DC’s mega-blockbuster “Wonder Woman” shows at Calvin

Calvin SAO held a screening of DC’s breakout summer hit“Wonder Woman” — a film which has grossed over $800 million at the worldwide box office — this past Saturday night.

“Wonder Woman” tells the story of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). Born and raised on the mystical island of Themyscira — a land that is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and only inhabited by a breed of strong female warriors — Diana has no knowledge of what the outside world holds.

However, once a WWI pilot by the name of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands on this island — consequently bringing the war with him — her eyes are opened to what lies in the outside world. She journeys with Trevor back to London, seeking to find Ares — the Greek god of war — who she believes is hiding somewhere in Europe and is the cause for the war. In doing so, Diana gets to show off the battle skills that she learned on Themyscira and becomes an icon of hope for the soldiers who are fighting.

“Wonder Woman” is an enormous success for Warner Brothers and DC for several reasons. First off, this gave director Patty Jenkins the spotlight she deserves as a filmmaker. In 2003, Jenkins directed the Oscar-winning film “Monster.” However — despite her constant efforts — it took her fourteen years to get signed on for “Wonder Woman.” Constantly having to fight battle after battle against the Hollywood system — one that has typically been geared towards white men — Jenkins was finally able to prove why she, a woman, deserved this opportunity.

Jenkins, inspired by the 1978 Richard Donner classic “Superman,” used this as motivation for Diana in “Wonder Woman.” Wonder Woman is the first female led super-hero film to be released in this new wave of comic-book films. Yes, technically “Catwoman” and “Elektra” came before, but those films were not received well and have pretty much been forgotten by everyone. “Wonder Woman” is the first female superhero to have mass appeal — and because of that, this movie is an incredibly relevant one.

“I liked it because it gave girls a strong female superhero to look up to,” said Maria Emerson, a junior. “Marvel gave us Black Widow, but she’s always been a background character who’s never had her own movie. DC actually made a movie about a woman superhero.”

“Wonder Woman” also sees the break-out performance from Gal Gadot — someone who was heavily criticized based on her look and her lack of a resume prior to the film’s release. However, Gadot kills it in this role and plays the character brilliantly and often humorously.

Along with Gadot, the film boasts some impressive and memorable performances from the supporting cast as well. Chris Pine is as charming as ever as Steve Trevor, a pilot who has a rather different view of the world than Diana does, and the dialogue between the two of them marks some of the best moments of the movie. Along with Pine comes a small battalion composed of Saïd Taghmaoui (“Lost”), Ewen Bremner (“Trainspotting”) and Eugene Brave Rock. And while their screen-time may be short, Robin Wright (“House of Cards,” “The Princess Bride”) and Connie Nielsen (“Gladiator”) play warriors on Themyscira and are also excellent in the film.

“I liked it because they told an interesting story and stuck to the plot,” said Liam Lichti, a senior who has never picked up a Wonder Woman comic in his life. “I feel like they gave us enough back story on Diana and her upbringing to give people who are new to Wonder Woman an idea of what she’s about.”

Finally, “Wonder Woman” marks an impressive turnaround for the DC. “Man of Steel” may have been a sub-par outing, but “Suicide Squad” and especially “Batman vs. Superman” were, to put it lightly, met with poor reviews. “Wonder Woman” proved that DC was capable of not just making a good movie, but a great one. Whether or not that will continue in the future (judging by their recent announcement of an independent Joker origin film, things aren’t looking good) remains to be seen.

The film does suffer from a few minor flaws that, regrettably, are still noticeable. While Ares could have been a really cool villain, he’s relatively stuck on the sidelines for most of the movie until the overly CGI-ed third act. Danny Huston and Elena Anaya play secondary villains, both of whom come off as slightly over-the-top and cartoony.

After receiving some misguided criticism from director James Cameron (“Titanic,” “Avatar”) on her use of female characters, Jenkins came back with the perfect response on Twitter, saying “James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman. Strong women are great…If women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we. I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be.”

Surely, Jenkins is onto something here. And seeing how she was just signed on to direct “Wonder Woman 2” — in a deal that will make her the highest paid female director in Hollywood — Warner Brothers must think so too.