From Man of Steel to Batman v Superman to Suicide Squad, DC has repeatedly failed to win over critics. The DC Extended Universe has its fans, but despite raking in tons of cash, the critical reception to the studio’s movies has been underwhelming. At least, that was the case, until Wonder Woman came along.
At long last, the DCEU has its first critical hit, with 49 positive reviews to just 2 negative reviews on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. That’s good for a Tomatometer score of 96%, a few dozen percentage points higher than the scores of Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman. Combined.
Let’s take a look at some of the glowing reviews to see why critics loved Wonder Woman:
Variety’s Andrew Barker was glad to finally see a DC film that wasn’t shrouded in darkness and misery:
It says quite a lot about the general tenor of the DC cinematic universe that a film set in the trenches of WWI, with a plot revolving around the development of chemical warfare, is nonetheless its most cheerful and kid-friendly entry. But while “Wonder Woman” may dabble in moments of horror, it never revels in the vicissitudes of human depravity quite like its predecessors.
Other comic book films are overstuffed with characters, but USA Today’s Kelly Lawler appreciated that Wonder Woman was given the opportunity to be the star of her own movie:
The film’s action is explosive and engaging, and a sequence where Diana ventures into no man’s land in the middle of a trench battle is stunning to behold. While many recent superhero films are dizzyingly directed and overstuffed with multiple heroes, director Patty Jenkins wisely chooses to focus, at times in slow motion, on Wonder Woman alone as she takes out her foes, making her fight scenes feel at once more visceral and more ethereal than what audiences are used to.
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly was one of many critics to find the third act disappointing, but despite its dependence on CGI, it wasn’t enough to take away from the full experience:
It’s only in the movie’s unnecessary final half-hour or so that Wonder Woman finally meets her match: the special-effects imperatives of contemporary blockbuster filmmaking against which even the Germans onscreen seem insignificant. When Diana realizes that the villain she’s been chasing all this time is, in fact, not the end but just the beginning to a line of villains to be trotted out, no doubt, in subsequent chapters, the movie turns into an eye-rolling digital smackdown that mirrors every other late-period DC (and, to be fair, Marvel) movie smackdown.
BuzzFeed’s Alison Willmore highlights the scene when Wonder Woman steps into no-mans-land in her review — a scene that seemed to get a mention in every single review I read:
It’s the kind of sequence that can give you goosebumps and provokes a few tears — Wonder Woman emerging from the trenches to save the day. She has the staunchness of someone who sees the world in neat black and white…until she’s forced to consider whether she still feels invested in a humanity capable of doing harm without the influence of a god. Naturally, that god does eventually turn up, because a movie like this needs closure, even if the lesson its heroine learns is that there’s no such thing.
The Hollywood Reporter
Finally, this paragraph from The Hollywood Reporter’s Sheri Linden seems to sum up the movie perfectly:
Had it really broken the mold and come in below the two-hour mark, Wonder Woman could have been a thoroughly transporting film. As it stands, it’s intermittently spot-on, particularly in the pops of humor and romance between the exotically kick-ass yet approachable Gadot and the supremely charismatic Chris Pine as an American working for British intelligence, the first man the Amazon princess has ever met. With eager fans unlikely to bemoan the film’s length or its lapses in narrative energy, Wonder Woman will conquer their hearts as it makes its way around the globe.
Wonder Woman releases in theaters on June 2nd, 2017.