What If Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2017 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

Best Picture

Baby Driver

The Big Sick

The Disaster Artist

*A Ghost Story*

It

Kedi

Lady Bird

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman

*David Lowery for A Ghost Story*

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Andy Muschietti for It

Edgar Wright for Baby Driver

Best Actor

*Sam Elliott in The Hero*

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

James McAvoy in Split

Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Best Actress

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

Sally Hawkins in Maudie

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion

Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West

*Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird*

Best Supporting Actor

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories

Bill Skarsgard in It

*Patrick Stewart in Logan*

Jason Sudekis in Colossal

Best Supporting Actress

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Catherine Keener in Get Out

Sophia Lillis in It

*Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird*

Carey Mulligan in Mudbound

Ella Rumpf in Raw

Best Voice-Over or Stop Motion Performance

Will Arnett in The LEGO Batman Movie

Gael Garcia Bernal in Coco

Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Doug Jones in The Shape of Water

*Andy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes*

Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

A Ghost Story

*Lady Bird*

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before I Fall

*The Disaster Artist*

It

Logan

Their Finest

Wonder Woman

Best Animated Film

Cars 3

Coco

*The Lego Batman Movie*

Leap!

Best Documentary Feature

Karl Marx City

*Kedi*

Risk

Step

Strong Island

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide

Best Foreign Language Film

First They Killed My Father

Frantz

*Kedi*

Raw

Best Casting

The Big Sick

Detroit

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

*The Meyerowitz Stories*

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

*A Ghost Story*

It

Lost City of Z

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

The Beguiled

Free Fire

Thor: Ragnarok

Victoria & Abdul

*Wonder Woman*

Best Editing

*Baby Driver*

Before I Fall

Dunkirk

A Ghost Story

It

Wonder Woman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Lady MacBeth

Logan Lucky

My Cousin Rachel

*Thor: Ragnarok*

Best Original Score

Blade Runner 2049

A Ghost Story

*Good Time*

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Wind River

Best Original Song

“Buddy’s Business” from Brawl In Cell Block 99

“Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast

“Friends are Family” from The Lego Batman Movie

“How Does A Moment Last Forever” from Beauty and the Beast

“Myron/Byron” from The Meyerowitz Stories

*”The Pure and the Damned” from Good Time*

Best Overall Use Of Music

Atomic Blonde

*Baby Driver*

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Thor: Ragnarok

T2: Trainspotting

Best Production Design

*Beauty and the Beast*

The Beguiled

Blade Runner 2049

It Comes At Night

Logan

Thor: Ragnarok

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Stuntwork

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

Logan

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok 

*Wonder Woman*

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

*War For The Planet of the Apes*

Films Listed By Number of Nominations

9 Nominations — Wonder Woman

7 Nominations — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, It, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

6 Nominations — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Thor: Ragnarok

5 Nominations — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Meyerowitz Stories

4 Nominations — The Big Sick, Blade Runner 2049, Get Out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War For The Planet Of The Apes

3 Nominations — Good Time, Kedi, The LEGO Batman Movie

2 Nominations — Before I Fall, The Beguiled, Coco, Kong: Skull Island, Raw, Shape of Water

1 Nominations — Atomic Blonde, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Cars 3, Colossal, Detroit, First They Killed My Father, Frantz, Free Fire, The Hero, Ingrid Goes West, It Comes At Night, Karl Marx City, Lady MacBeth, Leap!, Logan Lucky, Lost City of Z, Maudie, Mudbound, My Cousin Rachel, A Quiet Passion, Risk, Split, Step, Strong Island, Stronger, T2: Trainspotting, Their Finest, 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Victoria & Abdul, Wind River

Films Listed By Number of Wins

3 Oscars — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird

2 Oscars — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, Good Time, Kedi, War For the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

1 Oscar — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Hero, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, The Meyerowitz Stories, Thor: Ragnarok

Will the Academy be smart enough to agree with me?  Probably not.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

 

Here Are The 2017 Nominations From The Chicago Independent Film Critics!


The Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle should not be mistaken for the Chicago Film Critics Association.  However, since they’re both in Chicago, that does give me an excuse to once again use this picture of Al Capone.

Here are the nominees!

THE 10 BEST INDEPENDENT FILMS (in alphabetical order):

The Big Sick, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, Get Out, A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Lucky, Mudbound, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

THE 10 BEST STUDIO FILMS (in alphabetical order):

Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Logan, The Lost City of Z, mother!, Phantom Thread, The Post, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman


The complete list of nominees for the 2017 CIFCC Awards:

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

BEST STUDIO FILM

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • Raw
  • The Square
  • Thelma

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Faces Places
  • Jane
  • Whose Streets?

BEST ANIMATED FILM

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • The Big Sick– Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
  • Get Out- Jordan Peele
  • Lady Bird- Greta Gerwig

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Call Me By Your Name- James Ivory
  • The Disaster Artist- Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
  • Mudbound– Dee Rees and Virgil Williams

BEST ACTOR

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

  • Get Out
  • Mudbound
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Blade Runner 2049– Roger Deakins
  • Dunkirk- Hoyte van Hoytema
  • The Shape of Water– Dan Laustsen

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Blade Runner 2049– Dennis Gassner
  • mother!- Philip Messina
  • The Shape of Water- Paul D. Austerberry

BEST EDITING

BEST COSTUME DESIGN AND MAKEUP

  • Darkest Hour– Jacqueline Durran (costumes), Kazuhiro Tsuji, Lucy Sibbick and David Malinowski (makeup)
  • Phantom Thread– Mark Bridges (costumes), Paul Engelen (makeup)
  • The Shape of Water– Luis Sequeria (costumes), Jordan Samuel and Paula Fleet (makeup)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS


TRAILBLAZER AWARD

  • Sean Baker, The Florida Project
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Dee Rees, Mudbound

IMPACT AWARD

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

Belatedly, Here Are The Nominations of the North Texas Film Critics!


Two days ago, the North Texas Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2017!

On twitter, there’s been a lot of speculation as to why the NTFCA totally snubbed Call Me By Your Name in their nominations.  Hilariously, some people — all from out-of-state, of course — are assuming that the NTFCA must be made up of evangelical, right-wingers because it’s a Texas organization.  Seriously, those people have no idea how left-wing most members of the Texas media are.  Texas may be a Republican state but most of our native film critics are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Anyway, here are the nominees:

BEST PICTURE
“Baby Driver”
“The Big Sick”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“The Florida Project”
“Lady Bird”
“Logan”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Stronger”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Hugh Jackman, “Logan”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
James McAvoy, “Split”
Kumail Nanijiani, “The Big Sick”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”
Jeremy Renner, “Wind River”
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman”
Jennifer Lawrence, “mother!”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Nicole Kidman, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Tilda Swinton, “Okja”
Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
Bria Vinaite, “The Florida Project”
Allison Williams, “Get Out”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Daniel Craig, “Logan Lucky”
Bryan Cranston, “Last Flag Flying”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”
Will Poulter, “Detroit”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Ray Romano, “The Big Sick”
Mark Rylance, “Dunkirk”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”
Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Denis Villeneuve, “Blade Runner 2049”
Joe Wright, “Darkest Hour”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”
Hoyte Van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Matthew Jensen, “Wonder Woman”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Janusz Kaminski, “The Post”
Michael Seresin, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade”
“Menashe”
“Raw”
“The Square”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Chasing Coral”
“City of Ghosts”
“Cries from Syria”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Jane”
“Step”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Breadwinner”
“Cars 3”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3:
“The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”

Here Are The Nominations of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics!


On December 4th, because there weren’t already enough critics group to keep track of, the Los Angeles Online Film Critics (founded 2016) announced the nominees for their inagural awards!  The winners will be named on January 3rd, 2018.

Here are the nominees.  There’s a lot of them.

BEST PICTURE 

“The Big Sick”
“Colossal”
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Get Out”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”
“Molly’s Game”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST FEMALE DIRECTOR

Dee Rees, “Mudbound
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Detroit”
Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman
Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled”

BEST MALE DIRECTOR

Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me By Your Name”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

BEST ANIMATED / VISUAL EFFECT PERFORMANCE

Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes
Doug Jones, “The Shape of Water”
Dan Stevens, “Beauty and the Beast

BEST EDITING

Baby Driver
“Dunkirk”
“I, Tonya”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”

BEST SCORE

Blade Runner 2049
“Dunkirk”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
War for the Planet of the Apes

BEST STUNT WORK

“Atomic Blonde”
Baby Driver
“Dunkirk”
“John Wick: Chapter 2”
Wonder Woman

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR OR ACTRESS UNDER 23 YEARS OLD

Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Dafne Keen, “Logan
Jacob Tremblay, “Wonder”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”

BEST SCI-FI/ HORROR

Blade Runner 2049
“Get Out”
It
It Comes at Night
“The Shape of Water”

BEST ACTION/WAR

Baby Driver
“Dunkirk”
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

BEST COMEDY/MUSICAL

“The Big Sick”
“The Disaster Artist”
“Girls Trip”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”

BEST FIRST FEATURE

Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Kogonada, “Columbus”
Jeremy Gasper, “Patti Cake$”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM

“The Big Sick”
“Colossal”
A Ghost Story
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”

BEST BLOCKBUSTER

Beauty and the Beast”
“Dunkirk”
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Hoyte van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
“Wonder Woman”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

“An Inconvenient Sequel”
“Jane”
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond”
“Step”
“Whose Streets?”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“BPM,” France
“First They Killed My Father,” Cambodia
“In the Fade,” Germany
“The Square,” Sweden
“Thelma,” Norway

BEST ANIMATED FILM

“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”
The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, “The Shape of Water”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Luca Guadagnino, James Ivory, & Walter Fasano, “Call Me by Your Name”
Michael H. Weber & Scott Neustadter, “The Disaster Artist”
Scott Frank, James Mangold, & Michael Green, “Logan
Virgil Williams & Dee Rees, “Mudbound

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me By Your Name”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Williem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

BEST ACTRESS

Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

BEST ACTOR

Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”

The National Board of Review Honors Greta Gerwig, The Disaster Artist, Get Out, and Wonder Woman!


The National Board of Review has spoken and the Oscar season has truly begun!

Here’s what won:

Best Picture: The Post

Best Director: Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Best Actor: Tom Hanks in The Post

Best Actress: Meryl Streep in The Post

Best Supporting Actor: Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread

Best Adapted Screenplay: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber for The Disaster Artist

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Best Documentary Feature: Jane

Best Foreign Language Film: Foxtrot

Best Ensemble: Get Out

Breakthrough Performer: Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Best Directorial Debut: Jordan Peele for Get Out

NBR Spotlight Award: Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins for their collaboration on Wonder Woman

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: First They Killed My Father and Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992

Top 10 Films of 2017 (in alphabetical Order):

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. The Disaster Artist
  4. Downsizing
  5. Dunkirk
  6. The Florida Project
  7. Get Out
  8. Lady Bird
  9. Logan
  10. Phantom Thread

Top 10 Independent Films of 2017:

  1. Beatriz at Dinner
  2. Brigsby Bear
  3. A Ghost Story
  4. Lady MacBeth
  5. Logan Lucky
  6. Loving Vincent
  7. Menashae
  8. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
  9. Patti Cake$
  10. Wind River

Top 5 Documentaries:

  1. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  2. Brimstone & Glory
  3. Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
  4. Faces Places
  5. Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of Isis

Top 5 Foreign Language Films:

  1. A Fantastic Woman
  2. Franzt
  3. Loveless
  4. Summer 1993
  5. The Square

Film Review: Wonder Woman (dir by Patty Jenkins)


Wonder Woman is awesome!

I spent a while trying to think of the best way to begin this review.  There’s a lot to be said about Wonder Woman, as both a film and as a character.  Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be flooded with think pieces.  Is Wonder Woman too feminist or not feminist enough?  Does Wonder Woman herald a new direction for the DC Expanded Universe or is it destined to just be an anomaly among the ruins of crap like Man of Steel and Suicide Squad?  Does it announce the arrival of new star?  Is Wonder Woman pro-war or a plea for peace?  Does Wonder Woman live up to the rapturous early reviews or is it destined to suffer the same fate as the initially acclaimed, later-reviled Ghostbusters reboot?

Those are all legitimate questions.  They’re all worthy of debate and discussion.  And I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts on blah blah blah blah….

Yes, Wonder Woman is empowering, both as a film and as a character.  It’s amazing to think that, with all the super hero adaptations that have come out over the past ten years, Wonder Woman is the first one to center around a female super hero.

Yes, Wonder Woman does finally prove that DC Expanded Universe can produce a good film, though I do have to say that two of the best things about Wonder Woman is that it had very little to do with any of the other DCEU films and it felt more like an MCU film.  With the period setting (the film takes place during World War I) and it’s weary view of the wars that men fight, Wonder Woman has far more in common with the first Captain America film than it does with Man of Steel.

Yes, Gal Gadot is going to be a huge star and her performance here suggests that she has range beyond action films and comic book melodramas.

Yes, Wonder Woman is a plea for peace but it’s a sincere and honest plea and one that does not ignore the realities of human nature.

And, finally, yes, Wonder Woman deserves those good reviews and I believe it will stand the test of time.

When all is said and done, what really matters is that Wonder Woman is freaking awesome!  The teaming of director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot has resulted in one of the most entertaining and exciting comic book movies of recent times.  Usually, I resent it when an audience breaks into applause at the end of a movie, largely because it makes me feel as if I’m being pressured to make a snap judgment about a movie’s worth before I’ve had time to give it proper thought.  However, this time, when the applause broke out at the Alamo Drafthouse, I happily joined in.

I could be wrong about this but I don’t think Wonder Woman is ever actually called “Wonder Woman” at any point during the film.  If she was, I missed it and I’m sure someone will correct me in the comments.  Instead, she is referred to by her proper name, Diana.  When the film opens (after the obligatory modern-day prologue), Diana is a child living on the island of Themyscira, the home of the legendary Amazons.  Diana is the only child among the Amazons.  The daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), Diana dreams of becoming a warrior but her mother refuses to allow it.  When Diana is trained, it’s in secret by her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright).  At one point, Antiope tells Diana that if she’s going to be warrior, she’s going to have to be prepared to fight for everything.  No victory, Antiope tells her, will ever come easily.  I nodded at that line and I’m sure every other woman in the audience did so as well.  We understood what Antiope was saying.

In 1918, for the first time in centuries, a man reaches the island.  His name is Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and he’s an American spy.  No sooner does Steve’s plane crash on the beach then a boat full of Germans arrive.  After a genuinely exciting battle (perhaps the first exciting action scene to appear in any of the DCEU films), Steve reveals that the world is at war.  Suspecting that it is the influence of Ares, the god of war, that is causing people to kill one another, Diana defies her mother’s orders and leaves the island with Steve.  Steve’s goal is to keep the Germans from developing and deploying a lethal gas.  Diana, meanwhile, plans to track down and kill Ares.

While Steve is convinced that, as a result of human nature, wars are inevitable, Diana is resolute in her belief that all the evil in the world can be linked to Ares.  Their conflicting world views give Wonder Woman far more emotional depth and intellectual resonance than any of the other films that have, so far, been a part of the DC Expanded Universe.  By refusing to indulge in portentous hypermasculinity, it avoids becoming a pretentious slog like Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.  By refusing to treat war, death, and violence as a joke, it avoids falling into the soulless trap that imprisoned Suicide Squad.  When Diana runs and leaps into battle, she’s not just fighting for good against evil.  She’s fighting for the soul of humanity.

Some of the action scenes in Wonder Woman are nothing less than amazing.  The scene where Diana crosses the aptly named “No-Man’s Land” is destined to be remembered as a classic moment in comic book cinema.  I don’t want to spoil too much of the film but I will say that you’ll also never forget the way that Diana takes out a German sniper.  It’s an amazing moment, one that is matched by the film’s final battle.  Again, I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that the film’s finale brought tears to my eyes.

After providing Batman v Superman with its only good moments, Gal Gadot finally gets the film that she deserves and she gives an amazing performance.  As played by Gadot, Diana is confident but never arrogant, occasionally naive but never foolish.  She’s a fighter, one who refuses to surrender even when the rest of the world tells her to go home.  (There’s a rather interesting throw-away line, in which Steven’s secretary says that she’s looking forward to getting to vote in her first election.  Wonder Woman is saving a world that wouldn’t even allow her a voice in selecting the man who are constantly putting it in danger.)  Gal Gadot gives a charismatic and star-making performance.

Also giving a good performance — perhaps a career best if you take Hell or High Water out of the equation — is Chris Pine.  When Pine first appears, he seems to be doing a riff on his too-perfect Prince Charming performance in Into the Woods.  But, as the film progresses, Pine brings unexpected depth to this role.  Special mention should also be made of David Thewlis, who may not have a huge role but who makes the most of his limited screen time.

But, with all that in mind, the most important thing that I can tell you about Wonder Woman is that the film is an absolute blast, a fast-paced and exciting action film that is complimented by strong performances and an unexpectedly poignant subtext.

It’s empowering.

It’s entertaining.

It’s worthy of the applause that filled the Alamo Drafthouse.

In short, it’s absolutely awesome.

See it this weekend.

(Now, Marvel, where’s that Black Widow movie that y’all better be developing?)

Here’s that trailer for Wonder Woman!


Despite my better instincts, I hope Wonder Woman turns out to be a good movie.  I know it probably won’t, just on the basis of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.  But still, I hold out hope.

I mean, let’s consider the positives:

Patty Jenkins is a wonderfully unorthodox pick to direct a comic book movie.  Of course, sometimes being unorthodox works and sometimes, it doesn’t.  Ang Lee was an unorthodox pick to direct that Hulk movie and when was the last time you voluntarily watched that?

But Gal Gadot — OMG, Gal Gadot kicks so much ass!

Let’s hope this film does her justice.

Anyway, here’s the trailer!