selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
Wonder Woman was a very enjoyable comic book movie. I haven't read any of the WW comics or any others featuring her, so I had no other versions to compare this Diana to. What immediately struck me, though, was the difference to the other recent DC movies. Because it seems this particular director and scriptwriter (writers?) finally managed to chuck the moroseness that passes for depth out of the window and instead came up with, oh wonder, a heroine who enjoys what and who she is and is an unabashed, heart-on-her-sleeve do-gooder. Also, she's kind. Not many people in the superhero business are, especially after the 80s. She has a learning arc, and I thought the balance between naivete, learning about the darker side of the 'verse and keeping core beliefs regardless was well struck.

The trailers had me a bit worried because of the WWI setting, this war being not one prone to good versus bad stories, and I was concerned that they simply made it I instead of II to avoid the inevitable Captain America comparisons and completely ignore the bloody mess the "Great War" was. Turns out the script actually made WWI story and themes relevant. Mind you, it needed still a great deal of handwavium. DC geography and history is not of our world, clearly. )

The reason why I didn't mind all this is that Diana's big realisation moment could not have happened in WWII and was very WWI specific; to wit: It gets spoilery again. )

Other things: liked the cast and the ensemble, really liked that Diana being a warrior and Diana being kind and compassionate was never presented as paradoxical or in conflict with each other but as one driving the other, wished Snyder's lasting legacy, the slow mo fighting, would finally stop but wasn't bothered enough in this instance to mind, and was grateful that for all the "fish out of water" humor, Diana wasn't presented as childlike or somehow unaware of sexuality just because she hadn't been in contact with a man before.

In conclusion: a deserved hit.

P.S. Now I remember I did encounter Diana in the comics before, in a flashback. In Mike Carey's story about Lyta Hall post Sandman, The Furies, it's revealed Lyta is the daughter of Diana and Steve Trevor. (It's a single panel, a memory that haunts Lyta of her early childhood and her mother.) I suppose that makes Diana the grandmother of one of the Endless?
selenak: (Sternennacht - Lefaym)
New Wonder Woman trailer, which is nifty. I must admit to not having read a single Wonder Woman comic in my life; the most I know of her is that in one continuity, though not the current one I hear, she's Lyta Hall's mother. (Lyta Hall from Sandman.) So the trailer is enough to get me curious... though it has one massively distracting aspect.

So, World War I. I know the Anglosaxon world treats WWII as the ultimate good versus evil fantasy role playing game, but WWI, if Michael Gove's complaints about Blackadder are anything to go by, still has the same "senseless bloody mass slaughter" reputation there it has in my part of the world, right? So when Diana says she wants to save the world/help people, I have to wonder "and you're accomplishing this by joining any party in the great slaughterhouse how?"

Am reminded of the bit in the tv show about David Llyod George (who took over from Asquith as British PM during WWI) that went like this:

Frances Stevenson (DLG's secretary and lover): Bad news. Revolution in Russia, there go the Romanovs, our allies and the Eastern front.
DLG: Well, look at the bright side.
FS: ?
DLG: Now I can sell this to the Americans as being about zomg freedom. Before, they had thought it was just a bunch of corrupt European dynasties duking it out.

If one of your allies is the most backward Empire on the continent, the one that used to have serfs not that long ago, it's a bit hard to claim to represent the cause of democratic progress, yes. But then, that tv series was made in the 1970s.

I mean, I noticed in the trailer there's the obligatory German villain declaring "we could rule the world", but seriously, not even idiotic Willy with his hangup about competing with his British relations had that ambition. WWI brings to mind gas attacks, a French landscape that looks as if its the moon full of craters, Wilfried Owen poetry on the one hand and Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front on the other. What it does NOT bring to mind is a good versus evil conflict conducting to a super hero story set up. Unless, of course, you throw away decades of both history and pop culture history (not always the same thing) and go straight back to WWI era propaganda, which did have German soldiers eating Belgian babies. One of the most acid passages in Robert Graves' memoir Goodbye to all That is about that aspect of the era.

Then there's the technical aspect, if you like. What WWI is famous for is both sides fighting endlessly about a few feet of mud, and the new weapon, mustard gas, with so horrifying results that even the Nazis in WWII didn't break the ensuing ban on it as far as battle was concerned. There's a bit of gas and a gas mask in a few seconds in the trailer, but it only underlines that, because: how does this compute with Diana having a go with her lasso? It's hard not to imagine soldiers coughing their lungs out, with half their faces melted away taking a look at that and saying: Seriously?

I think you could do, in theory, something interesting stuff with a "superhero meets WWI" scenario. But I doubt it will involve:

Diana: I want to help.
Soldier: Take out the officers on both sides, will you?


Diana: I want to save the innocents.
Soldier: Well, a couple of my shellshocked mates are going to get shot at dawn for cowardice, so rescueing them and bringing them far, far away from the front would be really welcome.

...My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.


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