Finally someone has made a DC movie which not only competes with the Marvel competition, it outdoes most of them.
Man of Steel was a movie I was more of a fan on than the average, but I did not like Superman in it. Batman v Superman I was both disappointed and irritated by. Suicide Squad had a fascinating concept but muddled it and watered it down to the point of incoherence.
DC was lagging badly, with 3 films which badly underperformed, with heroes who were unlikeable and dour. The movies themselves lacked any sense of fun and could only seem to inject more grimness at the expense of good stories and good performances. It was now or never for DC to make a good movie, considering Justice League plus a whole slate more of movies are planned and/or were in production.
There had been one bright spot though. In Batman v Superman we had received almost a glorified cameo from Gal Gadot as Diana Prince - Wonder Woman. She was easily the best thing in that movie to my mind, so I had hope for the Wonder Woman movie coming out this year.
I am glad to say that the Wonder Woman movie is fantastic. Female Superhero movies are in very short supply, the last two to star women in starring roles were Catwoman and Elektra, both of which were horrible in every way. Female centric movies have gotten a bad press because they've usually been terrible, but to my mind that's no reason for none to be made.
And so I'm very pleased that this movie is as good as it is. A female director, Patty Jenkins, combined with Gal Gadot, has made a film both entertaining and amusing but also featuring real heart.
Gal Gadot is incredibly endearing as Diana, with her earnest, somewhat naive and moral portrayal of the character. She has a vibe and style a million miles from the dour gloom of Batman and Superman. Indeed, comparisons to Christopher Reeve's Superman in 1978 are very apt. She has an energy and enthusiasm about her which is captivating.
It's no secret that I love a good period piece, and it is so rare to see the Great War as the backdrop for this sort of movie. Captain America fought in WW2, but this Wonder Woman goes to new places. The design and setting in this movie is very well executed, from Paradise Island to London to the grim trenches of the Western Front.
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor is a good choice, bringing humour and some decent action scenes. At no stage does he feel emasculated by becoming a 'dude in distress' as could have been the case. The other sidekicks are distinctive enough to be memorable even if they are not much more than archetypes to provide backup.
If there is one flaw to the movie it's the villains. However, I did not have a huge problem with them, only the identity of the big bad, Ares. Although clearly a misdirect about who it is, the final battle does descend into a bit of a CGI power battle. Unlike Doomsday or Enchantress though there was enough from this villain and his tempting to be somewhat passable. It was not a problem for me.
I hope this success is the start of a rise in DC movie quality. However, having seen the Justice League trailer I am not so sure. That film seems to be trying to do the work of the Avengers but also recruiting the team as well, leading me to worry it will be overlong and overstuffed like Batman v Superman.
But however that goes at least we'll always have Wonder Woman.
Very strong 9/10. Best movie I've seen this year.