SuperPod: Wonder Woman & Spider-Man

 

Our latex-wearing superpodders, Richard Drumm and Paul Farren, return to their headquarters to plot the rescue of their missing partner Scott Adair. Whilst plotting, our crime-fighting duo discuss the two latest DC and Marvel films to hit the big screens, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

 

 

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Review: Wonder Woman

 

DIR: Patty Jenkins • WRI: Allan Heinberg • PRO: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle • DOP: Matthew Jensen • ED: Martin Walsh • DES: Aline Bonetto • MUS: Rupert Gregson-Williams • CAST: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielson, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock

Action-packed and thrilling, Wonder Woman is an exciting origin story which has firmly lifted DC out of its cinematic rut. After the mixed reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), all eyes were on DC’s first female-fronted superhero movie. The nervous anticipation of its release not only stemmed from the current slump of DC’s live action films, but also due to the fact that Wonder Woman was not only to premier a female lead but was also to be headed by a female director, Patty Jenkins. There are always background tensions when the filmic adaptation of a comic book hero is helmed by a women, largely due to the gatekeeping of “geek culture” as something innately male-centric and patriarchal. Additionally, with a recent online backlash towards any media moving away from white-centric and masculine characterisation, the stakes for Wonder Woman were raised even higher as, if the film were to flop, there was the potential for the poor reception to once again be blamed on feminised identity politics. But flop Wonder Woman has not.

Beginning in Paris, Diana (Gal Gadot) receives the negative of the old photograph glimpsed in Batman v Superman, which launches her into the memories of her life and the origins of becoming Wonder Woman. As a small child on Themyscira, Diana is raised and protected by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Neilson), a woman who knows the pain and loss of war and has set upon doing everything in her power to ensure Diana never learns the truth about who she is. She tells the young princess the story of how Zeus created mankind to be loving and gentle, but the jealous god Ares instead drove them to war, and that it was the job of the Amazonian women to defend humans against Ares’ wrath and to put an end to the violence. However, in awe of the strong and powerful warriors, it is clear that Diana is itching to train and fight with them. Even though her mother has forbidden it, Diana begins to train with her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright), and, following some tension, is allowed by her mother to be trained to her full potential. A hiccup during a sparring match reveals Diana to be in possession of great power, and the revelation is paired with the sudden arrival of United States Air Force captain, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who, literally crashing into Diana’s world, brings news of a long and terrible world war. Convinced that Ares has returned to spew his wrath upon humankind once more, Diana vows to accompany Steve back to his post in order to kill the god and once more restore peace and unity.

Upon arrival in London, however, it soon becomes clear that things aren’t as simple as Diana once imagined and as she and Steve, along with the help of secret agent Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), alcoholic sniper Charlie (Ewen Bramner), and opportunist trader Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), prepare to take down Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) – a German general who, with the help of scientist Doctor Maru (Elena Anaya) have developed a poisonous gas potent enough to kill millions – she slowly begins to realise that maybe Ares isn’t the only one responsible for the violence of humankind.

Wonder Woman offers up an entirely more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a hero then has previously been seen in any of DC’s live action films. Using the backdrop of World War I, the film engages in an intricate and in-depth exploration of good and evil without resorting to the binary separation of the two, or the muddying and oversimplified alignment of the two as one. Rather than positioning the presence of evil as an innate expression that can’t be prevented, and goodness as untainted and wholly pure, as something without the propensity for deception, the thematic discourse of Wonder Woman instead wagers than humankind is a scramble of the two, and that there is a chance for both good and evil to sprout provided they are granted the right conditions. This goes beyond the usual explanation of villainy as a trait sparked by mistreatment, and opens up the dialogue that, even if what is being done is believed to be just, actions can still do harm. This is wrenched to the fore in a poignant moment in which Steve tells Diana that the violence of the war is on his head too, despite his objection to the fighting and an exhausted longing to bring the bloody battle to an end. In this way the film communicates that all violence – be it epistemic or physical – occurs as part of a spectrum, and, whether the intentions behind actions are pure or otherwise, accountability lies with whoever causes damage.

The film also touches on the performative nature of social structural hierarchies. Having been raised on an island full of women, Diana struggles with the culture shock of London’s patriarchal society. Led around a department store in order to find clothing that won’t draw attention, she stares at the corsets and dresses in confusion, asking “Is this what passes for armour? How can women fight in this?” Steve’s assistant Etta (Lucy Davis), a suffragette who is fully in awe of Diana, replies “using our principles”, but her added suggestion of not being against a bit of rough and tumble communicates that Diana has already begun to hold sway as a possible figure of liberation. Again and again she interrupts men when they are saying things she does not agree with – she even goes so far as to heatedly argue against them – and again and again she enters and holds her own in  areas in which women were not allowed to go. The ways Diana deals with the restrictions of patriarchy are humorous but with hints of anarchical purpose; if there is no clear and justifiable reason for a woman to not do something, then the restriction is rendered obsolete.

From start to finish, Wonder Woman is an origin story that is faithful, thoughtful, and streaked with exciting action and impressive stunts. It is a film that thrills, contemplates, and, most importantly, holds the pleasure of introducing a younger generation to a new and powerful hero.

 

Sadhbh Ní Bhroin

116 minutes
12A (See IFCO for details)

Wonder Woman is released 2nd June 2017

Wonder Woman – Official Website

 

 

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We Love… Superheroes: Wonder Woman

batman signalcopy(1)

  Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Bam! Pow! Thwack! From masked avengers to caped crusaders, what would we do without spandex-wearing superheroes fighting crime and righting wrongs? While we mere mortals go about our daily business and sleep soundly in our beds at night, an army of superheroes are working tirelessly around the globe – but mostly in America – fighting to bring peace, justice and outside-underpants to the world.

And so, in honour of their efforts, our own band of Film Ireland superheroes assemble to dish out their own critical form of justice and wreak havok on those villians who long for a world without heroes.

Eat dust evil! Superheroes are here to stay.

 

We Love…

Superheroes:

 

Wonder Woman

‘… one of the first feminist icons of the male-dominated superhero world…’

Carmen Bryce

wonder_woman_logo_by_machsabre-d4lg8ru

 

With all the strength of Superman plus all the timeless allure of a beautiful heroine, Wonder Woman has flown the star spangled flag for female superheroes since her creation in the 1940s.

Described by comic writer Robert Kanigher as “as beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, as strong as Hercules and as swift as Hermes”, Wonder Woman was one of the first feminist icons of the male-dominated superhero world.

Nobody’s sidekick, Wonder Woman goes alone, fighting for justice, peace and sexual equality along the way, making her a modern-day pin up for comic fans and a favoured Halloween costume for women everywhere.

The superheroine was named the 20th greatest comic book character by Empire magazine, ranked sixth in Comics Buyer’s Guide’s ‘100 Sexiest Women inComics’ list and in 2011, was placed fifth on IGN’s ‘Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time’.

Wonder Woman was created during World World II for DC Comics by American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston. Marston struck upon the idea for a new kind of superhero who fought evil, not with fists or firepower, but with love.

Before donning the red and golden go-go boots and tiara, Wonder Woman was an Amazon champion who wins the right to return Steve Trevor, a United Statesintelligence officer whose plane had crashed on the Amazons’ isolated island homeland, to ‘Man’s World’ and to fight crime and the evil of the Nazis.

Wonder Woman uses the alias Diana Prince as her secret identity. During Marston’s run, Diana Prince was the name of an army nurse whom Wonder Woman came across when she came to earth. The nurse is desperate to return to her fiancé, who was transferred to South America, but was unable to arrange for money to do so. As Wonder Woman needed a secret identity to monitor and look after Trevor (who was admitted in the same army hospital Diana Prince worked at) Wonder Woman gave the nurse money to go to her fiancé in exchange for her credentials.

Wonder Woman is gifted with an array of superhuman powers and superior combat skills as well as possessing an arsenal of weapons, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and an invisible airplane.

The superheroine is depicted as a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat. In a nutshell, she kicks ass. She is portrayed as highly skilled in using her Amazon bracelets to stop bullets and in wieldingher golden lasso. Batman once called her the “best melee fighter in the world”, and he would know!

In the 1970s, schoolgirls (and boys) everywhere sat glued to the television to watch a glossy-haired Lynda Carter fight crime as Wonder Woman, and today, after numerous failed attempts, the heroine may still have her chance in the spotlight as Warner Bros and DC Entertainment toss around ideas tobring her to life again.

Previously, Buffy creator Joss Whedon was working on a 2007 feature, which was cancelled and followed by David E. Kelley’s 2011 failed TV pilot. However, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, President of DCEntertainment Diane Nelson said, “We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now.”

 

Stay tuned. Next time on ‘We Love… Superheroes’ – Rory Cashin on Thor

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We Love… Superheroes

batman-signalcopy1

 Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Bam! Pow! Thwack! From masked avengers to caped crusaders, what would we do without spandex-wearing superheroes fighting crime and righting wrongs? While we mere mortals go about our daily business and sleep soundly in our beds, an army of superheroes are working tirelessly around the globe – but mostly in America – fighting to bring peace, justice and outside-underpants to the world.

And so, in honour of their efforts, our own band of Film Ireland superheroes assemble to dish out their own critical form of justice and wreak havok on those villians who long for a world without them.

Eat dust evil! Superheroes are here to stay.

 

We Love…

Superheroes

 

 

Batman – Ciara O’Brien

Darkman – Darragh John McCabe

The Hulk – David Neary

Spider-Man – Daire Walsh

Superman – Glenn Caldecott

Thor – Rory Cashin

Watchmen – Anthony Assad

Wolverine – Tony McViker

Wonder Woman – Carmen Bryce

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