The DCEU is a bad place. After the early struggles, a saviour is needed to rescue it. Can Wonder Woman be that hero?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. Wonder Woman is easily the best of the DCEU films to date, and provides some much-needed warmth to an otherwise set of cold characters.
It would be wrong of me to turn Gal Gadot (who plays the titular character) into an object, but can I just say, she is beautiful, and radiates a mixture of innocence and passion that is difficult to pull off. The journey of Diana (Wonder Woman is obviously not her real name!) from curious and headstrong child to who she becomes by the film’s end, is one of the most compelling origin stories yet done by a comic book adaption, and much of this is due to the strength of Gadot’s acting. At no point, even when facing the horrors of World War I head on, is Diana vulnerable, even though she is understandably baffled by social rules that make no sense to her.
At first, Diana is naïve, believing she can stop the war single-handedly (and end all wars) by slaying a god. However, she hurls herself into this task without fear, facing her enemies in the name of justice. Even as she gradually comes to realise that this ideal is too lofty, she remains true to herself – she fights for what is right, not for revenge or out of hatred.
There’s a reasonable supporting cast, though the only two characters we see much of are Diana, and Chris Pine’s character, Steve Trevor (an American assigned to British Intelligence). Trevor is trying to open Diana’s mind to the realities of the world, whilst at the same time admiring and drawn to Diana’s innocence and spirit.
There’s been a distinct lack of women superheroes on the big screen, and Wonder Woman is an important step in correcting that. This movie shows that a powerful female lead works, and works well, and that a woman can direct a blockbuster. It’s much better than the previous DCEU efforts, though it’s not quite at the level the best MCU films have to offer. It is heartfelt, funny, and tinged with emotion. The only area where it falls down is with the villains. Danny Huston is German General Ludendorff, who is somewhat one-dimensional, and Elena Anaya doesn’t get enough screen time as Dr Maru (aka Dr Poison). There is a nice twist toward the end, involving David Thewlis’ character, but the villain curse has once again struck a comic book film. Despite this, it’s still an excellent movie. 8/10.