We’re back from a summer hiatus to bring you one of the most exciting movies we’ve seen in a long time—Wonder Woman! Jeffrey and I have thoughts on thoughts about director Patty Jenkins’ treatment of the most famous female superhero, on Gal Gadot’s utterly charming performance as Diana Prince, and on how Robin Wright is truly a war general for our times. Dive in with us as we go deep on Wonder Woman!
Wonder Woman set records for box office performance by a solo female director, which made us very very happy. Jeff helpfully lays out a bit of history and context about the character of Wonder Woman and her “creator”, William Moulton Marston. His polyamorous partnership with two women certainly informed his creation of a feminist icon, and he shared credit for creating Wonder Woman with his partners Elizabeth Marston and Olivia Byrne. He also created a lie detector test (lasso of truth shout out!). Marston is a fascinating character unto himself, and it’s worth taking a look at his story.
There are definite parallels between Wonder Woman (the character) and Captain America, and further parallels between Captain America: The First Avenger and Wonder Woman. Both of these properties reflect worlds that are dealing with frightening wars, and the characters are two interesting examples of idealized men and women and their ability to shape the world they live in.
Gal Gadot’s performance is the heart of the film, and phew, does she ever nail it. She has the strength of her convictions, plus a strong physical presence that instantly communicates her self-confidence (even as she learns the ropes of being Wonder Woman). Chris Pine does good work as Diana’s love interest, and we appreciated that his character deferred to the actual God he was standing next to.
Robin Wright (!) stole all 7 minutes of screen time she had, because that is what she does. Jeff was particularly impressed with how Wonder Woman accumulated her powers, and the connection she had with her female role model, Antiope. SHIELD!
A small shout out to Danny Huston’s performance, and an entry in Lauren’s Hollywood Dynasty corner to honour these eyebrows:
A few other actors round out our cast discussion, and we do spend a minute with Lucy Davis as Etta Candy. That character deserves her own show, and in the time since the taping of the podcast, I learned that Lucy Davis was Dawn Tinsley on the original UK version of The Office. Here. For. It.
Wonder Woman capitalizes on its fish-out-of-water premise, and the humour in the film reminded me of 3rd Rock from the Sun. I’M NOT WRONG ABOUT THAT SHOW.
We get to the heart of the matter and talk about the elephant in the room. WOMEN! I was so here for that first 20 minutes of the movie where we see basically no men at all. Here is an example of a film review written by a dude that didn’t like that part of it. Too bad, suckers. This one is for us. Here’s a more nuanced take on my glib statement. Jeff really wanted you (and me) to see these pictures of badass ladies on Themyscira. Did not disappoint.
We give the movie kudos for including two actors of colour in the group of 4 men that accompany Wonder Woman through the second and third acts of the movie. Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer and Eugene Brave Rock as The Chief.
Here is the lovely tweet from Eugene Brave Rock to director Patty Jenkins:
— Eugene Brave Rock (@genebraverock) June 8, 2017
Jeff thought Taghmaoui was channeling Omar Sharif, and I get it.
This movie wouldn’t be what it is without director Patty Jenkins at the helm. Jeff points out what a ridiculous double standard Jenkins was hit with as entertainment reporting called her a “risk” for the studio. The superhero movie genre is stacked with male directors who had the same amount or less experience than Jenkins. Here is the interview where Jenkins talks about the No Man’s Land scene with such eloquence.
We’re also here for dudes being objectified instead of women.
Pop Culture Kool Aid Picks
Jeff highly recommends checking out the TV show Justice League Unlimited and specifically the episodes “Hawk and Dove” and “To Another Shore”. Justice League War, is also recommended. It’s an intense war movie (no surprise, perhaps) that features great character moments for Wonder Woman.
I’m stumping for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which was fairly new at the time we recorded this podcast. It’s beautifully shot, Elizabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, and Ann Dowd deliver outstanding performances, and it feels like an act of rebellion to watch it. Check that shit out.
Thanks so much for bearing with our hiatus! Don’t want to miss an episode? Go ahead and subscribe on iTunes or on Google Play! We’d love to hear from you! If you want to get in touch on Twitter, Jeff is @jlabryan, and I’m @laurencheal.