The DCU has had a sketchy run over the last decade, but we can all agree that Wonder Woman was great. Director Patty Jenkins brought the Amazonian warrior to life on the big screen in a way that did the hero proud – except for one scene.
Really, it’s shocking how long it took the DCU to include Wonder Woman. If you sit down and watch all the DC movies in order, you’ll see several Batmen and Supermen before Diana Prince shows up, and the fact that she wasn’t in a live-action film until 2016 is inexcusable.
Thankfully, Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot rose to the occasion. Gadot understands Diana’s kindness and firmly rooted moral compass, while Jenkins handled the contrast between Themiscyra and our world perfectly. One of the best DC characters gets her time in the spotlight, and it’s spot-on until the third act.
For much of the film, set during WWI, Diana faces the brutality of armed conflict. Alongside pilot Steve Trevor, she’s roped into the trenches of Belgium, where she eventually crosses no man’s land in one of the great scenes of superhero cinema.
Over and over again, Diana’s told that humans will always choose to hurt each other and that solving war would require a change to our fundamental existence. She doesn’t want to believe that but look around; we’re very good at causing suffering. There’s no easy solution to any of it either – until the climactic fight where Wonder Woman faces Ares, the God of War.
The whole narrative descends into a CGI-heavy fistfight, a trope of the last 15 years or so of blockbusters. Some ropey effects aside, the worst part is that when Diana wins (spoilers!), an armistice happens because Ares was inducing us into perpetual war.
So, the picture that was all about our inherent flaws and how solutions to our ailments aren’t simple… ends with the hero ending the war by killing one entity. Ooft. Of course, blame for something like this can’t land solely at the feet of Jenkins or Gadot, both of whom were working within a gigantic studio.
Maybe producers wanted an easy victory to cap off the film. But I contest the very notion – audiences can handle nuance if you tell the right story, and until this happens, Wonder Woman was that. It’s a pity because this really is one of the best movies using capes and such we’ve had until Ares shows up properly.
We can only hope James Gunn has more consistency with the new movies in Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters. We don’t know when Wonder Woman will return, but keep an eye on our guides Superman: Legacy, The Brave and the Bold release date, and the Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow release date to know what’s happening.