Wonder Woman Annual 1

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman Annual 1, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: With her big screen debut just around the corner there’s a regular Wonder Woman frenzy these days. Wonder Woman Annual 1 seems to be joining in on the fun with several short stories that embody what makes Diana of Themyscira such a powerful symbol. I’m pretty sure that Batman and Superman are already on their second Rebirth Annual issues but this is only Wonder Woman’s first? What gives, DC?

Some of the themes present in these stories are right there in the title – like Vita Ayala and Claire Roe’s “In Defense of Truth and Justice” – while others might take a little more scratching beneath the surface. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott tell us a tale of trust in Wonder Woman’s first meeting with Batman and Superman. Michael Moreci and Stephanie Hans show us Wonder Woman’s warrior code in “The Curse and the Honor.” Finally the collective of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly and David Lafuente give a more lighthearted tale of Diana’s heart and humor in “The Last Kaiju.”

It should be a no brainer that Greg Ruck and Nicola Scott’s “And Then There Were Three…” is far and beyond the best story of the issue. I mean, who doesn’t love a successful Trinity story? And if you New 52 fans are saying “Hey waitaminute – Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman met when they fought Darkseid!” then you must remember we are living in the no-rules time of DC Rebirth. Rucka writes a gentler, kinder first meeting between Diana and already established pals Batman and Superman.

This is such a welcome stark contrast from Geoff Johns’ cold New 52 introduction and Batman v. Superman’s…whatever that was. Batman and Superman may be the reader’s POV but the focus is still on Wonder Woman and the world’s awe of her. Superman is friendly and humorous while Batman plays the straight man without being a judgmental asshole. That’s why this story works so well: the skeptical Dark Knight even has to admit that there’s something admirable and hopeful about Diana.

Gosh darnitt this story just leaves you with the warm and fuzzies – in no small part due to Nicola Scott. Scott’s got a knack for getting two-dimensional drawings to really emote. You can feel Superman’s joy and warmth beaming off his face. The calm confidence in Diana’s eyes makes you want to trust her the same way the World’s Finest do. And Scott draws a Dark Knight whose emotions are on the surface but don’t allow him to break. Then there’s this great moment where they say their names while compelled by the lasso of truth:

Superman is really Clark Kent/Kal-El. Batman is Batman, first and foremost.

“In Defense of Truth and Justice” is a Wonder Woman story that has lofty and commendable goals but I’m not quite sure it reaches them. The people of Markovia are about to execute King Shark for his alleged murder of a military general. Markovian Captain Beckers and Wonder Woman step in to defend the big ‘ol shark from the firing squad.

Wonder Woman is there on behalf of the Justice League to uphold international law; Markovia has no right to execute a person of foreign birth. Beckers on the other hand exclaims that she’s defending the truth, saying that King Shark has been framed. Diana deflects some bullets and lassos King Shark to admit that he was innocent of this crime.

And like a Scooby Doo villain General Jansen confesses to the whole thing and is hauled off to prison. Maybe it was the limited amount of pages but this conclusion felt like it came too swiftly. Just because King Shark was innocent doesn’t mean that Jansen was automatically guilty. While this story got “the Truth” of it all, I’m not quite sure it got the “defense of Justice part.”

Taylor I leave the remaining two stories for you to cover. Did you like the idea of Wonder Woman in Japan? I thought it was a pretty cool story choice. Any additional thoughts on the Trinity or the showdown in Markovia? I really wanted to see Markovian royalty Geo-Force show up.

Taylor: The Markovia segment is by far the weakest of the four stories presented in this issue and I think that’s because it loses focus about what Diana’s character is all about. In this story, she basically uses her awesome strength to expose an evil-doer threatening to harm someone who is somewhat innocent. True, she uses her lasso to confirm that King Shark is innocent, but we already knew that to be true thanks to Captain Beckers. This reduces Diana’s role role from truth-sayer to strongman, which really isn’t her bag.

That being said, I enjoyed the last two stories in this issue much more. Moreci and Hans’ unique take on Diana stems not so much from the portrayal of her character, but from the location the story is set. Diana is very much a superhero of the West, with deep roots in Ancient Greece and America. Those two civilizations bookend the past and present of Western influence on the world and Diana’s ethos, as much as her costume, are reflected by this. This is all just a fancy way of saying that Wonder Woman in Japan feels new, fresh, and exciting. But maybe that really shouldn’t be the case. One of Japan’s most famous exports, the Samurai, deals exclusively with the code of the warrior, which has as much to do with Diana as does her search for understanding and truth. Here, we see her fulfill this part of her identity a tee.

This story resonates with the ideals of honor, sacrifice, and what it means to be a warrior. Forced to kill her friend and sparring partner, Kikori, Diana must confront what it means to be a hero who is frequently involved in violence. Obviously she tries everything in her power to save Kikori from the curse that threatens him and his village, but ultimately she is forced to take his life. The idea of sacrificing yourself in battle for something more important than yourself isn’t unique to Japan, but it certainly has been a well chronicled in Samurai lore when warriors give their life to save their lord. Here, Diane sees that being a warrior, and therefore hero, means death is always around the corner, and that what’s bad for you, might be good for the society you protect.

I enjoyed seeing Diana out of her element but I enjoyed her run-in with a kaiju even more. This story, like two others in this annual issue, sees Diana in her most natural habitat – that is defending the innocent by discovering the truth. In this case, it means finding out that a kaiju who is ostensibly attacking a city because that’s what monsters do, is actually looking for his long lost mama. Diana uses her lasso to find this out in a scene that wonderfully drawn by David Lafuente.

As we see, the kaiju isn’t evil at all. Instead we see in several panels that he’s just lonely instead. It’s marvelous the way that Lafuente organizes the panels on this page. They are all guttered by Diana’s golden lasso in a mess of chords that encircle each panel. The collective result is a mass of images rather than a linear story. This not only looks great, but shows how when Diana learns about someone using her lasso, the flood of images she gets from their mind isn’t just a single linear story. Instead it’s thoughts, emotions, feelings, and scenes all scattered and mixed up. This is a such a clever way to show this aspect of Diana’s powers and frankly is something I never had considered before this page. I would be remiss to also mention that Lafuente draws the kaiju adorably in other parts of this issue and when Diana plays fetch with him and some other dinosaurs at the end of the issue my heart just melted.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by this annual issue. So often annuals tend to be bloated affairs with stories of middling quality that just aren’t any fun. All of the stories about Diana here are fun, fast, and a great introduction to anyone interested Wonder Woman or her comics in the future.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

8 comments on “Wonder Woman Annual 1

  1. So, I think I’ll use here to discuss the Wonder Woman movie, as this seems best.

    It wouldn’t be a DC movie without poor editing, inappropriate Christ imagery and terrible tonal shifts…

    To be fair, that is unfair. This is by far the best movie in the DCEU, because it is kinda good. It suffers from being in a year that has already had LEGO Batman, Logan, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, all among the best superhero movies in recent memory, but Wonder Woman would certainly have been a bright spot is last year’s really poor superhero showing. I’d certainly rewatch Wonder Woman before Doctor Strange. This is pure middling Marvel movie, if for slightly different reasons than most middling Marvel movies. Nowhere near as good as the greats, but it can see Winter Soldier’s failing grasps at being great.

    The obvious comparison to this movie is the First Avenger. Not just for the similarity of conceit, but because they are in some ways the same movie, reflected. Every strength First Avenger has, with its powerful origin, great action and strong romance, is missing in Wonder Woman. However, the point where First Avenger turns from great to crap (Steve saving the prisoners in a powerful conclusion to his story, sentencing the rest to be meaningless action that exists solely to resolve plot and freeze Steve) is where Wonder Woman gets great.

    The origin stuff is the worst, by far. With Themyscira, there are two approaches you can take it. Really lean into the feminist themes, making it a place that is explicitly a response the patriarchy of our world. Or dive in deep into Greek mythology and all of the richness of that. The movie chooses neither, giving us a theme park version of Greek mythology instead. Such a simplistic approach gives Ares some ability to be nuanced in unique ways, but it dooms the Amazons into mediocrity (to give you an idea of how lacking in depth the Amazons are, they have a vault of powerful, important artefacts. Diana steals everything inside when she leaves Paradise Island, and uses these artefacts constantly throughout the film. We only learn the names and importance of half of them. Meanwhile, Diana’s shield and costume, from the same vault, are never explained. Amazon culture is so shallow, half of their important artefacts aren’t important). Without the feminist themes or a deep mythology, they are kind of boring. Made even worse by the fact that this is where the editing problems are most pronounced. The editing is nowhere near Suicide Squad bad (nothing can be). Nor is it Batman v Superman bad. But it often cuts in bad ways, seeming to jump from point to point very abruptly. Steve’s arrival on Paradise Island feels like a disruption of an important moment, which hurts what is supposed to be a key idea in Diana’s arc. It is supposed to read as a surprise, but instead ruins a key part of Diana’s character arc (though this is by no means the worst piece of editing. In London, Diana magically finds herself holding her weapons for a comedic beat, despite the fact that there is no story reason for her to suddenly have her weapons this scene, considering the last scene. And not too long later, a comedic scene quickly transitions to a suspenseful one in a way that could only be called unnatural). The other problem with the Themyscira stuff is that they want to make Diana’s origins a mystery, complete with a twist at the end of the movie. Which means this origin is story is spent entirely going ‘this isn’t the true origin. There is a twist later’. And while the movie’s action is in general poor, the big fight scene on Themyscira in atrocious. Incomprehensible in purpose, it is a confused mess in almost every way.

    But Steve Trevor is great, which is incredible as Steve Trevor is usually a terrible character. Chris Pine’s performance is charismatic, and the writing is strong. He’s not an amazingly deep character, but he’s written really well functionally. The cultural differences stuff is written sensationally, and Steve Trevor is wonderfully positioned as the pragmatist opposite Diana’s idealism. The romance fails, but only because it is rushed. There is reason that the best romances in the Marvel movies are Steve/Peggy, whose point was that it never got to start, Tony/Pepper, that took two movies, and Peter/Gamora, that is playing an even longer game with the slow build maturing of their relationship. Still, he serves as the perfect counterpoint, someone diametrically opposed to Diana but with a common purpose that unites them. Helped by having his own version of the Howling Commandoes who, unlike the Howling Commandoes of First Avengers, are actual characters. They even get depth. You’ll care more for some of these guys than you’ll care for Bucky after three movies.

    Once Diana leaves Themyscira, things get much better. World War One is a genius choice. Its status as ‘the War to End All Wars’ and the war where there were no good guys, it is the perfect challenge for Diana’s arc. Diana is naive, her view of war coming straight out of a bedtime story. Her story of realising that this is not the War to End All Wars, but just yet another example of humanity’s constant failings is great. And of realising that she can’t fight for what humanity is, but what she believes it should be. Effort is made to discuss how Steve Trevor and the British are at fault. The legacy of colonialism is everywhere, and Steve Trevor’s complicity in it is important. Hell, even Diana is complicit in the evils of war. Her naivety leads her to make the same mistakes as everyone else. In the dying days of World War One, where both leaderships are talking about armistice and peace, Diana’s big wish is to go to the front lines. She lectures the British about the need to keep fighting, and preaches a strategy of fighting until the enemy is defeated. It is not hard to compare her to the evil, villainous general on the German side. That’s what makes her arc so strong. From simplicity to complexity. It isn’t as easy as killing the big bad, and the fault belongs to all men, not just the evil god. In fact, Ares role is fantastic. He goes from a simplistic tale in Diana’s childhood, to a complex figure whose relationship with war is much different than what we imagine. In fact, he mirrors Diana, a man who took the same journey and ended up in a different destination.

    That’s why the action is so, so bad. The idea of war is treated as, at worst, a true horror, and at best, unfortunate necessity. There is nothing glamourous about the war they discuss. In fact, it is clear from the dialogue that the only value in fighting is so that the fighting ends. Yet the way it shows Diana fighting is horrid. Let’s ignore that first major fight, which is terrible for a billion different reasons, mostly down to editing. The fight in No Man’s Land/village, an obvious attempt to replicate the iconic Iron Man scene where Tony saves the village, completely falls flat. The moment the still ludicrous Led Zepplinesque theme begins, the action betrays every principle the movie holds. The action is well shot (unlike the Paradise Island fight) but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels so wrong. It celebrates violence, it is all about how cool everything looks. In a movie all about the horrors of violence and war, in a movie all about love over violence, this is hideously wrong. The fight couldn’t be about how awesome Diana was, but how unfortunate it was that she had to do this. The tragic necessity. Anything else was just wrong for a movie like this. You could get away with this is First Avenger, but not in a movie about how war is a horror and everyone is complicit in destroying the world. And then there is the third act finale. If any superhero movie didn’t need the lead getting into a fist fight, it was this one. The finale really needed to be a conversation. A climax built around choice. Diana shouldn’t have fought, but been paralyzed by indecision. Considering what the climactic moment is, Diana finally making a choice to decide her philosophy, the whole sequence should not have been built on ‘Can Diana punch hard enough’. It should have been built on ‘Will Diana punch’. It hurts Ares even more. Diana punching is a boring choice. But Ares punching is completely wrong for the movie. It completely goes against his relationship with violence. He should have been the devil on Diana’s shoulder, instead. The only action sequences that work are the hero moments where Diana is a defender first (generally small beats), or the fantastic sequence where Diana discovers her powers while stealing from the vault, which sensationally actualizes Diana coming into her own and taking the first true steps in her Coming of AGe. Other than that, every action sequence is really inconsistent. The ending shot is literally Diana jumping towards the camera to punch you, giving a beautiful speech about how only love can defeat violence. The movie in a nutshell

    Honestly, the action makes me kind of happy that it only had a budget of $120m. It is shitty that Doctor Strange gets a much larger budget than the most iconic superheroine there is. And that male directors with worse resumes get bigger budgets for their blockbusters than Patty Jenkins got for this. But more money for action would just weaken the movie, when the dialogue scenes are so great. Relying on dialogue makes the movie so much better. The dialogue is generally great (post Themyscira). The characters and the conversation make the movie work. So many beautiful scenes. Whether the scene is supposed to be heroic, sweet, funny or whatever, the dialogue is great. It is why I enjoyed the movie, even with the action issues, the origin issues, the editing issues. So much richness there.

    And of course, all of those strengths are anchored by Gal Gadot. She gives a sensational performance, anchoring everything. In every scene, she stands out. The action scenes may be terrible, but her performance is exactly what those poorly chosen scenes are asking for. And more importantly, the moments where the movie actually does work, it works because all of the tone, all of the theme, and all of the ideas are anchored on her performance. And when she gets her hero moments, she sells them perfectly. Especially the moments where she gets to be a defender. Moments like the spies in the alley, or the pub scene. Stuff like that make you go ‘that’s a superhero’ in a way that… is actually hard to find a recent comparison to. This is comparable to Christopher Reeve’s work, or Chris Evans when the writing doesn’t make him fascist. Though honestly, I think I’d give the trophy to Gal Gadot before Chris Evans

    In some ways, this is like Civil War. The highs aren’t as high, but the lows aren’t so low. A lot of the same strength and weaknesses. Maybe they fail to accept that Diana is complicit, but Civil War didn’t realise that Steve was the villain and a fascist. This is not the movie DC needs. It is a stay of execution, but they still need something to save the DCEU. They are still looking for their Iron man or their Avengers, the sort of movie that actually puts the DCEU on the map. This isn’t it. It is a good movie, though. And a movie so interesting and so committed to its actually unique approach that once the torturous beginning is over, it really is worth watching. Even when the action sequences threaten to ruin everything.

    And when the movie worked, whether it was the functional hero moments or the conversations, it was great to see a woman get the opportunities men get. Those moments? Moments of true iconic hero moments, with a woman? Those were magical. As I said Gal Gadot probably does the best job of a pure superhero in recent memory. And seeing a woman do that, finally? That justifies everything. Especially when the rest of the movie is an interesting, flawed, but good time at the cinema

    • I stopped reading after you implied the action wasn’t great. Are you kidding me?! Wonder Woman has some of the best and exciting action scenes ever in a superhero film. Also the dialogue not great on Themyscira? You have been my greatest love, but today you are my greatest sorrow is brilliant and perfectly encapsulates what a mother feels letting go of their children as they go out into the world.
      I get it if you don’t like the film but some of these reasons just are ridiculous.
      Also this is an article to review comic books NOT films, it’s not that hard to find a site where you can write your comments about the film.

      • I would love it if you actually read the whole comment, because I’d love to have a proper discussion on my points, because you are misrepresenting my piece. I actually say multiple times that it is good, if disappointing.

        I’d be interested in why you thought the action fitted cohesively in the film. I did say that, with the exception of Paradise Island, the action is well shot. But my problem was that it didn’t fit. That the action glorified and worshipped the violence in a movie where violence was seen as a tragedy. That the slow motion and emphasis on the awesomeness fit better in a movie like the Matrix, that used those tools as a metaphor for the cast’s self actualisation, than it did in a movie all about the horrors of violence. I would love to hear an argument about how the action cohesively matched the themes and tones of the rest of the movie, because I just kept sitting there waiting for the moment the movie wouldn’t feel so tonally dissonant. If you have reasoning for why you felt the action cohesively fit the movie, I would love to hear it.

        And you are right, that I am a bit harsh on the dialogue in Themyscira (though let’s make clear, the problem with the Themyscira sections were shallow mythology, the awful editing and the insistence on creating mystery that undercut its status as an origin section). The dialogue has problems, but a lot of that comes down to the fact that Themysira is a boring place and no one is willing to actually talk about Diana out of fear of spoiling the twist of the movie. But eve when that wasn’t a problem, I felt any scene with Steve Trevor in it had better dialogue than Hippolyta’s goodbye. That line certainly presented the information it wished to present, but felt clumsy compared to, say, the very naturalistic way Steve discussed how he didn’t want to go to war, but that he had to. Steve’s line, unlike Hippolyta’s, was much stronger because it wasn’t just the fact that the words themselves encapsulated Steve’s feeling, but the way those lines were said and the performance Chris Pine gave. Though ultimately, the real problem with the dialogue on Themyscira isn’t the dialogue itself, but the fact that Themyscira is a boring place with simplistic lore, and the only other topic of conversation can’t be discussed without fear of spoiling the finale. It is no surprise that dialogue gets more interesting when Steve Trevor turns up.

        And there is nothing wrong with be discussing the movie here. I’ve been a commenter a long time, and on occasion, we discuss film, especially superhero films, here. Including recently released superhero movies, which is a topic close to everyone here on the comic book site. Considering I’ve actually had discussions with Spencer about Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in these comment sections, it isn’t a problem. And while I do discuss movies elsewhere, that doesn’t mean it is a problem that I want to discuss it with the writers and readers of this site, who I have had many great conversations. In fact, I insist that you do the same. You obviously had a very different opinion to me, and I’d love to hear you properly express it.

        Did you find Themyscira interesting? Why? We both agree that the action is generally well shot, but why do you think the action cohesively fits with the rest of the movie? What parts of the movie do you agree with me? Why? What parts do you disagree with me? Why? I’d love to understand your perspective

        • Well, if you really want my opinion on a recent DC comic…

          Rucka really seems to be too stuck in his era, something that, despite all the important work he has done, means he should stick to creator owned comics. Which is a great thing, as our wish should be to see every creator reach the point where they can exist in creator owned spaces. It is fantastic that writers like Brubaker, Remender and Gillen no longer need Marvel, and make their livings on their own, original work. With Rucka, I am feeling that not only should he stick to creator owned comics and produce great stuff like Lazarus, but that Rucka is now wrong for superhero comics. Too stuck to what he used to do, he can’t see how things have changed. Although considering how terrible DC’s comics line is as a whole at the moment for these exact same reasons, maybe it is just the fact that Rebirth is Rebirth and Rebirth will be shit

          Whatever the reason, the naming section is pure proof. How the hell does Clark identify himself as Kal-El? The whole point of Superman is that ultimately, he is human. He is not some alien from another planet, regardless of the circumstances of his birth. He is a kid from Kansas, raised by two loving parents, just like anyone else. Superman has always been Clark Kent, never Kal-El.
          And Bruce Wayne is more than just Batman. He is also the loving father of his children, the philanthropist with an honest desire to build a better Gotham and, ultimately, a man who loves and cares like the rest of us. To reduce him to just his mission ignores how relationships with he family, with Selina, with so many other characters are just as important and make him more than the Bat. Hell, such a reductive look even hurts his relationship with the Joker – what makes him the perfect villain is that there is nothing to him but the inhumanity of the Joker. Joker can’t see life beyond the Joker. Bruce can. He can see his parents, Alfred, Dick, Jason, Tim, Damian, Selina and so much more. What amkes Batman meaningful is ultimately the fact that it is Bruce Wayne, putting everything on the line for other people’s humanity. I can’t say too much about Rucka’s relationship with Clark Kent, but Rucka’s Bruce Wayne is certainly a product of his time. And as great as that time was for so many parts of the ancillary Batman universe, there is a reason that we moved on from that depiction of Bruce Wayne

      • I’ll agree that the action was dope, and did a really nice job of illustrating that the DCEU house style (which is largely Snyder’s action-style) can still be cool with a little thoughtful coreography. I almost couldn’t contain myself during Diana’s raid on that village in the middle of the movie. It’s Wonder Woman, fully realized and running around on screen!

        Ditto that it’s insane to call the writing on Themyscira bad. It’s stylized, elevated and effective.

        Oh and Pine’s the real deal. Very happy to be given a reason to give a shit about Steve Trevor.

        • I don’t think anyone is saying that the action was bad. It was great. I just found it highly inappropriate. I would love to hear the case for why it was appropriate, because everyone is calling it amazing but I haven’t seen much conversation about why it fit the movie.

          Batman Begins’ dock scene was fantastic, but would be inappropriate in Thor. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2’s Come a Little Bit Closer scene was fantastic, but inappropriate in the Winter Soldier. Iron Man’s village scene was an amazing action set piece showing the power fantasy of finally managing your demons, but would be out of place in the Dark Knight, where the lack of control is the point. The car chase in the Dark Knight is amazing, but would be completely out of place in Doctor Strange’s cosmic scale.

          That’s how I felt with the village in Wonder Woman. If this was the First Avenger, it would make perfect sense. In the First Avenger, Steve’s motivations is to ‘fight bullies’/ defeat those who use their power to abuse others. Every scene in First Avenger is about ‘what can I do to best fight evil’. That’s why we have the roadshow stuff. And HYDRA are designed to represent the worst in humanity. That’s why it is set in WW2, the war against an actual supervillain. In fact, HYDRA are very specifically a splinter group eviler than the Nazis, so they lack even the ‘just following orders defence’. These aren’t ordinary Germans, and First Avenger wants us to know that. It makes sense for a superhero to rampage through, and to celebrate the destruction of these evil men

          In Wonder Woman, it is very different. Diana wants to end war. In fact, she believes the German soldiers are innocent victims mind controlled by Ares. Every scene in Wonder Woman is about how do you stop war (like the scene with the politicians on whether they should attempt the Armistice or stop Doctor Poison) and the complicity of all of humanity (shown by the Chief discussing how it was Steve Trevor’s side that took his people’s freedom, and the fact that the German High Command face the same internal divisions as the British). We are supposed to think of the Germans as just as much victims as the British. People no more evil that Steve Trevor himself, one of the heroes of the movie. They aren’t the bad guy. That’s why it is set in WW1, the war with no good guys. That’s why the action is so wrong. We shouldn’t have speed ramped shots letting us savor the beauty of the people the Diana thinks are innocent victims. We shouldn’t have every beat be a celebration of how cool Diana is. Diana shouldn’t be punching these people so hard, she blew up a belltower. The fact that the scene wants us to celebrate the destruction of people that the movie spent so long depicting as equivalent morally to our heroes is incredibly poorly done.

          I want Diana to have the chance to have awesome, badass action sequences. And hopefully Justice League provides her one just as good. But when I reached that part in the movie, I wasn’t excited to finally see Diana kicking arse. I was horrified.
          Free from the hell that was Paradise Island, I was really enjoying it. I honestly thought that I was going to walk out saying ‘except for Themiscura, that was one of the best superhero movies ever’. But as the trenches scene continued, I quickly became horrified as I realised what was going to happen. As my suspicions were confirmed, I swore as all the beautiful, wonderful thematic depth that was making this such an amazing movie swirled down the drain. All of that effort to take us out of our own perspective and show us the complexity of World WAR One, the failings of binary good v evil and the ways that violence is an evil that everyone is complicit in, reduced to a simple ‘Germans bad’ so that we can uncritically enjoy Diana destroying the people the movie spent so much time humanizing. Again, Diana thought the Germans were fundamentally good people corrupted by Ares. Where is the mercy? Where is the love? These are supposed to be the victims.

          The action sequences that worked best (catching the bullet in the alley, stopping the thug in the bar, climbing the wall of the vault) worked so amazingly because they fit. The first two positioned Diana as a Defender, stopping evil but not doing harm herself. While the last one perfectly actualizes Diana’s Coming of Age as she discovers her powers at the exact time she becomes her own person.
          If we look at fight scenes specifically, the most appropriate fight scene was actually the battle on Themiscura’s beach. The fight scene is by far the lowest point of the movie, being a tonally dissonant editing disaster, but half the fight actually had the right tone. Diana seeing death for the first time. The Germans using their weapons like club, without beauty, badassery or anything inspiring. Diana wandering the battlefield lost. Antiope dying. The rest of the battle is completely wrong, creating a net terrible result. But those beats felt appropriate. They created a richer thematic picture for the movie, instead of contradicting it. Much more appropriate than the village fight, where we are suppose dot enjoy seeing Diana destroy the people Diana is supposed to be saving from Ares. Or the finale, where Diana chooses to reject violence by punching Ares.

          Ultimately, I like the movie. But the action sequences really sunk it for me. Characters are defined by what they do. Stories are referring defined by what happens. So I can’t ignore the fact that the way the action is done spits on Diana’s character, spits on the story’s themes. No matter how well choreographed it is.

          Also, I just want to make clear. The problem with Themiscura isn’t that the dialogue is heightened. It is that Steve Trevor and the others from Men’s World is better. It is an editing disaster in a movie that, with the exception of a small section in London, is generally edited really well. And that Themiscura is a boring place, removing both the interesting feminist themes that made Themiscura work in both Marston’s original work and in Perez’s revamp, and the focus on Greek mythology from Azzarello’s revamp. Then they didn’t replace it with anything, leaving Themiscura generic and without anything except references to Greek Gods with all the interesting stuff removed. And the other topic of conversation was a mystery that couldn’t be revealed until the end. The problem with Themiscura’s dialogue isn’t that it is bad, it is that you have a choice between boring mythology or mysterious foreshadowing. Not a place designed for compelling drama

        • Also want to make very clear. I really want to understand another take. I want someone to explain why I’m wrong, so that hopefully the next time I watch it, I can get the experience everyone else is getting. I would love to know what I’m missing.

          And I also want to make very clear that Chris Pine truly is the real deal. Sensational

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