I didn’t mean for this to be a two part review. But part one turned into a defense of DC movies in general. I warned about spoilers yesterday, but then I don’t think I gave anything away. So those spoiler warnings carry over to this post.
Also, you are warned that I am an unapologetic fan of DC Comics and its characters. I don’t hate the things that come from the Marvel side of the comic book universe, but I do harbor a great deal of frustration toward anyone who looks at the world through Tony Stark-colored glasses and has nothing but disdain for anything with a DC logo on it.
After Wonder Woman, I really shouldn’t have to defend a love of DC movies anymore. I know I will, because Justice League is still coming. But I can, in my opinion, state that Wonder Woman gets it right where previous films may have fallen short.
First, I appreciate that Wonder Woman tells a complete story in one movie. This film isn’t a two and a half hour long commercial for DC’s next movie. There were no extra scenes after the credits began to roll at the end, because the filmmakers were able to say what they wanted to say from start to finish. They didn’t feel the need to throw in an unexplained obscure reference that only exists to set the internet on fire with speculation about what character or object showed up and what it could mean for the shared cinematic universe as a whole.
I’m not saying I’m against a stinger scene at the end of the credits. I’m conditioned to stay through the credits at this point. I don’t mind seeing who the key grip is, just in case there’s another scene. But I do appreciate not being forced to wait around if I don’t want to.
As for the story itself? It was a great way to introduce Wonder Woman to the world of film. She’s a character who’s been around for 76 years, but people are unfamiliar with her origin and motivation to be a hero. Quiz your average man or woman on the street and they could probably tell you that Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered or that Superman was sent to Earth as a baby. Could they tell you that Wonder Woman’s real name is Diana? Or that she was formed from clay by her mother? And even that last bit has changed recently.
The movie even does a great job of introducing us to some of Wonder Woman’s supporting cast like her mother, Hippolyta, her introduction to the world of men, Steve Trevor, and his secretary, Etta Candy, who, in the comics, is usually portrayed as Diana’s best friend and confidante. As far as Etta goes, I think she was slightly underutilized, though I get why her role was minimal. Too much comic relief can be a bad thing. I’m looking at you, Jar Jar Binks.
Gal Gadot was spot on as Princess Diana of Themyscira. Yes, she’s beautiful. But, thankfully, she’s also incredibly capable of playing Wonder Woman and everything that character encompasses. She wasn’t simply a badass in a fight. All of Diana’s experiences when she reaches “man’s world” are so well done. She sees a baby for the first time and can’t help but gush. She tastes ice cream for the first time and tells the vendor how proud he should be of his work. She sees the reality of war as she encounters injured soldiers and displaced civilians and her compassion and desire to see change become obvious.Chris Pine was great as Steve Trevor. He didn’t become a damsel in distress, just to fulfill a role reversal with a woman as his hero. He was a capable character who had equal footing with Wonder Woman. He didn’t overpower her character or make the story about him. He was by her side. Not a step behind. Not a step ahead. A partner. And Pine’s ability to show off how it would feel to be under the influence of the lasso of truth was fantastic. It clearly showed the audience what it would look like to try and fight the lasso’s compulsion to be honest.
I hope that Warner Bros. is able to bring Patty Jenkins back to direct the sequel. More than that, I hope they’re willing to give her the same kind of creative power they’ve given to Zack Snyder. Her vision of the DC Universe is definitely a more pleasant one to see than the one we’ve seen in previous films. Though, maybe it’s good that Wonder Woman has a distinctly different tone from a movie starring Superman or Batman. With Marvel’s movies, they all seem to have the same kind of lighthearted tone throughout, whether it’s a Thor or a Doctor Strange or a Guardians of the Galaxy. In some ways, that’s great, because you definitely know what you’re getting. On the other hand, what is there to distinguish one from another?
I could say so much more. I want to say more. But I won’t. Because, more than that, I want you to go out and see it for yourself. If you haven’t already. Give me a call, you could probably talk me into seeing it again. Look, I can’t talk Marvel-lovers into loving this or any other DC movie. And I really shouldn’t try. Because, really, what would the world be without rivalries? What would Coke be without Pepsi? What would the Yankees be without the Red Sox?