Three things are certain when it comes to the Superhero Movie genre:
1) Marvel is the King of the Hill in live action movies and the Superhero Cinematic Universe. Fox would be pretty close if it weren’t for half of their X-men movies, a reboot without a reboot thanks to an altered timeline, and the atrocity that is the Deadpool character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine….can we even call that thing Deadpool?
2) DC and Warner Brothers have taken the animated movie base by storm
3)Sony should just stay out of it. Give up and give all character rights back to Marvel…I’m looking at you too Universal.
OK, so let’s start with the first point(which by the way, we’re only going to look at the first two…number 3 is pretty self-explanatory). When it comes to the live action superhero movies, it’s no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe(MCU) has had unlimited success at the box office, and has received acclamation from movie critics and fans alike. It’s counterpart however, the Digital Comics Extended Universe(DCEU) has not only received very limited success, but it seems that instead of chasing Marvel as the King of the Movie-verse, they are chasing their own tails instead. Though DC has pushed many more movies prior to the establishment of the DCEU, many of them have suffered similar (sometimes worse) criticism as these movies.
One of the most disappointing facts with the DCEU movies, is that despite the movie trailers, which are some of the best of any production based movie-verse(Fox included), these movies always fail to live up to their hype. Starting with Man of Steel in 2011, there were many people thinking that Superman would finally get the reboot that he deserves and bring stiff competition to the MCU. While it wasn’t terrible, it definitely didn’t excite us as much as we hoped it wood. Three years later, Warner Bros. and DC brought to us Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie in which very early teaser trailers brought us to think that these were the only two heroes we would see in this movie as it takes place just after the events of Man of Steel. As the movie came closer to its release date, we find out that not only do we get to see Superman, and an older Batman, but we will also see the first glimpse of the First Lady of DC, Wonder Woman herself. Once again, while this movie was not terrible, it didn’t blow us away. One of the biggest surprises of the movie, however, was how well Ben Affleck was at personifying not only Bruce Wayne, but separating Bruce Wayne from Batman. Despite all this, at least in my opinion, is that in every scene she was in, Wonder Woman became the dark horse and seemed to steal the spotlight from our super-duo. Suicide Squad then became “the movie to steer DC in the right direction”. If we were basing this just off of the movie trailers and Margot Robbie’s stellar performance as Harley Quinn, I would agree with that, but we’re not. Yes, I understand that SS won an Oscar this year, but it was for costume design and makeup, not best acting, best picture, or anything that played significance to more than just the aesthetics of the movie, and rightfully so.
Now let’s move on to the second point. DC and the animated movies. There MIGHT be one bad DC animated Superhero movie, but if there is, I haven’t found it yet. Even the Green Lantern animated movie, which basically followed the same plot as the CG disaster Ryan Reynolds starred in, was amazing. Last week though, I watched Wonder Woman for the second time, and I’m still amazed by its quality. From the animation to the modernized origin of Wonder Woman herself, this movie hit the nail on every account. While the comic books have set the origin for Wonder Woman in the World War II era, which by the way, the live action Wonder Woman featuring Gal Gadot as the titular character seems to be following that timeline loyally, the animated version features Diana in the modern world, secluded away from any man whatsoever with the rest of the Amazons on Themyscura, an island created by the gods specifically for the Amazons to shield them from the terrors of man and war. Also on this island is the god of war himself Ares, a prisoner with shackles on his wrists that keep him from gaining power because of war, shackles of which only a god can remove, a punishment from Zeus for him starting a war with the Amazons. It isn’t until a US fighter pilot finds himself wrecked on this island that Diana and the rest of the Amazons see a need to interact with the rest of the outside world. Competing against her mother’s will to see who will take the pilot back to his home safely, Diana finally gets what she wants…a chance to encounter other humans, and bridge the gap between man and Amazon. However, with the help of a traitor, Ares breaks free and unleashes Hell on earth and its up to Wonder Woman to stop him.
This movie does a fantastic job at not only encouraging women to embrace both their strength and their beauty, but avoiding the trap of generalizing men in the process; something I hope that the live action Wonder Woman will avoid doing as well. To be honest, I did not really know that much about Wonder Woman, as I used to see her as a lame character, wielding nothing more than a shield and a lasso, but after watching the movie, and looking into the origins, I won’t be making that same mistake again. Now I understand that I have already mentioned DCEU movies failing to live up to the excitement that the teaser trailers create, and I am fully aware that this movie could fall victim to the same curse. However, I am a comic book fan, not Marvel, not DC, just comics in general, so I truly enjoy both, and because of that, I am cautiously optimistic that with this movie, they may have gotten it right this time, especially considering the fact that Zac Snyder is no longer running the helm. With the new Wonder Woman set to come out early summer, this movie could not only set a new pace for DC, but possibly save it from falling apart altogether. If you have not yet watched the Wonder Woman animated feature, I highly recommend that you check it out, and prepare yourself this summer for what could be DC’s best live action movie yet.