Posts Tagged ‘Robin Wright’

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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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.

The Wonder Woman Movie Cast Was Just Announced, So Let’s Speculate

November 21, 2015

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Now it’s REALLY official. We got some leaked pictures from the set of Wonder Woman a few days back thanks to Saïd Taghmaoui, but now Warner Bros. has put out the official press release for the film that unveils the cast and the fact that it is now shooting. The press release also came with this new photo of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, shown above. I still really don’t like that tiara, and the whole image is a little gloomy, but who cares? They’re making a Wonder Woman movie!

Let’s run through the announced cast, and speculate on who they’re playing because the press release doesn’t give us much information. They tell us that Chris Pine is playing Steve Trevor, which we all knew anyway, but Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are the only ones attached to characters so far. So it’s time to speculate! First up, Robin Wright:

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Robin Wright is an acclaimed actress best known for The Princess Bride and, more recently, House of Cards. My best guess is that she’s playing the role Nicole Kidman was rumoured for, which was supposedly an Amazon warrior. But since that rumour wasn’t correct, maybe the part is off too. Wright might be playing Queen Hippolyta, or perhaps a goddess, though she could be a fun Circe, too; Circe’s come up in a lot of rumours surrounding the film so far.

Next up, Danny Huston:

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Danny Huston’s been in all sorts of things, including another superhero franchise with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and films like 21 Grams and Children of Men. I’m guessing he’s playing Ares, the role Sean Bean was reportedly up for, though again that rumour didn’t pan out either. This is why I keep saying don’t listen to rumours! I could also see Huston as Zeus. Or maybe a military guy, like Steve Trevor’s boss or something.

Also in the film, David Thewlis:

David Thewlis

It’s Lupin from Harry Potter! Thewlis has also been in films like The Theory of Everything and Kingdom of Heaven. He could make for an interesting Ares, or perhaps a Hermes, depending on how many deities are in play.

Next, Ewen Bremner:

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Bremner’s known for films like Trainspotting and Snowpiercer. He tends to look a bit sketchy, so I could see him in a bad guy role, but since plot details are so tightly under wraps it’s hard to know who might be involved.

And now our favourite photographer, Saïd Taghmaoui:

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Taghmauoi has been in movies like American Hustle and The Kite Runner. Based on the photo he put out, he looks to be playing an old school gentlemanly sort, though I suppose he might be a god in disguise or some such.   A French language interview with Taghmaoui sort of sounds like he’s playing a superhero, but that’s through Google Translate so don’t put a ton of stock in that.

Finally onto another lady, Elena Anaya:

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Anaya is a Spanish actress probably best known to English speaking audiences for her role in Van Helsing. She could be playing Circe, instead of the rumoured Eva Green, yet another scoop that didn’t pan out. She could also be a goddess or an Amazon; given that she’s a slightly exotic choice, I don’t see her as a random American or some such.

And now the last cast member announced, Lucy Davis:

BritWeek 2009 Champagne VIP Reception

Davis is a British actress famous for Shaun of the Dead and the original, British version of The Office. She’s quite funny, so perhaps she’s playing a version of Etta Candy, either a distant relative in the past or her current incarnation; the movie is rumoured to cover different time periods. If Wonder Woman spends any time in the UK, perhaps Davis will be a friend of some sort, or she could just be an Amazon. “Amazon” is a fair guess for any woman involved, really.

So that’s all we know so far, casting-wise. A bunch of names of people who will definitely be in the movie, but only speculation about who they may be playing. It’s an interesting cast, with a lot of solid character actors though not many big names. Hopefully more details will come out soon; knowing the characters will give us a bit of an idea about the plot.

Here’s the full press release for Wonder Woman, with all of the cast listed and a lot of behind the scenes folks as well:

BURBANK, Calif.— Principal photography is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman feature film, the highly anticipated action adventure from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” AMC’s “The Killing”), starring Gal Gadot (the “Fast & Furious” movies) in the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. The character will make her big screen debut this spring in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but the new film will mark her first time headlining a feature.

The film also stars Chris Pine (the “Star Trek” films) as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Netflix’s “House of Cards”), Danny Huston (“Clash of the Titans,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), David Thewlis (the “Harry Potter” films, “The Theory of Everything”), Ewen Bremner (“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Snowpiercer”), Saïd Taghmaoui (“American Hustle”), Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”) and Lucy Davis (“Shaun of the Dead”).

The film is being produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder, with Richard Suckle, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and Rebecca Roven serving as executive producers.

Joining Jenkins behind the camera are director of photography Matthew Jensen (“Chronicle,” “Fantastic Four,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Oscar-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (“Amélie,” “A Very Long Engagement,” “Pan”), and Oscar-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” “V for Vendetta”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Topsy-Turvy”).

Principal photography will take place on location in the UK, France and Italy.

Set to open in 2017, the Wonder Woman feature film is based on characters created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


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