WONDER WOMAN

Directed by Patty Jenkins

Screenplay by Allan Heinberg

Story by Zack Snyder, Allen Heinberg, and Jason Fuchs

Wonder Woman Created by William Moulton Marston

 

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Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams

Cinematography by Matthew Jensen

Film Editing by Martin Walsh

Casting By Kristy Carlson, Lora Kennedy, and Lucinda Syson

Random Crew Member:  Stand-by Plasterer…….Mark Buck

Shot on location in England, UK:

King’s Cross Station, King’s Cross; Trafalgar Square, St. James’s; Australia House, Strand; Bloomsbury;

Lincoln’s Inn, Holborn, London, England, UK

Bourne Woods, Farnham, Surrey, England, UK

Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex, England, UK

Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Lower Halstow, Kent, England, UKTilbury, Essex, England, UK

Shot on location at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

 Shot on location in Italy (Themyscira)

Castel del Monte, Andria, Bari, Apulia, Camerota; Villa Cimbrone, Ravello; Palinuro, Centola, Salerno,

Campania Matera, Basilicata, Italy

Silent films came out in 1903. Talkies in 1927. Glorious colour? Oooh! Most people agree that would be 1939: Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. Television was starting to be available in 1941, if you were a richie. Otherwise, you waited to go into debt for one in the early 1950s. Wonder Woman was created in 1941 and had the misfortune of being the star of no less than twelve projects on television. Twelve very, very crapulent series, TV movies, pilots, and specials.

Wonder Woman, the only female member of the Justice league, brought to life 1941, had to wait 76 years to appear in a film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (She still didn’t get star selling, even though she was who everyone was dying to see.) It took another looonnnggg year before audiences finally got to see Wonder Woman as she was always meant to be, in her own starring vehicle. Forget the fanboys who had a puerile shit fit and dropped napalm on the Twitterverse when they learned who was going to be playing the part. The actor’s breasts are not huge. She’s not lily-white like the Wonder Woman in the comics. Her waist is not physiological impossible, leaving her prey to any stiff breeze that might snap her in half.

Instead, they got a woman who could actually kick the ass of any of her male cast members. She wasn’t just a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, one of the best trained military in the the world, she was a combat trainer, working troops in gymnastics and calisthenics. In other words, Wonder Woman is truly a wonder. Gal Godot is lean, flexible, trained for fight scenes, and practiced in gymnastics, which adds a facet that other actors could not have brought to the character. Gal Godot has the beautiful Israeli colouring and features, that those who want a WASP character would call “exotic.” But, this is a character from an isolated island. The chances she would be white are slim to none. Fans and fans-to-be got a better Wonder Woman than anyone could have imagined. Enjoy!

The film begins with the origin of Princess Diana of the protected island of Themyscira, where the Amazons live and train. Train hard. Diana is the cherished and sheltered child of Queen Hippolyta. Her knowledge of the world beyond the island is in legend and seems hazy and the stuff of bedtime stories. Until a fighter plane crashes in the waters of the island. Diana rescues the pilot. And Wonder Woman emerges.

Younger members of the audience might want to bone up on WW I, so that they don’t go in expecting to see Hitler and the bombing of Britain. Wonder Woman and pilot Steve Trevor are determined to end the War To End All Wars before an horrific attack can take place.

The fight scenes with Wonder Woman fending off a couple bad guys, dozens of enemy soldiers, then full platoons are full-on exciting, the kind of exciting other superhero film attempt but never quite reach. She doesn’t have the gadgets, invulnerability, ability to heal and never die (wrong universe, I know, but I’m a Deadpool Girl), or the abilities of…(you know, even a crappy sniper could take Black Widow out. Let’s just be honest here.) Yes, she has powers, but almost all of her survival and fighting skills come from the lifetime of training General Antiope and the other Amazons drilled into her every day, giving her no quarter.

And this is when they prayed she, none of them, would every need those jaw-dropping battle skills again. If wishes were horses, the McRib would be available all year.

Maybe what makes Wonder Woman so different from other superhero films, and makes it engrossing — I-forgot-I-had-M&Ms engrossing that makes a movie over two hours zip past — is the innocent and humane nature she retains. And the heart. There is a sweetness there that no other superhero, male or female captures. (Paul Rudd approaches the personality in Ant Man, but that’s Paul Rudd, man.)

Who brought that transcendental feature to this incarnation of Princess Diana? Certainly credit goes to Allen Heinberg for a surprising and exciting screenplay. Patty Jenkins direction brought out the best in the cast and the creative crew and, just incidentally, earned her the biggest box office opening ever for a film directed by a woman. (I don’t know whether to applaud or cry at that one.) But, who brought this very different, very endearing heroine to life. When she must attack, she is a blazing comet, moving impossible fast and wasting no movement to protect those in danger. When she must be stealthy and discrete, she…well…she can’t help it; she was born to protect. She was taught to respect life and those who fight for it, but never to fight if there is another way. She laughs. She gets indignant. And her heart tries to hold the whole world. So she cries. Because hearts will never be trainable until they can be made unbreakable. That is Godot in every frame of the film. Strong. Innocent. Fearless. Fragile. Our protector.

I, for one, feel better knowing she is out there somewhere. And that she could kick the fanboy’s asses…if need be.

 

Oh. If anyone ever decided to use a geographically and physiologically correct muse for all those endless paintings of the Virgin Mary, there’s your face.