It's a tale as old as time — or at least as old as the DCEU. A movie gets overly hyped before it opens, as the studio churns up fan fervor with bombastic trailers and cheeky nods to the comics. Then, the movie opens, and shockingly, it's not the film we've all built it up in our heads to be. This was the case for Batman v Superman, and despite predictions that Suicide Squad would be an overall hit, it looks like this film will be just as divisive as its predecessor.
This has come as quite a shock, mostly because so many people pinned their hopes for the DCEU's future on Suicide Squad. After Man of Steel failed to wow us, and Batman v Superman leaned heavily on the darker tones of each hero's story, Suicide Squad looked like the perfectly irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, neon-colored antidote to the gloominess that has so far suffused the DCEU.
Whether this is the case or not, it's entirely possible that we were looking in the wrong place for the DCEU's saving grace, the film that will shine out as a beacon of hope for this comic titan's movie franchise future. Because what DC really needs, is a touch of wonder.
Wisdom, Wonder — And Optimism
There are so many reasons why people are excited for Wonder Woman, and not just because her silver screen debut is decades overdue. Gal Gadot's take on the Amazonian warrior was the one thing about Batman v Superman that everyone agreed on — she was awesome, plain and simple. Even her theme tune sends chills down your spine (if you need to take a moment to listen to it again, I understand, and I'll wait).
But there's still so much of Diana Prince that we have yet to discover. Her compassion, for one, and her reasons for leaving Themiscyra (a utopian paradise) to help humanity. Wonder Woman will give a full introduction to the hero the DCEU needs — one who is the champion of truth and hope and justice. Arguably, that hero should be Superman, but the ship has definitely sailed on that one. If there was ever any doubt that Wonder Woman would be the epic the demi-goddess deserves, the SDCC trailer certainly put those fears to rest.
We meet Diana when she is still an idealistic young woman, marching into the bleak and horrific conditions of WWI with her head held high and her sword drawn. We see her using her Lasso of Truth, beating down Central powers soldiers with ease, and her easy chemistry with the awed — and perfectly rugged — Steve Trevor adds depth to her story.
The trailer might have relied heavily on visual aesthetics over story, but there were so many standout moments that proved Diana is the hero we've been waiting for. How about when she deflected a mortar with a flick of her shield? Or when she literally snapped a rifle over her back, like it was a mere twig? (Showing off her impressive muscles in the process, I might add.)
Then of course there's her final epilogue scene with Etta Candy, proving that Diana has a sharp wit, and that this film, despite being a war epic, will not be lacking a sense of humor. Perfection.
Saving The DCEU
Here's the crux of the matter: While it is much loved by fans, the DCEU has a lot to live up to. Its own comic book legacy for one, not to mention the incredibly high bar set by the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and we shouldn't ignore Fox, as the X-Men films have been a staple of the genre for over a decade.
So far, the DCEU has been fairly controversial, and hasn't yet put out a film that has been universally acclaimed. They're definitely aware that the franchise needs some levity and that superhero movies should be fun — the SDCC trailer for Justice League proved that. And of course, in the brightly colored, dramatic poster for the upcoming team-up movie, Wonder Woman is front and center.
But why, over all the DCEU's other proposed films, will Wonder Woman be the one to make DC fans everywhere yell "on your left!" to Marvel? Quite simply, this has all the makings of a fantastic film — a war epic as the origin story for one of DC's most iconic heroes is a great concept. But ultimately the success of Wonder Woman rests on its protagonist, and Diana is a hero that we can truly be inspired by.
She hasn't got the angst of Batman, or the preachy aspect of Superman. Wonder Woman is at once a badass hero who gets stuff done, an intelligent diplomat, and an idealist. WWI is the perfect setting for her, as she dares to walk out into this bleak and gloomy wasteland torn with violence — and she stands tall, impervious to the bullets that tear at her shield. And honestly, isn't that the kind of hero we all need?