Wonder Woman (2017) Movie Review

The DC Extended Universe finally has a shining beacon of hope to break through its dark and dreary palette, and her name is Wonder Woman. Hear her roar.

About damn time, too. After DC Films' less-than-stellar initial outings (BvS and Suicide Squad), it can be forgiven if you come into this with the lowest of expectations. But it seems director Patty Jenkins and co. knew what was needed to turn the ship around, which was to treat the character not as a silly comic book character that needed to be brought down to our level, but as a true beacon of heroism in a time when it needed it the most.

Gal Gadot is perfectly cast, able to portray doe-eyed innocence of the outside world and the steel-eyed determination of a warrior. Her statuesque beauty and charm demands your attention both in her frenetic action scenes and the quiet moments with the humanity she has sworn to protect (or with Steve Trevor, played with heroic gusto by Chris Pine). The World War I setting did the story a lot of favors, as it allowed Jenkins to show how Diana viewed humanity, how she still believes in the potential of man to do so much good in a world capable of so much evil. Really, this is the Superman movie we should have gotten.

The movie does stumble at times, especially with Diana and Steve's lightning-fast love story that developed far too quickly to make sense, and there are dialogue and scenes that go on for far too long, especially the final battle with big bad Ares which devolves into the usual Snyder-rific flashy battle where everything explodes.

But to me, the important thing is Patty Jenkins understood. She understood the power these characters have over moviegoers, how they can make us feel good about ourselves, something that Snyder practically ignored in Man of Steel. When Diana climbs up the trenches of No Man's Land to face down machine gun fire, Jenkins frames it as an inspirational moment bereft of any depressing aftermath or consequence. Finally, DC Films has a hero that is actually superheroic.

Who knew DC had it in them to make a smart, funny, and fun comic book movie? It took them a while, but Wonder Woman was just the shot in the arm DC needed to make themselves relevant again. Whether that goodwill can be carried over to the upcoming Justice League film remains to be seen. But for now, I'm just glad that DC finally made a movie I would rewatch again and again. Highly recommended!

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