Phew. That must be the feeling over at DC Towers today, when the embargo finally lifted on Wonder Woman's critical reviews to reveal a movie which is comfortably considered the best of the #DCEU to date, and a triumph for a character who in 76 years of comic book existence has never before made it to the big screen.
Patty Jenkins's movie currently has an absolutely superb Metacritic score of 79/100 with 16 reviews in the bag, and although that number could adjust a few points either way, it's clear that #WonderWoman has the green light from critics. The lasso of truth doesn't lie.
Check out our round-up of the critics' reviews below to find out which elements of Wonder Woman are swimming in praise, and which areas the movie isn't quite so successful in.
Variety: "Cheerful, earnest and genuinely exhilarating" (8/10)
Andrew Barker's review for Variety praises the way Wonder Woman shakes off the "grimdark" tone of previous DCEU movies and establishes something far more optimistic and joyful, even when the story takes us into trench warfare, with the caveat that its third act is overlong and stretches credibility:
"'Wonder Woman' provides a welcome respite from DC’s house style of grim darkness — boisterous, earnest, sometimes sloppy, yet consistently entertaining ... It says quite a lot about the general tenor of the DC cinematic universe that a film set in the trenches of WWI, with a plot revolving around the development of chemical warfare, is nonetheless its most cheerful and kid-friendly entry.
'Wonder Woman' is the first major superhero film directed by a woman, and it shows in a number of subtle, yet important ways ... Jenkins’ camera never leers or lingers gratuitously — Diana is always framed as an agent of power, rather than its object. When she finally unleashes her full fighting potential in an extended battle sequence on the front lines, the movie comes alive in a genuinely exhilarating whirl of slow-motion mayhem, Diana’s personality never lost amid the choreography."
IndieWire: "Wonder Woman has the gravitas and emotion to make it the DCEU's best film yet" (A-)
Another strongly positive review by IndieWire's Kate Erbland puts the quality of the action sequences, especially the opening act's big set piece, and the effortless way comedy is blended into the script under the spotlight:
"Diana is a neat sort-of throwback to the circa-1978 'Superman,' which was similarly anchored by a superhero of intense goodness. It’s a fine counterpoint in a franchise so often given over to so-called 'dark and gritty' sensibilities.
The film’s first big battle is a major standout. Set on the beach in daylight hours, it looks markedly different from so many of the nighttime sequences of the genre, complete with throwback weapons (arrows and horses) and a mad dash of ass-kicking Amazons. The emotional stakes are high, too, and the film’s early reliance on going deep with the Amazon tribe pays off in often-wrenching ways."
The Hollywood Reporter: "Gadot brings a sweetly comic innocence to Diana’s amazed encounters with the outside world" (7/10)
The smart, non-preachy brand of feminism present throughout the script receives special mention in the Hollywood Reporter's review, which considers the film's length (141 minutes) its biggest flaw, but praises the characters and Diana's vast charm.
"Its origin story, with its direct and relatively uncluttered trajectory, offers a welcome change of pace from a superhero realm that’s often overloaded with inter-connections and cross-references. (A nod to Wayne Enterprises in the story’s framing device serves as a fuss-free tie-in to the upcoming 'Justice League'.)
In just a few words of dialogue for [Diana's trio of mercenary friends], screenwriter Heinberg, a TV vet making his feature debut, works eye-opening social commentary on race into the female-empowerment mix. None of it is preachy or heavy-handed, and the sexual politics throughout the film are as playful as they are well-observed, with nicely underplayed chemistry between the two leads."
Movie Pilot: "Multiple moments will elicit laughter and tears in equal measures"
Movie Pilot's own Alisha Grauso felt numerous emotions after seeing Wonder Woman brought to life on the big screen, almost all positive (with some reservations about the quality of the CGI and the film's big bad):
"Gadot is Wonder Woman, and it's impressive to watch her walk the fine line between naiveté without stupidity, sexually aware without being sexualized, a warrior bred for battle who still retains a compassionate heart.
The villain behind the villain is something of a letdown, but really, we're not here for the villain, or the story, or the CGI—which is truly rough at times—we're here for the characters, specifically Diana and Steve Trevor. For that, Gadot and Pine are more than up to the task.
[The DCEU] is absolutely on the right track, and as the first step forward for women-led superhero films from the Big 2, 'Wonder Woman' is an enormous one."
The Guardian: "Wonder Woman winds up stranded in no-man's land" (2/5)
In the only mixed-to-negative review published so far, The Guardian's Steve Rose mystifyingly describes Diana as a "weaponized smurfette", calling out Patty Jenkins' movie for the "distasteful" way it sanitizes war.
"Yes, yes, I know: “It’s only a comic-book movie.” And on the level of big-budget trash, Wonder Woman is great fun. But there were hopes for something more ... Perhaps DC struggled to find territory arch-rivals Marvel hadn’t already claimed ... There’s something rather distasteful about co-opting trench warfare as the backdrop to a sanitised, hyper-stylised fantasy."
Well, okay Steve.
Entertainment Weekly: "Diana of Themyscira is a much-needed hero for our times" (A-)
In a glowingly positive review, EW's Chris Nashawaty hails Wonder Woman as "smart, slick and satisfying" with special mentions to the script from Allan Heinberg and the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.
"When she has her first taste of ice cream, she swoons and enthusiastically tells the salesman, 'You should be very proud,' as if he’s performed some kind of miracle. Gadot sells the innocence and humor in these moments [and] "her chemistry with Pine is just as unexpected and electric.
The wait is over, folks. The DC movie you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived."
How Does It Compare To Marvel's Best-Reviewed Movies?
Sure, Wonder Woman leaves Suicide Squad and BvS in the dust critically, but what about the best-rated movies from DC's arch-rivals Marvel?
Its Metacritic score of 79 is comfortably ahead of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (67/100) and even the strong fan favorite Captain America: The Winter Soldier (on just 70/100, surprisingly). It's slightly ahead of the first Guardians Of The Galaxy (76/100), and way ahead of The Avengers (69/100) and Thor (57/100).
Are critics so overcome with surprise that Wonder Woman is a genuinely good movie that they're scoring it a little more highly than they might if the DCEU was already a critical success? Hard to say, but if so, perhaps this universe has earned it after coming through the storm of Batman v Superman.
Wonder Woman hits theaters this Friday, June 2. Have the excellent reviews sent the hype train into express mode?