This girl is on fire. Sorry, not girl. Woman.
Two back-to-back solid weekends and one of the smallest superhero film drops since Tobey McGuire donned the tights in Spider-Man, DC’s Wonder Woman was the surprise hit that Marvel’s “Distinguished Competition” needed after last year’s Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice nightmare.
The film tells the story of young Diana, the only child living on the island of Themyscira, a remote and hidden paradise where our titular heroine and the other Amazons live and train like lady-Spartans preparing for the return of the film’s big baddie, Aries. After a rather off-putting amount of child acting, weird CGI, and exposition a’plenty, we see Diana beginning to question who she is just in time for Chris Pine to crash land a plane into some of the most perfect and beautiful water of all time. Chris, playing love interest and dual-first-named Steve Trevor, tells Diana about the Great War, which we in 2017 know as World War I, which she interprets as the return of Aries.
So kicks off this film’s adventure.
I’ll start with what’s bad, because there’s really not that much and I’d like to end of a good note for once while recanting a DCEU film. Overall, the film’s story is about as good as can be expected from the average superhero film. It’s not overly complicated, fairly straightforward, and throws a couple of curves at you that while not terribly difficult to predict, are nonetheless executed in a way that still makes the film fun. There is a fair amount of disbelief you’re going to have to suspend during the film’s climax, but if you are able to, you’re gifted with a vision of a truly great female superhero, albeit one that peters out a bit at the end and basically brings up the end credits by saying, “And then she did some other epic superheroine shit!” An ending that you couldn’t help but say “meh” to.
Now the good. Gal Gadot is remarkable as Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, and not for the reason some ultra-feminists have tried to claim. (e.g. the film is only popular because Gal Gadot is hot and wearing a short skirt the whole movie) Gadot’s Diana is a woman that all women should relate to: She’s got more power than she realizes, and while she can be overwhelmed by just how much evil the world throws at her, she remains eager to save every single person she comes across. All this while the men of the film tell her she can’t, or she shouldn’t. It is my belief that despite Wonder Woman’s costuming, she has done more with this one film for the cause of equality than any film in the past decade, including and especially box-office megaflop, Ghostbusters.
And the film is just fun. It’s got a great blend of humor, charm, action, and intensity that has been lacking in many of DC’s recent brood-fests, and it gives me hope that the upcoming Justice League film will follow Wonder Woman’s strong example. See that? Already we’re talking about a bunch of male superheroes lining up behind Wonder Woman because she’s just that fucking awesome.
You owe it to yourself to see Wonder Woman, if not for the presentation of a truly great female lead, and if not for the excellent execution by a female director, then for a chance to get out and see a fun, energetic, awe-inspiring superhero flick.
Superman needs to step his game up. DC belongs to the women, now.