Long story short: Wonder Woman is easily the best film DC has and probably will ever put out. If the quality of the DCEU matches that of this Patty Jenkins masterpiece, Marvel will have some serious competition on their hands these next few years.
Going into the theater, I had high hopes, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Man of Steel was impressive for its time, but Dawn of Justice dashed any of the hopes I might have had for either Superman or Batman. With the way Gal Gadot stole the show for me in BvS though — essentially the only reason I will ever subject myself to more than one viewing (if your name is Martha, I’m so sorry) — I hoped an entire movie focusing on her would just lasso the whole thing and bring it all in.
Spoiler alert: it did, in even more ways, better ways than I could have imagined.
This was pure entertainment at its finest, with beautiful scenes (Themyscira was all I ever imagined and more, if possible) and engaging effects and, best of all, a strong, well-developed, female character at the center of it all.
It’s about time we had more of those.
And when I say the fight scenes were incredible (made even more awe inspiring by the fact the Amazons were played by actual real-life athletes), I sincerely mean that. They weren’t throwaway action scenes simply meant to look cool (though they certainly did) — they added something in Diana’s journey from Amazonian princess-in-training to Wonder Woman. This wasn’t a mindless, run-of-the-mill comic book summer blockbuster, but an origin story in the most honest, earnest and natural of ways.
My personal favorite scene? One called “No Man’s Land” — trust me, you’ll know it when you see it.
It likely helped that a female director was at the helm: the talented Patty Jenkins was able to shine more of a light on some of the most essential elements of Diana — for example, her sense of compassion and desire for justice — rather than any of the things the director of Mulan is regrettably rumored to be doing (read: ‘a girly martial arts extravaganza,’ whatever that means).
If there was anything I was more than a little worried about though, it was Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor stealing the spotlight (call me a cynic, but I always find people quicker to praise undeserving male side characters than who we’re actually there for) but he and Gadot shared it beyond well. In fact, I would even go so far as to call him the DCEU’s Peggy Carter, which is the highest of compliments in my book. As rushed as two hours can sometimes feel, the chemistry between Gadot and Pine was enough — with small, charmingly awkward moments thrown into the mix — that the development of their relationship felt even more organic than Clark and Lois’, if we’re being honest. And not only that, but the entirety of the supporting cast nailed every second of screen time they were given.
MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT: In fact, I had little to no problems with the cast, other than the fact anyone thought Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) would make for a believable Ares. To be fair though, Sir Patrick was maybe third or fourth down on my list of probable suspects, which made for a fairly nice surprise, so I can appreciate the twist they were trying to pull there. (Just shave the mustache next time, maybe?)
END SPOILER (you’re safe now — there, there.)
With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%, critics have been likening the film to Captain America: The First Avenger, and I would be inclined to agree; after all, both were set during world wars, and both had particularly painful parallels towards the end. Steve Rogers and Diana Prince share more than a few common core beliefs, one of which being that they live to save innocent lives. However, beyond that? Not to discount the amazing places Marvel has gone, but the electric energy and the truly star performances throughout Wonder Woman knock Cap’s shield right out of his hands (and this is coming from someone whose favorite superhero film has been The Winter Soldier since 2014 — it’s safe to say, not anymore).
If you can’t tell just by watching how much painstakingly hard work went into this, I implore you to go out, buy another ticket, sit back and revel in the effort. In the immortal words of Supergirl’s Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), “every woman worth her salt knows [women] have to work twice as hard as a man to be thought of as half as good.” All throughout the process of producing this film, there were, at times, unfortunately very vocal critics around every corner, waiting to pounce (“women don’t like comic book movies, they only watch with their husbands, brothers, boyfriends, etc.”) — the pressure no doubt bearing down on those involved to make a successful movie that stayed true to Wonder Woman.
For what it’s worth, in my eyes? They’ve gone above and beyond.
My little sister, who could normally care less about superheroes and big franchises, had a good time throughout the movie, rooting for Diana when she went up against the impossible, worrying when even I didn’t have the answer to who Ares was.
And isn’t that why these movies are made?
This is a movie you will genuinely not want to end. It’s fun and empowering, especially for women (and those who identify as women!), because it doesn’t shy away from portraying romance or emotions or what could otherwise be referred to as “softness” or “weakness.” It also doesn’t weaken its heroine for the sake of “fairness” or anyone’s egos, because like it or not, Wonder Woman is a force to be reckoned with. A woman can bring down an entire army and still be capable of being vulnerable and shedding a tear. A woman isn’t lesser for that, as evidenced by Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons — I’ll stop. After all, it’s a line best saved for the hero herself.
Featured image courtesy of Warner Bros.