Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Movie Review: All Eyez On Me (R – 140 minutes)

Tupac Shakur was a rapper and actor who was born in East Harlem, NY in 1971, and died in Las Vegas in 1996 at age 25.  He was incredibly prolific in his short life, releasing multiple albums and appearing in seven movies.  Because he was such a skilled rapper, a magnetic person, and was killed so young, a movie was inevitable. There has already been a documentary made called Tupac: Resurrection, that was released in 2003.

A biopic has been in the works for some time, and finally we have All Eyez On Me. Originally it was going to be directed by John Singleton (who had written Baby Boy for Tupac, but went with Tyrese after Tupac’s death). However, Singleton had some creative differences with the production, although did have the full support of Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother.  Tupac was a fascinating man, and deserves to have his story told in a really well-made epic movie.  This however, is not that movie.

The movie starts with a reporter interviewing Tupac while he was in prison from 1993 to 1996 as the result of a sexual assault charge – of which he continually said he was innocent.  The interviewer asks Tupac questions about his mother, Afeni, who was released from prison after defending herself as she was pregnant with him.  Through the device of the interview – we get snapshots of Tupac’s early life in New York, interacting with his mother’s Black Panther Party friends and colleagues, then moving to Baltimore – where he struck up a friendship in high school with Jada Pinkett.  His mother’s drug troubles began, and suddenly Tupac and his half sister had to move to Los Angeles, where his career began to take off as he started as a roadie, background rapper/dancer for Digital Underground.

The movie then stays with the interview, right up until Tupac tells the reporter how he ended up in prison, then that mode of storytelling is dropped when he gets released and the movie shifts to a more ‘normal’ narrative as we follow Tupac signing with Death Row records in L.A., interacting with Suge Knight, being friends with, and then enemies with Biggie Smalls, and continuing both his rapping and acting careers.  The movie does not mention his first marriage at all, but does bring in Kidada Jones, who he was engaged to at the time of his death. The movie goes right up until he was shot in Las Vegas, and then mentions that he died in the hospital a few days later.

This movie is directed by Benny Boom, whose previous experience is mostly music videos – and it is not badly directed, and it’s not badly acted, but it does seem to be assembled and written poorly.  The movie jumps from event to event, and really attempts to fit in way too much in the two and a half hour runtime.  This results in skipping some pieces of his life, and having several characters show up with little to no introduction, be key for a few scenes, then disappear.  Because the movie attempts to cover so much, it really would have been better served by being a TV mini-series, similar to the New Edition story earlier this year.  The cast is decent:

  • Demetrius Shipp Jr., whose father actually did work with Tupac, plays Tupac, and he really does look like Tupac. He does a good job with what is written, but because Tupac was so charismatic, he falls a little short, which is only really noticeable once the movie plays a clip of an interview with Tupac over the end credits.

  • Danai Gurira plays Afeni Shakur, and Tupac’s relationship with his mother is complicated and well documented. Gurira does a good job of attempting to show how strong and determined Afeni was early in life, then the struggle as she encounters her drug addiction, and her return to strength after reconciling with Tupac. Again, it’s a little overly dramatic  here and there, but she does well with what she was given.

  • Kat Graham plays Jada Pinkett, prior to her being Jada Pinkett-Smith. Jada has come out and stated that several scenes in this movie are fictionalized – but that she appreciates the performances of both leads. I’m not surprised that scenes were invented – it’s not a documentary, it is a movie, but I did think their friendship is portrayed pretty well.

  • Hill Harper plays the interviewer in prison – and I just could not wrap my head around the fact that was the storytelling device for the first half of the movie, but then completely dropped for the second half.  Harper’s job in this consists of asking questions and looking very interested as Tupac answers.
  • Annie Ilonzeh plays Kidada Jones, and the movie doesn’t really explain why she fell for Tupac – we see them have one interaction at a party, where she accuses him of saying horrible things about her father, Quincy Jones, and then one date, and then they seem to be engaged. As I said, the movie has to move really fast to get everything in that they wanted to cover.

  • Keith Robinson plays Atron, Tupac’s early manager prior to his signing with Death Row and he may have been my favorite character in the movie. He tries to be the voice of reason early in Tupac’s career and tries to steer him away from making bad decisions.

  • Jamal Wollard who played Biggie in Notorious does reprise the role here, and the movie really makes him seem unintelligent and confused most of the time.

  • Dominic Santana plays Suge Knight, who really could be the subject of his own movie some day because he’s such a villain featured in both this and Straight Out Of Compton. In particular in this movie, he has a Death Row dinner party and beats a dude during dinner for not being loyal enough while Tupac and Snoop look on uncomfortably. I did have an issue where at first I thought he was wearing a terrible bald cap, but then I thought maybe his head was just weirdly wrinkly.

  • Cory Hardrict plays Nigel – and Nigel is one of the characters who shows up out of nowhere, starts getting Tupac some money, then seems to set him up for the crime that he would eventually go to jail for, then disappears.

Overall, the movie is interesting, but way too long, and just not as well executed as it could have been. It's a hard R, thanks to the language, violence, and naked groupies. It really did need to be a miniseries so that more of the story could be told in better detail. I wasn’t a huge Tupac fan, but I did respect his ability, talent and charisma. I learned a few things from this movie – but some of the characters and stories that happen could have used some more development.  No, it’s not completely accurate, but it’s worth a rental.

5 out of 10 – too long, and poorly written, but decently acted and directed.

Bonus, Poetic Justice - a movie I really enjoyed, that Tupac is really good in, but was not mentioned in the movie at all...

Friday, June 23, 2017

Movie Review: Rough Night (R – 101 minutes)

Let me say right off the bat, the ads for this movie state that it is “funnier than Bridesmaids” – it is not. And, let’s be honest, not every comedy that comes out with a mainly female cast needs to be compared to Bridesmaids, that’s doing them a disservice. In this case, yes, the situation is slightly similar, but it is still an unfair comparison, as Bridesmaids was able to combine hilarity and heart into a near perfect comedy.

Rough night starts out by demonstrating the closeness of four friends in college Jess, Alice, Blair and Frankie.  Jess and Alice are best friends, Blair and Frankie are a couple and together the four of them are shown winning a beer pong tournament during a Halloween party and then hanging out in a dorm room to demonstrate the depths of their friendship.  Years later, Jess is running for senate and about to marry her fiancé, Peter – incidentally, she’s coming off as ‘robotic’, so losing the campaign.  Alice decides to throw Jess a weekend bachelorette party in Miami and invite the old gang.  Jess also invites her Australian friend Pippa, with whom she spent a semester abroad. Each has grown up, though not necessarily matured. Alice is now an elementary school teacher, Blair is going through a custody hearing after a messy divorce, and Frankie seems to be an activist for something or maybe everything?

Once reunited in Miami, the friends rent a house that happens to be next door to a couple of swingers. After hitting some restaurants, clubs, and doing some cocaine, the girls decide to hire a stripper for Jess.  A man shows up at the door – and after showing him in, they accidentally kill him (yes, like in the 1998 Peter Berg directed movie Very Bad Things) – and thanks to the drugs and alcohol, they decide it is better to try to hide the body then report it.  Hijinks ensue, but not necessarily hilarious hijinks.

The movie has a lot of vulgar humor, and tries way too late to add some heart into the story.  It almost would have been better to commit completely to the over-the-top physical and toilet humor and use a ‘Weekend At Bernie’s’-style adventure with the dead body. Instead, the movie hovers just around the uncomfortable mark, going from bizarre situation to bizarre situation and then suddenly forcing in the relationship resolutions right at the end.

Directed by Lucia Aniello, who also did some episodes of Broad City, the movie is clunky and can’t decide if it wants to be a crass comedy or a dark relationship dramedy.  I think I was disappointed because the cast is wonderful, so I expected more from them.

  • Scarlett Johansson plays Jess, and while she may seem an odd choice for a bawdy comedy, she certainly is game and does well with what she is given.  Jess is the ‘straight-man’ at the center of the lunacy, and since the story revolves around her letting loose, Johansson is a good choice.

  • Jillian Bell plays Alice, and she is perfect for these random comedies, but what surprised me were the quieter, more genuine moments. She’s good there too, and I expect she will continue to be the latest comedienne on the rise.

  • Zoe Kravitz plays Blair, and since the movie really revolves around Jess and Alice, and their drama, Blair’s story about her divorce and custody battle seems forced in, and is not given the time it needs. Also – the side plot of Blair distracting the swingers next door so that she can recover security tapes is more than a little bizarre.  She does a good job with what is there, but there’s very little there.

  • Ilana Glazer plays Frankie, and her story gets even less time than Blair’s. She just seems to be mostly insane, coming up with the cocaine as soon as the girls head out for the evening.

  • Kate McKinnon plays Pippa, Jess’s Australian friend. Why she’s playing that role instead of one of the others, and they didn’t just hire Rebel Wilson for this character is a bit beyond me.  However, McKinnon is more than capable and does well with the material – but as good as she is, it would have been interesting if they had given her a little more to do.

  • Paul W. Downs, who co-wrote the script with the director, plays Peter, the finance. He’s appropriately bland enough, and I did enjoy how he and his groomsmen were having a low-key wine tasting while the girls are going insane. However, once one of them convinces him to ‘sad astronaut’ down to Miami to see Jess, his piece of the story gets a little annoying.
  • Ty Burrell and Demi Moore play the swingers next door – and you’ve already guessed their one-note joke.

  • Ryan Cooper plays Scotty the stripper, who gets killed pretty quickly after showing up.

  • Patrick Carlyle, Eric Andre, Bo Burnham, and Hasan Minaj play the groomsmen.

  • Enrique Murciano and Dean Winters play the two police officers who show up partway through the night to make things even more awkward.
  • Colton Haynes plays the stripper who shows up halfway through the nonsense.

Overall, the cast was capable, and they certainly committed, and yes, there are some funny parts to this movie, but overall I was disappointed because I think it could have been better with this cast and the premise. I think it should have been non-stop laughs, instead of chortles from time to time.

5 out of 10 – gained points for the cast, lost points for not being funny enough. We’ll see how Girls Trip is when it comes on out July 21st, hopefully stronger than this one.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Movie Review: The Mummy (PG13 – 110 minutes)

The original Universal Studios Mummy movie debuted in 1932, and was one of the many monster movies that helped put the movie studio on the map. It starred Boris Karloff as the reawakened Egyptian mummy named Imhotep. Accidentally brought back to life, he goes undercover to search for his lost love who may or may not have been reincarnated. King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922, so mummies were a fresh and new movie monster that really captured the imagination of the audience.

In 1999, the Mummy was rebooted, using several of the same character names from the 1932 original. Directed by Stephen Sommers, it starred Brendan Fraser as he hooked up with Rachel Weisz and Oded Fehr to battle Imhotep played by Arnold Vosloo with his sidekick Kevin J. O’Connor. It was fun, entertaining, and really near perfect.

Recently, Universal Studios decided they wanted to reboot their classic monsters and create a ‘Dark Universe’.  This allows them to build a franchise and allow each of the characters to interact with the others, moving back and forth between each other’s movies. This Mummy reboot is the first piece of that puzzle that will eventually include Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, Dracula, Van Helsing, perhaps the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and on and on. They already have some of the monsters cast (Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster and Depp as the Invisible Man), and a new logo. 

Tom Cruise – I’m sorry, Nick Morton – seems to be in the military, running scouting missions searching for the enemy. Along with his partner Chris Vail, they remove priceless ancient artifacts prior to them being either discovered or destroyed by enemy forces and then sell them on the black market.  They’re basically treasure hunters. One particular mission goes sideways and finds the two discovering an Egyptian burial site in what was Mesopotamia and is now Iraq. That in itself is very interesting, but Jenny Halsey, an archaeologist is all upset because Nick apparently stole the location for this peculiar find after bedding her.

Upon examination of the site, they figure out that it was actually a prison for an ancient Egyptian princess, Ahmanet, who was all set to inherit her father’s kingdom, until he found a new love and had a brand new male heir – shoving her quickly to the side. After using some dark magic to kill both her father and his son, she was quickly captured and mummified alive – then her tomb/prison hidden far away from Egypt – thus why they find her in Iraq.  Now, with her prison disturbed, she quickly manages to get inside Nick’s head so that he releases the chains holding her sarcophagus in place. Loading up the sarcophagus to take it back to London, Ahmanet gets a whole flock of ravens to attack the plane, leading to the incredible plane crash you’ve seen in the trailers.

Waking up in the morgue after the plane crash with a toe tag, Nick is perplexed to say the least. Ahmanet, meanwhile, has bounced out of her coffin and is sucking the life out of as many police officers as come to look at the crash site. Mostly restored, she chases Nick and and Jenny through the woods until Jenny’s organization shows up to capture her. Jenny apparently works for the Prodigium – a monster-hunting crew with a mysterious doctor in charge that will function as the through-thread for the ‘Dark Universe’ movies.   Inevitably, Ahmanet gets loose, wrecks some havoc, and Nick has to deal with the confusion in his head to save the day.

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, who is really more a producer, the movie is actually better than you’ve heard.  It is fun, fast paced, and you know Tom Cruise will commit to those action sequences.  And the action pieces are really fantastic - from the bit at the beginning where the tomb is discovered to the plane crash to the fight in Crowe's office. It does suffer a bit from attempting to include some zombie-style mummies, and the effects on those are not as good as they could have been. Again – with Greg Nicotero and his team doing amazing zombie makeups every week on Walking Dead – it’s annoying when CGI rendered zombies in movies don’t look as good. The effects on Ahmanet were pretty good, and she is actually more interesting as she is rebuilding herself then when she finally comes together.  The cast is just fine:
  • Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise again (if I hadn’t looked up the character’s name, I would not have remembered it). That’s not an issue for you if you don’t mind Tom Cruise as he Tom Cruises his way through this movie.  He does some typical Tom Cruise-y things in this: a lot of running, a lot of action, some Mummy fighting, and well as some tussling with his good friend Russel Crowe.

  • Russel Crowe plays the doctor in charge of the organization. I am not going to mention the name – as it is a pretty big spoiler. He will definitely be in the upcoming other movies. It’s actually good casting for him, as annoying as I find him.

  • Annabelle Wallis plays Jenny, and is capable as a sidekick for Cruise as he actions his way through the story. She will also be a through-line for the other movies as she continues to help Crowe manage the monsters.

  • Sofia Boutella is the brightest spot of this movie and steals all her scenes as Ahmanet. She actually does a pretty good job of trying to convince Cruise that she was the victim in her storyline, even though she did brutally murder most of her own family.  Her dance background does allow her to do some really creepy mummy moves.

  • Jake Johnson plays Vail, who feels a little unnecessary – he’s Cruise’s sidekick at the beginning, then seems to zombie around in Cruise’s head the rest of the movie, until he’s brought back to life with no explanation at the end of the movie. It makes no sense. He’s there exclusively for comedy relief, and if you find him funny, you’ll love it.

  • This movie manages to completely waste the wonderful Courtney B. Vance. He plays the Colonel who Cruise and Vail report to – and after one scene of yelling at them, he gets killed on the plane ride back to London. 

Overall, I found it entertaining enough, but my expectations were very low.  The tone was really uneven – which is even more of an issue when compared to the 99 Mummy.  That movie easily fell into fun adventure movie, with everyone on the same page in terms of the tone and playing the zaniness.  This movie can’t decide if it’s focusing more on the comedy or action, which results in the comedy bits feeling really forced and almost disruptive.  Also – sure, the double iris thing in the eyes is a nifty effect, but what does that have to do with anything? Is it the dark magic? 

Because I have always been partial to the 1999 version – I even listed it on my favorite Top 40 movies of all time - http://jwardadventures.blogspot.com/2016/10/on-turning-40.html - I was really against this reboot. This one actually won a bit of me over when they included a very, very brief shot of an item from the 1999 movie, indicating that both could exist in the same universe, and that really did win me over.  Boutella was awesome setting about to bring forth the god Set into a human body, and I am intrigued to see what the next piece of the Dark Universe puzzle will be – rumor says Bride of Frankenstein.

6 out of 10 – Gained points for Boutella, lost points for wasting Courtney B. Vance. 
Bonus - behinds the scenes fun.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (PG13 – 141 minutes)

Wonder Woman first appeared in 1941 in DC comics, created by William Moulton Marston (who is credited with inventing the lie detector) with assistance from his wife Elizabeth, and their girlfriend Olive Bryne.  Traditionally, she is the daughter of Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, who live on the hidden ‘Paradise Island’, Themyscira.  Originally, she was molded from clay by Hippolyta and given life an gifts by the ancient Greek gods, most notably Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera. Her Amazonian training allowed her to become an incredible warrior, skilled in hand to hand combat.  She had a great run with the fantastic Lynda Carter 70s TV show –

But my favorite has been the various incarnations of Wonder Woman in the animated DC universe. Susan Eisenberg’s portrayal on the Justice League cartoon, Lucy Lawless’s version in the animated New Frontier movie, and the incredible Wonder Woman in 2009, voiced by Keri Russel – it follows her origin story, and her first journey into the world of men.

The DC animated universe has been very well done with great stories and incredible character development for the members of the Justice League (re-watch Justice League: Doom, in which case everyone gets to learn Batman’s contingency plans for all of them while they battle Vandal Savage). When Zack Synder brought the DC Cinematic Universe to beginning with Man of Steel in 2013, I was very disappointed.  This was in no way the version of Superman I was familiar with, and instead was cold, unfeeling, and grim. Continuing with Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the movies seemed to just get worse and worse, with little to no understanding of the characters and definitely no care for the fans or what they thought (his mother would know that if he’s injured you just lay him out in the yellow sun for a while, not bury him).   I did enjoy the bit that looked like one of the Arkham games.

The one bright spot was Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman in BvS. The movie was mostly awful, but her portrayal of Diana was fun, interesting, and fight-capable, which did give me hope for this, her stand-alone movie, prior to Justice League this fall (trailers for which right now makes it look unwatchable, they are currently doing reshoots with Joss Whedon in charge - we'll see if that makes a difference).

This Wonder Woman movie starts with Diana at work in the Louvre, receiving a package from Bruce Wayne that includes the original of the photo teased in BvS, of what seems to be Diana standing with a group of soldiers in World War I with a note from Bruce requesting that someday she tell him her story.  What follows is Diana flashing back through her story.

It opens with Diana as a child on Themyscira and being chased by her …  nanny? Teacher? Not sure, not entirely comfortable with that bit … in any case, she’s more interested with watching the warriors battle-train than her studies. Busted by her mom, we get some quick character study – Hippolyta wants Diana kept away from training, her aunt, Antiope believes they should train her.   Eventually, Antiope wins this argument, and we get a fantastic training montage with Diana starting to learn that she may be even stronger than she thinks as she quickly becomes the greatest warrior on the island.
The island is hidden from view (we’ll assume in the Mediterranean Sea since they’re ancient Greek warriors), but one day, American Spy soldier Steve Trevor crashes through their barrier when attempting to evade the German army.  As the Germans follow Steve through the barrier, a huge battle takes place on the beach, and while the Amazons are victorious, they lose some of their best.  After using the lasso of truth to determine who Steve is, where he comes from, and what is going on in the world, Diana requests to go with him to return him, fight at the ‘front’ of the war to defeat the god of war, Ares, who she believes to be responsible for the hate and anger at play in the world and to save millions of innocent lives. Hippolyta of course forbids this, so Diana breaks into the armory and steals weapons, armor, and gets ready to take Steve back on her own.  Her mother, not fooled, meets her on the beach to say goodbye, simultaneously proud and sad.

The pair sail to London where Diana becomes increasingly frustrated at the pace with which nothing is getting done and the bureaucracy at play as Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany, despite the fact that the German general Ludendorff and his chemist Doctor Maru (who they call Doctor Poison) are creating deadlier versions of mustard gas.  Sir Patrick agrees to help them with a secret mission, and once they finally get to the front in Germany, meet up with Steve’s ragtag group of soldiers, Diana becomes convinced Ludendorff is Ares in disguise, and sets out to destroy him.

Director Patty Jenkins has been working on and wanted to direct this movie since 2005.  She does an excellent job in making the movie look amazing.  The parts on Paradise Island are beautiful and stunning. The rest of the movie is the characteristic grim monochromatic-ness of the DCCU, but since it takes place in war-time Europe, that makes a little more sense here. The action sequences are fantastic, and I actually loved the slo-mo here and there. Yes, it’s used liberally, but it really enhances the fight scenes, and I really enjoyed that. 
That was all fairly spoiler free.  From here down, be warned – spoilers!  I thought the cast was pretty great -
  • Gal Gadot absolutely shines as Diana.  I was originally not sure about her casting, I mean she was awesome in the Fast & Furious franchise, but Wonder Woman? I still wanted Sydney Tamiia Poitier to play her, but Gal really won me over in BvS, and in random interviews and appearances.  What with her charity work and time in the Israeli army, she is pretty close to an actual Amazon.  She gets more to do in this movie emotionally than in BvS.  Diana is hopefully naïve at the beginning of the movie, having never really experienced the world – but then is overwhelmed by the horrors of war when she finally experiences them firsthand, but does not allow herself to get overcome, and instead steps up to fight back and do what is right, shifting to a determined ferocity.  She is fantastic in this role, and I cannot wait for her further adventures.

  • Chris Pine is just fine as Steve Trevor, but here’s the thing, I thought there was way too much of him in this movie. A great deal of time is spent demonstrating the equality of Steve and Diana, and I believe she should be far superior.  After her first victory, they spend the night together, which seems a bit rushed, after all, he’s the first man she’s ever met. His love for her helps her realize she can use love to defeat war, but still, shouldn’t she already have been aware of that?

  • Connie Nielsen plays Hippolyta and does a wonderful job of balancing fear for her daughter with pride when she succeeds.

  • Robin Wright plays Antiope, and easily steals every scene she’s in. You’ve already seen the meme about how our childhood princesses have grown up to be generals, and yes, it’s amazing to see Buttercup running the Amazon war machine. She is tough, she is capable, and she is battle-tested.  She’s fantastic, and gone from this movie way too soon. 

  • Danny Huston plays Ludendorff, and yes, is way too obvious as the villain, but that works for this role. He’s devious and determined, and not going to listen to what anyone has to say about trying to reach a peaceful armistice.

  • David Thewlis plays Sir Patrick; and spoiler alert – I knew who he really was the instant he showed up, what with the cane and the pleas for peace, etc.  He is quiet and understated until the reveal, and at that point – perfectly evil.

  • Said Taghmaoui plays Sameer, a Moroccon soldier that is part of Steve’s international crew. His character is the ‘actor’ and there to help them get into tight spots. He gets more development than the others.

  • Ewen Bremner plays Charlie, a Scottish soldier part of Steve’s crew, and is the ‘sharpshooter’.  He gets very little to do aside from looking panicked during battle scenes and singing to the group occasionally.

  • Eugene Brave Rock plays The Chief.  Brave Rock is a stuntman and a First Nation Blackfoot from the Blood Tribe in Canada.  It’s wonderful to see him get the opportunity to have a more forefront role in this movie.  

  • Lucy Davis from the British Office and Shaun of the Dead plays Etta Candy and does steal all the scenes she is in. I particularly loved when she had to hold Diana’s sword for a bit, and doesn’t hesitate to threaten a bad guy with it.

  • Elena Anaya plays Doctor Maru, and I’m not really sure what to think of this character. Visually interesting with the mask covering the half of her face that is not there, she is helping to create a more deadly gas.  However, when Diana finally has her trapped, she lets her go – I guess I wanted more comeuppance for someone this evil.

  • The other Amazons are played by a variety of athletes, stunt performers, and all around awesome women, including Lisa Loven Kongsli, Ann Wolfe and Ann Ogbomo, just to name a few. They are all outstanding, and yes, my favorite parts of the movie were on the island. Not just because it looked better than the rest of the movie, but because the Amazons were more interesting than any of the other characters in the movie.  Hopefully we’ll get to see more of them in future flashbacks.

Overall, it was good – and that’s what I wanted from it. It still has way too much of Zack Synder’s feel on it, and it drags a bit in the middle.  I did have a few minor issues - I seem to remember more of the female greek gods being involved in the creation of Wonder Woman – Aphrodite, Hera, and especially Athena. Here, the focus is strongly on Zeus.  I had a bit of an issue with Bremner’s sharpshooter character, in that he clearly has PTSD, and some time is spent on introducing that, but then it’s never approached, dealt with, or resolved, so it becomes a random character trait that is not addressed.  Either it needed to be an actual character trait that is key to the story, or just left out. I found it a little puzzling that when she meets the Chief, and he mentions that Steve’s people killed his people, she has no response to that, no anger, no questioning.  If her focus and love is the saving of innocents – why is that not a bigger issue for her?  I found the middle of the film, after the truly incredible ‘No Man’s Land’ sequence, where she and Steve dance in the village while it starts to snow, unnecessary.  Also – at this point it is strongly implicated that they sleep together. That’s fine, but also unnecessary.  I appreciate that Diana is finally able to defeat Ares by realizing that love is what will conquer war, but I was just a little disappointed that it’s her realization of Steve’s love for her and her love for him that triggers that.  She had grown up in a loving environment, and wants to save the world based on her general love for humanity and innocents, shouldn’t that have been enough? Why did it require the love of a singular man?

Even with those issues, I really enjoyed the majority of the film. It is still too dark, literally – the only sunlight is on the island. But finally, there was a little lightness here and there to the characters, there were some genuinely funny moments as she was being introduced to the world, and that has been missing in DCCU movies. Again, the entire first act on the island is just stunning. The Amazons are amazing, and the battles scenes truly epic.  Once Diana makes it to London, the ‘fish-out-of-water’ aspect is well-played for both humor and drama.  Diana is accustomed to doing and saying what she wants when she wants – a room full of men shocked at her presence is truly puzzling to her.  And yes, you’ve heard it by now, but the “No Man’s Land” sequence where Diana truly becomes Wonder Woman is amazing and just exhilarating to watch.  Gal is amazing in this role and manages to somehow capture all of Diana’s various levels. I can’t wait to see what she does next.   Yes, it’s wonderful that we have a great female superhero movie with an awesome director (at no point is she or any of the other amazons over-sexualized, or shot sexy, or oogled) – but quite honestly, what I am even happier about is that we have a great superhero movie from an awesome director.  Let’s just keep on having more of those.

8 out of 10 – check it out – I think you’ll really enjoy it.  I really hope we get Cheetah in the sequel!

Cast Interviews:
My favorite bit from Lucy Lawless's New Frontier version: