by David Minkus
The DC Extended Universe has been widely criticized as a trainwreck since 2013’s Man of Steel hit theaters worldwide. Heaven knows I sure as heck haven’t been kind to these films. In some way, shape or form, every single entry has completely missed the point of the core of its characters to the such a laughable extent that Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice displayed the single character who actually is a warrior, has no reservation about killing enemies and carries a freaking sword and shield as the ONLY “hero” who doesn’t kill anybody. I’ve frankly given up hope on the DCEU, but the trailers for Wonder Woman wouldn’t stop knocking at my heart with hope. I’m beyond thrilled to say I’m glad I opened the door one more time to that hope and was greatly rewarded.
Unlike most superhero origin stories, Wonder Woman’s is actually worth telling. This isn’t because it sets up the character and sets them up on their path like every other cape movie, but because it offers a genuine look at humanity through simultaneously naïve and cynical eyes, only to have each viewpoint completely change by the end of the film. Diana’s journey challenges the idea of preconceived notions and champions the merits of seeing humanity for what it is, warts and all.
Director Patty Jenkins performed a masterful job of showing the horrors of the aftermath of war without needing to go into the gory detail presented in past war films like Saving Private Ryan. Somehow, seeing the parade of wounded as Diana (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) are headed toward the front line is a somber occasion as Diana is fully confronted with the terrible realities of war’s casualties instead of just studying war from an academic point of view. Compounding that was seeing innocent people being so devastatingly affected in the trenches of No Man’s Land that finally spurs Diana into action.