*Wonder Woman*, the movie

Very enjoyable and well-paced, at least until the very end, and Gal Gadot is spectacular.  Yet immediately beneath the facade of the apparently rampant feminism is a quite traditional or even reactionary tale of martial virtue being inescapable, gender attraction overwhelming all other social considerations, and Christian sacrifice and redemption.  (Hollywood is usually less left-wing than you think it is going to be.)  Beyond that, the visuals are striking, the scenes of WWI London ring true, the chemistry between the two leads is evident, and the 3-D effects add value.  The soundtrack/score could have been better.  The informed viewer will notice cinematic references to the key “charge the Anthill” scene of Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, blatantly restaged with the marginal impact of Wonder Woman, various Batman movies, Transformers, Ray Harryhausen, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, among other creations.  The final image left me unsettled and I am glad they had the guts to leave it in; this is not a movie opposed to violence.


"Hollywood is usually less left-wing..."

But only because they're selling a product to regular people. When they're selling something to themselves (award season movies) they're more left wing.

And with that movie review, Tyler can keep his job for the Fall semester.


Calm your tits, OJ. Tyler actually happened to watch the movie and accurately report on it. I revile 3rd-wave feminism, and I liked the movie. It's extremely fair in terms of gender - good men and bad, good women and bad, and if any 'class' was turned into a caricature, it would be zee Germans (for an international movie, the Germans will accept unfair abuse heaped upon them, so I get it). Wonder Woman/Diana is not a stereotype, she's got a sense of humor in addition to a sense of wonder and honor.

It was good to see innocence prevail. If I had any gripe it would be the liberties they took with the Greek pantheon, because the main villain reminded me more of Mephistopheles, or some God of Nihilism, more than Ares. And this is a petty gripe. Plenty of Christian teachable moments in it, and it's fun besides. I recommend the movie.

I usually avoid 3D movies because I spend the first 10 minutes or so of the movie unable to properly focus and see. And after my eyes finally do adjust, I do not find the 3D effects enhance my experience. The most recent Star Trek movie had minimal adjustment time, but also minimal 3D effects AFAICT -- it seemed more like 2.1D.

Tyler can be a useful guide in some areas, less useful in others. I'm not sure if I should believe his endorsement of the 3D in this movie.

I always suspected yet without assumption that digging holes was man's highest achievement and the manicheans did so with the upmost eloquency.

"(Hollywood is usually less left-wing than you think it is going to be.)"

That's generally been true at least since "Lord of the Rings" / 9-11.

I wonder how Hollywood will change when it becomes clear that ISIS and its assorted allies and rivals aren't only going for 9/11 type "spectaculars" but the steady drip-drip of Manchester and London.

You should better ask in Langley, Virginia.

The LotR movies still mostly sucked though, with the exception of about half of Fellowship (the Moria sequence was very good, and just about the only time in the trilogy where Jackson seemed to "get" the source material). But the rest...this comment section is too small to contain my proof.

The LotR movies still mostly sucked though

Huh? I loved all 3 of them. What exactly did you find wanting in the movies?

I enjoyed them all, but Fellowship was the only one where the script didn't frequently make a mess of the plot and characters, and mediocre storyboarding and editing didn't ruin the tone too often. The Moria sequence was absolutely the longest continuous stretch of great film-making. Peter Jackon's other movies are generally much worse, but Heavenly Creatures was worth watching.

Judging by handle, too many orcs, not enough elder horror.

Every time Jackson departed from the books, pretty much without exception, he fundamentally misread the story for the worse. A handful of specific examples: shoehorning Arwen into the flight to the Ford of Bruinen; having the Dead Army win the Battle of the Pelennor; making Gimli a buffoon; making Frodo passive and, for lack of a better word, wimpy; the cartoonish battle between Gandalf and Saruman; focusing the entire second installment on one battle; and elimination of the Scouring of the Shire. (I don't care about eliminating Bombadil per se, but that decision also meant that the Barrow-wights had to go, and that was a big mistake.) Basically, Jackson seemed to see the series as a big set of superhero stories, and developed the script accordingly. Big mistake.

Fortunately, The Silmarillion is basically unfilmable, and Christopher Tolkien has shown no interest in licensing it anyway (yay!).

You forgot to mention that he cast a boy in the role of Frodo, instead of a middle aged man.

In any case, the best thing to come out of the movies was DM of the Rings: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612

OK, I understand where you are coming from. I guess I did watch the movie as a series of superhero stories, so I ended up liking them. I only read the books later, so that didn't spoil my movie experience. Still hasn't; I've got the extended edition set, and re-watch it once in a while.

You're too much of a book purist. The whole point of the story is that Frodo is the weaker character. He's the guy that comes back from from the war with PTSD and kills himself. Samwise is the real hero.

Who needs DM of the Rings when we've got "Bored if the Rings"? Or don't the young whippersnappers know that one? :-)

Hazel, I'm a story purist - and the story that Jackson told is largely inferior to the story that Tolkien told.

_Bored of the Rings_ was great, but some of its commercial references will probably not be recognized by younger readers today: Moxie, Goodgulf, Bromosel, etc.

"Aiee!" cried Legolam "a Ballhog!"

I liked the LOTR movies, though yes there were flubs (Elves at Helms Deep!) My major criticism is that the combat sequences, including in Moria, were overdone and over-long, forcing cuts to other material.

I saw the movie yesterday but for some reason cannot remember the final image you're referring to. Could you remind us what it was?

Diana leaping off into some battle, straight at the screen. Was that what Tyler meant? It wasn't "violent."

A much better more than Batman V Superman or Suicide Squad. Shows what happens when you have a five-year-old read your script and listen when he says "wait this is stupid."

The fascist-like Wonder Woman icon/emblem/image.


I guess minds can be blown.

WW is sitting at her desk, emailing Bruce Wayne... she hears an explosion or something like that... then she jumps into action... over *London*.

She's literally fighting terrorism in London.

Pretty sure she works at the Louvre. We see its distinctive pyramid in the opening bookend.

Sadly, "fighting a terrorist attack in Paris" is only a few weeks different than "fighting a terrorist attack in London."

So does WW go along with firing on her own troops or demand written orders? (PoG is one of the top three Kubrick movies...)

Jackie Robinson

54 9
64 10
24 12 Ace of Spades
42 13 29 911

50 Shanti Shanti Shanti
Ole Shanti Robinson
95 Cascade Road in North Stamford, Connecticut; he was 53 years old

Hollywood is usually less left-wing than you think it is going to be.

I think, once a Hollywood movie has portrayed evil Germans as the prime villains in its movies, it's honored its contract with left-wingers. The rest of the plot can contain whatever will appeal to regular people and make money.

I wonder if Ludendorff deserved the portrayal he got in this movie though. He wasn't quite a Nazi, at least not until after the war ended.

Palm de couldasack, the has beens, the too lates, the fifty seconds rat race, the tall order of scotch-and-soda, it'll been worth it mina amigos.

"Blockbusters" have changed some since they all are trying to get past the Chinese censors. How many are approved to show in China? I heard it was like 5 a year but that can't be right.

I think that's what explains some of the weird casting choices and sometimes incomprehensible script writing. Especially with some of these superhero movies where the hero is darker and the moralizing is foggier than it used to be.

Moo cow, many people have noted that heroes and heroines are darker these days. But you are the first I've seen to note the moral fogginess. I enjoy Chinese movies, but many don't seem to know or care about the difference between right and wrong. They're not like American films that either uphold conventional morality, or gleefully and consciously violate it. For the Chinese, class sometimes takes the place of morality, but even then, that's more like a plot device to get you to root for the hero. It does not seem to be deeply felt.

Yes, thanks for your comment.

For what it's worth the 23 year old girl I just asked thought the ending was about the relative darkness of the Marvel vs DC comic book universes. Whatever that means.

Most of the world's bad music taste can attribute to one derek mckechnie for believing he's truly santa callus.

We need a 20-year moratorium on film adaptations of comic book garbage.

Movies used to be interesting, didn't they? At least, sometimes? I liked that Tom Cruise one in the 90s.

Female empowerment does not require a woman to adopt male attributes or wear a skimpy outfit, but then it wouldn't be a super heroine movie.

Female empowerment does not require a woman to cover up, either. It actually doesn't require women to do anything, except take responsibility for themselves!

That's a novel definition, one certainly not approved by the regnant Left which seeks to decouple power and responsibility for its clients!

Mainstream superhero comics have always been half-assed quasi-Marxist and Freudian propaganda put out by Jews.

In the "good old days" of 1941, Captain America was a white man who was developed into a "superhero" because Adolf Hitler - The Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived - was trying to take over the planet and enslave all of humanity with the help of Stygian figures representative of necrosis and human sadism like the Red Skull.

"Superman" was a hokey, buffoonish creation - presented as a misunderstood, but eminently superior, alien specimen who hailed from a planet where everybody coincidentally had a Hebraic name. A nice Jewish gentleman created the character, so as to convey to silly goy slobs that they should get beyond their natural jealousies and accept their basic moral and mental and physical inferiorities in the face of the Alien interlopers who are their natural betters.

Batman was portrayed as an adult man who dresses up in what can only be described as leather fetish outfits and hangs around a catamite "boy wonder" who never leaves his side.

We don't even need to get into the retro torture-porn chic that was the output of EC Comics to recognize what this medium always represented at the popular cultural/mass distribution level.

Superhero comics are 1) Jewish 2) Gay 3) Basically steeped in Communist moral metaphors. Yeah, that's interesting to note - it's also been the case for about a century.


Yeah, this is embarrassing, Thomas. There's plenty of actual whackadoodle propaganda in the comics world without resorting to (((conspiracy theorism))). If anyone wants examples of whackadoodle propaganda, I'll provide some. And I will do it in the spirit of realizing that the 70's must have been a confusing time.

"In the “good old days” of 1941, Captain America was a white man who was developed into a 'superhero' because Adolf Hitler – The Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived – was trying to take over the planet and enslave all of humanity with the help of Stygian figures representative of necrosis and human sadism like the Red Skull."

Yes, because you have to be a Jewish Communist to think the Nazis were bad.

When will steeple realize that Hitler was an American hero until (((Superman))) and (((Batman))) unfairly ruined his reputation.

...and Thomas outs himself as an anti-Semite.

Duly noted.

I hope President Putin pays you well for coming with this sort of fantasia. You sound a lot like the guy who told us a few years ago that Game Of Thrones was propaganda for the International Jewish-Gay Agenda.

Ludendorff was a pretty nasty character in reality, as bad as you can get from a high German WW I commander. Curiously the actor playing him looks somewhat like him, although not nearly as mean. Ludendorff was reputedly utterly devoid of humor, and he did say that peace was just an interval between wars. He stole credit for "his" victory at Tannenberg from Hoffman. He was the father of the "stab in the back" theory that fueled the Nazi rise after the war and was so pro-Hitler he participated in the Beer Hall Putsch. In the late 20s he was the leader in the parliament of the National Folkish Party, the nationalist predecessors of the Nazis, and he opposed Hindenburg from the right. No, he made a good villain, although they made it too good with him getting killed off in the movie.

As for a sneaky feminist trope, you have the matter of Wonder Woman now working in the Louvre under the glass pyramid where in The Da Vinci Code the supposed Holy Grail remnants of Mary Magdalen are.

And as for the film version of the Fellowship of the Ring, it dumped the whole Tom Bombadil episode, although probably that was necessary. Anyway, not obviously so much closer to the text, although maybe marginally so (and this is Marginal Revolution, after all).

Didn't Ludendorff oppose Hitler once he came to power?

Yes, he attacked Hitler for not taking the threat of "World Jewry" seriously enough and he believed the Nazis were going to sell Germany out to the Pope.

I saw Wonder Woman this afternoon, and, had it not been for this post, I would have left the theater thinking that I had experienced a remarkable movie, but not much beyond that. So thanks to Tyler for some mental stimulation.

However, I think he misses some important points.

1. The movie doesn't have a façade of feminism, because feminism is not really about exceptional women; there has never been a shortage of such people, and being a great warrior when you were created by the god of thunder isn't particularly noteworthy. Rather, I think that feminism is about elevating social/economic/political opportunity for women who are not extraordinary, but, just like regular men – probably more so given historical injustices -deserve a chance to build meaningful lives on their own terms. Wonder Woman, to me at least, has little to offer here.

2. Regarding the martial virtue point, and the concern about the film’s final image, I am of two minds. Yes, I think that the value of physical power and military might are vastly overestimated, and I agree that the emphasis on these things is somewhat reactionary. For example, it astonishes me that Pentagon planners, and large numbers of think tankers, believe that the U.S. should double down on a high tech military competition with China based on lessons derived from Cold War offset strategies, when the clearest lesson from the Cold War is that intense security competitions between nuclear armed great powers puts the planet at risk of Armageddon. Nevertheless, it is useless to pretend that violence isn't a real threat, not just on the world stage, but behind the closed doors of people's homes. The CDC finding that roughly 1/3 of women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes suggests that a larger measure of female martialness may be socially desirable (https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVS-StateReportFactsheet.pdf). If I ever have a daughter, I hope that she would be warlike enough to effectively defend herself under such circumstance. And, with that objective in mind, I do not see the final image of Wonder Women leaping into battle as reactionary or possibly fascist, I see it as a symbol of regrettable, but sometimes necessary violence. Would it be bad if this symbol overwhelmed all others – certainly; but the same can be said for images of Captain America, or images in general really.

3. Finally, on the gender attraction point, I don't think it is surprising that two highly attractive, dedicated people, sharing the same mission, fell in love with each other. Nor is it shocking that the loss of her first romantic love triggered something primal in the film’s hero. This isn't a reactionary tale, it's an eminently human one.

To me, the most reactionary aspect of the movie was the insistence that humanity is worth saving. Given our treatment of each other, and, much more significantly, our treatment of other species, that strikes me as being a highly contestable proposition.

I think the clearest lesson from the cold war is far from what you have presented.

Since Thucydides (popular cold war reading in some circles) we have known that nations build alliances and power blocks to deter their enemies, reducing local wars between states in the short term at the cost of leading up to much more widespread wars between the two top alliances in the long term, typically starting with a surprise attack by whichever of the two top alliances felt that its position was slipping fast enough that its only chance was to strike NOW.

What the cold war demonstrated was the success of second strike strategic weapons in deterring these rare but wide-ranging conflicts between grand alliances.

"What the cold war demonstrated was the success of second strike strategic weapons in deterring these rare but wide-ranging conflicts between grand alliances."

+1. Though that obviously leaves a great deal of scope for more constrained conflicts.

What is "contact sexual violence"? Is there such a thing as "non-contact" violence?

Wait for the next movie ripping the middle class and fly over land.

It was a simply dreadful film, not because it succeeded or failed at feminist themes (failed).

The worst part was the first 45 minutes on Amazonland, or whatever it's called. If you ever needed confirmation that feminism is a white woman's notion, check out the utter lack of diversity on the island. All white women, a few token blacks, one Asian who has almost certainly doctored her eyes. No Hispanics I could see, no Indians, no indigenous folk. The dialog on the island is worse, if possible, than those sci-fi films from the 30s, in which a matriarch ordered an underling, "Take him to my chambers. He shall be my concubine for the evening." That would have been an improvement. No hint of sex--what the hell are they doing in all that time? No sign of them studying or reading or inventing. We hear later that Diana knows a million languages, but never see it. All we see is scantily clad women shooting arrows and riding horses. (I know, I say that like it's a bad thing.)

Then, a bunch of German WWI soldiers are chasing a guy on a plane in their boats, go through a magic curtain, and find themselves on the surf of an incredible island with white sandy beaches and hundreds of those scantily clad, beautiful women rushing towards them. Do they say, "Mein Gott!" and reassess their priorities? No. They shoot them.

Diana has to claw her way up a steep tower to get the shield, which is weird because her whip and those wristbands seem to do all the heavy lifting she needs. Also, why did she have to climb up the tower? Her mother apparently would have let her go. Unclear where, exactly, Amazonland is. They didn't seem to go through the curtain on the way back, and magically pick up a tow in just one night.

Once they get to England, the story goes from utter dreck to below-average action film. Bad guy is easily identified. Pointless battle scenes, and they aren't very good. I'm not particularly hung up on Marvel, but the elevator scene in Winter Soldier is stupendously bad ass, and that's one of at least five superior action scenes in just one Captain America film--Cap being the most directly analogous character to Wonder Woman, a man out of time. For a feminist, Wonder Woman needs 4 men who, in fact, do all of the heavy lifting to actually save the world. Diana's primary point of interest being someone basically unnecessary to the action. For reasons inexplicable, she's unable to figure out what Steve is saying to her until 20 minutes later. What's that about, anyway?

Pine is great. I liked the guy from Vantage Point. Robin Wright is about as good as possible in horrible opening. Thewlis is fine. Gadot is feeble.

Brave indeed, the reviewers with a job to lose who point out how terrible the movie is.

I can't tell satire from a fundy. Please do Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark next!

If any of that was serious, complaint about Diana being naive: you're witnessing a transition from naivety (all you have to do is kill Ares, which congrats on identifying him so early) to knowledge, while still retaining innocence (all you have to do is quell the evil in all men's hearts, including your own). If you complain that despite being clearly the most powerful member of a team, and despite being the soul of the team, that she was still on a team, then you should probably look up what a team is. If you complain about a lack of lezsex, may I please direct you to redtube.

It was all serious, but it was intended for people who actually understood what they'd read. For example, the complaint about Diana's naivete was all of your own invention.

"For reasons inexplicable, she’s unable to figure out what Steve is saying to her until 20 minutes later. What’s that about, anyway?"

Sorry, figured you were capable of making that connexion on your own.

"Do they say, “Mein Gott!” and reassess their priorities? No. They shoot them."

This is a problem with baddies in most action films - generally their actions are completely unmotivated by anything except driving the plot forward. The older I get the more this bothers me. Even though the Germans in the Indiana Jones films are equally stupid, the Nazi tag allows a little more suspension of disbelief. Making enlisted Germans in WWI faceless badguys is a step too far for me. Even Ernst Jünger would have dropped his gun and gone to fraternize in that situation. Sure, some regiments might have the occasional annoying Gefreiter from Austria who didn't like women, but that would have been a small, small minority.

I'll agree with this. The Germans were caricaturized into Snidely Whiplash stormtroopers. WW1 was a tragedy all around, no good or bad guys, just suicide of the West. I'll even say #NotAllGermans for WW2, including the soldiers. I don't mind good and evil being clear-cut, but I don't care for classes being inherently such. As far as LOTR, even Tolkien regretted the uniform evil of the orcs, and it bothered me too.

This is doing apologetics for the movie, I'm aware, but once Ares was defeated, and Diana realized that beauty as well as horror was common to all, and refused to kill (spoiler)... well, the Germans in the facility did start acting human again.

The worst part was the first 45 minutes on Amazonland, or whatever it’s called. If you ever needed confirmation that feminism is a white woman’s notion, check out the utter lack of diversity on the island. All white women, a few token blacks, one Asian who has almost certainly doctored her eyes. No Hispanics I could see, no Indians, no indigenous folk.

Given the historical and mythological context, why did you expect the Amazons to be diverse in a contemporary sense?

No hint of sex–what the hell are they doing in all that time?

Not familiar with the source material, I see.

No sign of them studying or reading or inventing. We hear later that Diana knows a million languages, but never see it. All we see is scantily clad women shooting arrows and riding horses.

It's mythology-derived fantasy, not science fiction. You're overthinking it.

Best Review of a Movie Ever since Pinkett.

I'm from Gamergate. What am I supposed to say?

Well, 'Calm your tits, OJ.' seems to be the sort of thing one would expect, actually.

Well yeah, Nazis are everywhere. Anyone who disagrees with me about anything is one.

I doubt it. It is quite possible for someone in China to disagree with you about anything without being a Nazi.

As a matter of fact, that applies to just about everybody who disagrees with about anything who isn't a Nazi, which is pretty much everyone on the planet, actually.

Not you too, Tyler please. Is feminism a left-wing philosophy now? Or perhaps "rampant feminism" is? Well what is that, because if we're talking about misandry let's call a spade a spade. Is martial virtue and gender attraction not feminist and therefore not left-wing?

May a liberal-minded feminist humbly seek enlightenment in wonderful platforms such as MR without not so much as being offered a debate on the virtues of left/right wing policies/philosophies but rather an inane jab at a cartoon representation of my worldview?

The nice thing about the contradictions in feminism is that one can act like an extreme feminazi retard and yet be attacked for being un/anti-feminist.

Thus, you go overboard to portray women as no worse than men in terms of "martial virtue", and you get dubbed "traditionalist" for supporting "traditionally masculine" virtues. You go overboard with affirmative action etc., and you get attacked for "soft bigotry of low expectations" or something.

When leftists who start out as rebels against the establishment themselves become the establishment, they need to generate such contradictions and play both sides of the game so that they can continue being rebels.

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