When Gal Gadot was cast as wonder woman back in 2014, there were lots of criticism from DC fans and rival (Marvel) fans about the choice of actor chosen to portray the iconic super heroine.
Fast forward two years to 2016, with the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, then you got a different reception. Dawn of Justice’s reception was divisive among fans and panned by critics. But, in all the negativity surrounding the movie, Gadot’s performance (as Wonder Woman) was well received by fans and critics alike. Wonder Woman, alongside Superman and Batman, are considered the trinity in the DC multiverse.
Therefore, seeing as the latter two have had numerous live-action big screen adaptations with various actors over the course of four decades, while Wonder Woman only had a small screen adaptation starring Lynda Carter in the ’70s, it’s been long overdue for a big screen adaptation for the famous DC super heroine. When it did come in 2017, it surely didn’t disappoint.
WONDER WOMAN, THE MOVIE
After DCEU’s (DC Extended Universe’s) 2016 movies were not so enthusiastically acclaimed and divisive among the audience, Warner Bros. (WB) and DC comics decided to give DC’s acclaimed comics writer Geoff Johns, the position of Chief Creative Officer for the DCEU. That position was to ensure continuity within the DCEU movies and also to ensure that the production of the movies is top notch.
When Johns took over, he said DCEU needed “three H’s”, which stand for Heart, Humour, and Heroics. The first movie to be overseen by John’s was Wonder Woman; therefore, moviegoers and fans were eagerly anticipating the movie, hoping that Johns would keep to his words. Wonder Woman is finally out, and after seeing it on Saturday, June 3rd, from my opinion, the movie didn’t disappoint. Director, Patty Jenkins, really outdid herself to give us an epic movie full of fun, captivating moments, and emotion – basically, the three Hs outlined by Johns.
On the fun part of things, the movie had an earnest interpretation of humour. Unlike some recent Hollywood movies, which try to infuse some sort of humour, even when it’s totally unnecessary in (some) movie(s) (scenes), Wonder Woman gave us humour in a “not-trying-too-hard kinda way”, according to Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o, and I couldn’t agree with her more. The movie had funny moments where it needed to have them, making the moment as natural as possible. Some of my funny moments from the movie includes Steve Trevor’s comical bath scene and the ensuing conversation with Diana; Steve and Diana’s conversation as they sail to London, Diana’s reaction when she saw a baby and when she ate ice cream, Diana’s actions in and after going to a boutique, just to name a few.
And don’t get me started on Etta Candy. I remember seeing an article online with the headline “Wonder Woman is officially the funniest movie of the year”. Those guys definitely have a plethora of reasons for writing that and anyone trying to contradict that will be on the losing side.
Going into the heroics, or as I prefer saying; “the captivating moments “, of the movie, Gadot’s and Pine’s interpretation of Diana Prince and Steve Trevor respectively, were lauded by critics and fans. Wonder Woman is a super heroine known for her warrior-like behaviour on and off the battlefield, and that was noticed during the course of the movie.
Some of my favourite moments from the motion picture includes the German’s discovery and subsequent invasion of Diana’s homeland, Themyscira; Steve’s discovery after infiltrating the German army, and the subsequent sabotaging of their plans; the final act, in Diana’s battle with Ares, as Diana refuses to be totally corrupted by Ares’ ideas and visions about mankind, instead relying on love and compassion to aid her in her victory.
But, the most important scene in the movie is arguably the “No-man’s Land scene”. That is the scene where Diana displays her heroism by coming out of the Allied trenches and showing the world that she’s Wonder Woman after seeing the suffering that plagued the neighboring communities. In the scene, Diana dons her costume and steps out into no-man’s land, where she solely keeps on deflecting/repelling enemy attacks, giving the Allied soldiers a chance to gain more ground on an area that they’ve barely gained an inch within the past year. The scene doesn’t end there, as Diana advances and fights her way through to reclaim a village that was under German control after she emphatically annihilates a church tower occupied by a German sharpshooter. All these moments, and a few more, gave me a pulsating feeling, and that’s paramount because in as much as I see (and enjoy) other movie genres, I am an action-genre guy and these are moments that define any action movies for me.
Finally, what is a movie without emotion? One major aspect of movies, no matter the genre, is its ability to connect with the audience on an emotional level. In movies, feelings, emotions, and actions are usually accentuated by scores (music). The movie has a good number of emotional scenes such as; Diana’s witnessing her Aunt, General Antiope’s death, and that of Steve Trevor; the cheerful and peaceful aura around the village after being reclaimed from German control; the teams’ silent celebration of the end of the war because they were mourning Steve Trevor’s death. Again, the no-man’s land scene, epic and pulsating as it was, can also be argued to be an emotional scene that was accompanied by a great score by Rupert Gregson-Williams (I actually downloaded the score).
There were numerous posts on social media about people who claimed that they or someone they knew cried at one point or the other during the movie. I recall a post I read on Facebook about a woman who claimed that her daughter wouldn’t stop crying after Steve Trevor’s death/sacrifice, and after reading that, it’s suffice to say that the movie was emotional.
SIGNIFICANCE OF WONDER WOMAN IN HOLLYWOOD AND THE DCEU
The success of Wonder Woman doesn’t just resonate within the cast and crew of the movie. To the DCEU and Hollywood as a whole, the success of the movie is just as important. In Hollywood, Wonder Woman broke the doubt cast by public perception about super heroine movies. After the failures of Cat woman and Elektra, moviegoers became skeptical/ doubtful about the success of such movies.
When the movie finally arrived in theatres, it shattered records for a movie about a female superhero, movies directed by women, and blockbusters directed by women.
With a $103.5 million North American opening weekend, it became the highest opening for a female comic’s character, and the highest opening for a female director. Also, at one point, the movie held a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which would have made it the most critically acclaimed superhero movie. But, it’s current rating of 92% makes it the second most critically acclaimed after The Dark Knight and Iron Man both tied at 94%.
In the DCEU, after the divisive outings of Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman’s success rejuvenates the audience’s view on the shared cinematic universe. The next DCEU movie, personally my most anticipated movie of all time, Justice League (JL), would definitely gain from the success of Wonder Woman because moviegoers will be expecting more from JL based on what they’ve seen.
Wonder Woman is a superhero origin story different from others of its kind that almost makes it cliché free. We don’t need a thousand words to describe the Wonder Woman movie, just one: EPIC!
By Diuto Donald | Feature image source: bleedingcool.com