DC Finally Made a Good Movie!

At long last! Finally! Time to party! Wonder Woman is actually a great movie! There is hope for DC yet!

It’s been a long time coming. Marvel’s chief rival in the comic book industry has long had many advantages when it came to being able to adapt its characters for the big screen, especially since DC has long been owned by Hollywood giant Warner Bros. However, when it came to the actual movies themselves, there have been many, many duds and only a handful of solidly good films. For a long time, this wasn’t a big deal, as the exceptional DC movies were good enough to keep audiences interested and carry the brand along. But when Marvel started making their own movies, and knocking it out of the park again and again with great films that audiences clamored for, that calculation completely changed.

Now DC was under pressure to create a “cinematic universe” of its own to compete with Marvel. It only made sense, as DC’s characters have long been far more well-known than Marvel’s and have an equally rich catalog of great comic storylines to draw from for inspiration. However, last year’s two attempts to get such a cinematic universe underway were… disappointing to say the least. As somebody who grew up reading DC comics, I was really quite unhappy.

Imagine my relief, then, when DC finally managed to put together not just a good movie, but a great one. Not only that, but it was an excellent movie featuring a female superhero as the lead, something that no Hollywood studio has managed until now.

What even was this thing?

It was only appropriate, then, that the first truly great female superhero movie starred THE female superhero – the icon of feminism and the empowerment of women and girls across America and around the world.

Gal Gadot knocks it out of the park in this role, and I fully expect many people will consider her the definitive Wonder Woman for many years to come, in the same way many people today consider Jeremy Brett the definitive Sherlock Holmes or Charlton Heston the definitive Ben-Hur. She brings a charisma to her performance that is truly inspiring and keeps you rooting for her from start to finish. She also works well together with Chris Pine (Star Trek, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), who may have been a surprising choice for love interest Steve Trevor, a World War I pilot and spy, but who manages to pull out a very good performance of his own.

For the first third or so of the movie, we see the comic book origin story of the famed superheroine almost beat-for-beat: Diana is a princess growing up on Themyscira, a hidden island where the Amazons of ancient Greek legend have been hiding after escaping slavery. Though her mother, Queen Hippolyta, tries to forbid Diana from learning how to fight and training to be a warrior, she manages to do so anyway. Then, out of the blue, Trevor, a pilot from “man’s world” suddenly arrives as his plane crashes on the island. Trevor informs the Amazons of the war going on in the outside world, and Diana defies her mother to go off into man’s world and fight for peace and justice. The only real change is that the comics were set during World War II, while this movie is set during World War I, a decision that makes much more sense when the main characters leave the island and the plot proper begins.

To go into more detail would be to give away spoilers, so I’ll leave it at this: the movie’s main thrust pits Diana’s idealism against the harsh reality of a not-at-all-ideal world, and it handles the topic with maturity and grace.

Director Patty Jenkins has done an outstanding job with this film, using every tool in her toolbox to make compelling action scenes and keep the movie from having a dull moment. I was worried from the trailers that the movie would overuse slow-motion effects, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film only uses it sparingly to help the audience see the action and keep track of what is going on. The cinematography never feels cluttered, and the color scheme isn’t quite as grey-washed as other DC entries have been so far. I mean, seriously, it took DC this long to figure out that color might actually be a good thing? Sheesh!

Hopefully this is a sign that DC’s movies are going to start improving, but even if they don’t, this is an excellent stand-alone film well worth viewing again and again. 10/10.

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One Response to DC Finally Made a Good Movie!

  1. auntleesie says:

    Great review! Love the movie, too, btw.

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