By the heavens. Is it true? Is there an actual GOOD DCEU movie? It’s almost like we’re in a parallel universe. All joking aside, it’s no secret that Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe have been struggling, not financially, but critically. Critics and fans had issues with the way films like Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad were written and how the characters were portrayed. Plus, the grimdark tone and overwhelming cynicism made rewatching these movies a pain. WB and DC need a different strategy, which came in the fourth DCEU movie, the one comic book movie that I was excited for the most and, along with Justice League, the one that I was concerned about. How did this movie turn out? Well, let’s find out. This is Wonder Woman.
Princess Diana is born into a paradise island called Themyscira, home to the Amazons. When a pilot named Steve Trevor crashes near the island, she saves him from drowning and learns about the outside world of man where there’s a war going on. Diana decides to go with Steve and end the War To End All Wars. It’s very interesting that they set this movie during World War I instead of World War II, which services the plot much better. We’ve seen a lot of stories about World War II, but not many about World War I. Plus, it would seem TOO similar to Captain America: The First Avenger, which this movie has been compared to nonstop. While there are some similarities, there’s a lot of notable differences that makes Wonder Woman stand out. Plus it’s an origin story for Wondy that needed to be told because not many non-comic-reading people know about her origin, yet they know about Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man.
When it was announced that Gal Gadot was going to play Wonder Woman, there was a huge backlash from fans, criticizing her physical appearance and her limited experience as an actress. But when she became one of the few good things about Batman V Superman, the number of critiques went down and now with Wonder Woman, there’s not a peep. Gal IS Wonder Woman. She embodies the spirit of the character and everything that makes her great. Charming, a bit naive, and she inspires hope kinda like Superman.
She’s driven to explore the world outside of Themyscira and stopping World War I by killing Ares, the God Of War. She has great chemistry with Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine. Before meeting Diana, he was a spy who penetrated German forces to find out that they were developing a chemical weapon that could change the course of the war. He’s the first man that Diana has ever met and he sort of guides her through the world of mankind. Their scenes together are a real highlight, his more cynical views clashing with Diana’s hopeful ideals. He does his best to showcase the best of mankind to Diana and they eventually fall in love. Another highlight is Steve’s crew, Sameer, Charlie, and Chief. They were fun side characters with their own skill sets that are useful to the mission.
Even though the director, Patty Jenkins, never directed an action movie, she did a fantastic job with the action in this movie. The Germans invading Themyscira makes for a great action sequence showing how badass the Amazons truly are. The no man’s land sequence is a breath of wonder. Diana doesn’t give a fuck that the area is a death trap, she just pushes on through, which inspires Steve and the troops to go for an opening to save a village from the Germans. This scene shows Wonder Woman’s ability to inspire hope in people and fight for good. I also kinda like the reveal of Ares and how this movie deals with the topic of war. When she hears about World War I for the first time, Diana thinks Ares is responsible and if he’s killed, then the war will stop. Throughout the movie, they put focus on the German general Erich Ludendorff (who’s actually based on a real general with that exact name), leaving us to believe that he was Ares. But when Diana eventually kills Ludendorff, who she thinks is Ares, she sees that the war hasn’t stopped and she’s confused as to why. Then Ares himself shows up masquerading as Sir Patrick Morgan, a speaker for the Imperial War Cabinet. He explains that he wasn’t responsible for the war, mankind was. He just subtly gave them ideas and inspirations to carry out such war. I think this was a clever idea because it shows that there isn’t always a singular evil force pulling all of the strings. Some people out there do have malice in their hearts and do horrible things. And this message fits the World War I setting way more than World War II. This leads into the climatic battle in the third act between Wonder Woman and Ares, which is just another CGI slugfest that you’d see in other blockbuster movies. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t hold up well compared to the rest of the film. During this fight, Ares tries to recruit Diana and show her the ugly side of mankind that makes them unworthy of saving. After seeing Steve Trevor sacrifice himself in stopping the chemical weapons from killing many innocents, Diana realizes the good side of mankind and rejects Ares’ offer, defeating him with her power. Some viewers will think that Ares’ defeat lead to the end of World War I, which is wrong because this happened at the same time as the armistice that was gonna end the fighting anyways. Also, explain World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, and all of the bullshit going on in the Middle East and all across the world.
I give Wonder Woman an 8/10. This is the best DC movie since The Dark Knight. It shows what made Wonder Woman such an iconic superhero for 75 years. The acting is phenomenal all across the board, the cinematography is excellent (especially in the first half), the action scenes are thrilling and exciting (though they could’ve took it easy on the slow-mo), and its moral holds up. Watching this movie gave me the same feeling I had while watching Richard Donner’s Superman for the first time. It’s fun, it has color, and it has likable, interesting characters. I can see myself watching this movie again and again. I don’t want to say that this film saved the DCEU because it’s just one movie. But this one movie can be a guideline for future DC films and steer them towards the right direction. This is what Warner Bros and DC should be doing. Don’t just copy Marvel or make every character like Batman, make movies that inspire because that’s the appeal of DC. The big difference between Marvel and DC is how they write their superheroes. In general, Marvel has heroes you can relate to while DC has heroes that you look up to and aspire to be. Will Justice League deliver a movie in that same vein that’s both fun and epic? Who knows? We’ll have to wait until November 17. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.