There has been a dark cloud hanging over the DCEU since the days of Man of Steel. Fans have been on both sides of the fence and critics have blasted each iteration since. With the help of online review sites, the reception for the superhero movies has been lukewarm at best.
Then came Wonder Woman.
Expectations were low for the latest film release from Warner Bros and DC. Fans might have been looking forward to Wonder Woman since the announcement but given the studio’s black eye, worry was in the air. After all, this would be the first time the heroine had appeared in a solo adaptation for the big screen in her 75 year history. It’d also be the first time in 30+ years we’d see a live-action version of Wonder Woman.
So how did Patty Jenkins capture the essence one of DC’s most iconic characters?
Simple. Gal Gadot did for Wonder Woman what Heath Ledger did for the Joker. While you can’t compare the two roles, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to believe you couldn’t see anyone else in each role. From here on out, when the newer generation of fans thinks Wonder Woman, they’ll think Gal Gadot. Her appearance in Batman v Superman stole the hearts of viewers and was one of the bright moments in the film. After her solo adaptation, clearly, she can carry the iconic role into its own successful franchise.
But what about the movie?
If ever there was a turning point in the DCEU, fans will point to Wonder Woman as the start. Critics can compare it to Captain America and knock it all they want but those are the ones who know little about comics. Yes, they have similarities but true fans won’t care. Truth be told, comic book writers have borrowed ideas from characters for years. Deadpool was the answer to Deathstroke, Ironman is all too similar to Batman, even the Green Arrow took from its predecessor and first was a Batman clone. Learn to love the characters for what they are and the comparisons won’t matter.
Now when it comes to Wonder Woman herself, the movie played right into the history of the character. The hardest part about bringing the character to life is showing both the soft and nurturing mother figure and the tough Amazon warrior. Not only did they capture the essence of Wonder Woman there were plenty of little moments that added a special touch to the character. From openly defying military leaders, to taking charge on the battlefield, to swooning over a baby she’d passed in the streets Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins tethered the big screen adaptation of the comics perfectly. Her sense of wonder and excitement was mirrored perfectly by her take charge no-nonsense attitude.
The only gripe with the film was the villain selection. While each played their role, at times their part in the overall story seemed unnecessary as if you could’ve taken one out and still had the same story. However, when it comes to the overall picture it becomes a minor nitpick. Each character served their role and advanced the story. Could they have gone another way? Sure, but with how well it played to Wonder Woman as a whole it wouldn’t have mattered.
The take: Overall, Wonder Woman was DC’s best showing in recent memory. If fans can put down their gripes towards the DCEU and go in with an open mind they won’t leave disappointed. Go in with a sour taste in your mouth from the movies that come before it and you might find fault along the way. Unfortunately, it will ruin a great piece of cinema should you go that route. Wonder Woman was everything fans wanted out of a movie and even had a different feel to it all together. Something about it seemed more of an adventure than a battle vs good and evil. Going forward, any of their films that follow need to take cues from this film. Rating 8/10.