2013 saw DC start off its extended universe with the Superman reboot, Man Of Steel. 3 years later, the 2nd and 3rd entries were released in the form of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad. While all 3 were bashed by critics, I highly rate the first 2 entries with Suicide Squad falling short for me in a fair amount of areas. Despite the poor reception, DC are rolling on and aim to release plenty more films in the coming years. For many though, this is DC’s last chance to impress, can Wonder Woman save the DCEU?
Rather than carry on from her appearance in BvS, this film is all about Wonder Woman’s origin story. We start this by seeing a young Diana on her home island of Themyscira. She has a hunger to learn how to fight, to become a warrior like the other Amazons she lives with. Diana’s mother is hesitant to allow her to train as we get the hint that maybe, she is something greater than she knows. Upon thinking that the God of war, Ares, will one day return to destroy the Amazons, Diana’s mother allows her to be trained as long as she is trained like never before.
The years roll by and we see Diana become the warrior she always wanted to be. After a minor training incident, Diana goes off on her own and witnesses a plane crash in the ocean. Diana saves the pilots life by grabbing him from the wreckage. Not soon after, German ships appear and a battle ensues between the Amazons and the Germans. The action is fast paced and there are some great set pieces. After the battle, the Amazon’s demand the pilot tell them who he is and what is going on. The pilot reveals that his name is Steve Trevor and he is an American spy. Steve informs them of World War 1 and tells the terrors of the war.
He introduces us to our villains, Doctor Poison and Erich Ludendorff, through a flashback as he explains how they plan to deploy a new form of toxic gas that will kill thousands. Steve says he needs to get back to London so he can give his allies Doctor Poisons notebook, which he stole, in order to try and prevent the attack. The Amazons refuse to let him go in case he brings more threats. Diana not only wants to let him go but she also wants to go with him, showing her desire to help however she can and prevent death wherever possible. Diana sneaks off the island with Steve as they head to London, but not before stealing her signature gear and attire.
The film only gets stronger from here on out as we see Diana come into our world and try to understand our ways. Its not only hilarious but actually quite adorable and it gets even better when Steve and his receptionist Etta have to either explain or just simply take in whatever she says. What also makes the character of Diana great is the emotion she goes through during this film, she can’t believe or understand why people would want to do this to each other and she is physically unable to just stand by. Something that perfectly demonstrates Diana’s realisation of how terrible the war is, is in one scene when her and Steve are in London, she sees a woman with a baby is overjoyed by it, but then when they reach the front line of the war, Diana sees an injured woman carrying her baby to safety whilst others die around her, making her realise the full extend of what is happening.
As Diana and Steve reach the front line, Diana must help as she sees more and more die around her. This type of heroism makes it incredibly easy to get behind the character which is boosted even further by the amazing scene which takes place soon after as Diana drops her coat, climbs out of the trench into no man’s land and heads to battle. This scene (pictured above) is the moment she truly becomes Wonder Woman as she fights for those who so desperately need it.
What follows is even more cool action as Diana and Steve advance into German territory. A lot of it is close quater and reminds me of the awesome Batman warehouse scene from BvS, however the style in which it’s done is something i’ve never seen before. A fair amount of shots are in slow motion, allowing you to fully take them in all their glory. After liberating a town from the German army, the focus is put onto Steve and Diana’s relationship through some great dialogue and Diana being introduced to another one of our customs which fit perfectly with the mood at the time.
The next morning Steve and Diana set off to a gala where Doctor Poison and Erich Ludendorff are rumoured to be. The two sneak in but their opinions differ when Steve wants to get information whereas Diana wants to kill Ludendorff as she believes he is Ares. Steve stops her but before they can do anything else an attack is ordered on the village they have just liberated. Diana returns to the village only to find everyone dead, killed by the the newly developed mustard gas. Her pain is clearly visible as is her anger, she decides to go and finish this once and for all. Diana locates Ludendorff at an air force base as shipments of the gas are set to strike London. We get even more great action and a massive change of heart. Once Diana kills Ludendorff, she believes Ares spell will be broken and everyone will stop fighting, the moment she realises that’s not the case is heartbreaking. You literally see Diana lose her faith in humanity as she refuses to fight any longer, leaving Steve to fight alone. This sets up the final battle which has a epic feeling and is filled with twists and turns, Ares reveals himself, Diana contemplates where her morals lie and they’re is a devastating loss as Steve sacrifices himself by blowing up the gas shipments.
This movie is purely driven on how Diana sees the world and her desire to protect, this is what makes the final moments so impactful as Diana is pressured by Ares to kill Doctor Poison to try and bring her to his side, to see humans as the monsters that he does, trying to use Steve’s death as her breaking point. But the thought of Steve and her love for him only reminds her that there is goodness in humans and that they are worth fighting for. As she remembers Steve’s final words to her, Diana’s heart falls back into the right place and she puts an end to Ares. The film finishes off with Wonder Woman’s story complete with questions from BvS answered and the future ready for new stories.
The only problem i had with this film was that the villains were fairly weak. However the reason this isn’t a big a problem as it would be with other superhero films is because they’re not key to the story. What this film is about isn’t the regular good vs evil situation, it’s about Wonder Woman’s beliefs and her need to “fight for those who cannot fight”, it’s about her connection with mankind and why she has remained among them for so long. The title is earned and is undoubtedly true to itself, it really is all about Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot gives one of the best performances I have ever seen, displaying emotion and character development like i’ve never experienced. Chris Pine is great and his relationship with Gal is key to the film as the dynamic between them not only drives the film forward but it also injects some much needed humor into the DCEU.
Wonder Woman has been a hit among critics so far and seems to be DC’s 1st outright winner. Wonder Woman sets itself apart from other superhero films by showcasing its action and characters differently but by also working to the DCEU’s established strengths. The whole film originates from a photograph (pictured above) first show in BvS, who knew that it would turn out to tell one of the best stories a superhero film has ever seen.