It finally happened, thank god. The DCEU finally has a hit on their hands with Wonder Woman. Critics are giving it a lot of praise and it looks like it’s pretty unanimous. Which is fantastic. This is finally what DC/Warner Bros. has been looking for, it’s what they’ve been trying to do since Man of Steel in 2013. Because this cinematic universe has definitely been on a downward spiral since then.
I liked Man of Steel, I didn’t love it. It has serious problems. But up until now, it was the best film in the DC Extended Universe. Then came Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Good concept, some good ideas, but a real failure in execution. It was far too dark and dreary, characters were were not as smart as they should’ve been. Lots of mistakes there. So much of it was wasted potential. Ben Affleck was a solid Batman. But even now, looking back at it, the character wasn’t 100% right.
Then there’s Suicide Squad. This is the first comic book movie featuring all villains as the protagonists. It’s got the Joker and Harley Quinn in it. Will Smith as part of an ensemble. This is kind of a big deal, and it was the first movie in the DCEU not directed by Zack Snyder. So it had to be good, there was a lot riding on this. And, for a myriad of reasons, it didn’t work. Again. Too much interference from the studio it looks like. David Ayer didn’t have much time to write the script. There were a lot of problems.
Now it shouldn’t be a surprise that it took a woman to steer everything back on course. Both Patty Jenkins and Diana/Wonder Woman herself. It’s about damn time. Especially given the current political climate we find ourselves in today. It took the strength and wisdom of women to save the DCEU from…men. Snyder and Ayer, specifically.
But what did I think of the movie? Well, just refer to the title of this post. It still stands as accurate. Joss Whedon called it a “goddamned delight.” And you know what? I pretty much agree. I think the film is great. It starts off real strong, showing off the Amazons in Themyscira. All of the actresses were giving strong performances. And I was shocked they decided to stick with her original origin story, being crafted from clay. They briefly mentioned it, and it worked just fine. Able to get some humor out of it later on.
The first big set piece of the movie, taking place on the beach in Themyscira, totally works. The Amazons are badass, although there was a little too much slow motion for me. I noticed this problem in other action scenes as well. Other than that, all of the action is very cool. The best set piece takes places in the middle of the film and it is completely awesome.
One of the best things about the movie is the cinematography. There’s actual brightness and color in this movie. It is such a nice breath of fresh air. The brightness of Wonder Woman’s costume is so cool. I enjoyed how Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) was introduced into the film. I dug his performance and everything about his character. I liked the relationship between Steve and Diana, up until the very end. He says something that I just could not buy, at the end of the movie. But other than that, their chemistry worked fine.
The fish out of water aspects of the film are cute and entertaining. The film is funny when it needs to be. And doesn’t go the route of Marvel of having too much comedy. They know when to pull back and keep it grounded. Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that they incorporated WW’s theme from BvS. I never thought they’d do it, I only thought they’d keep it in the trailers. It works when they use it in the film and they use it very sparingly. Which is real nice.
One of the weakest aspects of the movie comes down to the villain. How it’s revealed. It has more emotional weight to it, than it does any kind of physical weight. By that I mean, in terms of action. It’s difficult to explain without giving spoilers. A lot of people complain about the villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film kind of has the same problem.
And one of the best aspects of this film is the character herself and her compassion. Diana/Wonder Woman is literally a better Superman than Superman, in this Zack Snyder DCEU universe. She is a ray of sunlight and hope, something that this cinematic universe desperately needed. It’s also slightly irritating. That, so far, Wonder Woman is the only character in this universe that they’ve gotten completely right. And the film has a pretty nice message all throughout. Superman could take some notes. Wonder Woman goes out of her way to say how they need to save everybody, women and children included.
I’m looking forward to a sequel. Patty Jenkins should definitely get one, and I want her directing it and no one else. This gives me a little bit of hope for the DCEU. Now, I’m still concerned about Justice League.