The reviews are in, and every DC’s Extended Universe of movies fan can finally breathe easy. Director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movie is not just a good film, it’s absolutely great. No matter what your opinions of the DCEU’s Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad might have been, whether you loved or hated them, there is no denying the fact that these movies all failed to connect with the critics and have staying power at the box office. But now Wonder Woman has arrived in theaters and is signaling everyone to pay attention to the DCEU once again. A bright “WW” light shining in the sky, for all to see.
Gal Gadot and her portrayal of Wonder Woman quickly became a highlight after making her first appearance in Batman v. Superman in a supporting role. Everyone was looking at her solo movie with anticipation, not just to do the character justice, but also to give new life to a shared universe of movies that is failing to connect with general audiences and many comic book fans alike. And it looks like, true to her own self, Wonder Woman has managed to save the day. Join us today as we take a look at 13 ways that the Wonder Woman movie saves the DCEU, and also three ways that it could possibly doom it.
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Wonder Woman movie.
16. SAVED: MOVE OVER BATMAN, WE HAVE A NEW LEAD CHARACTER
As the title and lead character of the movie, Wonder Woman, as played by Gal Gadot, is the absolute highlight of the movie. She takes over the screen and lights up every scene she is in, to the point that she has become the character herself, inside and out. She embodies Diana Prince perfectly and she just makes you want to see more of the character, her struggles and her dedication.
Ben Affleck’s Batman may have been the star of Dawn of Justice and, after a cameo appearance in Suicide Squad, it seemed like Warner Bros. was positioning Bruce Wayne to be the leading character, the very face of their universe. But after Wonder Woman, all we want is more Diana Prince. With a single movie, she has come to the head of the superhero pack (Marvel or WB) and WB would do well to have Wonder Woman become the Iron Man of the DCEU.
15. SAVED: SOLO FEATURES
After the likes of Captain America: Civil War, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, it seems like including more and more characters into movies has become sort of the norm. But it’s also important to remember to explore just who these characters are individually. In a cinematic climate filled with cross-pollination and team-up movies, Wonder Woman has shown us that there is a place and a need for solo features.
Bookended by sequences in the present, Wonder Woman is a one-and-done story, an exploration into Diana’s past. It informs the character and tells you everything you need to know about who she is fundamentally, and it does so without ever introducing another superhero. If anything, this movie has reminded us all of the importance of origin stories.
14. SAVED: GIVES NEW DEPTH TO BATMAN V. SUPERMAN
Wonder Woman is the type of movie that you will walk out of ready to watch it again. And on top of that, it will also make you want to see Diana’s previous appearance again — one that you will see in a much different light. In fact, now that we know the story behind the photo she spends the better part of Batman v. Superman searching for, you’ll understand just why that picture was so important to her.
Furthermore, you’ll see just who Diana is at the end of her own movie, what she stands for and believes in, and you’ll wonder what could have happened that drove her away from mankind, as he saw her in Dawn of Justice. You’ll want to see the movie again to search for clues as we fervently await news of a Wonder Woman sequel that might give us answers to this mystery.
13. SAVED: GIVES DC AN EDGE OVER MARVEL
The MCU versus DCEU war has been raging among their respective fan bases for a long time. Whether this rivalry is a real one or not, Marvel has had the upper hand at every corner with their carefully constructed plan of movies. But with Wonder Woman, DC now has an edge over their competition. With this movie, DC is now doing something that Marvel hasn’t done already…
A movie starring a female superhero in the lead. There have been many, many people waiting for such a movie to come and it has finally arrived. This is a case where Marvel was simply too late on the draw, whether it is a competition or not. Besides, Marvel may have Brie Larson starring in their upcoming Captain Marvel movie, but that movie will have a very hard time living up to the amazing standard created by Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot.
12. DOOMED: A MARVEL MOVIE FEEL
Compared to the dark and moody Man of Steel, the dour and larger-than-life Batman v. Superman and the vibrant but violent Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air in the DCEU stable. You could tell that it occurred in the same world, but it had a different vibe to it, one that could even be likened to that of a Marvel Studios film.
From Diana’s emotional crucibles, the well-placed humor and the spectacular end credits, there is certainly a Marvel-like quality to this movie. While much darker than most Marvel movies, Wonder Woman still has a lighter, more hopeful vibe that might mean an end to the darker approach established by the DCEU’s previous movies. This could mean an end of the DC movies as we know them. And with the early looks at Justice League, it seems that is already happening.
11. SAVED: A MESSAGE OF HOPE
Superman, as per the comic books published by DC, is the living embodiment of hope and brightness in the DC Universe. The golden standard. The very personification of truth and justice. But as we saw in Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice, Superman was not exactly portrayed as he was meant to. Instead, he was a darker, more brooding character looking for his place in the world.
And yet, the Wonder Woman movie showed us a Diana Prince that brought hope and brightness to a gloomy universe without even trying. Effortlessly, the movie conveyed it easily, in a way Superman never has in the DCEU. Sure, there is still the possibility that we will see the Superman we all know and love rise in Justice League, but until then, we have Wonder Woman. She might teach him a thing or two.
10. SAVED: LEAVES US ON A STRONG NOTE
When you see Wonder Woman jumping at the screen, leaping into the air and heading towards heroism and who she was always meant to be, when the screen turns black and the lights go on in the theater, you just might find yourself still seated, ready for Justice League to play next. Batman v. Superman worked to set up the team-up movie, but that was over a year ago.
With Wonder Woman now fresh in our minds and in our hearts, we are eagerly anticipating the Justice League movie to come around so we can see Diana interact with the rest of the stars of the movie. The buildup and excitement for Justice League have been slow, but with Wonder Woman things have been kicked up a notch and the hype train has officially left the station.
9. SAVED: FAITH IN A DIRECTOR PAYS OFF
The past two DCEU movies, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, were plagued by reports of studio interference, shoots and re-shoots and different edits before reaching a final product. Both movies saw later releases of extended versions in their home releases, versions that added scenes that were cut or changed by the studio. Such was the result of a studio unsure of what they wanted their final product to be.
But the Wonder Woman movie saw no such reports surface. The movie you see is the movie intended, and with the results speaking for themselves, it shows just how much faith in the movie’s director paid off. Patty Jenkins’ fantastic movie proved that her vision was the way to go and that, moving forward, WB needs to believe in the directors they hired in the first place.
8. SAVED: A NEW VISUAL STYLE
Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad all saw their fair share of action scenes, some even downright jaw-dropping like Superman and Zod’s devastating fight or Batman’s warehouse assault. But the Wonder Woman movie went even further than that by offering us action scenes that were each more spectacular than the last, from start to finish.
Jenkins and her team created a visual style all its own, one that was both well-constructed and rightfully epic. It was a style befitting the Amazons themselves, something that told us these weren’t your average warriors. Wonder Woman’s fighting, from her brute strength to her use of bracelets, lasso, sword and shield were inventive, equally elegant and hard-hitting, and they created many standout scenes that hopefully will inspire many more DCEU movies to come.
7. DOOMED: AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Wonder Woman ends with a tragedy. It ends with something we thought would be avoided, or worked around: Steve Trevor’s heroic sacrifice. The result is a devastating blow that emphasizes a movie that wasn’t afraid to be bold. It was a gamble that works very well in the movie, but it’s also one that might make a sequel less likely.
Steve is an important character, not just as Wonder Woman’s main love interest, but to the DCU as a whole. The fact that he is no longer around puts a Wonder Woman sequel into question. It makes one wonder, without Steve, where Diana’s story could go next. Without Ares and Steve around, two main players in Wonder Woman’s cast, the future of the franchise could come into question.
6. SAVED: SUPPORTING CHARACTERS WITH DEPTH
At the heart of the Wonder Woman film, there is her relationship with Steve Trevor. But this isn’t your typical love story. Thanks to the actor’s performances, it’s one that is genuine, grounded and believable. It’s a relationship you instantly find yourself rooting for. Chris Pine is another highlight in an already shining movie and he more than holds his own as an interesting, well-defined character.
But that’s not all. The movie is filled with great supporting characters, from Queen Hippolyta and General Antiope to Steve’s friends Etta Candy, Sameer, Charlie and Chief. These characters aren’t simply thrown in for good measure. They have a role to play and they come off as likeable and essential to the story in a film that looked to give every one of its characters his or her due.
5. SAVED: VILLAINS USED TO GREAT EFFECT
There is a villainous twist that lies just out of view in Wonder Woman, one that makes all of the story stand out even more. But even without that twist, the movie would already have had a great villain in the fascinating Dr. Poison. Played by Elena Ayana, Dr. Poison, despite her maliciousness and her penchant for creating chemical weapons, came off as extremely broken and sympathetic. There was a sadness about her, a sadness only made worse by her drive.
But the big reveal came with Ares, complete with his armor and his bleak outlook on humanity. Ares was exactly as we had hoped him to be: filled with hate and anger, but also with a point of view that is relevant in this day and age. Both of these villains were used to great effect in the movie and we hope that they both help create a new template for the DCEU.
4. SAVED: A WIDER, DEEPER DCEU
As far as we knew, the DCEU started with Man of Steel. It was our introduction to the world, our entry point to a universe that was only just forming. But with the Wonder Woman film, we were shown that not only were there Kryptonians in this world, but also an island of Amazons and powerful, literal gods like Zeus and Ares.
With the introduction and backstory of the Amazons, we came to learn that the DCEU had a wider, deeper scope than we thought. The movie established a lot of new mythology for the universe to play around with, and we certainly hope that, going forward, the next movies will use this history to their advantage and establish even more things to create a living tapestry of DC mythology.
3. SAVED: CHARACTERS AND STORY FIRST
From the very first scene of the film to its last, it’s abundantly clear that Wonder Woman is a movie that prioritizes its characters first. Its a movie that wears its heart on its indestructible bracelet, and it shows. Establishing both Diana and Steve as people and as heroes is always the goal and that helps create a movie that we can immediately connect to.
However, this isn’t to say that the action scenes are an after-thought. Much to the contrary, even the action scenes are used to great effect, but they always work to further the story, instead of it being the other way around. The results are scenes that we are emotionally invested in, from Wonder Woman’s first appearance to the world in her walk across No Man’s Land to her final showdown with Ares.
2. DOOMED: A NEW, UNATTAINABLE STANDARD
Some might say that the DCEU has already seen rock bottom with their previous movies, citing that the only way to go was up. But no one foresaw exactly the altitude that Wonder Woman would reach. In fact, it’s very close to the absolute top. While this is beyond great for the movie itself as well as the character, this might spell doom for the DCEU.
Why? Because this movie has created a new precedent. It is now the movie that will be used to compare all others. “It’s no Wonder Woman” could easily become the new go-to phrase when describing a DCEU movie. Wonder Woman was so good that it could just be the crown jewel of the DC movies, for better… or for worse.
1. SAVED: HONORS THE LEGACY OF THE COMICS
At its core, Wonder Woman is a story about strength. Not the one that allows a woman to lift a tank, however, but the one inside. It’s a story about love and hope. It’s a movie that looks to its source material with the utmost respect, from any and all eras. It honors who Wonder Woman is, no matter her iteration, because she was always the same. An ambassador for peace.
Director Patty Jenkins knew exactly what to draw from the comic books, and where to go off script to create her own take on the story. There was enough here to both appease and surprise longtime comic readers. There was no direct story adapted to the screen. This was a movie carefully constructed, cherry-picking from all versions of Diana’s story, to create a new whole for a new generation of Wonder Woman fans.
What did you think of the Wonder Woman movie? Be sure to let us know in the comments!