In a year that’s seen perhaps the most quality of quantity in the comic book genre with Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok all scoring, Wonder Woman still stands as the best comic book movie of 2017. The DCEU in Wonder Woman captured what makes the DCU work in comics. The DCU has an earnestness and acceptance of its own fantastic nature whereas Marvel tends to try to ground things in a more logical reality. The DCU is a magical, cosmos-spanning, wonderland (punny). It has street-level heroes like Batman and Green Arrow, but more common are larger-than-life godlike beings like Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins’ take on the Amazons and Diana was the best Wonder Woman anything that’s ever been done on any screen or any page. It captured the essence of her character and allowed us for the first time to get that feeling of what a special place the DCU is.
Gal Gadot does such a fantastic job giving Diana a balance between naivete and wisdom, but the reason why the things that have always seemed goofy about the character in the past: the outfit, the tiara, the lasso, her origin, are all embraced in a way and with a belief in their gravity that the audience believes them too. An invaluable part of making that work is Diana’s relationship with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Trevor becomes her guide through “man’s world” and the prism by which she sees humanity both at its worst and at its finest. Then, during her final fight against Ares, it’s Steve’s farewell and selfless sacrifice of his own life that gives her the strength to win, and the humanity that comes with having loved someone and watched them die.
Wonder Woman 2 today was moved up six weeks to November 1, 2019, to get it out of the way of the delayed Star Wars Episode IX. Patty Jenkins will return to direct, and I hope that the modern Diana can find a story every bit as flawless as he origin. Whatever else happens with the DCEU, it’s all been worth it to finally give this 75-year-old character a defining epic.