Given how integral she is to the world of DC Comics, it’s hard to believe that Wonder Woman had never appeared in a live-action film prior to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The character has a long history on the small-screen in both animated and live-action form, but we couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of a full-fledged Wonder Woman film featuring Gal Gadot as the Amazon warrior.
Director Patty Jenkins’s release doesn’t hit theaters until June 2, 2017, but we’re already anticipating that Wonder Woman could be the first entry in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) to earn universal acclaim. Even though comic book films led by women don’t have a great track record (Supergirl, Catwoman, and Elektra were all duds), we think this has far more to do with the quality of the work rather than any lingering stigma of female comic book heroes.
After all, fans are still clamoring for a Black Widow film and can’t wait for Oscar-winner, Brie Larson’s turn as Captain Marvel. So Diana Prince has an excellent shot of becoming the first female-led superhero film to become a runaway hit. Here’s why we think Wonder Woman could be the film to save the DCEU.
1. Gal Gadot stood out in Batman v Superman
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earned a divisive reputation with both fans and critics almost immediately after it hit theaters. Yet, one of the film’s few bright spots that nearly everyone agreed on, was the presence of Gal Gadot. However, she was the only member in DC Comics’ trinity of iconic characters not mentioned in the movie’s title.
Presented as a force of nature, we met a Diana Prince with a long history of battles and a World War I-set secret origin that we couldn’t be more excited to learn about. Wonder Woman finally gives us that chance.
2. A long-awaited second feature from director Patty Jenkins
Director Patty Jenkins made a stellar feature debut with the harrowing drama, Monster, which earned Charlize Theron an Academy Award for her transformation into serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. In the 13 years since its release, Jenkins has stayed busy working on shows like Entourage and The Killing, but she hasn’t helmed a second feature. Wonder Woman will mark her return to the big screen, and we couldn’t be more excited to see how her skill as a filmmaker has grown over the last 13 years.
3. There’s no need for DCEU world-building
Since the Wonder Woman film takes place during World War I, the film is likely shielded from the burden of having to set up future DCEU films. Whereas Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were criticized for shoe-horning in characters and plot elements that were clearly intended to set up subsequent films, Jenkins’s movie will be able to focus in on Diana’s story without the need for other Justice League members to show up. After all, at that point in the timeline, none of them were even born.
4. An origin story that has never been brought to film
Batman. Superman. Spider-Man. These are all heroes who have received proper origin stories on film, so moviegoers know how they became the heroes we all love. However, for as famous as Wonder Woman is, the tale of how she became the iconic character we all know today has never been realized on film before. Those who simply can’t wait until next year’s interpretation could get by with the 2009 animated film, but we’re hopeful that Jenkins can craft an origin story that can finally do justice to Wonder Woman.
5. It’s co-written by renowned comics writer Geoff Johns
Most applauded the news that lauded comic book writer Geoff Johns was recently named to a critical creative role at DC. So the fact that he also serves as a co-screenwriter on Wonder Woman should bode equally well. Johns’s work with the character on the page has been praised, and it’s exciting to have someone with past experience working with these characters so closely involved in the film adaptations. Here’s hoping that the difference shines through in the finished product.
6. Better balance of character and spectacle
While Batman v Superman is mired by self-seriousness and Suicide Squad tries so damn hard to convince moviegoers that it’s hip and edgy, Wonder Woman looks to feature a better balance of character-based drama, naturalistic humor, and spectacle than its predecessors. This also looks to be the case with Justice League, but it falls to Wonder Woman to adjust the public perception of the over-arching tone that will unite the DCEU going forward.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
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