Wonder Woman was the best part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck in Batman vs Superman.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave film critics a chance to flex their roasting skills, and flex them they did, with many attacking the film’s plodding, illogical script, joyless action sequences, and grim tone. Christopher Orr of The Atlantic called the film “tiresome,  ill-tempered [and] lazy,” while Time magazine’s Stephanie Zacharek laments that it’s just “not much fun.” More than one (!) reviewer has even called it a “joyless slog.”

While I could gleefully pile on to this barrage of criticism, I won’t, not because I was a fan of the film—I have taken exams that were more entertaining—but because there is one bright spot in Batman v Superman that deserves mentioning, and that bright spot is Diana Prince (better known as Wonder Woman), played by Gal Gadot.

© 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
© 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Gadot’s character, though she doesn’t get all that much screen time, was by far the film’s most interesting, perhaps because her story hasn’t been told in the Man of Steel universe yet. The film holds back from revealing too much about the Amazonian superhero, possibly to preserve some of the character’s mystery for the upcoming Wonder  Woman film, but what we do see of her proves that she is as competent, powerful, and fierce as she is in the comics.

At times, the reticence to reveal too much about her means holding the character back even against all storytelling logic: the film’s head-scratcher ending (spoiler alert), which features Superman attacking Doomsday with the Kryptonite spear, is supposed to be a heart-warming moment of self-sacrifice, because Kryptonite is Superman’s weakness—but it’s also one that would have been completely unnecessary if Wonder Woman, who isn’t allergic to Kryptonite, had just been the one to finish Doomsday off instead.

Still, the limited screen time granted to Wonder Woman makes her upcoming film exciting, as it leaves open more possibilities than if she’d been more fully fleshed out. Marvel has more than a dozen films planned before female-led Captain Marvel is released in 2019, and we will probably reach a tenth Spiderman reboot before we ever get a standalone Black Widow movie. Wonder Woman is an opportunity for DC to do what Marvel apparently can’t or won’t: put a female superhero front and centre on the big screen for a change, and soon.

First, though, they’d better figure out what made Batman v Superman such a disaster, lest Wonder Woman become their next catastrophe.

3 COMMENTS

  1. All very well to champion DC for promoting the powerful character of Wonder Woman, but don’t forget the lazy and offensive writing for other female characters (Lois Lane and Martha Kent).

    Also while you are correct for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have both Peggy Carter and Jessica Jones on television, don’t forget. I’d also argue that Marvel, in general, portrays women in a superior way to DC. Look at Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3, Evangeline Lily in Ant man, Sif in the Thor films: lots of powerful female characters.

    • Good point about other female characters being flimsy in BvS, but to be fair, the writing was lazy all around not just for the women!

      With Marvel, there are times when their supporting female characters are well portrayed but for the most part their superheroines have not been. Black Widow’s portrayal in the last Avengers movie was just offensive. Peggy Carter and JJ are amazing but sadly TV is not film! Will be nice to have a female lead in a superhero movie for a change

  2. I agree with you, Kate.
    How did you find Black Widow offensive, may I ask? Personally I found the film offensively boring, drawn-out, with so much painful studio interference (Thor’s bath scene?!). Unsure on the Black Widow aspect though?
    When it comes to women in film, I just want to see them as cool and badass as the guys. I’m talking The Bride in Kill Bill, Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, Ellen Ripley, Princess Leia…not such a fan of ‘Lets do ghostbusters with women!’, because personally I just see that direction as odd and a bit jarring (although will retain judgement until watching it!). If there is a good reason for doing Ghostbusters with women, then sure, but I fail to see it.

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