DC has the first real winner of their cinematic universe in “Wonder Woman”

The DC Cinematic Universe that Warner Brothers is sporting has had a bit of a rough beginning to it. Ever since the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman movies concluded, their attempt to reboot things with Superman and then Batman has been met with less than critical acclaim. Man of Steel had a mixed response, while both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were outright panned. This week, however, they have what looks to be their first well reviewed blockbuster in Wonder Woman, which is notable for many reasons. Not only could it be righting the DC ship, it finally represents a big screen female superhero. A long time coming, no doubt. Luckily, expectations have been met, or perhaps even exceeded. Kudos to all involved. It took decades to make this one happen, but it was worth the wait.

The film is an origin story for the world’s biggest female superhero. Here, we meet Diana (Gal Gadot) on her home turf among the Amazonian warriors. In many ways, it is a utopia, driven by powerful women. When pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on her island, it’s the first time Diana has met or even seen a man. Steve tells here of an epic conflict in the outside world, one that reaches her shore in no time. Driven to battle evil, she leaves home to fight in the war to end all wars. There, she will discover the full range of her powers and fulfill her destiny as a warrior for justice. She will become Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins directs a script by Jason Fuchs, Allan Heinberg, and Zack Snyder. The cast here includes Elena Anaya, Lilly Aspell, Eugene Brave Rock, Ewen Bremner, Emily Carey, Lucy Davis, Danny Huston, Connie Nielsen, Saïd Taghmaoui, David Thewlis, Robin Wright, and more. The score is from Rupert Gregson-Williams, while Matthew Jensen handles the cinematography.

Reviews so far have been fairly exceptional, all things considered. Of note, Gadot has been heavily feted for doing the character more than justice. Her chemistry with Pine is top notch, while Jenkins reminds folks why she’s such a talented director. After the previous DC outings, you could be forgiven for accepting anything better than terrible as a success, but this is straight up quality cinema. You can quibble about whether it’s on the level of Marvel or not, but this is the new standard by which DC superhero flicks will be judged. A lot was riding on Wonder Woman, so the fact that it succeeded is nothing to scoff at.

In terms of awards, I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves to think about Wonder Woman as an Oscar player. It just pays to head that thought off at the pass. The technical categories, sure. Anything? A long shot. Still, Warner Brothers may be feeling bold and opt to put together a campaign. If so, look for shots in the dark in Best Picture, Best Director (for Jenkins), Best Actress (for Gadot), Best Supporting Actor (for Pine), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Fuchs, Heinberg, and Snyder), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. Realistically, the only plays are in Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects. Depending on how the other blockbusters do, there’s a chance that it slips in with one of those spots.

Starting on Friday, audiences can finally see Wonder Woman get her own solo adventure on the big screen. If you’re a fan of the character, comic book film, or quality blockbusters in general, this is something to be very excited about. Whether the upcoming Justice League builds upon this or not remains to be seen, but DC finally has an unabashed success story in the post Nolan era. Gadot will be an even more popular part of the Justice League now, and you can bet on a Wonder Woman sequel, potentially even before Man of Steel 2. This is a game changer, folks. Don’t miss it…

Be sure to check out Wonder Woman, in theaters everywhere starting this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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