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Just a note – I’ve been reading Wonder Woman since the 1960’s, when comics were just 12 cents, through the George Perez years, through a variety of writers and artists and even to today. I was also a big fan back in the 70’s of the Lynda Carter WW television series. All that means that I carried a lot of hope into this movie…with a little trepidation after somewhat lesser performances from recent DC films. I need not have worried.
This was, for me, the best superhero movie in the last several years – and one that shows the DCEU actually has a chance to rise above its more recent somewhat disappointing outings. Here’s what Wonder Woman got right that so many other superhero flicks have missed:
- The protagonist is a beacon of hope, even if the world is dark and grim. That’s important, and it’s what BvS missed. The hero doesn’t have to be grim-dark…and if you are Wonder Woman (or Superman, just saying), it is critically important to be that figure that represents something more noble, something higher, something more…hopeful. Diana’s first appearance on the battlefields of Europe is a great example, and thankfully far from the only example of that hope in the midst of chaos.
- Diana’s character was allowed to be a bit naive about the outside world without appearing stupid. It’s one thing to be a “fish out of water” – but another entirely to be portrayed as less than smart. Diana is shown to be highly intelligent, even the master of “hundreds of languages”, while still learning about the rest of humanity.
- The origin tale with the young Princess Diana was perfect – something I only wish I could say about most other super-films. And, the young Diana was absolutely adorable.
- Gal Gadot’s portrayal – We’ve thought for some time that Gal Gadot was a great choice for WW, after she basically stole BvS. In this movie, she delivers a convincing, even charismatic performance. Gadot delivers even those pithy superhero “I’m going to get you” type lines with conviction – and frankly does so better than anyone I’ve seen in a superhero flick in many, many years. Gadot handles both emotional scenes and action sequences exceptionally well – she has taken this iconic role and made it her own.
Just a couple of negatives – and these are minor complaints:
- The cinematography and editing was fantastic in some scenes and a bit off in others. In some of the scenes that involved Diana fighting as part of a team, it was at times difficult to figure out where she was in relation to the rest of the group. In another scene, we know that Diana ends up with her sword after leaving it…somewhere…but we don’t see exactly how she retrieves it. You’ll understand what I mean when you get to that scene. Basically, the editing could have been just a little sharper.
- The double entendres that plagued some of the early scenes weren’t truly necessary…just a little distracting.
Still, this was an outstanding movie, and again by far the best DCEU offering in a very long time. We can only hope Warner Bros. and DC recognize what they have here…and that it has an impact on what we have ahead in Justice League and beyond.