Sunday, September 24, 2017


I probably should wait a few days before writing this, as this is a movie that will be waking me up in the middle of the night for months as my subconscious unravels the deeper layers of imagery and meaning.  It’s a Rorschach Test of a movie that allows different people looking at it from different perspectives to see different things.  If you’re walking in here expecting the haunted house story the trailer wanted to feed you, you are going to be sorely disappointed.  If you walk in with zero expectations and allow the movie to teach you its rules as it goes, you might find one of the most meaningful cinematic experiences you’ve ever encountered.  When it finished, Jennifer and I sat in rapt silence, wrapping our heads around what we had just seen, interpreting it the way one might look at an abstract painting or sculpture.  A guy in the back of the theater just shouted “that’s bullshit!” and went on with his day.

You get from it what you take into it I suppose.

So, I’m going to talk about the movie, I promise, and I am going to talk about what I got from the film itself.  I have to say, what I pulled from the film is apparently not what was intended by Darren Aronofsky, which you can find elsewhere if you want to read (I’m not going to do your Googling for you).  There are other opinions as well, but I will tell you up front: this movie is not for everyone.  It is often surreal, it is at times brutal, there are horrific moments that though not overtly gory are remarkably tense and there’s a direct implication of one of the most devastatingly awful things I have ever seen in a film.  Though the film follows it’s own logic, there are things that don’t quite make sense when you pull them out of the movie and look at them in the real world.  It is less a narrative than an allegory.

I am not trying to imply that someone who liked it is smarter than someone who didn’t, or that anyone who didn’t like it just didn’t “get it.”  (Though I have no doubt those people are out there.)  This movie does not give a damn whether you like it or not, and you could flow completely with the story elements and the allegory and still hate how it made you feel and therefore the movie.  As Jennifer and I wandered slightly zombie-like through a store afterward, I made the statement, “there are a lot of men who are going to hate that movie, and maybe not know why they hated it.”  This movie is black licorice: you hate it or you love it, but if you love it, it opens your world to absinthe.  See the odd metaphor I used there?  Get used to it before you go see “Mother!” 

So, now that I am 500 words in and still haven’t actually discussed the movie itself, I suppose I should.  Spoiler warning, but honestly, I’m not sure its necessary.  This movie is far more than its plot points, as atmosphere, performance, and inference are every bit as important to the experience as its relatively simple story.  The framework for the movie is a young woman, played by Jennifer Lawrence in a standout performance among standout performances, married to an older poet, played with dripping condescension by Javier Bardem.  The poet has been unable to write for some time, so he and his wife have settled into his former home which was previously destroyed by fire.  She is rebuilding the house herself while he sits in his study, not writing, but entranced by a strange gem that he later mentions was found in the rubble of the house after the fire.  One evening, there is a knock at the door, and Ed Harris arrives; a man who thought the house was actually a bed and breakfast.  Bardem’s poet insists Harris stay the night, despite Jennifer Lawrence’s misgivings, and this all gives way to a sequence of events that will start with more unexpected guests, and then wind through murder, abandonment, hero worship, riots, war, and an apocalyptic reset of the entire world they inhabit.   

Got that?  Yeah, exactly.

So, here’s what I got from the film, and promise you your results may vary if you work up the courage to see the movie.  To me, Lawrence represented the role women play in 10,000 years of human society.  She nurtures, she preserves, she restores, she becomes a mother.  She provides advice, she helps celebrate victories, she tries to help us minimize our defeats.

Everyone else in the film are the assholes who mistreat her for it.  Be it the husband who takes what she has done for granted, and can’t understand why she’s upset when he does not consult her, or did not give her the first reading of his completed work despite all her support, or who is so caught up in the adulation of others he doesn’t care to notice how much she has done to facilitate what he has created, that indeed he would be nowhere without her.  Or maybe it’s the older woman (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), who is ready to discount her experience and encourage her to rely only on her sexuality to get the attention of the man in her life.  To stay self-medicated and stop trying to build something for herself, or participate in the creative process.  How about the man who arrives, in her house, and insists she should hook up with him.  And when she doesn’t want to, when she doesn’t share her number, calls her an “arrogant cunt” and dismisses her like trash.  Or perhaps it’s the people who are perfectly happy to destroy what she has built as if it has no value because it came from a woman, and dismiss her telling them that a particular piece of architecture is not finished and will not hold.  And of course it is the society represented by the mob that will take her newborn and literally cannibalize it because they need to consume anything she has made, and then beat her savagely when she tries to resist them and maintain her agency.

Over and over I saw the allegorical examination of how society “mansplains” over women experts, or takes for granted that a women has to be sexual when we demand it, and a mother when we demand it, and her agency be damned, she should be more appreciative that she even HAS a man to take care of her.  The Poet simply baffled that she wouldn’t want to see his wishes come true at the expense of all she has done, because he has never noticed her actual struggle to make it all so. 
Aronofsky and crew have called 10,000 years of Patriarchy to task in this film, and that’s the type of message and delivery that’s going to make a thousand Dudebros go, “that’s bullshit!” and not want to see themselves in the Bardem character, or as one of the mass of people who rely on her, yet is happy to use up and marginalize the women of our society.  They may not even be consciously aware of why they feel indicted, but it will make them dismiss the film.  That won't be why everyone who dislikes it dislikes it, but more than I few I wager.

There are horror elements and suspense in this film.  In a country where one out of every five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, half of those before the age of 18; where women are subjected to verbal abuse or ignored in work settings be benefit of their gender; where women can spend 20 years raising children, managing a budget, keeping a household going…and be dismissed as “just a housewife” and have nothing to put on a resume when they have decided to get out of their empty nest and into the world; where three women are murdered EVERY DAY in the US, and one of those three will be murdered by someone with whom they trusted enough to be intimate.  Hell yes there are horror elements in this film, because that is all horrific.  And that’s not even looking at other countries where women are not allowed to read, or after being told they must submit to a man’s will are then considered “unclean” and subject to being killed by their family to uphold “honor.”  Yes a movie illustrating what the world does to women is a horror movie, because how else do you tell it?

Yeah dude, I know.  YOU aren’t a rapist.  YOU don’t beat your partner.  YOU  don’t kill women who reject you in a bar.  But is your first thought when you hear about a rape, “well what was she wearing?” or “well what was she doing there?”  Do you notice how much more often men interrupt women during conversation than they do other men?  Or how much more willing men are to encroach on personal space of a woman versus another man?  You ever tell that joke about “what do you tell a women with two black eyes?  Nothing, she obviously didn’t listen the first two times.”  Ha ha, funny.  Hell, I’ve told that joke myself because it’s just a joke.

Until it isn’t.

Anyway, getting back to “Mother!” Again, other people got other things from it, and there are certainly plenty of metaphorical elements to support some of the “Mother = Earth, Poet = God, the Man and Woman = Adam and Eve” interpretations I see out there. Regardless, the performances from everyone involved are nuanced and stunning.  The photography is claustrophobic and breathtaking.  The emotions are discomforting and horrifying.  I love this film, my wife loved this film; most people are going to hate it,  either for what it says to them, or what they don’t want to hear from it, or because it does not deliver a “normal” experience.  It most certainly, regardless of your interpretation, does not do that.

I say judge for yourself, but if you’re not up for challenging cinema, you may want to let this one go by.  “Mother!” is not for the standard audience, and certainly not for the timid.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

To Porg or not to Porg.

So as "The Last Jedi" has gotten closer, various behind the scenes and toy reveals have given us The Porg.  Or thousands of Porgs from the look of things.  And I see people either diving right into Disney's plans to assimilate us into the Porg Collective with what I assume is weapons-grade cute developed somewhere in a Sith temple on Malachor, or immediately turned off by the hype and afraid we are getting new Ewoks.

I spent a lot of my fandom hating on the Ewoks, but now that I am older and I hear Porgs being compared to them I say: I hope the Porgs are like the Ewoks.  They would be lucky to be Ewoks, because Ewoks may be the single most subversive thing the Flannel-clad Maker ever gave us in his six films.

Stand back, I'm about to testify to the mad genius of George Lucas, because it took me 30 years to figure out that Mr. Eleven Thirty-Hate used all that kiddie marketing to make us all love an entire population of Hannibal Lectors.

We mostly remember cute little things, don't we?  Like this little guy.
Get Kenner on the phone, I need a dozen in plush, STAT!

He came along just when Leia needed him most, and he takes her in.  Do you remember why he took her in?
She killed this guy.  Wicket only decides for sure that Leia needs to come back to the tribe because she has shown she's a warrior.  He now sees her as an equal.  Don't believe me?  What is going to happen to the guys who are dumb enough to fall into a trap and then get (much to Han's chagrin) captured without a fight?

They are going to be eaten.
THEY are going to be EATEN.
They are GOING to be EATEN.

The Ewoks consider anyone outside of their tribe to be food, unless that someone has demonstrated the ability to kill.  Their minds are changed only after their golden god dissuades them otherwise. And THAT is only after he demonstrates he is an angry god by floating around the village.  Remember, they are going to kill and eat Han, Luke, and Chewie to honor Threepio EVEN AS HE IS COMMANDING THEM NOT TO and Luke has to Force the issue.  The Ewoks are willing to defy GOD HIMSELF for their hunger for flesh.*  

Did they do all that to Leia?  Not at all, she's basically become one of them. (More on this later.)

Take a moment and bask in the glory of our now luminous Princess and General.
So, the Ewoks are then persuaded to join the Rebel Commando company in their assault on the Imperial Garrison.  Sure we get funny moments like Chewie and the Ewoks swinging like Tarzan, or the Ewok on the speeder.  We get sad moments like the little Ewok who's Mom gets killed.  But really, why do the Ewoks get in on this?  What are they getting in return?

A kick ass drum set.

But besides that, where do you think the troopers for those helmets are?  Lando, don't eat the soup.

So thinking of this, take just a moment and look at this screencap:

What do we say to the god of death? Yub nub.

Realize you are actually seeing a false deity acting as a god of death setting his flesh eating minions upon soldiers who are just trying to do their jobs.  This isn't the First Order where Stormtroopers are trained nearly from birth, or the Republic where the Troopers are cloned to fight.  These are conscripts from across the galaxy, or maybe someone who joined up to get off their little podunk planet because THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE (even Luke was on his way to the Imperial Academy).  Instead they will be eaten by friggin' teddy bears with spears that someone on this day gave fully armed commando support to.  

Now, I am not the first person to come up with all this.  Before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, we used to have a wonderful--and semi canonical-comic series called "Star Wars Tales."  Yes, there are things they published like Indiana Jones investigating tales in Mexican jungles of an Ape Man, only to find an ancient crashed hunk-of-junkspaceship with the skeleton of a pilot who seems so very familiar to him somehow, and the ape-man with a life debt watching over the body.  But they gave us some keen insights into Star Wars as well, such as issue 14's "Apocalypse Endor."

 I love this story because it disables the myth of the "incompetent Stormtrooper" I have discussed elsewhere.**  It also points out, the Ewoks are vicious killing machines who will eat your flesh in a ritualized manner.

And that's why I have to bow to the genius of George Lucas.  He takes the idea of cute marketing to kids, and packages it up, but in that package he has actually given us cute little cannibalistic monsters; not obviously monstrous like a rancor or a krayt dragon, but far more insidious.  Right in front of us all this time.

Now, will the Porgs be something like that?  I don't know, it's not like Disney would do something like that, would they?

Hey, have you seen the new "Forces of Destiny" cartoon?  Here's an episode with Leia on Endor.  It's two and a half minutes long, give it a look and come on back.

So, the Ewoks get two Stormtroopers here, right?  Captured alive.  They all go back to the village, and Leia gets a gift.  A leather dress.  Where did the leather come from?  Where did they get a human sized piece of leather to make her a dress and ritualistically bring her into the tribe?

No Dan, Disney wouldn't do that. Disney does nice Star Wars, they wouldn't suggest Leia is walking around in a dress made from the hide of her enemies.

And they certainly wouldn't make a film where every character you care about dies on screen in heartrending fashion, would they?
A Baze of Glory
So, maybe Porgs are just cuteness overload.  Maybe something we need since it looks like The Last Jedi is taking our characters some pretty dark places.  But maybe, just maybe, there's a little old style subversion hiding in those Puss-in-Boots-from-Shrek eyes, and a joke you may find to your taste.

Actual screen cap: Looks like Chewie chew-chew-chooses the Porgs.
Oh, Chewbacca doesn't eat raw meat?  Remember how they got captured by the Ewoks on Endor in the first place?

Besides, what do you think Luke's been living off of on one island for the last 10-15 years?

A smorgasporg.  

*At least we believe Threepio was trying to stop them.  Perhaps he saw himself with an opportunity to finally free himself of Skywalker family drama and live as the Ewok god until he rusted?

**A native population that outnumbers you hundreds to one in terrain that they know every inch of.  It's almost the kind of thing that might lead a big, strong country to fight a war for 15 years or more somewhere.

(All Star Wars images property of Disney, used here under fair-use laws, not for profit.)
(Even I don't mess with the Mouse.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Let My Sequels Go! The Official Black Owl Review of "War for the Planet of the Apes."

Spoiler free for two paragraphs!
I will not rehash here my love of this franchise, all the way back to Pierre Boulle's book that was originally translated as "Monkey Planet," but more artfully as "Planet of the Apes."  You can read my review of the first of these modern films here and get my whole simian love affair leading into "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."  

Somehow, I never reviewed "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," and I regret the oversight.  Let me assure you I found it as engaging and intelligent as "Rise" and again just as sad in its own way.  It leaves the idea that war is on its way at the end, and I was both eager to see where a third film would go, and anxious that like so many modern films we would stumble in the third act.  I am delighted to say that my worry was unwarranted.  There is plenty of action in "War" but at its heart it is a movie asking questions like what defines humanity?  Is vengeance our principle trait? Do we deserve to maintain status as the dominant species if we continue being so utterly horrible to each other? This is a smart movie, an exciting movie, and a heartbreaking movie.  In a world of reboots done simply to cash in on nostalgia, these Apes movies manage to take the basic conceit and use it as a vivid tableau to examine whether it's just intelligence that defines humanity, or something greater.

Spoilers commence.

A lot of movies, particularly hero movies, play off a lot of religious themes and imagery.  Be it Ripley in "Alien 3" throwing out her arms in a cross as she sacrifices herself to kill the hatching queen, or Superman in "Superman Returns" throwing out his arms in a cross as he sacrifices himself to save the world from Lex's growing continent or Superman in "Batman V. Superman" throwing out his arms under the burden of saving the exploding rocket...well you get the idea (especially with Superman) and lot of Christ imagery out there.  I came to realize with this film however that the "Apes" trilogy went old school with their heroic/savior template.  Caesar is not Christ, but rather Moses.  I found that pretty refreshing.

Think about it, he starts as an infant hidden away, is taken in and raised by the ruling species, and ends up returning to his people.  In this film we specifically get him preventing the beating of an ape slave by an overseer, him seeing the delivery of a plague that strikes at the children of humanity, a hurried escape from a pursuing Army that is then swept away (snow is just very cold water after all), and finally he leads his people to a promised land that he can look into, but as a result of his sins, he cannot himself enter.  His destiny we are assured from our Ape movie knowledge is to be known as a Lawgiver- Ape shall not kill Ape.  Andy Serkis's performance has been universally, and rightfully praised as one that shines through the mocap, and his Moses by way of chimpanzee I can only hope is in some way obliquely inspired in the mind of the writer by Charlton Heston's "The Ten Commandments." (After all, Heston got to do HIS Christ imagery when he threw his arms out to save the survivors in "The Omega Man.")

Every Moses however needs a Pharaoh.  In this film we get Woody Harrelson as "The Colonel" (his uniform says McCullough, but I don't think they ever say his name).  A plague has taken his first born, he is relentless in pursuit of the enemy, and that uncompromising nature proves to be his undoing.

I saw a rather astute observation, that the crux of this film is how Caesar and The Colonel deal with the need for vengeance.  Caesar to the point he has broken his law of killing ape, and his pursuit of vengeance has endangered his entire tribe.  The Colonel- though perhaps in ways correct from a purely Darwinistic standpoint-has prioritized killing the Apes and any carriers of the now mutating Simian flu to the point of going to war against the rest of humankind.  Both Serkis and Harrelson are electric in these roles, and their interaction is gold.

I was also pleased that The Colonel with his argument for survival of the species really does have a point, though the film does not simply say he is the bad guy because he's Army; More of the US Army is on the way to stop his reign of terror against Ape and Man.  It's a wonderfully complex setting and character, making you consider just who is right, and if we are just destined to continually fight enemies or one another.

I do want to address a criticism I have seen of this movie, regarding the idea that no female character--human or ape--has a spoken line in this film.  I do think that the writers could certainly have done better in that regard, but there are female ape characters who communicate through sign language, and I feel that should not be dismissed.  I also want to point out the delightful young Nova.  She is made mute by the mutated Simian virus and learns to sign from the orangutan Maurice.  She is pivotal to not only the actual plot (she saves Caesar's life and facilitates the Ape Escape), but also in exploring the theme of what it is to be human.  She discusses whether or not she can be ape, and provides the human anchor in this film that gives the argument that though there are awful humans, there are good people as well.   The initial criticism has some validity, but I do not want that criticism to overshadow the enormous impact, story-wise and emotionally, this girl fighting through a disability brings to the film.

And speaking of that mutation, this movie has done a very interesting thing with Ape-lore.  The Apes have entered the desert near the lake; humanity is being reduced to a mute, almost savage state; young Cornelius and young Nova are in place. If you remember the Easter Egg in the first movie that a space probe with astronauts had been launched and lost; how tidy it would be to now have a fourth film placing the events of the classic just a couple of decades after this movie, and now instead of Nova being the poor, mute savage following Taylor around, she is the advocate for the Apes to him...and for him to the Apes.  That could be a compelling film and continue where this excellent, heartrending, intelligent trilogy leaves us.  

Maybe Nova in the next one can save human and ape alike with arms wide open?

PS- Oh, and Bad Ape.  I just want to hug Bad Ape.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Well, It’s About Time: The Official Black Owl Review of “Wonder Woman.”

Before I start, I want to take just a moment and remind everyone of the best thing about “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

You emailed her, Bruce; why do you think she's with Clark?
Indeed, I think there’s a fair argument that Diana is not only the best thing but the only good thing in the movie.  Gal Gadot dominated the screen every time she was on it.  She’s the only one in the entire movie acting like a superhero.  And though denied the obvious killing blow her character should have had in the film, she leaves an indelible impression.  (You have an Amazon warrior you worked in for this cameo; you have a SPEAR that makes no sense to exist in the film, that will kill the other good guy if he uses it; OBVIOUSLY you give the spear to Diana! But I digress…)

So yeah, Wonder Woman, best thing about BvS.
So yeah, “Wonder Woman,” best thing about the DC Cinematic Universe.

DC's previous efforts turned me off so much, I didn't even plan to see this in the theater.  But, the right people were saying good things, so I gave in.

Thank Goddess I did.

We finally have a DC movie in this new continuity that seems to understand the character.  We finally have a DC movie that understands “Epic” does not have to mean “Disaster Porn.”  We finally have a DC movie that has a consistent message throughout and does not seem to be confused at its own theme.  We have character development instead of characters doing what they do because that character needs to do that, motivation be damned. 

We have a DC movie with a superhero being a goddamn superhero.  And it’s about time.

Patty Jenkins knows what she’d doing here, primarily understanding how to present your protagonist as the center of her own story.  As much as there is humor in how Diana deals with her first trip to Man’s World, she is never a victim of events, she is always ready to act, and the movie never apologizes for the fact Diana is the most powerful being on the planet.  There’s never an irony to Diana’s strength that winks and says “it’s funny because she’s super and she’s a girl!”  Diana is given to us as a warrior, even as a child, and the movie is stronger for it.  Patty Jenkins knows the line between "sexy" and "beautiful" and knows which side of it Diana should be on.  Additionally, Jenkins does a great job taking one of my major complaints about the Zach Snyder films and using it as a storytelling tool here: Desaturation. 

Themyscira is brilliant colors and bright daylight, while London is dingy and drained of hue; it makes sense.  Man’s world is dark and at war, and it is a darkness that threatens to overtake Diana as well.  I have heard rumor that color will slowly ebb into “Justice League” as the story proceeds and Supergrim returns to be Superman.  I hope that’s true, because “Wonder Woman” shows us what a world full of heroes should look like…and then tells us ours is lacking.

In this film, Diana is the hero we should be aspiring to, even though this movie presents a journey of self discovery and understanding for her.  I have long said the difference between DC and Marvel is not a matter of which is better.  Marvel has heroes to identify and commiserate with; DC has heroes to whom you aspire.  Choose the one that works best for you.  The films we have seen from DC so far have not understood that, and have chosen only to blunt the purity of character and purpose in the comics in the name of “badass” and “edgy.”  Finally, “Wonder Woman” does not do that.  Wonder Woman says plainly that we’re not worthy…but we can be, and Diana gives us an example up to which we should try to live.  

This, Zach Snyder, is what Superman SHOULD be.  I know Snyder was involved in production on this film (and there’s one place I feel like he was TOO involved- more in a minute) and even worked on story, but as a whole this movie captures what makes Wonder Woman’s character great while still making her someone who is growing and learning, and it neither abandons her character in exchange for action (MoS, act 3), nor chooses to make her a grim and gritty facsimile of the comic book hero (BvS).

Now, I hear some folks groaning at me, because yes, Wonder Woman kills people in this film, and I have been pretty vociferous in my criticism of Superman snapping Zod’s neck and Batman basically being the Punisher with pointy ears and a better budget.  But Diana is a Warrior, and warriors fight wars.  But, unlike the previous movies, we see the consequences.  It’s not, snap a neck, cry once, then a sudden “everything is great!” coda.  It’s a horrible, horrible war, and Diana wants it to end, wants all war to end.  Her discovery that the Great War is not the manifestation of Ares but rather just the evil of man tempers her; but she knows the fight must continue, and she finds that the ultimate weapon against war is love.

And sometimes love is sharp like a sword named “Godkiller.”

Which we may now give our Daughters and Granddaughters; awesome!
Now, I’ve gone on a bit about what I liked about the film, but I do have to warn you all that it is not without its flaws.  Like MoS there are some third act pacing issues.  When Diana does finally confront  Ares (and I do like the bait and switch we get there) the fight is probably three minutes too long, and drifts into Snyderland in its depiction.  Ares passes the “Awesome and Epic” mark on the onscreen Super Scale and lands firmly in “Cheezy” for a few moments.  Though, we manage to keep from pegging the Snyder Disaster Porn needle, so it’s not a show stopper. 

I don’t know that the human villains get as much due as they deserve.  I know you can’t give Ludendorff too much background because then you lose the Ares red herring, but surely we could have explored a bit more of Doctor Poison’s motivations and history.  Elena Anaya brings a good vulnerability to her, and the cracked porcelain mask is very effective here.  Her scars speak to some tragedy making the villain, and would be a good anchor for Diana’s later mercy, but we don’t quite get that.  Chris Pine is a little too Captain Kirk in some places (right down to a motorcycle scene- though I don’t think he hangs off of anything), but honestly it does work well for Steve Trevor. Given Pine’s fate (and fame) I wonder if “Wonder Woman 2” might do what the Lynda Carter series did and in advancing the second season from WWII to the 70s, make Pine play a descendant of Trevor’s just as Lyle Waggoner suddenly became Steve Trevor Jr. 

The supporting cast is pretty great here, from a delightfully British and cheeky Etta Candy (played by the original “The Office” Lucy Davis) to Trevor’s trio of do-gooder (for the right price) mercenaries.  Though, stealing the show are the citizens of Themyscira.  Robin Wright’s Antiope (and her grin as she rides into battle against the Kaiser’s forces hitting the beaches of Paradise Island) is a small but absolutely stunning presence, and I want my Antiope spin-off right now.  What’s one more minor gripe about this movie?  Needs more Antiope.

Frank always underestimated her.

Now, something small but potentially great, boxer Ann Wolfe plays the Amazon Artemis and certainly has the presence to pull it off.  There was a time in the comics where Diana stepped out of the role of Wonder Woman, and Artemis stepped up.  Do I want to someday see Ann Wolfe in that role?

Yes.  Yes I do.

But right now, there’s Gal Gadot (whose name I recently discovered I was mispronouncing- it’s “guh-DOTE”) who may be as suited to this role as Chris Evans is to Captain America or even as Christopher Reeve is to Superman.  Yes, I am guilty of being all “she’s too skinny” when they cast her, and for the record, I am an idiot.  She absolutely brings the physicality, but along with that, she is the Warrior and the Diplomat; the Violence and the Tenderness; the Justice and the Mercy.  She’s just Wonder Woman, and she disappears into the role.  She gets to be—unlike Cavill’s Superman or Affleck’s Batman—a Superhero.  I not only buy it, I want seconds.  Almost enough to rewatch BvS (or just fast forward to the Diana scenes).

So there we are DC.  You’ve shown you have at least one set of movie makers working for you who actually understand the character.  You’ve flipped Marvel the bird in showing you can have an excellent film led by a female character (cough Black Widow cough).  You have done much to cleanse my palette of MoS and BvS*.  Do it again, learn your lesson.

You could start with an Antiope spin-off.

*You may think I have not bothered to mention “Suicide Squad” because I am trying to ignore it even exists.  You are correct.