Wonder Woman opened on June 2nd to something Warner Brothers wasn’t used to: Good reviews. With the studio taking death blows from critics with each new release (seriously go read the reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) they needed a hero (and a hit film) that could shield them. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is that hero.
I’ve written before about how this film could be game changing in a Hollywood where men rule; from studio heads, directors, and top billed actors, all of the big names are men. I can say with certainty that Wonder Woman definitely did that and more, showing how a female-centered superhero film can generate huge profits and critical acclaim. Instead of hearing about how director Patty Jenkins should not have been given such a colossal project, we’re reading articles discussing how much leverage she has over WB for a Wonder Woman sequel. Hopefully Jenkins at the helm of the movie with the highest opening weekend box office for a female directors opens some doors for other women in Hollywood!
What really carried the film, and brought new life to the DC Expanded Universe, was a casting choice not even Patty Jenkins felt sure of at the time: Gal Gadot. Jenkins had been thinking the role would be better suited to an American actress but was thrilled with the performance in the end. Unsurprisingly (but still unfortunately), there’s been a lot of blowback in the media about Gal not being American, and the character herself not representing America. Well, let this humble journalist assure you that Gal Gadot is the perfect fit for our goddess!
She manages to portray such a full range of emotions in her role, making you truly believe that this is her first contact with the world of men. Gadot’s Wonder Woman is fierce, strong, full of wonder, passionate in her convictions, and compassionate in how she deals with people.
The DCEU movies thus far have been, for lack of a better word, lacking. One would rightly argue that this is due to Warner Bros interfering with and micromanaging the creative process. Wonder Woman represents the first time Geoff Johns, DC Comics president and Chief Creative Officer, oversaw a project. That move alone gave the old men in suits at WB the confidence to back off a little bit, and the results were glorious.
While a Batman flick is always going to be a huge box office draw, there were serious concerns about the less popular DC Comics franchises being able to pull their weight. All of that is, at least temporarily, thrown out the window. The WB execs should rest easy about their decision to green light Justice League Dark and Batgirl. Wonder Woman has proven that the old way of doing things in Hollywood is wrong: A female lead can carry a comic film.