When Mediocrity is the Bar

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, don’t worry, this post doesn’t contain spoilers. However, potential viewers should know they’ll be sitting through, yet another, two-and-a-half-hour-long superhero flick with no surprises.

In fact, the choice to purchase an extra-large beverage might provide the only suspenseful moment of the evening. If I make a dash for the bathroom a the ninety-minute mark, will I miss anything? No, probably not.

That said – the fact this movie allows “everyone” to soak up a boilerplate narrative and the usual CGI battles makes this movie a success. Yes, I think that’s right: the sad truth is what makes Wonder Woman’s truly remarkable is mediocrity.

Because the movie could’ve gone horribly wrong. The fact it didn’t was a huge relief to many female viewers. Caroline Framke over at Vox.com said as much in this piece where she uses an Onion headline to make her point:

“Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show’

That Framke has to “steel herself for disappointments” when watching movies, much less watching one with a female protagonist, is well taken. However, that she gives this film such a glowing review reinforces just how delicious stale bread tastes when someone’s starving.

That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have its moments.

Actually, there is one noteworthy scene, which takes place about halfway through, which marks the ‘true emergence’ of the character. The scene’s as symbolically poignant as it is visually stunning as Diana strides across ‘no man’s land’ to charge a line of intersecting machine-guns. Amazing scene, but what I found truly shocking is that directer, Patty Jenkins, had to fight with studio execs to keep it in the movie because they, “didn’t get why the scene was in there.”

Are you fucking kidding!? The defining moment for a superhero has to be explained to ‘professionals’? If anything, this lack of brainpower explains how this same company managed to throw the GDP of a small country at two pieces of valuable intellectual property only to turn out complete turds like Superman Vs. Batman and Suicide Squad.

Credit where it’s due because compared to those last two movies, this one really is amazing. So while Gal Gadot dominates the screen, and Chris Pine manages to be just good enough to keep me awake – the real superhero is certainly the director. Because Jenkins saved Warner Brother’s from having yet another multi-million-dollar bomb on their hands.

If you want to see an excellent superhero movie that isn’t predictable, I highly recommend Unbreakable. Want a smart-yet-crass satire of the superhero genre that lampoons all the usual tropes while ceaselessly mocking itself? Then spend a few hours chuckling and cringing with the film Kick-Ass.

If you want to breathe a huge sigh of relief, turn off your critical faculties, and consume some junk food – go see Wonder Woman.

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3 thoughts on “When Mediocrity is the Bar

  1. See myself. I thought Wonder Woman was good but not great. Yes it’s the best of the four current live Action DC movies. Though that’s not a hard feat to achieve considering the first three are of mess of plot holes and rewrites. Wonder Woman is kinda like X- Men 2, A decent movie where a character gets to be like the character from the comics. The way Wolverine got to be Wolverine. Like I told a friend when you compare it to say the current Marvel Cinematic movies. It falls short , though it is better than some of them though not better than all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I’m just burnt out on superhero movies. I mean Deadpool was awesome and a breath of fresh air. Then Logan came out and I enjoyed it (although it felt like a 5 hour movie) And now, I’m just ‘over’ seeing the comics come to life. Maybe it was a good movie, and I’m a jaded cunt…Although, I really am getting sick of this longer-is-better trend. Sometimes you only need an hour and a half to tell the damn story. Guardians of the Galaxy II is a good example of this. I’m sitting there thinking, “If they show me one more gratuitous baby Groot shot to sell more plush toys, I’m going to fucking puke.” Of course they did…

      Liked by 1 person

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