The wait is over! The wait is over, Wonder Woman is here! Sing and rejoice as the newest film in the interconnected DCEU arrives, firmly planting itself next to as well as completely outshining Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad right out of the gate. Wonder Woman follows our titular character Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot), an Amazonian warrior driven by justice and love to protect anyone at any cost. 

The entire movie tackles feminist/anti-feminist tropes in a tasteful manner. One point of focus is the ongoing joke regarding the doubts Wonder Woman faces from her male associates, assuming she is incapable of handling herself or taking control of any situation only to be prove them wrong again and again. And even again. We see a confident Wonder Woman, who’s main purpose is to help anyone regardless of situation, putting herself on the line and confronting obstacles that no one else is willing to face. We also met Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Steve Trevor (Chris Pine)’s assistant, who addresses another side of the feminist spectrum being equal parts capable and confident while still showing a huge sense of concern for her employer and his newfound love interest.

A large part of Wonder Woman’s success stems from her sexual portrayal, or lack thereof. She is sexy without being sexualized. There are no gratuitous shots of cleavage and we are spared viewing of an implied sex scene between Diana and Steve. We even bear witness to a scene, obviously played for laughs, where Diana walks in on a naked Steve Trevor, who has just finished bathing as he awaits help to get off the island of Themyscira, and tries to awkwardly recover, flipping the entire “Oops! Where are my clothes?!” trope on its head.

Patty Jenkins and Co. do a great job of finding other smaller, quieter moments to delve into Diana’s humanity. Diana is quickly introduced to the audience as both capable and fearless in her warrior ways, asserting her dominance in Themyscira, but it is when Diana accompanies Steve back into the heart of the War to End All Wars when we get to see a different side of her shine. Immediately poking fun at the doomy and gloomy world known as London, England, Diana is both perceptive and confused. A scene where Etta Candy attempts to find proper clothing for Diana to wear in the hopes that she can assimilate to the modern world is topped off with a flail of kicks and punches in the air; Diana cries out, “How am I supposed to fight wearing this?” We see the film tap into her childlike sense of awe and, dare I saw, wonder in this new world, somewhat mimicking the opening scenes of the movie when we meet a young Diana. The scene where Diana is introduced to ice cream (which is lifted from Geoff Johns and Jim Lee‘s New 52 Justice League run) is worth the price of admission alone. 

Throughout all of this we never lose focus on Wonder Woman’s main mission: love, justice, and safety for all. During the Battle of No Man’s Land, Wonder Woman asserts herself in a way that, up until now, no other hero in the DCEU has. That scene not only gave me chills, but it dawned on me while watching that no other comic book film has been able to translate the character’s cores and principles from panel to the big screen as perfectly and purely as this single scene (Captain America movies excluded). And yes, the villains may seem a little one-note and mustache-twirly, but that never detracts from the movie’s primary focus. Wonder Woman fights each of the big-bads with equal weight as if there is no moment more important than the one she is presently in.

Gal Gadot is not only a shining star, but the shining star in the current DCEU. A lesser actress would have run the risk of being overshadowed by Chris Pine’s portrayal of Steve Trevor or falling victim to slightly one-note antagonists, or not being able to tap into the true essence of Wonder Woman. This movie is the breath of fresh air that not only the DCEU needs, but that Wonder Woman fans everywhere need.


    

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