Through all its many inconsistencies, I, and many other fans, remain cautiously optimistic for DC's upcoming slate of movies. DC is not only responsible for some of the most intriguing, powerful characters in comic book history, after all, but they have a pre-DCEU track record for making some of the greatest superhero movies of all time. Remembering the past keeps our slim glimmer of hope for the future alive. Their latest, Wonder Woman, had to be good. DC and Warner Bros. needed this film to work. If they were to disappoint for a fourth time in a row, especially with a character as iconic as Wonder Woman (who fans have been waiting to see on the big screen for decades), then all hope for this franchise's future would be lost. While Wonder Woman isn't without its flaws, this is a step in the right direction for the DCEU, and if it bodes well at the box office, which it most certainly will, this could definitely be their much-needed game changer. Welcome back, DC. You've been missed.
Having grown up listening to stories of gods, Diana believes this war to be the doing of Hades, the god of war. Hippolyta wishes not to get involved, banning Diana from travelling with Steve to put a stop to the fighting, but Diana disagrees. Innocents are dying. The world is in chaos. She can’t stand by as all the violence ensures. She needs to do something, and that’s exactly what she does. Breaking her mother’s orders, Diana ventures out from the safety of her always-sunny island and into the murky, overcrowded, war-ridden streets of London, readying for a fight against Hades, who nobody seems to believe actually exists. But while this is all going on, and while Diana is befriending Steve’s bouncy secretary Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), the real villains are coming to power. General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) are in development of a gas that, if used effectively, could bring death to all their enemies, creating a swift victory for the German forces, if it doesn’t kill them, too.
Wonder Woman sees a personal story for Diana, more along the lines of The Dark Knight trilogy than more recent efforts such as Man of Steel. It’s a conflict of good and evil, as well as the corruption of mankind, but it’s delivered in a way that makes the main villains almost unnecessary, and thankfully so as they’re all drastically underdeveloped and clichéd. They’re not as important to the plot as, say, most of Marvel’s movies. They lay the groundwork for the story being told, and its messages of love and the pointlessness of war. There’s evil on both sides, something Diana refuses to believe as the horrors of war unfold around her. Her affection for Steve Trevor plays heavily into these, as he’s a solider who lies and manipulates on a daily basis. The Germans are portrayed as the bad guys, but it doesn’t necessarily make everyone else the good guys, either, and that’s why this a step above what audiences are prepared for.
As someone who’s read Wonder Woman comics before, I had a general idea of what was to go down in this movie. It’s an accurate adaptation of the wonderful, colourful source material, but even knowing the gist of what’s to come, the plot is still full of surprises. 2017 has been a year jam-packed with emotional comic book movies, whether it’s Logan, which left everyone in the theatre in tears, or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which was far more sentimental and moving than any MCU film before it. Wonder Woman is added to that list, and rightfully so. Due to its somber, quieter approach, it allows for a deep connection to these characters, especially the relationship between Steve and Diana, which resonated and affected me deeply. Gadot and Pine have great chemistry, most evident in a laugh-out-loud funny boat ride to London, where the two get to flex their comedic timing while reflecting on their own tormented pasts.
Wonder Woman isn’t necessarily my personal favourite DCEU movie, but it’s destined to be the best received. The screenplay is where this movie falters. For the majority of its runtime, which doesn’t feel nearly as long as it is, the screenplay works. The story being told and the characters involved are each distinct and wonderful, but the execution can occasionally fall flat. Humour is never forced in, which is a very good thing, but it’s used to varying degrees of quality. There are some genuinely hilarious moments, however a one-liner every so often fails to match the tone of the movie. “I’m both frightened and aroused,” says one of Steve Trevor’s loyal friends after seeing Wonder Woman take some men down in a bar with zero consequences, yet it’s one of the few lines that doesn’t fit. It’s not forced; it’s just not good. Also, I feel it should be noted that this marks the first time I think we’ve seen a penis gag in a DC movie, and it’s surprisingly handled well.
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