We saw an early screening, and I’m happy to report director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is everything DC should be doing in all of their movies. It’s epic in scope, as befitting one of DC’s trinity of heroes. It’s does something interesting with Diana’s origin, managing to homage both her classic origin and the more recent takes. It has a great deal of heart, something DC’s other EU movies have so far lacked. It’s genuinely funny, and not in the “this is a joke, please laugh” way that Bruce delivers that “I’m rich” line in the Justice League trailer. Gal Gadot embodies Diana admirably, whether it’s handling her business on the battlefield or delighting in her first experience with snow.
The cast of characters surrounding Diana are great, with Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen leading the way on Themyscira, to Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, playing a man capable of being rescued and upstaged by a powerful woman. The baby-men still railing against all-women showings of the movie could learn something from him. Their romance never feels forced. I wish we had more of Etta Candy as Lucy Davis’s reaction faces are great. I was also surprised with how well Wonder Woman handled the particular horrors of World War 1 – since it wasn’t the focus of the movie it would’ve been easy to gloss over what trench warfare was doing to people, but they didn’t.
Any downsides are fairly minor. The villain is a bit undercooked, taking a page from Marvel’s book, once you get past the surprise reveal regarding him. The last third of the movie is a bit of a tone-shift from the first two thirds, but you just know they had to have a big battle scene to end things on. The slow-motion, 300-esque bits with Diana fighting was probably overused but I’ll allow it.
Wonder Woman was the first DC movie since The Dark Knight where I found myself leaning in, hanging on the action and the character building bits. Take your kids (not just your daughters) and enjoy the ride.