Let’s be frank for a moment, DC has proven to be a colossal dumpster fire that continues to spread garbage, disappointment and disgust ever since their second rate, hacked attempt at making a cinematic universe like Marvel with the (at best) mediocre “Man of Steel.” Every movie since that one has been colossal failure after colossal failure, with each film (impossible as it may seem) being infinitely worse than the last one. Many people claimed Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was one of the few highlights of “Batman vs. Superman”. I frankly felt she was just as flat and forgettable as the rest of the movie, but now she has a chance to shine and turn DC’s dismal reputation around with DC’s first solo female superhero movie, “Wonder Woman.”
On the protected, female dominated island of the Amazons, young warrior in training Diana (Gal Gadot) comes across the strangest thing she has ever seen: a man. WW1 pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on the island’s shores and reveals a world war is occurring; costing thousands of lives and affecting most of the civilized world. Unable to ignore the suffering of others, Diana goes to the mainland with Steve and use her unstoppable powers to turn the tides of war and stop whatever mystical or man based threat stands before her destiny and might.
I’m not going to pretend DC is my cup of tea, it isn’t; every movie they’ve made thus far has tasted more like burnt coffee than anything else. However, “Wonder Woman” has proven to be a success on many venues; including female actors, female directors, and female role models, and also, as the first successful vehicle for DC’s cinematic universe. “Wonder Woman” took a hollowed out, poorly acted cameo character from “Batman vs. Superman”, and turned her into a likeable, charming, relatable and passionately dedicated superhero that manages to stand up for herself, and for women everywhere without it coming off as obnoxious or at the belittling expense of her male co-stars. This film has more of the spirit and the charming quality storytelling we should have been receiving from DC at the very beginning.
“Wonder Woman” gives our titular hero an honest sense of likeability that washes away her giant eye browed mannequin performance in her last DC film. She’s funny, optimistic, brave, speaks her mind but not with arrogance; with honesty. Her story feels much like a fish out of water tale, and for most of the humor that is true, but it works surprisingly well with the Amazon princess in this setting. The horrors of war play off well with Diana’s adamant devotion to ending the conflict, as well as maintaining an optimistic belief that humanity is good and worth saving. It’s a very well-constructed lesson that plays especially well with her excellent chemistry with Chris Pine.
Speaking of Pine, he is the true highlight here as he has completely transformed himself from the womanizing rogue, Kirk, into an enjoyable male character that works perfectly alongside Gadot, both in charm, spirit, personality and in likeability. While the action scenes can be a truly spectacular sight to see (especially a scene involving WW marching right through “No Man’s land”), things tend to fall into pretty substandard superhero formulas by the tail end of the movie. The villain is brought in way too late to be effective and feels grossly miscast considering the nature of the role. On top of that, Lucy Davis’s character Etta is obnoxiously unfunny and no matter how high or grandiose the superhero spectacle becomes…it still never quite reached that sensational flare or burst of excitement I’ve gotten from past Marvel movies.
Some have claimed this is the turning point for DC movies to take a look at what they’ve done and start turning things around for the better, but then again, the same was said about “Suicide Squad” at one point too. “Wonder Woman” is a nice, welcomed entry but part of me feels it’s come too little too late to salvage DC’s abysmal track record, especially considering “Justice League: Part 1” looks about as dreary and miserable as the past DC movies. “Wonder Woman” is a delightful, decent step in the right direction for DC, but I fear it’s too much of a one-off hit rather than a sign of things to come for DC’s movie slate. I’ll happily be proven wrong if things change and I’m even more happy to see women finally getting their just dues on the big screen, let’s just hope this wasn’t a one hit wonder otherwise, DC isn’t going anywhere else except down, down, down.