The DC Extended Universe finally has a coherent, entertaining, and genuine superhero story. The sincerity of Wonder Woman comes, in part, from its period setting and positioning outside of a meticulously structured, episodic timeline. Mostly, though, director Patty Jenkins’ origin story succeeds by creating a convincing heroine who’s actually selfless and a true source of inspiration. And Gal Gadot’s perfect blend of battlefield courage and uncomplicated compassion provides a formidable champion we have fun rooting for.
Playing like Donnie Darko crossed with half-baked Coen brothers sensibilities, Buster’s Mal Heart feigns complexity and depth to hide a relatable, yet tedious story about a man trapped in his mundane reality. The fractured journey to spiritual and narrative revelation is made tolerable by smoothly expressive star Rami Malek, but the film is never as intriguing as what’s suggested by his soulful, straight-faced gaze.
The “Dark Universe” has begun with a big dud. The Mummy, the first building block in Universal’s new cinematic world inhabited by the studio’s classic movie monsters, is a mess. Wandering aimlessly between tame horror, cutesy comedy, and world-building with little context, the film is a murky, shapeless mass of marketing materials. There are big CGI moments made for the trailer, lame zingers, and, of course, the promise (threat?) of similar spinoffs. What’s missing is any sense of identity or purpose.