the world and that Diana is their champion for this cause. The “Power” spot has the tagline “There is a power greater than man,” which is perfect, and it’s hard not to get excited when you hear Wonder Woman say, “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” That’s who Wonder Woman is, and it’s encouraging to see that they’ve captured the essence of the character in this way.

However, while the trailers are fantastic, there’s been some concerns in the fan and film communities about Wonder Woman‘s lack of marketing more broadly. We’re only a month out now and we’re just starting to see TV trailers roll out, plus there seems to be a lack of Wonder Woman product branding, tie-ins, and what have you. Others suggest that the film is about on track, with Warner Bros. having spent the same amount of money a month out with Suicide Squad as they have thus far with Wonder Woman. There are interesting points on either side of this issue across myriad posts you can read at your leisure.

Having followed Wonder Woman closely, I fall on the side of being underwhelmed by the marketing thus far. Just over a year ago, I was up to my ears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice paraphernalia. That movie was EVERYWHERE, not just in theater and television advertising but in piles upon piles of branded products, toys, and other items. There were cereals, for goodness sake, one for Batman and one for Superman. And the marketing team made a big show of sending them out to notable folks in a special box so that they’d share it on social media. It was all a bit goofy and over the top, and the flavours of the cereal sounded disgusting, but it speaks to the omnipresence of the Batman v Superman marketing that their weird cereals got such a massive push.

Wonder Woman doesn’t have her own movie branded cereal. In fact, she’s got little in the way of any grocery item tie-ins, apart from Dr. Pepper. Wonder Woman is different than Batman v Superman in little ways as well, like Lego, for example. Batman v Superman got three different Lego sets, while Wonder Woman has only one. It looks super rad, with Ares and Steve’s plane and such, but it’s still just one set. A month before Batman v Superman, you could walk through any major store, be it grocery or big box generally, and see Batman and/or Superman stuff EVERYWHERE. We were inundated with it. A month out from Wonder Woman, the Wonder Woman items are few and far between.

Now, I don’t think that Warner Bros. is intentionally trying to tank Wonder Woman or anything nefarious like that. But I do think it’s clear that they allotted far, far more resources and effort to their dumb movie where the superhero boys punched it out than they have to Wonder Woman. And this is somewhat troubling, because even with all that effort, Batman v Superman  only did about fine at the box office. It made Warner Bros. a good amount of money and obviously the franchise is continuing, but it wasn’t near major Marvel levels despite the fact that it starred the two most famous superhero characters in the universe. With all of that marketing effort behind it, Batman v Superman still got bested by the lower budget, R-rated Deadpool in the United States.

The thing is, Batman and/or Superman can have a mid-level performance at the box office and be fine. We’ve seen it several times over. Batman & Robin sucked? Don’t worry, here comes the Nolan trilogy. Superman Returns flopped? Don’t worry, here comes Man of Steel. Warner Bros., and studios generally, are dedicated to their male characters. This is not the case with female characters. If Wonder Woman doesn’t do well, it might be a long time before Warner Bros. takes another crack at her, and it would certainly hamper the chances for future female-led superhero films.

That’s why the underwhelming marketing for Wonder Woman thus far is a concern. An aggressive marketing push can really help a film succeed, but the studio seems to be taking a more relaxed approach. It feels like a missed opportunity on multiple levels. First, strongly pushing Wonder Woman would show that Warner Bros. is committed to Wonder Woman and female leads generally, which would have been nice to see. Second, a successful Wonder Woman would inevitably come with a strong female fanbase that could even further expand the audience for the DCEU, which would be great for the studio. And third, after decades of development, they’ve finally got a Wonder Woman movie and it looks really good, so it would make sense to set it up in the best position possible. And Warner Bros. isn’t quite doing that, relative to how they’ve promoted movies in the past.

The good news is that Wonder Woman does look great. The new trailers are fantastic, the movie feels exciting and cool and different, and the buzz has been very positive thus far. I’m optimistic not only that the movie will be good, but that it will do well. It just would have been nice to see more of a push from Warner Bros. to help ensure that it does more than well. Hopefully it does so on its own merits, and maybe we’ll see lots more promotional stuff roll out in the weeks to come. It just doesn’t feel like Warner Bros. has treated Wonder Woman like the landmark movie it should be.

Talking About Wonder Woman at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam: A Recap!

April 17, 2017

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I am now home from my five day visit to Amsterdam, and it was such a cool trip. I’m from Halifax, which is one of the oldest cities in North America, but it doesn’t even come close to the history and legacy of Amsterdam and it was so fun to get to explore the city. While I had to keep my head on a swivel to avoid bicycles as I did so because they’re EVERYWHERE, I adapted to that pretty quick and got to see a good portion of the city.

First, though, here’s a hot tip, gang: If you ever get the chance to fly KLM, do it. We flew there and back on KLM, and it was far and away the best airline I’ve ever been on. They give you so many drinks and meals and snacks! Plus there are a pile of good movies to watch. I saw Moana, Arrival, Finding Dory, and Doctor Strange; it was great. So yeah, highly recommended.

The first day in Amsterdam was largely a blur. My mother came with me, because if you ever luck out and get a free trip to Amsterdam and your mother’s never been to Europe, you should take her. Plus she’s a swell lady! Our flight there was an overnighter but we didn’t sleep much, so we ended up crashing at the hotel when we got there, then exploring the area a bit in the afternoon, then more sleep. Or attempts at sleep, at least. Jet lag is rough, folks.

Day two was more exploration. We figured out the metro, which was super easy and convenient, and walked through some of the good shopping places in the city. I didn’t buy much, but I did an ice cream at this rad place called Banketbakkerij Van Der Linde; they only make vanilla ice cream but it’s amazing and there’s always a line up out the door, even on a cool day like Thursday was.

Day three was my presentation, so I mostly went over my notes all day. We had some near-drama when I arrived at the EYE Film Institute and the presentation wouldn’t play; we tried my laptop, then another laptop, but nothing was showing up on the big screen. Everyone behind the scenes at the Imagine Film Festival was super great, though. The technical folks worked like crazy to get everything sorted while everyone else chatted with me and joked about our predicament. I’m still not sure exactly what was wrong, but after replacing the same small box several times, it worked. We started a few minutes late, but everything worked perfectly from then on.

The presentation itself was very fun to do. I always get super nervous before I have to give a talk, but once it gets going it tends to be more pleasant, and this was no exception. The crowd was wonderful, which helps a lot. We had a good number of people in, all of whom seemed very enthusiastic to hear about Wonder Woman, her evolution, and the role of her costume therein. I started with Marston, of course, and dug into the bizarre origins of both Wonder Woman and his own background, psychological and life-wise. Then we discussed the American symbology of the costume and how it was meant to help Wonder Woman fit in and thus help America while slyly spreading Amazon values there as well. We also looked at this great panel:

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Talking about the costume led to a deep dive into her bracelets and the bondage metaphors of Golden Age Wonder Woman comics, which segued nicely into an examination of her golden lasso as a symbol of feminine power.

From there, we passed through the Silver Age pretty quickly because her costume stayed largely the same and that was the main focus of the talk. The Bronze Age and Wonder Woman’s mod revamp, however, merited close examination. We looked at the story in which Diana Prince got trendy clothes to help Steve Trevor out of a jam:

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After which Steve started to show interest in Diana for the first time ever and Wonder Woman realized she no longer needed to be super to keep his interest. This introductory issue really set the tone for this whole era, in which Diana gave up her superpowers and got very into mod fashions, all while falling for every man she met and behaving hysterically when they inevitably betrayed her. It was an attempt to make Wonder Woman a more modern, relevant character that failed rather spectacularly.

But it did lead to Gloria Steinem campaigning for Wonder Woman to return to her roots, which was followed by her appearing on the first cover of Ms. magazine and eventually the Lynda Carter television show. The latter was particularly fun to chat about, and I showed a clip of Wonder Woman talking to her sister Drusilla in both of her identities so that we could see how Carter played them differently. We also chatted briefly about her awesome Wonder Woman scuba suit, because how could we not?

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This all was followed by a quick run through the Perez era, the ridiculousness of the Deodato era, and how Wonder Woman’s costume has remained fairly constant since the television show. Any big changes rarely lasted for long, even much hyped alterations like her ill-fated pants and leather jacket in 2010. We looked at the New 52 era as well, which led to Gal Gadot and her onscreen Wonder Woman. It was a film festival, so I wanted to be sure to give her a lot of attention.

The early discussion surrounded Zack Snyder’s brown, desaturated version of the costume which had all of the classic Wonder Woman elements but none of the brightness and vibrancy one would expect from Wonder Woman. We also watched a clip of Wonder Woman showing up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for the first time, i.e. pretty much the only good part of that movie. Her general mysteriousness in that film led to some speculation about the character in her new solo film, and I was glad to dig into how Patty Jenkins seems to be embracing color. We watched the latest trailer and dug into how we got a lot of the elements we would expect in a Wonder Woman origin story, including the requisite incarnations of the characters and her corresponding outfits. But we also discussed how her sword seems to have superseded her lasso as her primary weapon:

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And the way that this, intentional or not, is an assertion of masculine concepts of heroism and power over the more classic feminine power represented by her lasso.

Finally, we talked about “Rebirth,” particularly how Rucka and Scott reasserted the importance of the lasso in “Year One.” Talking about Scott led us to Wonder Woman recent, short-lived United Nations ambassadorship, and we discussed the body-shaming petition for her removal and how reducing the character to her appearance ignores what she has meant as an inspirational figure for generations of fans.

So yeah, it was a fun talk! And there were some excellent questions after, which is always fun. My favourite may have been the woman who chatted about the historical reality of the Amazons, which was very cool, but they were all great. Then I got to hang out with the film festival folks for a bit, who were delightful and kind and so enjoyable to visit with.

Day four was the Rijksmuseum; it’s HUGE and took up the entire afternoon, really. I got to see Van Goghs, and Rembrandts, and Vermeers, but my favourite painting of all was this one by Nicolaas Baur called “A Women’s Skating Race on Stadsgracht in Leeuwarden, 21 January 1809”:

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There was a skating race for a gold cap-brooch and 64 unmarried women entered, but some of them were so into the race that they threw off their cloaks and skated bare armed, causing quite a stir among spectators who considered them shockingly immodest. There was such an outcry that it was the last women’s race for several years.

So that was my trip! Huge thanks again to the Imagine Film Festival for bringing me to Amsterdam; it was such a nice city to visit, and everyone at the festival was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who came to my talk as well. It was very fun to spread the word about Wonder Woman on a whole new continent!

Come See Me Talk About Wonder Woman at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam, April 14!

April 3, 2017

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I’m going to Amsterdam! The major theme for this year’s Imagine Film Festival is “Fantastic Fashion,” and they’ve invited me to come give a lecture on Wonder Woman, her costume, and how the character and her appearance have evolved together over the decades. I’ll be speaking at the EYE Film Institute on Friday, April 14 at 6:10pm, and tickets are available now.

It’s a fun topic that I think will make for a great presentation. We’ve got the fascinating feminism of Marston’s early years, the mod fashions of the late 1960s and the subsequent return to her classic look, all of the bizarre attempts to update her appearance over the years that never ever stuck, and of course both Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot’s versions of the character. Plus I’ll be discussing both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince, since her alter ego often serves as an interesting counter to her superheroic form. There’s lots of great stuff to dig into, and I’ve been having a lot of fun putting the presentation together.

Beyond my own lecture, the Imagine Film Festival is going to be particularly cool this year. They’re opening the festival with Get Out, Jordan Peele’s hit horror film, and there are lots of other great selections. There’s also going to be a costuming master class from Lindy Hemming, the costume designer for a number of James Bond films, The Dark Knight trilogy, and, most excitingly, the upcoming Wonder Woman movie! The festival is going to have a very strong Wonder Woman focus this year, which is very fun.

I’m glad to be part of this excellent line up, and I’m really looking forward to both the presentation and visiting Amsterdam. I’ve never been to Europe before, and I so appreciate the Imagine Film Festival giving me the opportunity to explore such a beautiful, historic city. It’s going to be an enjoyable journey, I’m sure!

So if you’re in Amsterdam, or the Netherlands generally, or perhaps in a country nearby, you should come to the festival, and in particular to my talk, “Wonder Woman and Beyond.” It’ll be a good time, with lots of informative discussion about Wonder Woman and a lot of fun as well!

New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Explores Her Origins

March 13, 2017

A new trailer for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman debuted this weekend, and I’m happy to report that the movie is still looking great. We got a lot of new footage in this one, including a decent amount of time spent on Themyscira, and I really liked a lot of what I saw. Now, of course, this is the DCEU; good trailers don’t necessarily mean good movies. But so far, Wonder Woman has been hitting it out of the park and that has me cautiously optimistic about the film.

Warner Bros. describes the video as the “Origin Trailer” and thus we got a good look at the Amazons. They remain super bad ass and cool, and I like the design of the island and the Amazons themselves a lot. We also get some flashbacks, including a peek at a young Diana who is just adorable:

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I’m hoping we get a few scenes with her because she seems cute and fun.

Little Diana is staring at the “god killer” sword there, and I do remain irked at how much attention the sword is getting. Wonder Woman’s never been a character who wields a sword until very recently; she’s got a golden lasso that she’s rather famed for, and I wish that’s what young Diana was eying rather than a sword. To me, sword fighting just isn’t who the character is. But I was pleased to see the lasso play a key role as the trailer progressed, including this rad takedown:

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Hopefully Wonder Woman’s real weapon gets its due throughout the movie as well.

On top of that lasso scene, we got a bunch of other cool action shots too. I think Wonder Woman is going to have some epic fight scenes. Everything we’ve seen so far looks very cool, and Wonder Woman’s fighting scenes in Batman v Superman were easily the most entertaining part of that movie. All of the action clips we’ve seen thus far in Wonder Woman trailers look exciting and well-shot, and it’s going to be a blast to see the full scenes.

One thing I’m particularly glad to see every trailer has included is humour, and this new one is no exception. Gal Gadot’s fish-out-of-water Diana shtick looks like it should be entertaining, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor seems good for some wisecracks, and Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy looks like she’s poised to steal the whole show. I liked her trying to dissuade Diana from carrying her sword in public:

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The humour in DCEU movies hasn’t been great, at all, and it’s nice to see some genuinely funny bits  are coming with Wonder Woman.

Finally, the trailer appears to confirm the daughter of Zeus origin story. Hippolyta ominously tells Antiope that Diana “must never know the truth about what she is,” which sounds like it might be a Zeus-related secret given this lightning display later on in the trailer:

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I don’t care for the Zeus origin at all. I much prefer the clay origin, in which no men are involved and Diana’s origins are distinctly female and feminist. Making her a demigod who gets her powers from a man is boring, dumb, and kind of misses the point of the character. I’m hoping it’s not a huge point of focus for the movie, and that Zeus doesn’t come up too much.

So yeah, Wonder Woman looks pretty great. And in ways that seem to be addressing how DC’s other movies have been not at all great, which is encouraging. This could be really cool. And we’re less than three months away now! Can you believe it? Wonder Woman’s finally getting her own movie! And just when we need her the most.


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