Wonder Woman (Spoiler?) Review

Yes! I went to see Wonder Woman yesterday with my Mom and sisters, and it was fantastic! I had to revive my blog just to rave about it (my blog has been on hiatus and in private mode so that I can focus on work and fully “adjust” to the adult world—it’s a personal thing). I’ve officially become obsessed with the movie and character.

I’m not a comic books nor a superhero fan. It’s one of the movie “genres” that I ignore. It’s just not my taste. I used to think that it can be pretty formulaic most of the times with the dude-gets-superpowers-and-decides-to-start-fighting-crimes-with-final-boss-battle-at-the-end. I’m aware though of how passionate comic book fans can be when it comes to this. I believe as of right now, the Marvel versus DC war is still ongoing out there in the comments section of YouTube movie trailers, debating on which cinematic universe makes more sense or which superhero movie adaptation is still the best. I usually avoid them, but it can be pretty amusing.

Besides, I don’t know my comic book stuff. I didn’t even know that there’s a whole different bunch of superheroes besides Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and that there’s in fact another team of meta-humans (or in this case, mutants?) called The Avengers. Spiderman is probably the only other superhero I knew. Even then he’s never been invited to avenge with them. Blame my parents for introducing me only to the DC superheroes as I grew up. It was only recently as the movies came out that I learned the existence of Thor, Captain America, and the others.

My Mom though is a big fan of Wonder Woman since Lynda Carter days. I watched some of the re-run episodes from childhood. I don’t remember much though. I would watch them with her sometimes but I never understood it nor enjoyed it. But I do know how Mom loves it so much. Wonder Woman is her all-time favorite superhero. So when I heard that the 2017 movie is coming out, I just knew I had to bring her and my sisters to the cinema.

At first, she was skeptical about the new Wonder Woman. She watched the series when she was still young. She had high expectations, set by her memories of the first adaptation. But she was still, of course, delighted and excited about finally having a live-action film about her beloved superhero after so many years. Spoiler Alert: She loved it! We all did. Now, here’s my honest thoughts about the movie, coming from a non-fan who fell in love all of a sudden with a superhero for the first time in her life. Just to be clear, I’m not an expert in comic books nor movies, but here’s just what I think.

Before you proceed, know that there might be spoilers, but I’ll try not to give away too much details. So if you’re planning to watch the movie and don’t want to ruin the story, best try not to continue reading.

The Good:

Story

It was well-written, very cohesive, and solid overall. As someone who doesn’t know about the origins of Wonder Woman or Diana, I didn’t know what to expect, but what I learned about her, I loved. The story started by introducing her mythical origins. I keep seeing parallels with the Christian theology–mostly the Fall of Lucifer–even though her story is very much based on the Greek mythology and features the Greek God of War, Ares. That made it easier for me to get into the story because I connected immediately (Catholic here).

The best thing about the story though is the seamless transition between the mythological exposition and the World War I setting. I love how the plot didn’t only show us how Wonder Woman came to be, but also how she grew as a person. It wasn’t just a story of someone finding out that she can be a superhero and fight the bad guys. Typical origin story. There were no “bad guys” here. Or at least, the real villains weren’t the expected bad guys. It was war itself. This is the story of a woman who learned that human morality isn’t as clear as black and white, and that the war will not stop by simply killing one boss villain. She learns that being a savior is more about fighting for what you believe in and less about defeating the bad guys and rid the world of all evil. ‘Cause no one really is purely evil nor good. It’s all a blur of in-between. But the movie was still hopeful about humanity.

Characters

Great casting, great chemistry! Gal Gadot was amazing, Chris Pine was perfect. I can’t imagine anyone else for the roles of Diana and Steve.

Two things this movie can boast are the character development, especially of the movie’s superhero, and the perfect balance between her and her love interest—who was just more than a love interest.

Diana started off as this naive girl who had absolute views of good and evil, war and justice. Coming from a hidden paradise of female warriors, of course she would be clueless about what’s happening in the real world. She soon realized the gray truths of humanity when Steve brought her to the war-torn areas.

Here’s where the balance comes in: Steve became her reality-check. But it wasn’t just Steve’s realist and almost cynical views that made him the perfect counterpart for Diana. Diana might be the “super,” but Steve was also just as strong-willed as her and it made him the perfect match. They were equals in character.

There was no power-play of the sexes. Yeah, most definitely this is a women-empowering film but it never forced feminist views nor dragged down any of the sexes to uplift another. Both the characters are learning from each other. Diana, the reality of human nature and the importance of holding on to your values from Steve, and Steve, the optimism to save the world and having hope for humanity from Diana. They were just two people, though with different views, fighting the same battle.

In the end, Diana matured as person and was able to determine what she really was fighting for. And Steve, well, you will always be in our hearts and your sacrifice will forever be remembered. *sobs*

Execution

The right mix of narrative and action. Before I could even get bored of the backstories (which would still be impossible for me because the backstories and the little down time moments were engaging, honest, and heartfelt at times), they give me stellar action sequences. There were three main action sequences in the movie–the beach battle, the Front battle, and the final boss battle–that were evenly distributed throughout the film. In between these parts, there was enough time for character development and story-telling. It was effective to give fans the hype and excitement of actions scenes that they expect from a superhero film, at the same time, show them the story without dragging on the plot. Slow-mo effects? I had no problem with that. Wonder Woman was still kickass!

There were also these funny and adorables little moments that added charm to the movie and the character of Wonder Woman, mostly. None of the humor felt forced or cheesy. When she saw a baby, when she tried to get out of the revolving door, when she ate ice cream, these little scenes showed how much Diana was out of place in the WWI London setting. These moments became opportunities for light breathers before the movie focused on the brutal effects of war, and I’m telling you. When the scenes of the soldiers from the war came on, showing their chopped leg and bloodied bandages, and Diana had to pass through them, mothers and children begging for help as explosions go off meters away from them, those really pierced me and stirred something in me. I’d say that the movie was successful to make us emotionally invest in the characters and the setting they were in. It was very timely.

The Bad:

The final boss. I just think that I was misled with the main villain. Just when you think she would have to fight either the general or the scientist, Spoiler Alert: Ares was real and he’s the old cabinet speaker. I read that Ares is an actual villain in the DC universe but I almost wanted him to be a misconception of Diana about the war, not an actual villain. At least not in this movie. I don’t know any other alternatives for Ares as the final villain but I thought it would have more impact if Ares was more of a representation of war, rather than a god to defeat. It’s just a little bit of a bait-and-switch for me with that plot twist. But it didn’t really ruin the movie for me, so it was still okay, and the overall movie is just too good that it didn’t matter at all. The rest of the story elements made up for it.

The Score: 9/10 Badass with a heart. (The deducted point is obviously for the villain.)

What if Maui was another handsome prince?

Recently, I watched Disney’s newest animated film hit, Moana, with my sisters. I enjoyed it a lot and I gotta say, it’s so much better than Frozen, story and animation-wise. Moana reminds me a lot of Mulan because they both have the courage, the intelligence, and the heart to follow what they believe and prove themselves. Unlike Mulan though—and the other Disney princess films—there’s no good-looking prince to the rescue, no handsome thief to help the girl out of the tower, no ice-making nice guy to guide the princess through ice and snow. There’s only a self-obsessed demigod who isn’t as lovable or as charismatic as the other Disney men (I mean, he’s fun and relatable as a character but he’s not as “dashing” if you know what I mean) and guess what—he has no romantic chemistry with Moana whatsoever. It’s a breath of fresh air and I liked that. (Although, I still think that Zootopia is the best 3D animated film by Disney yet.)

But I wonder what would happen differently if Maui was instead the typical “handsome” prince (or demigod) that would fall in love with the girl by the end of the film. Would it make the movie less spectacular than it is right now? I love the way the film is now but I’m trying to imagine how Moana would come out if they’ve gone the usual Disney route. YOu know, even Zootopia hinted at a love story! So I’m just wondering.

My Favorites

I don’t know what else to post today so I’ll just share the random things I love. Feel free to use the “tags” if you want to make a version of your Favorites list.

Color – Blue (It’s the safest color to like.)

Book – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (It was the very first book that I read on my own accord—not because it was required in a subject—and I enjoyed it so much, so it will always have a special place in my heart. If it’s a local book, I’ll go with Dekada ’70 by Lualhati Bautista.)

Movie – Hwayi: A Monster Boy; Twenty; What We Do In The Shadows (I couldn’t just pick one for this. The first two are both Korean films and the last one is a comedy-horror mockumentary about three vampires living together in an apartment.)

Animated Film – Zootopia (I just love that movie so much.)

Disney Princess – Although I admire everything about Mulan, Belle (Beauty and the Beast) is still my favorite princess. (So I’m excited for the live-action film with Emma Watson next year!)

TV Show – Mulawin (This one is a very old local TV drama series here in the Philippines about a race of humanoid birds with romance. I remember when I was a kid, I would sneak out the room at night just to watch TV because it used to air around 9:00 PM and that’s a bit late for children to be watching. Ah, my childhood!)

Cartoon – Avatar: The Legend of Aang (Spongebob Squarepants comes a close second.)

Fictional Character – Inu Yasha (He’s a half-demon dog, half-human anime character. Was also my very first crush.)

Anime – Zankyou no Terror; Code Geass (These two are both intelligent and action-packed. I also just heard that Code Geass is having a third season—which is totally unnecessary, and you’ll understand why if you know the ending to season two—but so I’m excited!)

K-Drama – Reply 1997 (It’s a coming-of-age, slice-of-life drama set in the late 90’s.)

Song – I always change favorite songs but right now, it’s Shelter by Porter Robinson and Madeon.

Music – All sub-genres in the spectrum of pop and rock (Korean pop and Japanese rock most especially). Recently though, I’m feeling into EDM.

Artist – For Kpop: B.A.P; For Jrock: ONE OK ROCK (I don’t really have a favorite western artist because there’s so many of them and I have to make a list for that.)

Actor – I’ll go with Johnny Depp. (He’s not really my “favorite,” strictly speaking, but despite the domestic abuse issues he’s facing currently, I can’t deny that I love the roles he’s played—except the one in Pirates of the Caribbean ’cause I never liked that franchise. I’m talking about Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd.)

Actress – Kim Go Eun (She’s a Korean actress and she’s currently starring in K-Drama called “Goblin” which I highly recommend. She looks so cute and humble.)

Author – Colleen Hoover (She’s a new-adult contemporary writer. I just simply love the simplicity and heart of her writing. She’s got some of the best romance books ever!)

Writer – Hiromu Arakawa; Song Jae Jung (Both are female Asian writers that surprised everyone with their clever stories. If you’re wondering why I separated ‘author’ and ‘writers,’ it’s because the first one should have published a book or novel and the latter writes for other things, such as TV shows, comics, or even blogs if you will.)

YouTube Channel – There’s a lot actually: The Film Theorist, Screen Junkies, PewDiePie, The Fine Bros, Buzzfeed Blue, M2, and some more that I’m too lazy to write.

Ice Cream – Cookies ‘n Cream (You cannot go wrong with that flavor.)

Cake – Rich chocolate with a thin caramel layer (YES!)

Country – South Korea, Japan, and Thailand. (I’ve never been in any of these places but these are top three countries I want to visit someday. USA too but I’ll just go there after I’ve been to these three.)

Flower – Sunflower (Another safe flower to like. It just looks so cute and innocent.)

Fruit – Suha (I’m not sure if it’s Pomelo or Grapefruit in English. Anyway, I can finish that in one sitting, I’m not kidding.)

Vegetable – Bitter gourd and Broccoli (Actually, I like any vegetable as long as it has this crunchiness.)

Meat – Chicken (Who doesn’t like chicken, right?)

Dish – Caldereta (It’s a Filipino dish—pork stew with tomato sauce, carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper.)

Animal – Rabbits, maybe? (I don’t even know why I put this. I don’t have a favorite animal!)

Season – Spring (We don’t have four seasons here. It’s either just very sunny or very rainy. But I want to see spring with my very own eyes. Especially the blooming cherry blossoms in Japan. Must be lovely!)

Quote – “Love what you do. Do what you love.” (Since I’m graduating soon, I want to live by this quote as I find a job and build my career. I don’t want to be miserable in the work I’m going to take and have regrets. I want to enjoy it. I want to build a career that I will feel fulfilled about myself.)

Another Term

Yet again, time passed so fast that I barely noticed that it’s the first day of June already. Wut?! Sorry, I haven’t been blogging. Again. My second to the last term in uni had started a week ago and replaced my supposedly wonderful days of freedom and leisure and solidarity once more with days of stress and work and responsibilities. What I have in mind right now? Oh, this is what it feels like to be Twenty. *sigh*

twenty_korean_movie

Yup. That also happens to be the title of my newest favorite movie. It’s Korean though. But I think anyone who went through young-adulthood can relate to this film. (It’s got English subtitles too!) And who hasn’t been through the hassle of that, right? Existential and quarter-life crisis. During those days, we had (or still have — in my case) the question of whether should we take a risk and follow our biggest dreams or should we just take the practical path of college and employment? Or you know, do nothing and let life take us anywhere. This movie takes on those questions in hilarious yet very honest and heartfelt ways. I highly recommend it really — a coming-of-age comedy film. Three friends who represent those choices in life and how it will turn out for them. It made me think about my life choices and gave me a somehow positive outlook for my future. Even if we don’t figure things out now, we can always go back and find the right ways, right?

You can watch it here, with English subtitles. I promise you’ll enjoy it. Well, I hope so. Tell me what you think about the movie once you’ve watched it! ^^

Random Question of the Day

Why is it when there’s some kind of a worldwide phenomenon, probably a disaster, an invasion, or maybe an outbreak, it always starts in the US? Well, at least in the movies, it does. Haven’t you noticed that? Why not China or Russia or India or some other big country? What’s with USA? And why do they get to save the world too?!

Welcome to the Future!

Has anyone prepared a welcome party for Marty McFly? ‘Cause he’ll arrive from the 80’s tomorrow, October 21, 2015, to be exact. Too bad we don’t have any hoverboards for him yet. But at least we’ve got a party! Who’s gonna wear those horrible “futuristic” clothes at the party? Surely not me! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, you should watch the movies then! Yes, all three of them! They’re really cool, I promise! *winks*)

How to be a Disney Princess (In 10 easy steps!)

Oh, yes, I know you wanna be one. Come on, tell me. Don’t be shy. Admit it! Say that you wanna be a Disney Princess, too.

Step 1: You must have a wonderful singing voice. The kind that attracts rabbits, squirrels, birds, and mice.

Step 2: Befriend said rabbits, squirrels, birds, and mice. Use your singing voice if you have to.

Step 3: You must also befriend talking inanimate objects. (Olaf and the Beast’s furniture, anyone?)

Step 4: Get a fairy godmother. Or an evil stepmother. Or both.

Step 5: Learn how to do house chores. Disney Princesses know how to wash the dishes, sweep the floors, and sew clothes.

Step 6: Speaking of clothes, you must only wear dresses and gowns. But if you’re Mulan or Jasmine, you gotta wear pants.

Step 7: Superpowers (either healing or freezing) and the ability to turn into a fish or a frog are optional!

Step 8: Make a cameo appearance in one of Sofia the First episodes.

Step 9: The most important step of all! Fall in love with a guy you just met on the same day.

Step 10: Marry said guy immediately. (Except if he’s got a secret plan to kill your sister, of course. So make sure that he’s not evil.)

So, are you a Disney Princess yet?

If all else fails, just believe that you are a Disney Princess no matter what. Yes, even if you’re a fully grown man, alright?

P.S.

Belle’s my favorite Disney Princess but, I think, Mulan’s got the best story. I loved it when I was a little kid. Until now, actually. My baby sister and I watched part one and two yesterday. It’s still awesome!