Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Wonder Woman (2017) Review


All right, it’s time to check out DC’s latest film in its big film continuity. It scored 2 mega hits with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, but then delivered one of the worst films of all time in this genre with Suicide Squad. Clearly it’s been an all or nothing gamble thus far. Well, DC tried to stay with this motto for a while, but ultimately they had to cave in. Critics demolished their older films for being too serious so DC had to fall in line. This was their first attempt to make a film that’s more like a Marvel film with a large increase in humor and a lighter tone. It works to an extent and this film is fun, but a considerable step down from the first two. I’ve been a little cautious about this new tone as Justice League also looks like it’s going to be very jokey, but perhaps it’s good that they switched sooner rather than later. The dark tone worked surprisingly well for Batman V Superman, but typically it’s a recipe for disaster. This is the safer option for the series especially if they want the critics on their side. That being said, I hope we still get a lot of action.

The film starts off with a long prologue of Wonder Woman growing up on Paradise Island and deciding that she wants to be a warrior. She trains in secret and quickly grows to be the strongest on the island. One day, Steve Trevor crashes on the island along with a bunch of Germans so the Amazonian warriors are forced to fight back. They suffer many losses but drive back the intruders. Steve pleads his case to return to Europe to expose the German deeds and potentially end the war with a book that he has found and Wonder Woman decides to go with him. She believes that Ares is secretly behind this war and that destroying him will finally Make Humanity Great Again! Steve doesn’t believe her, but he now has a ticket to get off the island so he agrees to take her to Ares. Can the two of them stop the war?

There’s definitely a lot to say about a big film like this so I guess lets start with the positives. The big climax was pretty great. I had been worried that we wouldn’t have any real villains during the movie and it would just be Wonder Woman beating up helpless soldiers the whole time. Fortunately, we did get a big boss in the end. It should be obvious who the villain is, but I won’t say just in case. We got some tributes to Man of Steel with the imagery and seeing the super fight was intense. The speed and punches were at a high level and still show that DC has the best fights. Wonder Woman’s use of her lasso in the battle was great as well and her bracelets are definitely going to be very useful in future films.

Also, the film gets the sword out of the picture for the climax so Wonder Woman has to fight in hand to hand combat. I can safely say that this is how Wonder Woman should always be fighting. Hand to hand is just the most satisfying for fighters like her, Superman, and the other heavy hitters. It makes their strength feel more real. Now, you can make the case that there is a bit of power level fluctuations in this fight as WW’s opponent is initially much faster than her along with being much stronger as well but suddenly can’t dodge. We can chalk that up to arrogance on his part of just plot hax. Either way, the fight and visuals were on point so it’s not really a big deal.

Speaking of the visuals, those were definitely pretty solid. Wonder Woman’s lasso certainly glowed rather well and seeing it used in combat was fun. The video game esque combos that Wonder Woman got off it was certainly cool. The fiery landscape at the end was also very epic. DC seems to like it as we’ve now gotten this landscape for BVS, Wonder Woman, and it’s confirmed for Justice League as we see it in the trailer. It’s a great background so I wouldn’t mind if they used it for all future films. It just works really well.

Time to quickly mention a moment in the film that felt rather convenient. This was when Wonder Woman decided to raid the Amazonian armory and steal the artifacts. Why was there a random brick sticking out on the wall so she could grab it? I don’t get the purpose of that brick as it would just make stealing from the place a little easier. There were like 4 or 5 others that I saw as Wonder Woman crashed so maybe it was a design thing for the tower? It’s not like it mattered since she could climb it on her own, but I was a little puzzled.

One plot element that didn’t make sense as well in a more major way was how Paradise Island has no defenses. Apparently you can just wander near the barrier and walk right in. Once you’re through, then the illusion fades. If it’s that easy, I can’t believe that more people haven’t gotten through. So either the Amazons have been murdering everyone who’s gotten through (That wouldn’t be too hard to believe, but they acted as if a man hasn’t shown up in a long time) or they’ve just been lucky. Regardless, I think it would have made more sense to have had an actual physical barrier or gusts of wind that typically blow everyone else back. That way, Steve crashing there could still work since he would be going so fast that the winds couldn’t stop him.

Okay, time to talk about the iffy parts in the film. Roughly the first 100 minutes are pretty slow. I had my phone off and my watch is still broken so I couldn’t record the exact time, but it’s not a very exciting start. Wonder Woman training on the island isn’t exciting, but I suppose it’s necessary so the average viewer can get used to the character. As long as origin stories are done once and then never brought back again, then I’m okay with them. Every character has to go through the motions at some point although Hulk still did it best by just including it in the intro. That being said, most films counter this by starting off with a big action sequence. I feel like that would have been useful for this film. Have Wonder Woman start off with a cool fight in the present time as she beats up some super powered crooks or something and then have her reminisce about the good ole days.

Once Steve lands on the island, things go south. The film’s writing is particularly bad as we get very long flirting conversations. Since the Amazons haven’t seen a man in a while, the film plays up this angle extremely hard. It just keeps coming back and back over and over again. The whole boat ride is basically about this as well as Wonder Woman’s conversation with Steve while he was bathing. The film goes for some misdirects by having Steve misinterpret what’s happening half the time, but these scenes are just filler and not very well handled filler at that.

One plot I’ve never cared for much was the “I don’t know about human culture so I’m going to take everything literally and get into a bunch of crazy situations” trope. This one isn’t as exaggerated as other versions that I’ve seen through the years, but it is surprisingly high up. Wonder Woman doesn’t know that you can’t undress in public, but she’s read a lot of rather mature novels. She gets into a lot of trouble by waving her sword around and falling for Steve’s flirtations. I should mention that the romance is pretty bad as you’d expect. It was expected of course since Steve Rogers was about to get in the plane for the last time….I mean Steve Trevor. He got to have some fun before dying this way.

Another issue here is the supporting cast. Don’t bother to learn any of their names since they are complete throwaways. Steve figures that to break into Germany they’re going to need some men. So he picks up a drunk punching bag who used to be a sniper but is too traumatized to shoot anymore and is only good for singing. We get a liar whose whole strength is being charismatic, but there is never a chance to use this skill except for a drive through enemy territory where the villains are so inept that they let a guy in without a passport. Finally we have an Indian who is good at stealing cars and making smoke signals. These are not interesting characters nor are they good ones. The Indian is the only one who is somewhat tolerable as he doesn’t actually do anything…but then why is he in the film? Any scene with the singer is pretty bad and he really should have been cut out. The liar guy is also just bad as he’s only good for bringing us the beer scenes and we really didn’t even need those. The slow dance could be cut out as well.

I think it’s fair to say that the humor is also pretty bad. I suppose it’s a little better than Guardians as it’s handled with more tact and we don’t have a character like Drax running around, but it’s not really funny either. I can’t say that I really laughed at any of the scenes. The funniest moment of the film would probably be when Steve pretends that he can’t hear his boss and hangs up. I rather like that trope and it’s one that has lived through the test of time.

One problem that this film has to an extent comes back to the fact that there is no villain until the final 20-30 minutes. Because of that, most of the action scenes are of Wonder Woman beating up humans. It’s a slight problem because it makes the fights less exciting. For example, how engaged would you be if Superman breaks into an enemy base and beats up all of the minions? It’s just so easy that it’s not as exciting as it could be. It depends on your mileage as we did have a lot of people cheering in the theater as Wonder Woman took them down. The scene of her breaking a tower to stop a sniper got a lot of applause as well. At the same time, for me there is less enthusiasm because that’s just so easy for her. It’s why I was thrilled for the last fight because it meant that she could finally have a challenge. I think I’ve basically covered everything now.

Meanwhile, the Amazons better hope that they never have to fight a real opponent. Despite their tough talk and camaraderie they wouldn’t last very long against any army. Their island suffered losses to a very small battalion of German troops. What this effectively says is that any army could easily defeat them if they wished to do so. It seems like Wonder Woman is the only one with any actual super powers since she is the chosen one. The rest have to constantly keep their guard up or they’ll be shot.

The film is never boring though so that’s always a good thing. Even if the dialogue isn’t always my favorite, it doesn’t feel like the film ever slows down to a halt. Part of that is the novelty of finally having a Wonder Woman film and the other part is the visuals. It’s an entertaining film and it’s why I’d have greater hopes for a sequel since it would ideally take place in modern day. The old World War 1 days may be a better backdrop than the Jungle or the Wild West, but it’s still nowhere close to a nice high tech city.

One worrisome thing to keep in mind is that the film doesn’t explain why Wonder Woman abandoned humanity. We learn in Batman V Superman that she kind of grew bored of them and only came out of retirement on a whim. I was expecting the film to end with her being jaded with humanity and going back to the island, but I suppose a sequel would delve into that. The reason why I’d be worried about this is because I want her sequel to take place in the present. Hopefully they can just briefly mention it or make some kind of excuse for why nobody’s heard of her. I mean, she’s not exactly stealthy based on this film or even the ending where she jumps across buildings striking a battle pose. Something just doesn’t add up here.

As for the soundtrack, it’s definitely pretty sharp. There are a lot of fast paced rock themes that are fun to listen to. Wonder Woman’s signature tune plays a few times and the end credits theme of the film is good as well. Throughout the movie the soundtrack was consistently rapid which is certainly my style. DC’s been hitting it out of the park in this area for sure. Hopefully we’ll get some more epic tunes like this in Justice League.

I suppose we can’t end the review without talking about Etta Candy. Her role was a lot smaller than I had expected, but that’s fine. She was a reasonably good character and she took the situation in stride the whole time. Candy’s the kind of person who always makes for a good friend. I didn’t talk about Steve much either, but I wasn’t a fan. He’s basically your average Captain Kirk. He fights for what’s right and makes the tough calls, but always finds time to flirt now and again. Wonder Woman’s a great lead and certainly makes for a contrast to Batman and Superman as she murders everyone in her path. As a warrior that’s just how it goes and especially in war time. The first villain, Doctor Poison is basically just your average scientist so there’s not much to say about her. She came and went. Hopefully she would not return for a sequel since I want to stick to fighters who can fight back. Adding in Aresia to the 2nd film would make sense if you ask me. She would be a great opponent.

Overall, Wonder Woman is a good film. It has a pretty great climax and Wonder Woman herself is a good lead. The film tripped up a bit with the below average writing and supporting cast, but that wasn’t enough to destroy the film. There’s no after credits scene I’m afraid, but I suppose DC didn’t want people to claim they were copying Marvel. Hopefully Justice League has one though. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you should definitely check the film out. Low replay value is an issue with the film, but it’s not something that would affect you on a first viewing. Wonder Woman will certainly play a major role in upcoming films so you’ll want to see her origin first hand.

Overall 6/10

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Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Justice League of America Volume 1 Reveiw

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We may have the Justice League and the Justice League Dark, but there’s always room for another group. The main difference is that this group is under government jurisdiction, which makes things intriguing. The cast can be a concern since the main members won’t be able to join, but I can safely say that it is still a good comic.

The plot involves Steve Trevor as Amanda Waller tells him that she’s forming a group. She wants him to lead it and Steve talks a good game, but he is basically forced into leading the group. Amanda has selected each member so that person can theoretically beat their Justice League counterpart. The members are kept in the dark about this of course and the team consists of Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Catwoman, Green Lantern, (Not Hal of course) Vibe, Hawkman and Katana. The cover already shows Green Arrow so I may as well say that he joins up with them later as well.

The group doesn’t really do a whole lot at first, but they look into stopping the secret society. These guys mean business since even Green Arrow was powerless to stop them. The second half involves the real Justice League as the Trinity Wars kick into high gear as both groups are launched into the fighting. Only one team can walk away from this (maybe) and the stakes have never been higher…..in a while. Meanwhile, Pandora is still around so the adventure could get even more dangerous for the heroes.

Steve Trevor is the leader of the Justice League of America, but he’s definitely no Batman. Batman can fight in hand to hand combat when necessary and he has a lot of gadgets. All Steve has is a long list of witty comebacks at the ready and a good handgun. He gives Catwoman a decent fight, but I’m glad that she defeated him. If a regular guy can defeat a super villain, then there’s no real need for an Anti Justice League group now is there? Steve tries to be a good character, but almost all of his lines are really just bluffs in the end. He always ends up listening to the government at the expense of common sense and he needs to stand up for himself some more. As far as leading the group goes….Steve doesn’t actually give many orders. He mostly just stands around and tries to talk tough. Still, Steve is a good guy despite all of this and he just needs to have more courage to stand up for what he believes in. Once he embraces this, Steve can end up being one of the better GI Joes.

Martian Manhunter is the big hitter for this group. He does pretty well, but I can’t say that he looked like he was anywhere near Superman’s level. We get some flashbacks into his origin, which will likely serve as foreshadowing for a future arc. It was intriguing, but not much has changed from the original origin so it was pretty basic. We met a new villain who I’m sure will be back at some point. The Martian is pretty short and direct in his manner of speaking, which is always good to see. I still can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the fact that he signed up with this counter league to stop the original ones, but I guess that I could say that for all of the members. At least he tried to end things diplomatically.

Katana gets a really small role compared to the other members. It’s easy to forget that she’s even on the team because she only gets a handful of lines. I don’t have much of an opinion on her at this point, but I would say that she’s decent. She’s not really a hero so hopefully these good influences will help her turn over a new leaf. I can’t say that her sword is very impressive as a person either, but all of his lines were off screen so it can be hard to tell for sure how cool he is.

I’ve never really been a fan of Hawkman and I can’t say that he looks too great here either. He seems to be pretty delusional and he overrates his own ability. I don’t really see him standing up to Aquaman at all. Hopefully he comes back to reality soon because he definitely seems like someone that you wouldn’t trust as a fellow hero.

Stargirl seems to be one of the more powerful fighters, but Amanda Waller wants her to stay at the base and act as the team’s PR rep. That doesn’t really fly with Stargirl and she escapes, which is pretty cool. She’s easily one of the most likable members of the group and she even got her town to accept her as a real superhero. It’s a feat that only a few superheroes like Superman and Flash have been able to pull off. Hopefully she gets a good fight in the next volume so we can see what her abilities can really do.

Simon Baz only appears for the latter half of the volume so we don’t see that much of him. He’s definitely no Hal Jordan and he’s a little generic so far. I’m sure that he’ll improve as he gets more screentime and he beats most of the other members. He seems to be pretty experienced after his latest adventure so hopefully he will show this as he gets some action in the future.

Catwoman was definitely not one of my favorite members. Her unnecessary embrace with Steve to steal his wallet and find out about his past was pretty sad. We get her backstory once again so that we can sympathize with the character and also learn about the Martian Manhunter, but it doesn’t really change the fact that her current self isn’t really likable. Catwoman always has the potential to be a good character, but she typically squanders it.

Green Arrow is actually pretty likable and it’s good to see him blackmail the government since they’ve been blackmailing everyone else. He’s definitely a pretty shady hero and he only answers to himself, but it’s an interesting change of pace at this point. The New 52 Arrow is completely different from the Pre 52 one and that’s just fine with me. I may actually prefer this version of the green hero. He definitely doesn’t look very impressive in the fights, but he can’t really be expected to match up against these powerful foes on his own. I’ll admit that his villain costume was pretty simple so I can see why the villains saw through it. At least Green Arrow made for an interesting addition to the team.

Vibe has a lot of room to grow so he has the potential to turn into a good hero. Right now he’s just a little too inexperienced and he doesn’t make the hero calls when necessary. He blindly listens to his superiors when they tell him to blast the Flash even though he didn’t know how it would affect him. Why take the risk when it could have potentially blown him up as with the robots? Vibe just cracked under the pressure and some more experience under his belt should help with that…hopefully!

Batman doesn’t get a huge role in this collection, but it’s good to see him thinking of a way out of this. He tries to help Superman get out of his predicament, but it’s tough without any leads. I have no qualms with his portrayal here. Superman was more on the dicey side since he allowed himself to be locked up. Luckily, the Leaguers are still watching him so the government can’t try anything, but it’s a little too risky if you ask me. Superman’s taking it pretty hard, but he should know that something’s up as he continues to get weaker and weaker. Wonder Woman actually gets most of a comic to herself as she consults the gods, villains, and finally the Justice League Dark to see if she can help Superman. She does a pretty good job although I do agree with the Welder that she didn’t need to be so threatening since they were on good terms. Bringing in the Justice League Dark was a good call….except that they turned out to be a little too unprepared for the battle.

Lex Luther didn’t get a huge role in this one, but it was good to see his portrayal went. Going after the box just to irritate the Justice League was classic and I’ll admit that I was rooting for him. It may have just been a cameo, but it was still good to see. The Flash didn’t really do anything either, but tackling Martian Manhunter was pretty good since traitors needs to be taken out of the fight right away. He may have misread the situation, but he made the hero move. (Although I believe that phasing through people should be a last resort unless they’re super powerful)

Amanda Waller is still a woman who only cares to help the government. She threatens the heroes and makes sure to be as unlikable as she can be throughout the comic. I was rooting for Stargirl to arrest her or to completely ignore Waller’s commands after the threats started coming in. Lucily, Stargirl did rebel, but I would have liked a more direct approach. Amanda always makes for a decent villain, but she’s seriously misguided in her attempts to help humanity.

The plot does jump around a lot in this comic though and you may not be crazy about this if you want to see the whole story. It jumps right into the 2nd or third part of the Trinity War and then jumps to the after effects of the event. That’s because only one issue was really in this series, but it can make for an interesting read in trade paperback form. The Secret Society plot also kind of vanished as the volume went on. I suppose that it could have ended in a way, but it didn’t really feel like an ending.

I have to wonder if Amanda Waller really thought her plan would work since her members are not nearly as powerful as the real league. Hal Jordan is better than Simon Baz in just about every way. The Flash would beat Vibe in his sleep. Batman’s better at hand to hand combat than Catwoman. Wonder Woman vs Katana is a bit of a joke. (No offense to Katana fans of course, but I don’t see her trading blows with Superman) Superman has heat vision to take care of Martian Manhunter. I forgot who Stargirl is a rival of, but let’s say that she loses to Cyborg and Aquaman beats the rest. That sounds about right. Amanda’s plan would not work and I don’t see how she can get past this fact.

DC’s done a really good job with the artwork in just about all of their New 52 comics. This one is no exception and all of the characters are drawn really well and the fights are pretty dynamic. We don’t get a lot of action scenes unfortunately, but we can still see that the art is solid from all of the other scenes. It would be hard for the aer to be even better than this so I’m completely satisfied in this area.

Overall, This was a fun Justice League comic. It’s kind of like watching the B listers instead of the main members, which is always good as a change of pace. I’d say that the only thing that brings down the comic a little is the convoluted timeline and the fact that there are no likable villains. The League needs a serious threat if it wants to establish credibility with the world after all. Some of the members are decent while I don’t really care for the others so it’s a bit of a mixed bag in that area. This comic had the infamous Catwoman getting shot scene that made its rounds on the web a while back, but it’s not that bad. I suppose that direct gunshots aren’t typically shown that often which could be a while, but you should be okay as long as you remember the classic comic book rule about characters who die. If not, it’s easy to skim through that part since there are a lot of panels leading up to it. Personally, I found the Martian Manhunter story worse in that regard since we got classic animal/alien violence that is always sad to see. It’s part of what kept this one from getting an 8 like the classic Justice League stories, but also the fact that we’re missing most of the main members. I recommend checking out this story if you’re a Justice League fan or if you like to read comics with very good art. There’s a decent amount of action and a lot of plot lines are developed that should help you get introduced into the New 52. I just wish that Hal Jordan could have been around to participate in the fights and maybe the Forever Evil tie ins will occur in the next volume.

Overall 7/10

Battles, Master Chief Battles, Steve Trevor Battles

Steve Trevor vs Master Chief


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This may have looked like an easy win for the Chief at first, but I’m afraid that things aren’t always as they appear to be. Steve Trevor once got a power up which gave him abilities that were about on par with Wonder Woman’s when his dream was turned into reality by harvesting spirits and ectoplasm and creating Captain Wonder…or something like that. Either way, Master Chief can’t hope to keep up with him anymore. Steve Trevor wins.

Battles, Steve Trevor Battles, Superman Battles

Steve Trevor vs Superman




Steve Trevor is a pretty tough guy when he wants to be, but he’s no match for Superman. He gets captured much more often and has less finesse over all. Superman just needs one punch to give himself a solid victory. Of course he’ll probably drag it out while smirking instead. Superman wins.

Battles, Steve Trevor Battles, X 23 Battles

X 23 vs Steve Trevor




Steve Trevor is back, but he’s not much of a fighter. X 23 has more experience in combat and beats him with ease. What Steve Trevor needs is a good power up one of these years. One that will make him more of a notable character. X 23 is just a lot stronger than Steve Trevor and wins this round. X 23 wins.

Battles, Steve Trevor Battles, Wonder Woman Battles

Wonder Woman vs Steve Trevor



Steve Trevor has always thought he was tough, but always manages to lose in the end. He doesn’t have the power that Wonder Woman has. Wonder Woman knows a high degree of hand to hand combat and has Super Speed and Super Strength to back it up. Steve Trevor has his gun, and it’s helped him a couple times in the past, but never against someone with Wonder Woman’s talent. Wonder Woman wins this match easily. Steve Trevor might not be remembered. Wonder Woman wins.