J. Zachary Pike's

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My (Typically) Late Review of Wonder Woman

I’m beginning to develop a trend of reviewing things so late that everyone already has a firm opinion on whatever I’l writing about. That goes doubly so for Wonder Woman, which everyone already seems to love. But hey, I’ll throw my two cents in the corroded fountain of public opinion: Wonder Woman is the best DC movie in years, and a fine comic book move.

The other reviews of Wonder Woman that you’ve read are, broadly speaking, spot on. The movie is fun, the action well done, the heroine solid, the acting strong. I enjoyed myself thoroughly watching it.

And I don’t want to get too heavy in issues of gender, but the movie does, and it handles it well. Wonder Woman is a powerful leader and fighter who smashes sexist tropes and bad people with equal aplomb. We’re overdue for female leads in comic book movies.

But on that note, I’d like to add is that what I really want is a female lead in a Marvel movie.

Wonder Woman is the best DC movie in years, but that is a terribly low bar to clear. And it’s not just that recent DC movies are poorly conceived (they have been) or poorly directed (that too.) It’s DC’s whole approach to character and world building. DC takes themselves too seriously; their characters are too perfect, their struggles to idealistic. The whole thing is (usually) less fun and exciting than Marvel. Both companies have recently shown me films where ridiculously powerful heroes beat the snot out of super-powered villains, but I always feel like DC is the guy trying to convince me that no, this is deep, man. You don’t even get it!

If I have paid money to watch aliens fight mythological gods, take it as a given that I am in at least a somewhat silly mood.

Wonder Woman is an icon, not a character. She’s like Superman in that regard; so profoundly powerful and moral that she’s effectively a stand-in for Jesus, or Buddha, or pick-your-own-incarnation-of-perfection. Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot did an amazing job bringing an icon to life in a fun movie, but I wish she was more… human. And DC can’t make her that without betraying the icon. It’s the same reason why doing a Superman movie is so difficult. (Though clearly not impossible. Wonder Woman is leagues better, Justice or otherwise, than any recent Superman movie.)

Captain Marvel doesn’t have that issue. Neither does Black Widow, or Rogue. If Marvel could make those heroines into a movie with the skill and quality of Wonder Woman, I’d have the perfect movie to take my daughters to.*

But enough about what could have been. Wonder Woman is a great, fun movie in its own right, and it’s better than any female-led superhero movie to date, DC or Marvel. (I’m looking at you, Catwoman and Elektra). On top of that, the previews for Justice League imply that DC is learning a few tricks from their old rivals, and I have really high hopes that it’ll be on par with the Avengers. Credit where credit is due: this movie rocks. You should definitely see it, and the effects and action are certainly worth a movie ticket. Wonder Woman is more fun than a ride in an invisible jet.

* One final gripe: I would think twice before taking young kids to this movie, but that’s entirely because of the terrifying previews in front of it. Little girls everywhere are going to see Diana be strong and instead getting traumatized by sharks trying to eat Mandy Moore.

3 thoughts on “My (Typically) Late Review of Wonder Woman”

  1. For the record: a Captain Marvel movie is officially slated to come out in 2019. 😀

    1. I’m pretty excited for it!

  2. Ken Leonard says:

    I definitely agree that Marvel could have — and should have — done this a long time ago.

    Black Widow could easily headline a movie, although that might take a seriously-dark tone (“red in her ledger” has nothing to do with ink or overextending her credit cards, after all). As much as I love Scott Lang in general, I would kind of rather “Ant-Man” had been “Wasp.”

    Captain Marvel, to be sure, should be spectacular. I’m waiting to see Carol Danvers, though, and would like that to happen, soon. We knew her in the comics long before she had powers.

    Anyway, … I agree about “Wonder Woman.” It’s the only DC movie I’ve enjoyed in this run, and it is because she’s an actual superhero doing real superheroics, but she is different from everyone else. And, yes, she is an icon.

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