Wonder Woman

N is for No Man’s Land by Rupert Gregson-Williams

Wonder Woman was one of my favourite films from last year, and its soundtrack was the first film soundtrack I’d bought in a few years.

The No Man’s Land sequence in the film, stands out because it’s Diana realising her true potential and becoming the hero she was born to be. She doesn’t believe it when she’s told there’s nothing they can do, nothing no man can do, and instead inspires and leads people in what’s right.

The music that accompanies that scene adds to its power. I love how the beautiful music slowly builds, it starts off so quiet but as Diana walks across No Man’s Land it gets louder and more self-assured.

I think this piece of music is inspiring and emotional. I listened to it on my way to job interviews as it makes me feel confident in my abilities and makes me feel positive that I can tackle whatever is thrown my way.

I said earlier on in this A-Z Challenge that Gimme Shelter used to be my ringtone but was replaced by another song that I’d be talking about. Well, my phone ringtone is this song, more specifically the Wonder Woman theme with all the electronic string instruments that kicks in at 3:23.

I just love this musical work, the whole of the Wonder Woman score is great, but No Man’s Land is an instantly memorable piece of music.

If you want to see the music in action in the film, it starts in this scene as our heroes walk through the trenches and continues in this scene where they fight to save a town. I’d definitely recommend them, I find myself watching them every now and then when I need a boost.

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My Top Ten Films of 2017

With a few days left of 2018 it’s time for another best-of-the-year list! If you haven’t already seen it, I contributed to the HeyUGuys Online Critics Top Ten again this year, so check out what made the top ten from loads of online film critics and bloggers.

This Top Ten is based on UK cinema release and I reviewed most the films in my top ten, so the links go to that original review if you want to know more of my feelings on these films.

I loved all these films and have put them in a rough top ten, though my top three are pretty solid.

Honourable mention: Free Fire
If you search for my list on the HeyUGuys Online Critics Top Ten you’ll see Free Fire made the top ten – that was until I saw another film at the end of December which bumped it off. Free Fire is a completely bonkers film and I can understand why it’s not for everyone. I really enjoyed it though, the action kicks off straight away and it never really lets up, the characters are hilarious and the whole thing is absurd.

10. Battle of the Sexes
I saw the documentary The Battle of the Sexes at Edinburgh Film Festival in 2013, that was the first time I really learnt anything about Billie Jean King and equal rights in men and women’s tennis. I was so happy that the dramatization of these true events was so well-acted and as gripping as the real thing.

9. Wind River
This was a beautiful yet harsh film. The mystery is intriguing and sad, and the cinematography is gorgeous. The performances in Wind River are all brilliant and I was brought to tears a couple of times by them.

8. Dunkirk
I don’t think I’ve ever been so tense watching a film in the cinema. No matter what people say, seeing Dunkirk in IMAX is an experience. It’s tense, scary, upsetting and stressful. It shows the best and worst in people and is a brilliant film.   (more…)

REVIEW: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters but when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance and instead breaks Amazon law to save one mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single act Diana not only puts her home, Themyscira, in danger but the entire world. Alia is a Warbringer – a descendent of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of conflict and pain. Diana and Alia will face enemies, mortal and divine, determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. The only way they can save the world is to stand together.

I had some trouble getting into Wonder Woman: Warbringer to start with. I think it was because I had both the film and the various comics featuring Wonder Woman I’ve read in my mind at first, where Diana was an adult and more respected and experienced with her abilities compared to the seventeen-year-old Diana featured in this book. But after 50 pages or so I got used to it and found myself falling in love with this Diana and her story.

It may sound a little cheesy but this book is about the power of friendship and girls sticking by one another. The friendship Diana and Alia forge in the face of such differences and with pretty much everything else against them is admirable. Also, Alia’s best friend Nim is great, she’s opinionated and doesn’t really have a filter but she’s so incredibly loyal. It’s the interactions between Diana, Alia, Nim, Alia’s brother Jason and their friend Theo that really makes this story. Through banter between them all you get to see what connections are already there and how they grow and adapt when Diana comes into the picture.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a great blend of action, drama and humour with a sprinkling of Greek mythology. While there are some fantastical elements, it always feels grounded. It’s an intriguing mystery that ends up with a thrilling finale that I couldn’t put down – I ended up reading it in just two days!

In the end, Wonder Woman: Warbringer gave me the same feeling as the recent Wonder Woman film did. It’s all about finding your inner strength and believing in the best in people and what they could potentially achieve. It’s a fast-paced adventure that I feel is perfect for both new and old fans of Diana. 4/5.

REVIEW: Wonder Woman (2017)

When pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands onto the home of the Amazons, bringing news of a war to end all wars, Diana (Gal Gadot) leaves her home and all she knows to go fight to save those who can’t protect themselves.

Diana is a brilliant hero. She’s confident in her powers and her beliefs so there is none of the “oh the pains of being a superhero” that you often see in superhero movies. She is strong and compassionate, and while she doesn’t always understand the world of Man, the film never makes it into a big deal or is condescending about her lack of experience.

There’s humour to be found in her bewilderment and it’s all very charming but never patronising. I think that’s one of the great things about Wonder Woman, it’s never defensive about its titular character nor its story, it’s sincere in the way Diana and the film itself, celebrates inner strength and the power of love and compassion.

In many ways, the film makes you wait for the action sequences, instead spending time allowing the characters to talk and learn from one another. These quieter moments are never boring and are often funny. That said when the action and fights do happen, they’re brilliant. The way you see Diana, and the rest of the women of Themyscira, fight is magnificent. They are all powerful and skilled and the way the camera shows off their skills is captivating. There is so slo-mo used, which does make sense as Diana can move super-fast, so you can really see how she avoids gunshots and bayonets.

Diana is an amazing character and the shots of her fighting side by side with Steve, and leading him and Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) into battle gave me chills. Gal Gadot gives a great performance, showing both Diana’s power and sensitivity in the face of war, and the quieter moments between her and the other characters are a delight. While there is sometimes a joke made about a woman in battle, none of the men who fight by Diana’s side ever doubt her or her abilities.

The villains in Wonder Woman aren’t the most well-developed but as that is something that could be said of a lot of superhero films, it’s not a huge complaint. I would much rather have a film with a fantastic hero and a mediocre villain, than a great villain and a dull hero. Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is an army General with grand plans and Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya) is a master at making poisons, she was an interesting character and it’d be cool to have learnt more about her.

Wonder Woman is a wonderful film. It’s very much a traditional superhero origin story but is a lot more charming and sincere with it. Diana is a brilliant hero who brings a sense of hope to the world. 4/5.

REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

batman v supermanBatman (Ben Affleck) vows to take on Superman (Henry Cavil) when he fears that if the alien’s actions remain unchecked, it could mean even more pain and destruction for humanity. Meanwhile Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is using Kryptonian technology to fuel his own ambitions and the world tries to decide what sort of hero they want and need.

This is Ben Affleck’s first outing as Bruce Wayne/Batman and he is brilliant in both roles. He is an older Bruce Wayne who has been the Batman for twenty years so he’s seen some stuff and is a bit world-weary and cynical. His relationship with Alfred (Jeremy Irons) is great and Alfred in general offers some great lines and the film shows how well Alfred and Bruce work together. All the Batman-related stuff is definitely a highlight of the film.

When Batman and Superman fight, it is brutal and it’s kind of great to watch. These are two of the biggest superheroes out there so to watch them duke it out is a sight to behold. Also when Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) finally makes her appearance it is an amazing “hero” moment and the soundtrack that starts when she appears is my new favourite piece of music.

The main problem with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is that there are a lot of characters with their own agendas so there are a lot of plot threads that don’t always seem vital or complete. Bruce Wayne has his own agenda, Lex Luthor has his own agenda and so does Wonder Woman, Clark Kent and even Lois Lane (Amy Adams). All these things are there and some of them are interesting but they just don’t really tie together that well. All these threads mean that the film feels really disjointed and the pacing isn’t that great a lot of the time, the first hour chunk especially is trying to set up so much stuff that it feels a bit bogged down and slow.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the launching pad for the DC Cinematic Universe and while it does a good job setting up some characters like Batman and Wonder Woman, sometimes it feels like it’s too much of a set up and there’s a moment where the film seems to pause to show off some characters that we’re very likely to see in future films. Batman v Superman feels like it’s trying to be too many things. As well as being a starting point for a new franchise, it feels like a gritty action film and a political thriller with the courtroom drama stuff. It feels like there’s too many ideas gone into Batman v Superman and not all of them worked or fitted together cohesively.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an alright film, there’s some great moments that really pull you in but on the whole there’s too much going on and the pacing of it isn’t so great. 3/5.