Both critics and audiences have been lauding Wonder Woman, the newest film in the DC Extended Universe, as a revelation and a transcendental piece of filmmaking poised to usher in a new era in cinema.
I think these reactions are a bit overhyped and inflated, because it is supposedly the first female-centric superhero movie (even though it isn’t), and the first of the genre to be directed by a woman (which, again, it isn’t). That is not to say the film isn’t without merit or worthy of praise.
Is the movie good? Yes. Is it worth seeing? Definitely. Is it the transcendental, glass-ceiling-shattering piece of art that many critics and moviegoers are lauding it as? No.
Wonder Woman is a good movie with great moments. It’s fun, charming and full of exciting action. It reminded me of a DC era gone by – the Christopher Reeve / Michael Keaton days. There are times I think it’s the best DCEU film. But then there are times when I still think Man of Steel was better.
Man of Steel was interesting but in a completely different way. It was a contemplative, realistic look at a character that had a certain perception in the public consciousness, and I liked where it was going (where it ended up is a whole other story). Wonder Woman had a lot of heart, which is what Man of Steel and its follow-up lacked, and that’s what made it good.
I have never really found Wonder Woman the character particularly interesting, even as a comic reader. Her powers and weapons always seemed kind of hokey to me (an invisible jet – really?). However, she was the true highlight of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And if Zack Snyder succeeded doing anything in that movie, it was making Wonder Woman actually cool.
But what made this new film exceptionally good were its thematic elements. Wonder Woman was about more than just an Amazonian princess, but about the nature of humanity, actual female strength, and the power of grace.