“Wonder Woman” Dominates the DC Universe

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“Wonder Woman” is the crowning jewel of the DC Universe, whose movies are often mediocre at best. (COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.)

By MARYANNA ANTOLDI

In a world where superheroes are primarily machismo men fighting to make the world a better place, it is about time that the world of comic-based movies included a film with a woman in the leading role. DC Comic’s latest installment “Wonder Woman” does just that. This groundbreaking film is a breath of fresh air for both girls everywhere and the DC franchise as a whole.

Over the past few years, DC Comics has attempted to make movies that brought beloved characters such as Batman and Superman to life. However, unlike rival company Marvel that constantly creates films that are both enthralling and cohesive, DC’s films were action-packed but never made much sense due to illogical and pointless plots. The franchise’s 2016 film “Suicide Squad” is the perfect example of this. It held immense potential through its trailers, but ended up falling flat due to its major plot hole—there was no character to root for. But, it seems that “Wonder Woman” may be the film to lift the franchise out of its rut.

“Wonder Woman” tells the origin story of Diana (Gal Gadot), Princess of Themyscira—the land of the Amazons. Trained since she was a child to protect mankind, Diana spent most of her life waiting for the moment when she could fight to save the world from Ares, the God of War. Her time arrives when British spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) penetrates their safe haven, introducing Diana to WWI—the “war to end all wars.” Viewing this war as her calling to defeat Ares and fulfill the duty of the Amazons, Diana leaves her homeland on a quest to bring peace to the world. However, with every quest comes trial, and Diana learns more about herself and humanity as a whole along the way.

The fact that “Wonder Woman” takes place during WWI is part of the reason why Diana shines as a strong female character. In a period where men were the only people allowed to orchestrate and fight in a war, it is a breath of fresh air to see the character questioning sexism openly and proving her strength to everyone she encounters. However, Diana is much more than her strength. She is fiercely loyal, optimistic and kind, with a moral compass that shines more radiantly than her armor. In a time where women are often on the screen solely for their sex appeal (a la Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad”), Wonder Woman herself is an ode to the sheer strength of a woman and the role model all girls need.

Part of the reason Diana succeeds as such a convincing character is due to Gadot herself. She commands the screen with the simplest of expressions, proving without words that she is a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from Israel and fighting in the country’s army, she has experience on a battlefield, and it shows. As her sidekick of sorts, Pine provides the spunk and valor that complements Diana’s own heroism, captivating the screen in his own unique way.

But “Wonder Woman” also tackles other social issues in the film through its plethora of minor characters. Among Diana’s small gang of soldiers lies Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), an aspiring actor who was forced to join the battlefield knowing that his Middle-Eastern complexion would not find him work. Another Native-American man simply nicknamed “The Chief” (Eugene Brave Rock) explains to Diana in an integral scene how his people were shunned by white men, highlighting to her that humankind’s motives are more complicated than she thought. By including simple lines like these in the film, it becomes much more than an action movie— it is an ode to social justice.

By placing a classic comic character into the early 20th century, director Patty Jenkins created a film that never slowed in plot. From beginning to end, the film demands attention due to its captivating story and strong characters. Part of this charm is due to cinematographer Matthew Jensen’s incredible action sequences that highlighted Diana’s strength and leaves audiences craving more. But, one of the most important themes of the movie is that strength comes from within. Fighting for something means that you must believe in it wholeheartedly, and Diana illustrates this perfectly.

So, because of her strong fighting skills and even stronger heart, Wonder Woman is the character that singlehandedly redeemed the DC franchise from its sub-par saga of films. She is the role model every girl can aspire to be, and her beliefs in love and justice paired with her valor on the battlefield are exactly what makes this film so enthralling.