Warner Bros.’ ‘Wonder Woman’ a shining star in DC Extended Universe

Warner Bros.' latest superhero film 'Wonder Woman' is finally the DC Comics-based film we've been dying to see from this studio.

Wonder Woman in action. (Screen grab from the final trailer for Warner Brothers' new film, "Wonder Woman.")

LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2017 – Wonder Woman has finally made it to the big screen with the help of Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious) as Wonder Woman. Warner Bros. hopes its new DC Comics-based superhero film will be its shining new star after failing to deliver with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and more recently with Suicide Squad.

The last time the studio delivered a great superhero film was nearly five years ago, with The Dark Knight Rises, the grand finale in Christopher Nolan’s definitive Batman trilogy.

Wonder Woman is easily the best film since that dark trio of hit films. Directed by Patty Jenkins, WW delivers a new-look masterpiece with its epic fight scenes and Gal Gadot’s stunning performance as DC’s premiere female super hero. For his part, Chris Pine (Star Trek reboot films) creates great romantic chemistry with Gadot. In fact, Gadot and Pine may be the best romantic duo in superhero film history.

Jenkins has done what was beginning to seem impossible for Warners. She has created a film that delivers on what old fans of the Amazonian heroine have wanted to see for decades. Coming in at 141 mostly-intriguing minutes, this is a film that shows us how great the upcoming Justice League film could be and what to expect from the studio in the near future.

When Wonder Woman hits its peaks, it delivers scenes that are extremely well crafted, reminding us how great a superhero film could be. As with most initial installments of a given superhero saga, WW its plotline with the origin story of Diana, an Amazonian fighter destined to save mankind from the god of war, although its opening scene is a frame tale device, as we glimpse “Diana Prince” working at the Louvre and receiving a photo from Bruce Wayne, whom, of course, we all should know by now is the public identity of Batman.

The most talked about scene in the new film features Wonder Woman/Diana storming World War I’s “no man’s land” in German territory and bestirring her allies to save the people who live in the village the Germans have conquered. Unlike Batman v Superman and Man of Steel, the fighting is deeply personal to Diana who views her sacred mission as a duty to protect the innocent. In this and in other key scenes, Gadot succeeds in giving her character grace and a sense of pride.

There is one downside to this near-perfect action thriller, however. As in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman, while spinning a great onscreen yarn, once again falls into the Extreme CGI trap that’s hurt both predecessor films. Warner-DC films seem to have developed a bad habit of wrapping up their “big” superhero films with way-too-long, mind-numbing, CGI-centric “let’s blow up and destroy everything” scenes that tend to derail even the sharpest narrative line.

In this case, WW heads for its climax with a clearly-forced, full-blown and possibly unnecessary 20 minute action/destruction scene. Why? Is the studio afraid in this case that it will alienate the youthful male demographic by having Wonder Woman perceived as just another “chick flick”? There was never any danger of that to begin with in this robust action film. Warners ought to seriously rethink its mind-dulling emphasis on computerized death and destruction finales. A little of this goes a long way, particularly in a genuinely character-driven film like this one.

That said, Wonder Woman generally succeeds where Warner Bros. has seriously failed in its most recent DC superhero film essays. Better yet, Gal Gadot manages to bring to life a character whose story was allegedly too difficult to tell just a few years ago, transforming this film into one of the best super hero movies ever, and that includes the Marvel (now Disney-Marvel) films.

Gadot’s Wonder Woman will appear next in this November’s long-awaited release of Justice League.

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