Break out the fine wine and fancy cheese because humanity is finally gifted with a great DC Universe movie. Man of Steel fell flat on its face in jump-starting the franchise and Batman vs Superman was an apocalyptic divide of disappointment on both sides. Suicide Squad was close but not enough to climb out of the hole while the non-cannon Lego Batman Movie came the closest to shining as bright as the Warner Brothers logo itself. But the unthinkable has finally happened thanks to Patty Jenkins, the director of Monster, as there is hope for the future of DC.
The Island of Themiscyra is home to the amazon women, including Princess Diana (Gal Gadot). When world war one pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands his plane to evade German troops, she returns with him to London seeking to kill Ares, the god war to end humanity’s lust for conflict. Finding out that humans are more selfish than selfless, she must find where she belongs between Themiscyra and her new world.
The No Man’s Land battle scene can sum up everything that the other DC movies failed to take into account about their heroes. Diana’s not bringing the battle to the wounded like Superman did when he leveled Metropolis to a concrete nuclear wasteland. She keeps the fight in enemy territory and people survive because of that. Her actions defending strangers speak louder than any Nolanese lectures in Man of Steel. The icing on the cake side characters are just as memorable in personality when showing her the good side of humanity while Gal Gadot and Chris Pine’s chemistry does complete justice to both characters together and alone. The time period is ripe for fish out of water tropes, but it doesn’t waste too much time with it and rolls along to focus on new twists. The villains may look like leftovers from Wolfenstein, but they’re very diabolical in the time period and not just in looks. It’s showing AND telling a god becoming human rather than Marvel’s human becoming a god formula.
The action brings the 300 style to a whole new level even if the final battle is infected with prolonging Matrix dialogue. But Themiscyra has never looked better with bright color and light breaking through all the gray, dark browns and other muted filters. The slow-motion is a tool to show off Diana’s quick calculating mind in a tense situation so the technique never feels shoe-horned in alongside the now iconic electric guitar serenade. It’s almost as if the comic panels leap off the pages and into a new dimension.
DC fans and general audiences can rest easy knowing that Wonder Woman is the hero that set things right after so much ironic disappointment spawned from Batman and Superman, the most marketed DC headliners of all time. Every visual is vibrantly glowing with color, the characters are more than relate-able, the battles never overstay their welcome and it finally gets what DC is about: bringing super powered gods to our level for the greater good. This year is already a tough competition for comic book movies from all sides and time will tell if this will still stand as one of 2017’s top five. Until then, here’s hoping for smooth sailing from here on out and that DC can finally and bring out the true competition to the longest running comic companies.
Pros: Gal Gadot + Chris Pine, fun side characters, side-stepped clichés, flashy action, diabolical villains
Cons: final battle monologue
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