Wonder Woman injects much-needed color and joy into the bland DCEU universe. The action sequence in no man's land ranks as one of the best in any superhero movie. Also, Diana’s arc from optimistic islander to cynical war veteran is believable and heartbreaking. However, I noticed several similarities to a previous superhero film, Captain America: The First Avenger.
Both are flashback movies that begin and end with scenes in the present. After a brief tease, the majority of the movies are set during a world war, with the protagonist fighting the German army.
The heroes obtain their power with help of an older mentor who believe in them. In #CaptainAmerica it’s Doctor Erskine; in #WonderWoman it is Diana’s aunt, Antiope. (Though, there's a big difference between training in combat for a thousand years and being fed super-steroids in a tanning bed.)
Each of the heroes becomes more powerful than their peers. They each have idealistic reasons for wanting to fight, but are kept away from the action by their superiors. In Captain America, it’s Colonel Chester Phillips, in Wonder Woman it’s Queen Hippolyta.
Love Interests: Peggy And (The Other) Steve
Early in the film, Princess Diana and Steve Rogers are each introduced to attractive love interests, Steve Trevor and Peggy Carter. These love interests will guide them into the theater of war and fight by their sides.
Superheroes On The Front Lines
Both films feature a scene where the characters turn the tide of a battle (the aforementioned no man's land sequence, and Cap’s rescue of soldiers behind enemy lines). Let's face it though, Wonder Woman stepping above the trench is a thousand percent better than First Avenger's parade of montages.
Both heroes are aided by a multi-cultural band of misfits who operate outside of the regular military. Both of these groups are referenced in photographs in other franchise films.
At the end of the film, a heroic character named Steve (portrayed by a man named Chris, sacrifices himself by destroying a plane that was about to destroy a city we've previously seen in the film (New York and London). In both cases, the hero probably could have landed the plane (or at least tried).
Villains: Red Skull And Ares
The central characters fight against the German army, but the Germans aren’t the bad guys. The villains are secret subdivisions of the german military. In First Avenger, it’s HYDRA, led by the Red Skull; in Wonder Woman it’s Ludendorff’s poison gas research. (Note: Ludendorff was a real man. I wonder how his family feels about being portrayed as the God of War? I bet they dig it.)
Spoilers for Wonder Woman below:
Yes, I know that Ludendorff was a misdirect for the real villain. Sir Patrick is also a secret operator working within a powerful nation engaged in the war.
Powers From The Gods
In both films, the true threat is a hidden danger that comes from “the power of the gods.” In the case of First Avenger, it is the tesseract, which the Red Skull says is from the Gods; in Wonder Woman, it is the god of war, Ares.
Both films feature a super strong villain assisted by a human scientist (Arnim Zola and Dr. Poison). The scientists create weapons that threaten to destroy the world.
Avengers And Justice League Setup
Finally, each film ends with the promise that we will see the characters again soon. They are each the the last “solo movie” before a tentpole crossover film in their respective franchises.
So what do you think? Am I nitpicking? Which film did you like better? Holler at me in the comments, I got nothing to do today.