This morning I woke up to an acquaintance on Facebook lamenting the fact that the new Wonder Woman film did indeed signal equality among the sexes because now a woman had made a superhero movie as terrible as any of the ones made by men. The post made me laugh a little, cause I get it – after seeing Wonder Woman last night, I can confidently say that it won’t be making any of my end of year top 10 lists. But that remark, along with David Edelstein’s equally negative and borderline leering review, also made me want to defend the movie and its immense importance.
Part of my problem with my Facebook friend’s assessment of Wonder Woman as “terrible” is that I feel like it should be graded on a curve – not because it has a female star and director, but because it falls under the sphere of this great comics universe in the DC/Marvel era which will rule our movie theaters forever and ever without end amen. If you couldn’t tell, I’m not a big comic book/superhero person – so the endless parade of Thors, what with his hammers and Lokis, Men, both Super and Spider, justice leagues and infinity wars, isn’t something I get that excited about. Instead I look for the ones that rise above – above the formulaic plot, the too many bad guys and the iffy dialogue so many of them suffer from. The first Iron Man did that. Logan did that. And Wonder Woman – it partly does that. It has its moments where the chemistry, the humor and the heart, all help it transcend the usual slog from origin story to saving the world. So it’s not a terrible comic book movie – I’d say for a non-comics fan, it’s a slightly above average comic book movie. And because it has a female star and director, because of the way it presents women as powerful and capable, because of the way it defies gender stereotypes, it’s also so much more.
We can now say that Wonder Woman is a critical and commercial success – it’s sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and will bring in over $100 million on its opening weekend. So some backlash to all the praise and glowing celebrity endorsements is inevitable. And being someone who likes to think critically about film, I do understand that backlash – for me Wonder Woman was far from perfect. It was a passable film with some exceptionally beautiful moments. But apart from any critique about its structure, writing or special effects, there is a reason that this movie will be remembered and remarked upon for its significance, and that reason can be summed up in one word: representation, representation, representation.
Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjinani has a fantastic twitter thread about why the most recent Star Wars film, Rogue One, meant so much to him. In one tweet he writes, “For the 1st time I really felt the importance of representation. I felt like a kid watching this movie. I felt like I could do anything.” And that sentiment, for him about seeing a racially diverse cast in a sci-fi movie, is the same way I felt about seeing Gal Gadot kick so much ass as Wonder Woman. I truly didn’t expect to get emotional going in to the film, but when I walked in to the theater to see a middle school aged girl getting her mom to take her picture in front of the screen, ticket proudly displayed, I was suddenly overcome with happiness and hope. To think that little girls watching would have new role models for strength and empathy, whom they could identify directly with,and that the little boys sitting next to them would see an example of men and women working as equal counterparts in the fight for good in the world, that was powerful for me. And that young girl’s excitement matters more than critical nitpicking – it’s a power that proves that this movie is a game-changer for generations to come.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm