TMStash Team Review. For DC guru Ed “Silver Aged” Garrett’s Revew click here
The question that every comic book fan has, “Is Wonder Woman the movie that turns around the DC Extended Universe movies?” That is a great question considering the abysmal DCEU that gave us Batman v Superman. The Short answer is maybe.
Wonder Woman represents a tremendous accomplishment, and at the same time the righting of an egregious grievance. Televised superhero media has been available since the 60’s. DC has been making superhero television shows since 1975 with the TV adaptation of Wonder Woman but has not had a big screen appearance since then. Marvel, on the other hand, has been making superhero movies since 2000. Yet over nearly 6 decades and 50+ movies later we are only now coming to any sort of meaningful attempt at a female led comic book movie. So thank you DC for creating superhero movie where a badass woman get’s to be the star. As we know from the brief intro in BvS, she truly is a star.
This is the first movie for the DCEU that lives outside of the Batman vs Superman, and Justice League timeline. Wonder Woman is an origin story that takes place during World War I. The movie follows Diana (Gal Gadot) as a young girl who is born to an all-female race of Amazons where they train to fight against the return on Ares, the god of war. Diana then saves Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from the ocean where he nearly drowns after his plane crashes through the invisible barrier protecting the island and into the ocean. Diana then learns that WWI has been going on for 4 years and millions of people are dying in The War. This is when Diana’s story starts to become Wonder Woman’s story.
Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) does a great job of humanizing Wonder Woman as the woman Diana by making this an origin story, where Marvel has also found success with their franchises. This is one of the big reasons why this movie will be successful. The other would be the plot of the origin story. The story goes back to the days of the Greek Gods of Zeus and Ares. I won’t go into much more because I don’t want spoilers but the plot is very solid and very enjoyable and much better than Zach Snyder’s last few attempts at DC movies. I would be that the other 2 writers Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs played a big role in that.
All that being said, Wonder Woman, is fantastic. Not only because of what it represents in terms of exposure to an amazing female hero; but also what it represents for the future of the DCEU. We were not quiet about our feelings on BVS, and Suicide Squad was not much better. Some of that was due to Zack Snyder’s directing choices but it is refreshing to see something independent of him. With that being said Snyder’s touches are still apparent in the cinematography. 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. It was just sloppy in places but better than what we have seen in recent DCEU films.
It was an origin story, to be sure, and Marvel definitely beat them to the whole World War I thing. But to be honest, I think, “The First Avenger,” was not very entertaining but held up as a decent movie within the MCU. DC used the same formula for Wonder Woman, while providing a more interesting hero, and did an all around better job. And before you label me a Marvel hater, you should check out my review for BVS, I’m not pre-disposed to either side; I just hate bad movies.
Where this movie succeeded, in spite of the failure of literally every other movie in the DCEU, was in their commitment to not trying to do too much. Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and, Suicide Squad, all spent the entire length of their movies trying to make us care about the characters without effectively developing them. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, spends the first 30-45 minutes introducing the character and then lets the audience watch her grow. We get to see her develop from a naive idealistic girl lost in a foreign land into a fully fledged warrior; and it’s awesome!
There are some pitfalls, the final fight with Ares and the “love conquers all” thing are both massively tired tropes. At the same time they also represent the culmination of Diana’s character. She’s seen humanity for what it is, ugly and broken, but she has the strength to rise above it. Maybe we don’t deserve to be saved, but that isn’t the point. Diana has the strength to rise above man’s petty squabbles.
Wonder Woman was not without it’s issues and like most superhero movies, it isn’t going to please everyone. Does this movie show glimmers of hope for DCEU. Yes it certainly does! Not only for the future of comics in general; but also for the future of the DCEU. The story is entertaining and the jokes are funny. The music is memorable and the art direction is gorgeous. The message was very poignant and if DC keeps this up then we are in for an excellent ride. Well worth the price of admission.