Stepping away from the NBA momentarily, I’d like to discuss a movie that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since my first viewing. It’s a movie that I’ve been eagerly anticipating since my childhood, if only because I was an odd child. Wonder Woman, the breakthrough DC Extended Universe film that both audiences and critics have seemingly enjoyed.
Up to this point, Warner Bros. have really mishandled the DCEU. Everyone up top has to bear the blame for stumbling out of the gate, especially when the Marvel Cinematic Universe had already gave you a solid template to work with by the time Man of Steel was released in 2013. They’ve been sloppy, quickly rushing things in an attempt to unify the Justice League as quickly as possible to combat The Avengers.
That’s why I was shocked to see DC go forward with Patty Jenkins’ vision and give her the keys to a solo Wonder Woman movie. Up to this point, they’ve really only allowed the spotlight to shine on one character for an entire movie; 2013’s Man of Steel. I had high hopes for this movie once I saw her cameo in trailers for Batman v. Superman, but I really couldn’t explain why to anyone who asked. People weren’t exactly sold on Gadot yet due to her brief screen time in Batman v. Superman, I don’t think most people were familiar with Patty Jenkins before this film (I won’t pretend I was), and no one I knew trusted the people in charge of the DCEU anymore after the failures of Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad.
To put it bluntly, Gal Gadot kicked ass. She brought a real sense of that compassionate energy that Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, has brought in her comic and animated iterations. She has now cemented her place in this universe, and I look forward to seeing her in Justice League, her recently announced sequel, and any other crossovers or cameos DC feels like she needs to appear in.
In the grand scheme of things, I wonder if this movie fits with the others in the DCEU. The characters of Diana and Steve Trevor were so much more fleshed out and likable than practically every other character in the DCEU up to this point. I was there with them when she saved a crash-landed Steve from drowning, I saw them cross No Man’s Land and reclaim a village, I saw them sneak into the German’s base, fight Aries, and watched Steve sacrifice himself. These were real heroes, people who actually did their best to save humanity. It’s a far cry from the mopey Superman of BvS who’s trying to understand why Batman is freaking out about the name Martha.
It isn’t that these heroes they’ve written in Man of Steel and BvS don’t share her morals and values. Batman and Superman have had opportunities to really show that they care about people like Diana does, and perhaps that’s due to Snyder lacking abilities as a director, as Patty Jenkins can throw a feather in her cap for the direction in this film. She gets much more out of her feminine cast than both Snyder and Goyer from their ensembles.
The film isn’t perfect, there’s some scenes where I picked out some less-than-satisfactory acting, such as when General Antiope asks an unnamed Amazon during our first look at Themyscria about another Amazon’s training performance.
“She’s doing good.”
“She’s doing good too.”
“Keep an eye on her.”
There’s nothing wrong with it, but when you’re watching it, you sort of realize it just doesn’t need to be there. There’s a few other scenes with just a few too many seconds to them that I would’ve preferred to trim down, and I also think it would’ve contributed to the pacing of the film, as it feels a little bogged down near the end when they have to travel to so many locations before having their final showdown with Aries. Also, David Thewlis looked absolutely ridiculous in that CGI suit during the final showdown. Stop giving us underwhelming villains DC, you’re better than that.
We’ve made history with this film. The first female director of a studio superhero movie, and honestly it’s the first big superhero movie where the hero is a woman. Catwoman and Electra sucked, and thankfully they seem to be getting more forgotten as time passes. Growing up, I never thought much about women not getting their proper due, partly because I was reading a comic book brand where one of the strongest characters was a woman. I hope this movie can have a similar effect on kids today, even if they get no entertainment from this film somehow.