Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins (of Monster fame) had an insurmountable task ahead- the success or failure of the movie would shape up how the DC universe plays out and whether at all there is a market for female superheroes.
The presumed battle for dominance over the superhero movie-verse between Marvel and DC has mostly seen the former take an unassailable lead over the latter in terms of quality, scale, and critical reception from both fans and reviewers. Marvel has maintained a juggernaut of one win after another with a wide assortment of offerings for fans, from Iron Man, Captain America, Avengers to more unconventional stuff like Deadpool, Dr. Strange to a genre-defying gritty drama like the highly-acclaimed Logan. On the other hand, DC has suffered from insipid movie-making (although I disagree for Batman v Superman and even Man of Steel. Only Suicide Squad, which also had its good parts, was horribly edited) and has been a critical failure.
Can you remember any superhero movie with a female lead which did well at the box office? Catwoman? Elektra? Both were miserable flops. And Marvel, despite its all success, has the Black Widow playing only a side role in the Avengers movies. Things will probably change after Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson, but that is a long way ahead.
So how has Wonder Woman fared so far? With a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score and a blockbuster opening weekend, the movie has grossed $240 million worldwide currently. Many expect it to touch the billion-dollar mark, though that may be a long shot.
So why has Wonder Woman been so extremely popular and garnering rave reviews all over. As a staunch fan of DC and all its characters since childhood, and taking the reaction of movie critics to Batman v Superman in particular, here are the main reasons why Wonder Woman has been such a resounding success:
Bright Vibrant Colors
Compared to the grim and disturbing premise of Batman v Superman, which was layered with shades of dark and grey that you could literally feel yourself gripped with a sense of doom and calamity, Wonder Woman starts off in the bright, glorious world of Themyscira where a young Diana watches in awe and wonder at all the magnificent Amazons dressed in bright armor and training like total badasses.
Even during the later parts of the movie, when we enter the midst of the first World War, Wonder Woman is in blazing form with her blitzkrieg action sequences and sparkling battle armour, with the action never becoming jarring to watch.
A Celebration of Feminism and Classic Superhero Tropes
Wonder Woman kicks patriarchy in the nuts. Fiercely feminist, it is a reflection of strong females making a niche for themselves in the male-dominated corporate world. Among scoffing and sneering men who probably deem a woman unworthy in their presence, let alone listen to her opinions, Diana holds her own and is not a wimpy lass who would indulge in irreverent behavior.
Another winning point with Wonder Woman is the celebration of classic superhero tropes. Enough of disturbed individuals and characters driven by revenge. Diana is purely driven by her desire to see goodness in the world and her charming naivety in figuring out the way the world of men works and her horror at the atrocities man is capable of make for some really captivating viewing. In fact, we need more of such heroes whom we can celebrate and cheer because of the innate goodness of their character.
Witty Humor, Strong Characters and A Powerful Message
While Batman v Superman was really low on comedy (I can actually only recall the scene with Wonder Woman as the funny part while preparing for battle against Doomsday), Wonder Woman is laced with witty repertoires. Most of the comedy is provided by the interaction of Diana with Steve Trevor, played with aplomb by Chris Pine, and his secretary. One grouse I had with the movie was a lack of a powerful villain- Ares wasn’t just developed enough.
Last but not the least, Wonder Woman also serves as a convincing anti-war movie and a zeal to do something good for the weak and the destitute who are usually ignored as collateral damage during war. Overall, it is a winner on all counts. DC must profusely thank Patty Jenkins for not only bringing back DC in the game but for also making female superheroes a force to reckon with. Hail Diana!