DC Special Podcast: Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman (2017)

Coarse Language: Listener Discretion is Advised

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Meanwhile… Mr. Fixit & Illegal Machine try to talk down the hysterical, illogical Diabolu Frank as they shout about the latest addition to the DC Extended Universe for over two hours.

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3 thoughts on “DC Special Podcast: Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman (2017)

  1. To the surprise of no one, I agree with you guys on some points and not on others. Ultimately, though, I come down on the side of Frank and Mac on two crucial ideas that seem contradictory in times when people are so extremist in their views on trivial pop-culture shit, but they can actually coexist perfectly normally:

    1. Wonder Woman is a good movie.
    2. Wonder Woman is an overrated movie.

    I’m not going to share my entire review here because I might be appearing on a podcast in the future to discuss the film and I want to save my good stuff. But there’s one part of the movie–or actually something that was NOT in the movie–that I did want to get your take on. The Contest.

    Frank probably knows all this, but in case Fixit is awake or any of the listeners don’t know, here’s the deal. In the comics, Queen Hippolyta decides that an emissary from Themyscira/Paradise Island will accompany Steve Trevor back to the mainland so he can prevent whatever crisis is going on at the time of the book’s publication. This emissary is selected by winning a contest comprised of variations on Olympic events: racing, jousting on giant kangaroos (yes!), deflecting bullets/arrows with bracelets, wrestling, etc. Basically, the Amazons’ champion, their greatest warrior gets the glory of going. No surprise, Diana wins the contest, despite Hippolyta forbidding her from competing.

    The movie omits this entire sequence, probably for the sake of time and expediency. Here’s why that’s a mistake: it makes Hippolyta a completely unsympathetic character in the film.

    With the Contest as part of the story, we see that Queen Hippolyta is prepared to send her champion to Man’s World to fight Ares and stop the war, but she doesn’t want to sacrifice her daughter. That is a perfectly normal human reaction that shows complexity in a leader who is also a mother. Without the Contest, Hippolyta is cowardly and stubborn, willing to let Ares destroy the entire world in order to prevent her daughter from fulfilling her destiny.

    Hippolyta’s last words to her daughter in the film are not encouraging, they’re not loving; they’re spoken in bitterness and disappointment. It casts Diana as a bratty teenager running away from home with the first boy she meets.

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  2. Yeah, I don’t know why they completely ignored The Contest. Seems like visually that wouldn’t have been particularly costly but I think it would have been exciting and would have really helped build Diana (and Hippolyta’s) character.

    I look forward to your review. if you DON’T, come back and elaborate. I promise we’ll actually respond, and not just have a computer voice read your comment.

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  3. No surprise, but I’m with Frank on most issues (do I remember correctly that I might even have coined the phrase “Frank’s Agenda”? It sounds like something I would have said), and inwardly screamed at my listening device until Frank started screaming for real. Geez guys, are you stil friends?

    Mac, I’m gonna blow your mind: If all the critics gave Wonder Woman 3 stars out of 4 or 5, the movie would have gotten 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s how the aggregator works. If you get a score of 50 or more on a review (whether that’s a straight up or down or a number of stars/points), that’s a “fresh”. The score represents the percentage of fresh reviews out of all reviews aggregated, NOT the average of all reviews compiled as if movies were graded on a 100% test score. So you yourself gave it a “fresh” review.

    While Syndervision will never not irritate me, and the third act should have been Diana coming to terms with the fact there was no “fightable” Ares, but rather that the concept of War cannot be defeated with a sword thrust, only through inspiring love and compassion (WW vs. the spectre of war worked very well for me in the two first acts), the scripting (or perhaps the direction) did allow for ambiguity, and I’m with Frank, what characters say and what the truth doesn’t always match on purpose. You mentioned a couple of examples, but I’d like to address the sniper, who gets called out for dishonorably killing people without seeing their faces. When we get to a snipe, however, we can clearly see the victim’s face, and the sniper can’t go through with it. Not because Diana called him out on it, but because he’s haunted by what he’s done, because he HAS seen every face. He just doesn’t talk about it. He’d rather let Diana think he has no honor. The film is full of things like that, nothing can be taken at face value, just like the Ares we think we have at the start turns out not to be Ares (and I wish they’d kept up with it and denied us an Ares altogether).

    Yes, Wonder Woman is a game changer, not because its plot does anything other films haven’t done, but because it game a large segment of the population not just something they’ve never gotten in this kind of package, but something the Suits have outright said would never work. And the movie does this without making the heroine feel like her part was written for a man. Looking around – and I principally hang out with women – I saw empowerment. Not because these ladies needed a movie to make themselves the self-possessed strong funny people they already are, but because they recognized their ideals on screen, because the film catered to them while most movies of the type (which they nevertheless enjoy) often talked down to them or didn’t give them enough of what they wanted (Black Widow in Winter Soldier for example), and they were all abuzz with talk of Captain Marvel, of a Widow solo film, that this movie’s success will now make “viable” for patriarchal film studios.

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