If you’ve been keeping up with the track record for DC Films Extended Universe. Film such as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were financial successes, but panned by both fans and critics alike. One of the brighter parts of Superman and The Dark Knight’s epic showdown was the introduction of Wonder Woman into the universe. After a stunning debut, it finally appeared that one of the top superheroes in history was FINALLY getting her own solo film. A project that has been in development since 1996, the warrior princess was ready to make her mark on the superhero genre.
We begin with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in present-day Paris at the Louvre’s antiquities department, where she receives a gift from Bruce Wayne (who does not make an appearance): the World War I-era photo with Diana in her Wonder Woman attire with a team of soldiers. From there, she recalls her past.
Diana was born and raised on the island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons, a race of warrior women created by the gods of Mount Olympus to protect human kind from the evil of Ares, the God of War. Over time, Diana trains as an Amazon warrior, despite her mother, Queen Hippolyta’s, wishes. As a young woman, Diana rescues pilot Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) after his plane crashes off the shores of the hidden island. When the Great War follows Trevor, Diana decides to join the world of Man in the heat of World War I in order to bring it to an end. Along the way, she not only discovers what could be in the hearts of men, but also her true power.
After my previous experiences with the film in this universe, I went into this film with level expectations. It’s safe to say that my expectations were blown away. The film was excellently paced and didn’t feel boring at all with a few slow parts. The scenes are excellently shot with the island of Themyscira truly looking like the brightest paradise of this extended universe. There are still those gritty, dark shots of the film that we’ve come to know from the previous films, especially during the battle sequences. While there were inspirations from Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan as their have been in the previous films, Wonder Woman takes inspiration from Richard Donner and past DC films such as Superman: The Movie. While Wonder Woman’s comic book origins are rooted in World War II, the change for this film to take place during the first Great War was a great move, especially given the fight that women were enduring at that time.
The acting of the main cast was excellent, especially Gadot and Pine. Their chemistry didn’t feel forced and flowed naturally, especially during the comedic moments as Trevor did his best to acclimate the Amazon Princess to the outside world. Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman buoyed this entire film as she displayed beauty, grace, and physicality. Gadot is spectacular and shines in her portrayal of one of the best known superheroes of all time; not just a female superhero but a superhero. Pine’s portrayal of the rogue-ish realist Allied spy felt similar to what Pine learned from his time in the Star Trek universe as Captain James T. Kirk. Trevor is a worldly man as he tries to help Diana along in the outside world, sometimes with hilarious effect to this fish-out-of-water subplot. While he still sees her as a woman, Trevor respects the hero’s abilities and ability to take care of herself.
Director Patty Jenkins vision of Wonder Woman provides a different direction from DC’s style of grim darkness – one of bright colors, light, and inspiration. This is the direction that I think the DCEU has been missing. This is the superhero movie that fans have been waiting for; full of heart, humor, and good, old-fashioned heroism. How the DCEU will move forward after the success of this movie could be interesting with Justice League due out in November; however, it seems that the DCEU has found its footing.