It’s time to put aside whatever preconceived notions you might have about the DC Extended Universe. Wonder Woman will finally be unleashed this Friday, and all signs suggest that director Patty Jenkins has righted the ship in crafting what many are calling one of the greatest superhero movies of all time.
There was a lot riding on whether or not Jenkins and her team could pull this off. Warner Bros. and DC are coming off back-to-back stinkers in Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman, which meant the margin for error in what is the final film before this fall’s Justice League was slim.
But once the embargo was lifted Monday night, critics were unanimous in their praise: Wonder Woman is the best film in the DCEU, and it’s not even close (it currently sits at 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).
“This is a very definite upgrade on last year’s lamentable Batman v Superman,“ writes The Independent’s Jack Shepherd. "As portrayed by Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman has powers of empathy and kindness that her male counterparts in superhero movies completely lack.”
Jenkins clearly set out to make a superhero film in the grand tradition of Richard Donner’s original Superman, which meant eschewing the darkness of Wonder Woman’s DC counterparts in favor of something far more sincere and romantic. According to Variety’s Andrew Barker, Jenkins succeeded, as Wonder Woman “provides a welcome respite from DC’s house style of grim darkness,” while Gal Gadot proves “an inspired choice for this avatar of truth, justice and the Amazonian way.”
So while this spate of glowing reviews certainly bodes well for the film’s box office prospects and the DCEU at large, the success of Wonder Woman could have ripple effects that extend far beyond its own backyard.
Jenkins is the first woman director to helm a superhero film, and Wonder Woman is the first superhero film to be led by a women in this, the genre’s golden age. If Wonder Woman is a hit—and this flood of a good reviews suggest that it will be—then studios might soften their longstanding belief that when it comes to superhero movies, women have no real business behind or in front of the camera.
Wonder Woman will be out June 2. For now, check out what critics are saying about the movie, below.
Alisha Grauso, Moviepilot: "And what a warrior she is. Gal Gadot is a revelation; she fully owns the role as much as Robert Downey, Jr. owns Iron Man or Chris Evans owns Captain America. She is Wonder Woman, and it’s impressive to watch her walk the fine line between naiveté without stupidity, a warrior bred for battle who still retains a compassionate heart.”
Alicia Lutes, Nerdist: “She is no doe-eyed ingenue; her Diana is strong and ferocious. And yet how she balances love and being an outsider in a man’s world is so vulnerable and pure, it brings new layers to the character.”
Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter: “As a man dazzled by a fearless goddess, Pine delivers a less wide-eyed amazement. His performance is effortlessly roguish and wry, but he also ups the emotional ante, grounding the fight against evil as well as the fledgling romance with heart and soul.”
Kelly Lawler, USA Today: “Wonder Woman falters slightly in its third act, where its climactic battle tries and fails to outdo with big special effects what earlier sequences did with stunts and Gadot’s charisma. It’s only when the film feels the need to check off the boxes of the modern superhero movie that it loses its momentum.”
Caroline Preece, Den of Geek: “We are inundated with these stories on our screens both large and small, but they are pointless if they are not made to mean something. Many don’t, and they will likely be forgotten as filler in a decade’s time, but there’s a care and an thematic ambition to Wonder Woman that elevates it above, and against the odds the fact that this is one of so few female-led examples of the genre becomes a mere side note.”