About halfway through Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot’s Diana is being guided by Chris Pine’s Steve through a battle trench. Diana is heavily concerned about casualties on the German side and wants to fight, while Steve bats down this suggestion, saying that not everyone can be saved, and pleads Diana that they have to continue course. Diana is torn, but then she fastens her headpiece, readies her shield and leaps into action to battle the enemy.
At this point, everyone in my audience cheered with pure jubilation, as we were then treated to Diana barreling through the enemy line and punching through heavily-armed opposing forces as if they were flimsy pieces of Styrofoam. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments of a wholly enjoyable film, an ecstatic movie-going experience that lifts your spirits and makes you laugh, and finally gives evidence that maybe DC does know what they’re doing with this whole comic book universe thing.
The film still has that gritty feel of Batman vs. Superman, where everything looks bit faded like a damaged polaroid, but at least there’s a lot more colors this time around than just bleak grey. And the action still very much feels like a live-action version of Dragon Ball Z more than what we’re used to from say The Avenger movies. This isn’t a bad thing but it is different. I will say, though, that trying something different is the first step in making something great. And director Patty Jenkins, with her attention to detail and ability to evoke humor, sorrow and joy from this story, has certainly achieved that feat.
But Wonder Woman is made truly wonderful by none other than Gal Gadot, who brings ferocity and tenderness to the role, able to pummel enemies with the power of a thousand suns but still shed a tear when a seemingly-lesser human needlessly loses their life. Gadot leaps beyond every mark and breaks every barrier. Chris Pine and crew do well too, but we’re grateful for every second we get to spend with Gadot.
Wonder Woman may not be the best DC film (it is of this current universe, but I still like The Dark Knight more), nor is it the best comic book movie. But it achieved something that no other comic book movie has before it: it is the first superhero film where you are actively rooting for the superhero to succeed, where you aren’t necessarily watching a 120-minute story of a hero saving the world, but you feel as if you are a comrade on Diana’s team, leaping alongside her with your popcorn as your shield and your sticky Icee as your sword as you battle to stop evil and bring peace to the world and your cineplex. That is a very rare feeling that won’t be replicated in any DC, Marvel or action/adventure/fantasy movie for years to come.
There is one fatal flaw though with this movie, and that is that it eventually ends. But just as Diana is supposedly immortal, so is the entertainment value with this movie, and there’s nothing from stopping you from seeing it again. I know I will.