For all of its gaudy explosions and serious supermen pummeling each other into the ground, the DC Comics movies haven't been able to compete with the success of the other major superhero movies. While they've made plenty of money, they've also been ravaged by critics, and the company desperately needed a hit to prove it could do things right. How fitting that it took a woman to save the DC Extended Universe, and we're glad she did.
Wonder Woman marked the first comic book movie of the modern era to star a woman in the title role, especially if you forget about 2004's Catwoman and the following year's Elektra (which might be for the best). The character wasn't fighting just for the DC universe, but for the future of women to be taken seriously in the male-dominated superhero world. It has already become the highest grossing female-driven superhero film of all time. Furthermore, it represents the largest U.S. opening for a female director with Patty Jenkins (the woman behind 2003's Monster) directing her first big-budget motion picture. We're glad to say that Wonder Woman succeeds with flying colors and that it's not only the best DC movie, but one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot), was born on the secret island of Themyscira. She is one of the god-like Amazons that live on the island, descended from the Greek gods themselves. When American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is shipwrecked on the island, he tells Diana about the war raging across Europe, and she agrees to accompany him under the suspicion that the Greek god of war, Ares, is behind the conflict. What follows is in many ways a paint by numbers adventure, but Gadot delivers such a terrific performance in the role that even the most tired set pieces still feel fresh.
Not unlike Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger, Wonder Woman is an origin story that takes us to the past, this time to World War I. This already helps it to stand apart from the modern, plastic feel of most of the recent DC superhero films, while also giving us a fresh perspective on the character's beginnings. Along with the early 20th century setting, the movie does an excellent job of tying the world of Greek mythology into the DC universe without it ever seeming out of place. The diversity of characters and settings helps to make the movie vibrant and bursting with personality, without anything feeling as though it's been shoehorned into place. Wonder Woman focuses on the strength of its characters and a compelling story to carry the film, a novel idea for the DC movies.
Perhaps most impressive is that Wonder Woman carries the film for its entirety without the help of any of the other heroes of the DC Universe. Besides a few off-handed mentions of Bruce Wayne, this is Wonder Woman's show, and it demonstrates why DC should looking to further capitalize on the success of the character. Outside of the film and the comics, there's very little presence for female superheroes, and DC could be the ones to change that. The rest of the DC heroes have already gotten their own games; Green Lantern, the Flash and Batman are all featured in licensed slot reels on well-known gaming sites. These are simple superhero spins on classic casino games, and it would take minimal effort to add Wonder Woman to the mix and potentially bring in more users. If DC is smart, they'll take this opportunity to build on their biggest female hero by putting her front and center when it comes to media beyond the silver screen.
Wonder Woman proves that ladies have what it takes to be a large presence on the big screen. The record-breaking box office numbers help set an important precedent that will hopefully lead studios to be more willing to take a chance on girls in superhero movies in the future. If they're half as good as this one, then things are looking great for comic book fans everywhere.