*Spoilers ahead for 'Batman v Superman'*
Wonder Woman has waited a long, long time for her big screen debut. Her counterparts, Batman and Superman, have had several cinematic incarnations, but 2016 is the year Wonder Woman joins her fellow heroes on the silver screen. And she quickly upstages both of them in [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870).
Truthfully, Diana Prince does not appear in much of the film. We get just enough of Wonder Woman to give us a taste. Her story is compelling, and plenty of hints are dropped for her solo movie next year. From sneaking around Lex Luthor's mansion to battling Doomsday in downtown Gotham, Diana is definitely one of the highlights of Dawn Of Justice. And she's crucial to establishing the Justice League.
While Superman is busy with his existential crisis and Batman plans to battle the Man of Steel, Diana Prince is the one to figure out that Lex Luthor is up to no good. But surprisingly, her investigation of the villain isn't motivated by a desire to protect humanity, but to protect herself.
A Different Side To Wonder Woman
This is a Diana who has become disillusioned with humanity. After centuries of training for war, Wonder Woman's first attempts to help mankind scarred her to the point that she abandoned our world for a hundred years, or so she cryptically hints to Bruce at the end of Dawn Of Justice.
"A hundred years ago I walked away from mankind. A century full of horrors. Mankind made a world where standing together is impossible."
The Diana we meet in Batman v Superman has a lot to hide, and it's clear she misses the glory of battle. So why is she involved in this story at all? It turns out Diana just wants to retrieve a photo of herself that Lex has acquired, revealing her in full armor in 1918. It makes sense that Diana would come out of hiding to protect herself, but she doesn't just act in her own interests.
By combining their efforts, Bruce and Diana discover something very interesting in Lex Luthor's archives: found footage of Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Lex's obsession with meta-humans is presumably part of his grand plan, and this revelation forces Diana to do something she hasn't done in centuries: fight alongside others.
Stealing The Show In The Final Battle
There are so many awesome Wonder Woman moments in Batman v Superman. Diana's cool superiority is delicious, as she triumphantly smirks at Bruce before absconding with his own technology. It's delightful to watch her outwit Bruce Wayne not once, but twice, stealing his surveillance of Lex Luthor and craftily returning it before he has a chance to take it back.
"You know it's true what they say about little boys: no natural inclination to share."
Batman v Superman sees Diana slowly reconsider her position on being a hero. It's likely that seeing others like her — Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in Lex Luthor's files — shakes her up a bit. She's not a lone hero lost in a brutal world anymore. When the threat of Doomsday rears its ugly head, Diana chooses to don her armor once more and act to protect humanity. And it's glorious.
Wonder Woman really shines in the final showdown. Her entrance is nothing short of epic, as she swoops in to save Batman from Doomsday's energy blast. As she lowers her glowing armbands, the look on her face is that of a hardened warrior. And it gradually becomes clear throughout the fight that she really missed an adrenaline-fueled fight.
The showdown with Doomsday is one of the most exciting sequences in Dawn Of Justice, not just because it's an incredible battle but because we finally see DC's Holy Trinity fighting side by side as they were always meant to.
Wonder Woman really stands out as the one to do the most damage to Doomsday, slashing at his legs with her sword, hacking off his hand, and finally pinning him down with the Lasso of Truth.
And there's a moment, after Doomsday punches her and throws her to the ground, when Diana grins. This is what she lives for. Which makes it all the more intriguing to find out why she became so disillusioned with battle.
We're Left Wanting More
Batman v Superman really is a fitting introduction for Wonder Woman. If I have one criticism it's that we should have seen more of her: her investigation of Lex lacked backstory, and it would have been fantastic to see more of her secret agent shenanigans.
A conversation between Diana and Lex, with the combination of her cool and shrewd demeanor against his erratic charm, could have been one of the best moments in the film. But I digress. All in all Wonder Woman's role in Dawn Of Justice is one of the reasons the film is so engaging.
The movie ends with Diana and Bruce discussing the future, and there's a neat little moment of role reversal as Bruce's hope counters Diana's cynicism. The twist we didn't see coming is that it's actually Wonder Woman and Batman who will be the founding members of the Justice League, as they resolve to seek out the other meta-humans and form a new team. The future of the DCEU is very exciting, and Wonder Woman's involvement in it isn't just a bonus: she's essential to building this universe.