With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), DC tried to get out of their rut with the inception of 2013’s Man of Steel; which was coincidentally one year after the colossal financial gain that The Avengers happened to see. Since then, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has been financially successful though, and this isn’t bias, critically atrocious. After the disappointment Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice many waited for the promising Suicide Squad; after that film was somehow lousier, audiences were understandably timid to allow their excitement for Wonder Woman to reach levels that films of it’s nature had garnered in the past. Well, after four years and four films, the DCEU has finally introduced not just a great superhero movie, but a damn good film.
“The film is sympathetic, it’s delicate, and it’s emotional.”
Wonder Woman tells the origin of Princess Diana, an Amazonian warrior who travels to Europe at the tail end of WWI with an American Spy in order to defeat Ares, the god of war. The film stars Gal Gadot as the title character and other than a cameo in the aforementioned Batman V Superman and a small role in the Fast & Furious franchise Gadot is a well-known Israeli model. The love interest to the film’s superheroin (a role unfortunately usually reserved for a female actress) is Chris Pine, a perfect casting choice whose able to bring his charm (as displayed in his being Prince Charming in Into the Woods) and flex his dramatic muscles in many of the scenes most emotional moments.
Not only is this film the first superhero movie to have a female protagonist since 2005’s Elektra, but its also the first superhero film to have a female director. Patty Jenkins’, whose primarily known for being behind the camera on numerous television series, last feature film was 14 years ago with Charlize Theron’s Monster. As it should be, the film’s good not because it’s directed by a female, the film isn’t going to be acclaimed because the director’s feminine fingerprints litter the film, the film is a success because it’s helmed by a talented and passionate director, who also happens to be a woman.
What the film did right was that it never did wrong. To be perfect you don’t have to reinvent the wheel nor do you have to be the biggest spectacle the world has ever seen, you just have to have your eyes fixed on a concrete vision and make a film that you, as a fan and film-lover, would want to see. There’s no blue-sky-beam to nowhere, there’s no character whose solely there to be an exposition machine, there’s no antagonist with a convoluted evil plan; there’s only a protagonist who feels sincere and with her team tries to stop the most heinous villain: man.
Michael Bay-style action is always enjoyable but only works in a film that warrants that type of extravaganza. The action in Wonder Woman is so appreciated because of how conservative it is; even when cars are being thrown and lighting bolts are being flung, it still feels like the fighting has meaning behind it, the motivation isn’t because the director thinks this is what the audience wants, but because it’s what the characters would do. Potentially, it’s the preface to the action that makes it so justified. We aren’t just marveling at the theatricals before us but we are behind our woman. Wonder Woman isn’t filled with mindless explosions and testosterone that clutters the Summer Hollywood scene. The film is sympathetic, it’s delicate, and it’s emotional. Watching Diana frantically question the horror that war leaves is something more emotional than we will see in most of this years Oscar nominees. Gadot and Pine’s chemistry is something to admire; never did it feel forced. Two young and talented actors knew how to treat the evolution of their character’s romance, neither ever being the object for the other’s affection.
It’s so hard to point to a certain aspect or component that is the reason for the film’s delivery. The film is exactly what every blockbuster should hope to achieve. It captivated audiences; they gasped, they applauded, they laughed, they cried, and they and the studio executives will surely remember the pleasure of experiencing this film and the indubitable success that will follow.