Wonder Woman (Film) Review

Imagine trying to talk about a film you’ve waited almost 40 years for.

It’s so difficult to convey what this movie means. Not just from a feminist standpoint but to me, the person. More specifically, me the four-year old obsessed with a high kicking female role model, the icon I wanted to be when I grew up.

And now here I sit on the other side, having devoured the movie and I can’t believe it. It feels amazing. It feels important. And I can’t stop bursting into sporadic tears. (Being reminded of what it felt like to be a kid, with all those simple dreams ahead always makes me feel very raw and emotional).

No traditional review here, just some thoughts and I’ll stay exceedingly light on the *spoilers* because I’m not a monster.

Please see this movie, even if you’ve been burned with the DCEU offerings so far. Even if you still can’t get the horrible aftertaste of Jared Leto’s cackling Joker out of your mouth. Hey, even if you’ve not seen a single superhero movie in your life.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

My Thoughts

The first fifteen minutes of my viewing experience was sullied by an over zealous cinema goer who wasn’t going to stand for light chatter or non-designated seating arrangements during this showing, even if her mission to get people to zip it was ultimately more distracting. I get it though, I’m a “Shut the fuck up” truther but I had bigger fish to fry on Thursday night and was willing to let it slide.

Once she’d chilled the fuck out, I was able to fully immerse myself in the wonder of Themyscira and the Amazon philosophy, which is represented stunningly. An island with no men? Sign me up.

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Bring your daughter to work day was always fun

Of course this couldn’t remain the state of play forever, as the story has to move on somehow. How better to fuck shit up than to introduce the men? Before we get there though, rest assured that the land of warrior women is not only gorgeous to look at but also hench AF.

Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) worries for her only daughter, spinning Diana a yarn about having moulded her out of clay herself, begging Zeus to bring her to life. This explains why Diana (Gal Gadot) is the embodiment of physical perfection. There’s more to this story though which we’ll unravel as we go.

Aunty Antiope (the mighty Robin Wright) is the henchest of them all, training Diana to be better than anyone and challenging her when she doubts her own strength. But I’m not here to break this all down for you so let’s just say that fate has a plan for the unsullied Princess Diana and her future lays off-island.

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Prince(ss) of Hats

Which takes Diana and her new friend, the freshly rescued American Spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to London where our hero will learn all there is to know about humanity and the ugly face of war, all whilst motivated by her own mission.

Some of the best bits are Diana getting to grips with the role of women in the world outside the one she knows. Her constant questioning shines a light on the ridiculousness of almost every situation, and certainly gets her noticed.

Anyway, the action does not stay in London for long, as Diana and Trevor journey further into the heart of darkness, in search of war. Diana for her own reason, Steve because it’s his job. They team up with a rag-tag bunch, which includes the amazing Etta Candy, WW’s sidekick in the comics (played by the lovely Lucy Davis).

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Candy girl. you are my world

I loved the chemistry between Etta and Diana but I wanted much more for them. I guess I would have liked to have explored the concept of different kinds of strength, not just the physical in more depth. You can argue that Etta displays her own anyway, I think my desire for a more female interaction is betraying itself.

A bit about the baddies. Without giving too much away, our main villain is Doctor Maru AKA “Doctor Poison” (Elena Anaya), the half-masked scientist with a deadly objective, to build the perfect super weapon. She is backed by German bad boy Ludendorff (Danny Huston) who is chemically altered by the Doc’s own concoctions whenever the need arises.

Like Etta, I would have liked to learn more about Doctor Poison’s motivations and her history. But there’s a chance we may meet again so I can let that one go.

So Diana travels to the front line and is shocked by what she witnesses. Her innate desire to help everyone is admirable but it’s not always possible to save everyone. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t try and there’s a sequence set in No Man’s Land that is madness personified but also incredible.

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It’s a Woman’s world

This is Wonder Woman’s first chance to shine and boy does she knock this one out of the park. Interestingly, she is never referred to as WW within this movie. Perhaps it’s like describing yourself as pretty or funny, you’re not really supposed to say it about yourself but it’s okay for others to?

Anyway, there’s a lot of action, loads of arse-kicking, a little old-fashioned smooching and a massive final showdown (obvs). Along the way the people’s princess learns more than one valuable life lesson and it’s those truth nuggets that propel a gal (Gadot) forward.

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Even Chris Pine couldn’t spoil this

I loved every minute, honestly. It’s so good to see this movie and know how many young girls there are out there completely beside themselves with excitement. The film is rated 12A and this was a conscious decision by the film’s director, Patty Jenkins to ensure the newest generation of fans could get to it.

It’s not a perfect movie (though it’s the best DC I’ve seen since the Christopher Nolan days) but that just doesn’t matter. It’s an important one and one that needs to be seen. I think every person should go to see this film; the female driven, female directed blockbuster.

You should give it your money so we get more, do it for your daughters, your sisters, your friends. Do it so the next generation have more female role models to look up to.

I can’t wait to see it again.

My Rating

5/5. Obviously.

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We Could Be Heroes #3: Barb Holland (Fictional)

tumblr_ob5j4zwxaj1s9au7co1_r2_1280**This love letter contains Stranger Things spoilers**

A couple of months back I fell in love, and I fell hard.

Sadly, this love was never fully realised as, a) it was for a fictional character and b) the object of my affection was coldly snatched from me before it could develop any further.

Still, that’s not going to stop me waxing lyrical on how great she is. So without further ado, let’s hear it for The Barb.

Barb Holland (of Stranger Things), on the face of it, comes off as a bit of a drag. I mean, she’s sensible and protective and that comes from the best possible place but she also has a judgmental air that isn’t becoming. But she’s the ‘mom’, she cares about her BFF Nancy Wheeler, worries about her virtue and means well.

I know how she feels for I was Barb back in the day, and this is undoubtedly why the character means so much to me. Slightly off in the looks department, terrified she will be dumped for the cooler crowd and not at all attractive to the opposite sex (yet) so therefore without a frame of reference as Nancy gains sexual experience and maturity. Me.

And millions of former awkward kids across the world, which again has to be part of the reason why she’s become such a stand out from the series, despite only being in three episodes.

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Mom-core

Barb has a style all her own, all mom jeans and ruffled checks, ginormous snooker-player spectacles and ginger helmet hair (which I remember only too well from my own follicle history). She is resolutely herself and that’s what I like. Had she not been dragged into The Upside Down perhaps this would have changed and Barb would have swapped the Dennis Taylors for contacts and lowered her waistlines, fallen more in line with the new crew. This would have been fine if that’s what she wanted, but Barb is/was perfect already.

The only fly in Barb’s ointment, apart from the death and all, is that when she was gone only one person visibly cared. Justice was never served for Barb Holland and it’s an outrage of epic proportions. When Will Byers disappears, the whole town gets involved and his mother Joyce doesn’t rest for a second. Neither do his friends. When Barb goes missing, only Nancy notices her absence and only Nancy mourns her when her fate is casually revealed. Barb deserved better.

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The Duffer Brothers promise #justiceforbarb in Season Two, coming up in 2017 and I bloody hope they deliver. In the meantime though, this one goes out to The Queen of the Upside Down, the slightly annoying but caring friend, who would have lived had she not tried to fit in, or if she’d been a worse friend and just left Nancy to her own nocturnal devices.

RIP my sweet friend, we hardly knew you ❤

Some Kind of Wonderful

imageAbout cocking time is all I can say to the news that my main girl is finally getting her own film.

I mean Jesus, she’s been kicking about since the 1940’s, around the time the first rumours of a motion picture began (jks).

Wonder Woman was, of course quite busy in the late seventies and then… not so much.

Sure she’s been keeping herself occupied on the page but while Superman, Batman and all their (male) pals have enjoyed numerous (sometimes tedious) reboots, she’s been languishing in production hell.

And no, the wonderfully camp 2011 TV movie starring Liz Hurley as the baddie doesn’t count. Even if it was hilarious and tried to take a different tack by making Diana Prince a public figure, rather than Wonder Woman’s secret alter-ego.

Anyway, it pissed me off to learn that my Queen would be appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) played by Fast & Furious‘ (2009-2015) Gal Gadot. I mean why does she have to play with the boys first?

Now I’m over that (just), I can only be excited. I will be in line at the multiplex for BvS, though I haven’t got much faith that it will be any good (Batfleck? Really?). Make no mistake, I’m there for the WW action only – and so far I’m holding out hope.

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Go Gal!

As for the actress playing what could be the greatest role of all time, I don’t know much about her. I can’t remember much about her from the few F&F films I’ve seen but I’m told she’s good (Meghan of That’s Lightletainment! is a fan).

Plus she spent 2 years in the Israeli army, which makes her something of a warrior in my eyes – exactly what Princess Diana of Themyscira is. It’s a start.

So I’m getting ready to settle down and enjoy my favourite comic character finally on the screen she deserves, in her own origin tale and then subsequent Justice League films (2017 – onwards).

I expect her to be sticking it to the men and staying true to her feminist roots. Finally finally.

*FIST PUMP*

Rickman

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Is it cool with everybody if I head back to bed for the rest of the month?

First Bowie, now Rickman – this month is just incredibly sad so far. It’s also making me think and I don’t have time for that right now! So I’m going to wax lyrical on my top three (four actually because I just thought of one as I was typing that) favourite Rickman moments, then I’m going for a hot bath.

I know I’m not alone in my pain and despite what some naysayers are saying on Twitter about the very public outpouring of grief for both men, I think it’s a beautiful thing. Imagine leaving such a legacy behind you?

I hope Alan’s family are all together. I read that he’s been happily married for 50 years, isn’t that the sweetest? I just can’t imagine how his wife must be feeling.

Disclaimer: I’m not a Potterhead so you won’t find Snape on this list. Not that I didn’t like him in the role or anything, just that it didn’t speak to me in the way the below did. 

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Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply (1990)

Ugh just typing that makes me choke. This film taught me that grief can be very very ugly and snotty – but still beautiful AF. Jamie and Nina (Juliet Stevenson) are very much in love when Jamie passes away. Before Nina even begins to process her absolute heartbreak, Jamie returns in his ghostly form and they are reunited.

I wasn’t that old when I first saw this and I always thought of it as the ‘English Ghost‘ (released in the same year) but sorry, Patrick, this film is so much better in all it’s tear soaked glory. The leads are perfect together in every way as they learn to finally let one another go – and you’ll bawl until you can’t bawl no more. FACT.

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Sheriff George of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

A year later, Rickman stole the show in RH:PoT, one of the most enjoyable films of my adolescence. And you’re damn right I can quote it word for word.

As the naughty naughty Sheriff of Nottingham, our boy was pure delight. I can only imagine that he was having the time of his life in this pantomime-villlian role which is really compelling to watch. One of his best lines, spat out with pure vitriol, will always be one of my favourites: “Locksley, I’m gonna cut your heart out with a spoon!”

See also: “[to a wench] You. My room. 10:30 tonight. [to another wench] You. 10:45… And bring a friend.”

Love-Actually

Harry in Love Actually (2003)

I just saw this a month ago and it got me again, as it does every time: that moment Karen (Emma Thompson) figures out her husband Harry is almost definitely cheating on her. She goes upstairs and has a little cry to Joni, before pulling herself together and getting on with it like a motherfucking boss. Every. Time.

That’s Love Actually to me and what brings me back every single year (I’ve mentioned my annual viewing with my BFF Panda). But that scene could not be without potential love rat Rickman and he’s incredible sexy in this role.

A cheating swine but sexy, nonetheless.

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Super Hot Tangoing Businessman in Texas’ In Demand music video (2000)

Panda and I always reference this as her ‘happy place’ and this is the real kicker. Rickman tangos with beautiful Sharleen Spiteri on a petrol station forecourt and we swooned. Like proper swooned.

(There’s this bit, with this look).

What a gentleman. What charisma.What a fucking waste of one of the greatest actors and voices of his generation. 

View here for yourself here:

Enjoy!

RIP sweet Rickman ❤

We Could Be Heroes #2: Alabama Worley (Fictional)

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ICON, in every way

It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to film, books and songs. I mean, there are so many amazing works out there, to pick just one as your champion is nigh on impossible. Plus, these things tend to undulate with your moods.

I have two* favourite movies that always stick and they have something in common, that old chestnut: the strong female lead.

I know Hollywood talks about the strong female lead like it’s doing the world a favour and it can be annoying. A lead is a lead surely, regardless of gender. But alas, this is the world we live in (for now) and this isn’t a post about that.

Both films have a Tarantino influence; one is directed by him, the other written by. Which shows me that, while he might come across as a annoying arse at times, he knows how to give us great female characters. Not great actually, THE BEST.

But to the subject of today’s post. Step up here, Alabama Worley (née Whitman), you angel.

Played fantastically by the beautiful Patricia Arquette, Alabama is True Romance (1993). Actually she is everything; a badass, a fighter – an ICON and surely one of the best characters in movie history.

Let’s look at the evidence. To the untrained eye you could be forgiven for seeing her as just another ditz, along for the ride with her bad boy husband, nothing but a giggling slice of arm candy with no real function. You’d be wrong though.

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True Love, Innit

While Alabama narrates her own love story, she is anything but an empty vessel. Sure, she’s a romantic, impulsively marrying Clarence a day after meeting him, even proclaiming it”…so romantic!” when he later admits to killing her pimp in a violent showdown. Sure, she’s feminine in an overtly sexual way; all tight leggings and short skirts (best personal style ever).

She’s nurturing and pure of heart; she even tastes like a peach if Clarence (and his father) are to be believed.

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My kingdom for Alabama’s wardrobe

But all these qualities live comfortably within a resilient, smart woman. Not once does she ask for help from her man, or anybody else for that matter. This is no damsel in distress. Clarence spirals out of control because he struggles with the idea that his wife was once a call girl. She’s cool with it and unapologetic. Clarence is the one who feels like he has something to prove: his own masculinity.

Alabama is strong and she’s brave too, taking a horrific beating mid way through the film from the mob’s hit man, Virgil (I’m writing this assuming you’ve all seen this film, ain’t nobody got time to explain plot). It’s horrible to watch but also illustrates who she is.

Alabama emerges victorious, proving that for love she will fight tooth and nail; and she’ll fight with her wits. It’s beautiful, once you come to terms with the violence and even Virgil has to concede that she really is something else.

Afterwards, bloodied and bruised, ‘bama’s still okay, still smiling and still standing. She is a BADASS.

“Don’t worry babe, I got this”.

I don’t need to tell you that she also saves her husband’s life in the end, when shit hits the fan on a messed up drug deal. As the bullets whiz past her and the blood flows, Alabama gets up and she walks her badly injured lover right out of harm’s way. She drives him to safety, never looking back.

It’s a happy ending (thankfully, the original script allegedly WAS NOT) and it’s the best. I will never tire of True Romance; of the characters, of the dialogue, of the aesthetic.

I even have a “You’re So Cool” tattoo on my wrist, homage to the loveliest mantra:

Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.

I guess that’s why I love Alabama so much, she’s real and a romantic, just like me.

*I’ll share my second favourite film in another post soon. Promise.

All image via Google.

We Could Be Heroes #1: Daisy Steiner (Fictional)

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K.O

Just before I moved to Brighton to follow my own path, I fell in love with a television show called Spaced. It was 1999 and I felt like it was written just for me.

That it became popular, and then pretty much a cult classic later on didn’t matter, back then I thought it was mine. Specifically, I thought Daisy’s character had been written with me in mind. The dufus other half (though not romantically) of Tim Bisley, I wondered how could she exist when she was so similar to me and my friends. Here was a normal woman, who looked normal, dressed eclectically and accidentally threw around the peace sign in job interviews.

Together, Tim and Daisy felt like the voice of my generation: slacker edition.

Today, I still watch Spaced with the glee of a child. The characters are nailed so brilliantly, from chain-smoking Marsha the landlady to Brian the tortured artist and his on-again-off-again love interest, Twist. Mike, Tim’s best friend and would be commando, Tyres – you can’t not love every single last one of them as they bumble through life, job searches, dole offices, petty rivalries and affairs of the heart, by way of club nights and street fights.

Yep. Me too.
Yep. Me too.

But Daisy Steiner. What is there to say? From the moment she bustled into that greasy spoon and bonded with Bisley over the accommodation section of the local paper, it was love. Not for them, mind but for the rest of us. As they convinced Marsha they were a professional couple in order to secure the keys to her downstairs flat, a beautiful friendship was born.

Daisy was an aspiring writer with a penchant for procrastination, though she eventually birthed such literary gems as ‘Bogling – is it the new Tango?’ and ‘Winter Skincare – do’s and don’ts’. She was (is) a happy-go-lucky lady-child with the sort of over-enthusiastic nature I can get behind. When Tim’s heart is broken (twice), she’s right there with him and when he’d rather mope, she takes him to the pub.

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:/

But the beauty of Daisy is her tendency to put her foot right in it. Social interaction isn’t always the most successful as she likes to waffle and just loves to get involved in other people’s business, mainly so she doesn’t have to do any work. In short, she’s a more extreme version of me, though can’t we all see a little of ourselves in Daisy?

It’s easy to forget what the nineties was like for TV, but a brief flashback reminds me that this was probably the first time something like Spaced appeared. It showcased superb comedy writing (by Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes née Stevenson), contained references to films and television shows I truly loved and was the antidote to the piles of shit I’d been watching before it.

It was the opposite of serious dramas like Cracker and Band of Gold (which were admittedly brilliant) and a different humour altogether from popular comedies like The Vicar of Dibley and Ab Fab. Spaced was as different as you could get from favourites like The X Files, Twin Peaks (very early 90’s) and my personal favourite, This Life.

So I ate it up and will love it for the rest of my days. It’s quoted daily in our household and how many other households across the country, honestly?

Daisy was best when she was finding herself, getting off with the paper boy, quoting the Spice Girls, rescuing Colin, her beloved miniature Schnauzer, batting away backhanded compliments from her BFF, Twist and bringing out the big guns in bar and street brawls with men in black/culinary school kids. In short, she was always the best.

So to you, dear Daisy, I say; Girl power forever.

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N’aw

We Could Be Heroes is a new series of posts looking a women (and sometimes men) I admire, sometimes fictional, sometimes real.

All images via Google.