Month: June 2017

July film preview

So one third of summer is now gone (sort of but not really because most of June is in spring technically but anyway) summer has gotten off to a fairly strong start with the likes of Guardians 2Wonder Woman and Baby Driver. But now June is now more or less over you may be wondering, well what films are out in July?

I’m glad you asked, here are some notable films out this July to look out for. (US release dates by default but will of course vary depending on where you live).

Spiderman: Homecoming – released on the 7th of July

Directed by Jon Watts

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Michael Keaton, Tom Holland, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei.

Spidey is actually in the MCU and is swinging by in a sort of high school drama, sort of comic book superhero film, there’s no origin story this time as we’re familiar with Holland as Spiderman, facing the troubles of being an aspiring hero and high school student while facing off against the threatening villain – vulture, though Tony Stark is present to give him some advice.

 

War For The Planet Of The Apes – released on the 14th of July

Directed by Matt Reeves

Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Judy Greet, Tery Notary.

The final film in the new Apes trilogy sees all out war between humans and apes as things come to a head and humans try to wipe out the apes, Caesar must make harsh decisions as tension escalates.

 

Dunkirk – released on the 21st of July

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, Tom D’arcy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy.

The latest Nolan film is a drama centred on the events at Dunkirk in WWII, after hundreds of thousands of British, Belgian and Canadian soldiers were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk during the early stages of the war after being surrounded by the German army.

 

Valerian and The City Of A Thousand Planets – released on the 21st of July

Directed by Luc Besson

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock.

Valerian is a sci-fi adventure film, set in the 28th century around special order and peace keepers Valerian and Laureline who take on a mission to the metropolis of Alpha, a melting pot of various, species, races and cultures, uncovering an ominous force that threatens the city and potentially even more.

 

Atomic Blonde – released on the 28th of July

Directed by David Leitch

Starring: Charlize Theron, James Mcavoy, John Goodman, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard.

Action spy thriller based on a novel of the same name, we follow unorthodox spy Lorraine Broughton in 1989 Berlin, Germany as she’s dispatched on an operation to take down a deadly ring that is killing agents, she must work with an agent stationed in Berlin but this may prove difficult do to her unique style.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle trailer #1 – reaction

 

So after… maybe not so much anticipation from general movie going audiences, we have our first look at the upcoming Jumanji re-boot, not re-make because how dare Sony touch such a classic original with the late Robin Williams of course. The idea is sort of a new spin on the old one and to play devils advocate here, a re-boot can be whatever it wants without detracting or lessening the original in any way, shape or form.

And in saying that, we now follow high school students, Spencer, Bethany, Fridge (fridge, really?) and Martha who have detention together, Breakfast Club style and get sucked into the Jumanji video game, taking on in game avatars that are opposite to the real life personas, which will provide a lot of the comedy I imagine. The cast is actually pretty good to be fair, with the ever present Dwayne Johnson along with Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan, skewing very much towards an out and out comedy, unlike the original Jumanji and setting this film apart right off the bat. That being said, elements of the film feel a bit derivative, I mean it’s basically Tron meets The Breakfast Club right? But I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

I do think the idea is a bit novel, while not wholly original, the video game idea seems like a modern update on the board game – that just isn’t as prevalent with milennials or whatever fairly young audience the film may be targetting, so smart move on that front. And in terms of doubts, well from the little we’ve seen, the comedy doesn’t quite connect with me and with Kevin Hart and Jack Black (playing a teenage girl) in the same film, it may just be overkill…. but I’m sure there’s some enjoyment to be had, especially when Dwayne Johnson is present.

It’s a tough one as Jumanji is still sort of a special film to quite a lot of people and even a new spin on it may be sacrilege to some and while I don’t see it that way, I can get why people may be turned off by this first look at the film.

Baby Driver – review

Baby Driver is Edgar Wrights latest feature film and follows the talented get away driver – Baby, as he works as a Driver for the mysterious Doc who organizes heists, though after meeting a waitress who takes a liking to him, Baby aspires to escape his life, the film stars Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, Jon Bernthal and Eiza Gonzalez.

I have to say, I went into the film already a big Edgar Wright fan and anticipating it to be great but I was still pleasantly surprised, with a lot more to the film than what you see in the promotion and trailers, the final product is a pretty exciting and captivating thrill ride from start to finish, Wright wastes no time, throwing you straight into the action and setting the tone and pace of the film. Pacing is one of the highlights of the film, with the plot certainly flying by, just as if you were watching Baby from the pavement speeding away from a heist and boy does he drive, the set pieces are very well done with some creative and thrilling set pieces and with a lot, if not 100% practical effects and stunts, it only works to escalate the tension.

Ansel Elgort is a fantastic fit for the titular Baby, exuding a silent confidence, both in his own identity and style and his driving, which has come to sort of define him, meanwhile his chemistry with Debra (Lily James) is palpable and actually quite believable, Wright is a master at naturalistic feeling, flowing dialogue and it works a treat in several scenes between Baby and Debra. As well as in scenes between Baby and the crews he drives, a lot of the scenes are fun or funny because of the dialogue and the characters distinct characteristics, namely with Buddy (Jon Hamm) and the ominous Bats (Jamie Foxx) who sort of steals a few scenes he’s in, bringing a genuinely threatening presence to bat (no pun intended).

The tone is tempered well throughout, being quite dark in themes but with light hearted humour centred around Baby, his lifestyle, how he carries himself and how ludicrous it is that he’s a getaway driver, though not a criminal in any sense himself. There’s some great tension in a few scenes because of Bats maybe unsurprisingly but Foxx is brilliant in the role and bounces off well with the characters, having a fairly unique relationship with Baby which really adds to the suspense.

Another huge strength of Wright is his sense of style, both visually and in terms of writing, his cuts and transitions are as slick as his writing, conveying important plot information and hinting at things to come in future with smart foreshadowing, visually, the action in Baby Driver is quite uniquely timed with its soundtrack and songs that play at certain scenes, shoot outs are timed with beats to music and we see Baby jamming out to songs quite humorously. This style is a bit of a risk and may alienate some viewers but I applaud the ambition and generally it works, though some may see it takes away from action scenes and de-emphasises them. The final product is something that’s a bit special, a modern action and heist thriller that’s actually engaging and thrilling, with interesting character motivations, a great soundtrack and some great editing/visuals to boot, this is another hit from Edgar Wright for sure.

8/10

. Great pacing throughout

. Engaging plot that escalates and gets more engaging as it goes on

. Strong performances, especially from Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx and Lily James.

Ranking the live action Batman films

So the caped crusader has had several film outings to date of… varying quality, much to Batman comic book fans delight and disgust, so here’s my ranking of the night owls escapades on the big screen to date (live action) in order from best to worst in my opinion.

The Dark Knight – 10/10

Batmans definitive cinematic live action outing and the best Batman film out there, stellar performances, fantastic set pieces and striking visuals, Nolan crafted not just a great comic book film but an excellent crime thriller, with grounded versions of Batman characters who work well in this universe. The film is expertly crafted too with a great plot that flies by, Nolan showcases his talent for great, engaging storytelling here with the film being underpinned with some fantastic writing which brings the characters to life and has provided pop culture with many quotes in the 8 years since its’ release and there are some great set pieces and action too.

 

Batman Begins  – 8/10

Nolans entry point to his Dark Knight trilogy is a great thrill ride, chronicling Bruces first steps towards becoming the Bat and busting criminals in his first days under the cowl, it’s very well put together with some fantastic performances. Something notable about Begins is how faithful yet distinctly Nolan the film feels, with the directors grounding of characters and abilities, he portrays Bruce as a person first and foremost rather than a character and it’s great to see. There’s great depth to both Bruce and his main nemesis Ra’as and a very fun, entertaining feel to everything with the most comic book-y feeling Nolans Batman film imo, it may be seen as dark and gritty but this one was a lot of fun.

 

The Dark Knight Rises – 7.5/10

Nolans conclusion to his trilogy is flawed but far from bad, epic in a few ways, its run rime and the sheer scope of the plot, Bruce is again front and centre and is broken down, physically and mentally as he faces up against the remorseless Bane, played fantastically by Tom Hardy, the performances all around are pretty good as well. And you have to applaud Nolans dedication to practical and striking visual effects, this is the best Batman and his gadgets has ever looked, though some plot points feel rushed and Batman himself is barely in the film, which was a bit of a let down for long time fans.

 

Batman – 7/10

The film that sort of started it all but is often overlooked still stands on its own as a solid Batman entry to this day, Tim Burton kicking off the Dark knights cinematic appearances with his own signature tone and style that suited Michael Keaton to a tee, he’s actually a pretty great Batman looking back on it. And with great stylization to the visuals, Burtons films just really feel like comic books on screen oh and not to mention the great soundtrack to the film, one of the best in a comic book film to date.

 

Batman Returns – 7/10

Burtons second Batman outing is a fairly good story with the returning Michael Keaton, more characters added make for more fun and interaction and Michelle Pfeiffer makes an iconic, great Catwoman, while Danny DeVito ups the ante as the very penguin like, Penguin, now seen as unintentionally funny but I appreciate the enthusiasm. The sense of fun and over the top crazy is here for sure with the sets, make up and costumes, proving a comic book feeling superhero film can work and be enjoyable.

 

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – 6.5/10

DC films and Batmans’ latest live action cinematic entry is disappointingly, a divisive one for a number of reasons, on the whole not terrible but a misstep for sure, pitting Batman Vs Superman (who would have that), a clash of ideals, morals and iconic characters. Where BvS faltered was in its plot and structure, maybe cramming a bit too much into what was ultimately not a lot of fighting between the two titular characters, although when they do fight, it’s spectacular and the highlight of the film.

The cast is great for the most part, Cavill is a great Superman and Affleck nails it as Clark/Batman with some pretty stellar scenes but not all of the casting lands well with a rather over the the top and distracting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex. Again the film isn’t that bad but I understand peoples frustration with it, not delivering fully on the clash of two heroes, cramming a lot in the plot as set up for future films, it’s very entertaining in parts but understandably divisive for some, though it has become more favourable in my eyes over time.

 

Batman Forever – 5/10

Not quite as terrible as Batman and Robin but not good.. like at all, ugh what is there to even say about the film, it has poor directing, it’s way too silly at times and we got a taste of Joel Schumachers iconically bad Batman films. A weirdly cast Jim Carrey as the Riddler also brings a bit too much comedy to the role.

 

Batman and Robin – 4/10

A Batman film that simply tried too hard, Bat nipples, reducing Bane to a hulking brute and lame, cheesy puns, the film is a bit too self aware without having any sense of humour, it’s so bad it’s.. well bad. Joel Schumacher manages to outdo himself in terrible film making in comparison to Batman Forever and to be honest, that may be some kind of achievement.

Anyway that’s my ranking of the caped crusaders escapades thus far, more rankings are to come in future!

Transformers The Last Knight: review

Action aficionado Michael Bay returns to his beloved Transformers franchise with The Last Knight, with humans and Transformers at odds without any leadership and with Optimus Prime gone, a secret powerful artefact may have a deadly secret, the film stars Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Jerrod Carmichael, John Turturo and Stanley Tucci.

Love them, hate them, the Transformers films are still trucking on, with Michael Bay seeming to come up with increasingly out there and elaborate ideas for his plots, though he’s drawing a lot more from the cartoons and source material now, which is a welcome change. And yes, I’m starting the review on a positive note, though there’s quite a lot to unpack, Bays ambition is clear and present here, though the plot resembles Dark Of The Moon with the whole bringing Cybertron to Earth thing, the plot does differ quite significantly.

We get yet more transformers on both Autobot and Decepticon sides, and interestingly the Decepticons get a bit of personality this time around, not simply being cannon fodder and we also get a few new human characters that play alongside Cade now that his daughter is out of the picture (sort of), Anthony Hopkins is a treat as Edmund Bunton and is presumably loving being in the role as he really gets to play it up, to a lot of comic relief. While we get the returning Mark Wahlberg as aspiring inventor Cade Yeager and new character Vivian Wembley, English lecturer and professor at Oxford University who serves as an opposite to Cade and is an important part of the plot, though getting into details would be spoiling things.

For the most part, the characters chemistry and relations are quite fun and a highlight of the film, Cades’ back and forths with the Autobots and Vivian are fun, albeit a bit juvenile, as is to be expected in a Transformers film but a new addition to the cast in Edmunds robot servant Cogman brings quite a lot of laughs and humour to proceedings and the result is one of, if not the funniest film in the entire Transformers series in my opinion. And now for the bad, The Last Knight amazingly isn’t the longest film in the franchise but it feels like a slog in sections, with a lot of travelling sequences and build up to action, along with some awkward dialogue that is shoehorned in for humour, I can absolutely get why long time fans of the series would be turned off. It’s also again quite cliché with re-using certain characters and tropes that we’ve come to know from the series, Bumblebee saving the day, Optimus giving speeches and so on and while I’m not hugely bothered by this, other film goers may be a bit tired of it.

And funnily enough, if you’re seeing this because you’re a big Optimus Prime, prepare for disappointment with Prime not even heavily featuring. But a positive, there are some great visuals present and some pretty awesome spectacle as well with relation to the latter half of the plot involving Cybertron, Bay seems to have filmed the action a bit more clearly than in previous films and it’s always a bit cool to see transforming alien robots go at it, with some new added features also.

So while the film isn’t a complete disaster, it feels a bit tiresome and overly long in sections, with weird cuts, a bit of a convoluted story and the final third just feels very samey and by the numbers in relation to other Transformer films. And while it may be great to see sexy super cars, Bumblbee and Optimus again, for the little we do see of him – but you do get the feeling that Michael Bay may have just run out of ideas for his own series.

6/10
. Pacing isn’t great, some sections drag on
. Plot feels tropey and a bit too samey
. Well done humour, good comic relief

Hey Universal, you can’t just force a cinematic universe

So in 2017, cinematic universes are the new black seemingly, with all the news around Universals’ upcoming ‘dark universe’ that is already off to a stuttering start with the so-so new Mummy film, well I’ve been thinking about the whole idea of cinematic universes and the thing is, you just can’t really force them.

I mean, you can try but there’s never a guarantee the idea will take off and more importantly, there needs to be some desire for such a universe, something Universal doesn’t seem to have. And ok you can argue against this, “but Marvel kinda forced the MCU” and you’d be right to a degree, Marvel of course had a plan for film dominance from day one, even before The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man but importantly, they already had a huge existing core audience that were willing to flock to their films.

Same thing goes for DC, despite negative criticism and doubts over how the DCEU will turn out, people love Batman and Superman to varying degrees but I don’t exactly think people are clamouring over the idea of seeing The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mummy and Dracula on screen, it’s just not the same thing. The monster properties for one are quite old in some degrees and some are unfamiliar with audiences, how many 18 year olds know a thing about The Invisible Man? You know, the people that may probably be in the core target market for the dark universe.

And I mean sure, The Mummy, Dracula and Frankenstein are film icons and pretty much instantly recognizable to your average person but the fan enthusiasm for the characters just doesn’t translate as much as with comic book characters. This isn’t to say that only comic books can make cinematic universes and I’m sure that if done well, we could see an action or fantasy universe but comic books have a natural advantage due to their long running nature and familiarity.

The difficulty of a cinematic universe

Even with the likes of Tom Cruise, Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp and Russel Crowe, there isn’t a guarantee of a good reception, star power is still important in this day and age but even Daniel Day Lewis couldn’t carry a poorly made/produced project.

The thing is, you just can’t force a cinematic universe, big studios can pump hundreds of millions of dollars into projects and try to see what happens but it’s a huge risk, especially going with films that may or may not flop critically and at the box office and I’m not really sure why studios seem to be going for it. Sure, the rewards if successful are sky high but you have to reach that successful high point first, gaining trust of film goers, getting great word of mouth and getting audience anticipation for each and every upcoming film, not so easy – and the fact that Marvel has this down to a tee with every film they put out is pretty incredible.

But again that comes from trust, trust with the brand name Marvel, their films and an expectation of high quality, similar to what DC is going through with their films and Wonder Womans’ success, now people expect good things to come. Anyway these are just my thoughts and we shall see how the Dark Universe pans out, it could be a huge hit and all of my doubts could be in vain but it could also be a horrific failure… but for the record, I’d like the films to succeed and I think the idea is ambitious regardless, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

John wick: Chapter 2 – review

John Wick: Chapter 2, directed by Chad Stahelski is an action film and the sequel to John Wick, following the infamous assassin as he aims to carry out a hit to repay a debt, he then finds himself as a target, the film stars Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scarmacio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo.

A return to the world of Mr Wick is a welcome one, following the first films success and overall critical acclaim, a well shot and entertaining action film that doesn’t try to do too much works in the 2010s, who would have thought? Chapter 2 is more of the same with a return to the seedy underworld that John operates in, an interesting one at that, with mutual respect among assassins for the most part. And an entire infrastructure to it all, which is interesting, seeing more of this underworld was something I was curious about after the first film and it is a bit more fleshed out this time around.

Especially with some new additions to the cast with the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) who plays his role well, as the sort of street king of assassins in New York, meanwhile we get to see Winston (Ian McShane) who seems to be the head of the entire assassin network, questions still abound of course, who made the network? Are there rival factions internationally that vye for power and so on, the answer to the rival factions question is sort of answered as we spend some of the plot in Rome, giving the film an international, classy touch as it were, with probably some of the most polite and well mannered hit attempts I’ve seen in an action film.

The way the assassins duke it out is just very interesting, almost noble in a sense as they wait for least potential collateral damage and sometimes try to give each other quick, painless deaths but you know, they’re still assassins. The acting is decent, Keanu Reeves is right at home as Wick, not very expressive and a man of few words but he’s fantastic in the action scenes, which being the big draw for the film – are great, they’re well shot, something underrated in your average modern action film, frenetic and exciting. While John maybe the headshot God for all intents and purposes, he still struggles and the visceral nature of the fights make them unpredictable and fun to watch. Interestingly, the plot is as visceral as the action I feel, with events happening almost as if we’re following John on a continuous journey over a short period of time, with long takes and not many cuts or breaks from the action.

This serves to both up the ante for the action and keep the pacing going at a fairly breakneck speed, there is a negative to this however as the plot isn’t that great/interesting and I found myself not being as engaged as I thought I maybe would have been but that being said, it wasn’t enough to put me off of the film overall. John Wick: Chapter 2 is a well made, entertaining film, of course not particularly deep but it’s full of great action and makes for quite funny moments with how straight the characters play everything.

7/10

. Well shot and very well choreographed action

. Pacing is good, events move along quickly

. Plot may be a bit dull or hard to follow for some

Ranking the DCEU films

So for some strange reason I’ve never done any sort of DC ranking… though I love Man of Steel, BvS and Suicide Squad and generally am a fan of Snyder and the DCEU but hey, better late than never, this is my ranking of films in DCs shared film universe so far, in order from best to well, worse.

Man of Steel – 8/10

The ever divisive start to the DCEU isn’t a perfect film by any means but I still really enjoy it, part origin story of sorts for Superman, I can get why some people find it a slog with it taking a while to get going and numerous flashbacks but it’s a joy to watch when it’s in full gear with great visuals and interesting symbolism, a fantastic soundtrack by the legend that is Hans Zimmer and some of the best action in any comic book film to date. Superman gets humanised in an interesting way with Zod really pushing him to the limit and it’s great to see different sides to the man of steel and with some pretty on point performances, namely from Henry Cavill as Clark and Michael Shannon as Zod, it’s always worth a re-watch

 

Wonder Woman – 7/10

Wonder Woman, the most recent entry to the DCEU is a well, a hit, critically praised and surprisingly so with DCs track record in recent years, the film’s solid, following the fish out of water trope and giving us an origin story for Diana but being entertaining, having a nice balance of tone and conveying the story in an easy to follow and straightforward manner. The opposite to things that Batman V Superman was criticised for, for example, while the film isn’t perfect, it’s of a higher quality in my opinion and a big step in the right direction for DC.

 

Suicide Squad – 7/10

An even more divisive film in the DCEU but an oh-so fun one, Suicide Squad is a chaotic mess that reflects the squad itself but hey, it’s an enjoyable mess with great character chemistry, half the fun is watching the squad interact and not get along but Will Smith and Margot Robbie as Deadshot and Harley Quinn respectively are revelations, we already knew they’re great actors but they nail their roles. Also the set pieces work well with the soundtrack, admittedly the plot is a bit by the numbers and cliché but there are some surprisingly deep, emotional moments that may catch you by surprise, especially around Diablo and Deadshot, if you hate it, you hate it but honestly it’s actually pretty decent in my opinion.

 

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – 6.5/10

Quite possibly the most infamous DC film ever? Save for Batman and Robin, but not deservedly so, BvS has really grown on me actually, with a great, atmospheric soundtrack, fantastic visuals and one of the best Batmen we’ve seen on in screen with Ben Affleck, the flaws are there for sure but the final result is actually a lot better than what Rotten tomatoes would tell you. I feel people were overly critical with the film just because they could be as it has redeeming qualities, great action, visuals and a great Wonder Woman to name a few.

So that’s my ranking of the films so far, where will future films like Justice League fall in the list? We’ll have to wait and see.

After Wonder Woman, Justice League really needs to be a hit

So by now you've probably seen Wonder Woman and if you haven't go see it! But going by audience scores and critical scores, it's a hit and a hit the DCEU desperately needed after their critical failures last year in BvS and Suicide Squad. I mean the pressure was already on Justice League as it naturally would be, being The Avengers for DC essentially but now audiences have seen DC can do it right, playing a sort of middle ground in appeasing both critics and fans and they'll be wanting more of the same for sure, the question that remains is, will this be achieved?

It's a tricky one as the film is more or less complete but now sans Zack Snyder and in the hands of Joss Whedon, it may have some changes, a few added jokes I'm assuming (though the film already looks lighter than BvS, Man of Steel) and maybe just a generally different tone to it, I think fans will be onboard generally and there's already a dedicated fanbase for DC films that will see the film no matter what. But importantly, their expectations is sort of what really matters here and this applies to the dedicated fans, casual film goers and the critics - maybe especially.

A shift on view on DC films?

Perhaps people have been a bit harsh on DC and have gone into their recent films not expecting much due to their past viewing experiences, which may colour their reviews for new films and I think this just may be the case, if you've been burned by something, you're less likely to trust it or see it in a positive light. But Wonder Woman represents a paradigm shift, suddenly the DCEU films are actually kinda decent, fun and have good worth of mouth, so surely most people will expect the next film to be released to be more the same and it turns out that Justice League is up next so it'll have to really knock it out of the park.

Interestingly with Wonder Woman, we saw the results of Warner Bros stepping back and letting a director really take the reigns with their project and well, it worked, Patty Jenkins took it on practically as a passion project and you can tell a lot of care, high production value and time went into it, so what will we see with the JL?

The pressure has already been on the film, for a while at that, to really establish the DCEUs array of characters to people unfamiliar with them, show they can have an ensemble film akin to The Avengers and have it be a hit and in a sense, legitimize the DCEU against all the criticism and negativity and now we need to see what DC is made of and how they will respond to recent positive acclaim to one of their films, which will be an interesting change in pace.

So yeah no pressure DC but the future of your entire cinematic universe is kinda riding on Justice League and how well it does, critically more than commercially I'd say, because it'll make a couple of hundred million worldwide for sure, just because of Batman and Superman but DC needs that good worth of mouth and those glowing reviews, I'm intrigued to see what happens but I for one do have faith in DC and I think they can pull it off.

Wonder Woman – review

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins is the latest film in the DCEU, set part in 1918 during WWI, we see the origins of Diana Prince, how she became a warrior and how she leaves her home of Themyscira after meeting pilot Steve Trevor to come to the land of Men, in hopes of ending the great war, the film stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Lucy Davis.

Ah DC, they can never get the films right and critics always hate them! Wait scratch that because Wonder Woman is a revelation, not the first good DCEU film in my opinion but in the opinions of critics and audiences at large, it is, the film gets the character pretty much spot on and a large part of that is due to the on point casting, Gal Gadot was plucked from relative obscurity and was a risk to be fair but she really pulls off the roll. Combining the naivety, innocence and enthusiasm for good that Diana embodies, playing well off of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who totally does a Chris Pine-esque role, in a fun way, the two have actually quite believable chemistry, despite the unbelievable circumstances they both find themselves in. What we get is a fish out of water story for a large part of the film as Diana learns about the world, war, good and evil, away from her sheltered island of Themyscira and seeing her confront morality and the grey nature of humanity is actually pretty interesting, it’s a culture clash for sure but also a clash of ideals and ideologies, which goes a bit deeper than you may expect.

Outside of Pine and Gadot, the rest of the cast is also pretty solid, with the good side characters largely being comic relief and a bit cliché but not enough to detract from the film, the characterisation is a good point, while you do get the classic good Vs Evil themes, you also get to explore the nature of war and why people fight, one particular exchange between Diana and one of Steves mercenary friends was a highlight for me. If anything, you could fault Wonder Woman for being a bit of a slow burn and taking some time to get rolling but it’s an exciting affair when it is on the move as we see Dianas’ enthusiasm and fighting prowess in some pretty awesome action scenes and not in a metropolitan area (looking at you Man of Steel), the fights are well choreographed and it’s awesome that Gal Gadot herself did a lot of her own stunts and training.

I also quite liked both the tone and pacing and of the film, tonally the film deals with fairly serious issues like war, good and evil but for a DC film it has a lot of jokes, a lot coming from Dianas’ misunderstanding of the world and men and the humour both works and helps to provide some levity and I think DC has definitely learned their lesson. While also the pacing of the film is good, the first third takes a little while to get going but we rarely stay in one place for too long and the 2nd half of the film actually flies by. Wonder Woman is no perfect film, it has its faults but even by critics lofty standards, it’s a success, an entertaining, nicely toned film with great action and visuals, it’s both the film the DC needed and that comic book films needed with a female protagonist in my opinion and if it is a sign of things to come for the DCEU, then the franchise is in good hands.

7.5/10

. Great action sequences, visuals

. Great soundtrack

. Some emotional moments may feel a bit cheesy for some