Wonder Woman: The Best Solo DCEU Movie?

We revisit Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, a movie many consider to be the best solo DCEU film, starring Gal Gadot in the title role.

Whether it’s using her lasso to get the truth out of her enemies or her gauntlets capable of trapping energy and using it to her advantage, Wonder Woman has some pretty cool abilities. And that’s not even getting into her crazy speed and jumping ability. While we may not have gotten her invisible jet, the other staples of Wonder Woman are all there, so join us on today’s DC Revisited as we dive into Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.

While we may have finally received a Wonder Woman via Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman, the project had actually been in development for quite some time. Comedy director Ivan Reitman was even attached to the film as a producer in 1996. Then in ’99, Jon Cohen was tapped by now-producer Joel Silver to write a Wonder Woman script. He was even eyeing Sandra Bullock to star in the title role. Various others were hired, but the project could never gain enough momentum.

Then in 2005, Warner announced that Joss Whedon would write and direct the film. However, after failing to deliver a satisfying script, Whedon dropped out of the project. The screenplay has since been released online, and it’s…rough. Steve Trevor served as the narrator and practically took the movie over.

After Whedon left the project, the closest Wonder Woman came to the big screen was during George Miller’s ill-fated Justice League: Mortal. Australian Model Megan Gale was even cast in the role. But after multiple delays and budget concerns, that film was scrapped. It wasn’t until 2010 that Warner announced a Wonder Woman film, alongside solo outings for The Flash and Aquaman. But even then, no significant movement would occur on any of the projects until October of 2013. A long road to say the least.

Wonder Woman 3, update

But with Wonder Woman’s appearance in Batman v Superman, the decision was set in stone to finally push forward a film based on the character, this time in the newly minted Snyderverse. By 2015, Patti Jenkins finally joined the film as the director. This wasn’t her first foray into the superhero world as she actually served as the director of Thor: The Dark World before being replaced with Alan Taylor due to creative differences.

While many fans had grown tired of the origin story, Jenkins wasn’t deterred and felt it was the only way to go with the character. Thankfully, when Jenkins boarded the project, Allan Heinberg already had a draft in place, which had come from Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs. Geoff Johns also did a ton of uncredited work on the screenplay alongside Jenkins.

The story of Wonder Woman starts in the present but quickly heads back to 1918 and involves Diana Prince believing the Amazonians’ longtime enemy Ares is the reason for World War 1. She sets out with spy Steve Trevor to try and stop Ares. It’s a fun story with elements that feel right out of Romancing the Stone

Gal Gadot returned to the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Over the years, other actors considered for the part included Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kate Beckinsale, and even Angelina Jolie. Megan Gale had even been cast in the role of the ill-fated Justice League: Mortal. But Gadot beat out Elodie Yung and Olga Kurylenko during this casting process and ultimately was met with skepticism due to her size. But she worked and added 17 pounds of muscle to get into shape for the part. While she’s still not the Amazon she’s depicted in the comics, Gadot brings charm to the character.

For Diana’s love interest Steve Trevor, Chris Pine was Patti Jenkin’s only choice for the role. She even met with the actor for lunch and acted out the script for him. He was instantly sold and was excited to join the DC Cinematic Universe. Pine had barely lost out on the role of Hal Jordan in Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern. But he’s probably relieved about that one. Gadot and Pine have tremendous chemistry that really solidifies the love story as one of the stronger in all comic book films. 

Nicole Kidman was originally in negotiations to play Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta, but was forced to leave due to scheduling conflicts with her tv show Big Little Lies. Charlize Theron was also approached but turned down the role. Instead, Connie Nielsen took it on after a meeting with the director. Then the veritable Robin Wright stepped in for Hippolyta’s sister Antiope (An-Tie-oh-pee). Wright was very easy to convince, simply being told she would be Wonder Woman’s trainer in the film. 

There actually managed to be three different villains. First, we had Dr. Isabel Maru, played by Elena Anaya, a chemical weapons specialist who thrives on others’ pain. She has one of the more interesting character designs in the film, wearing a mask to hide her facial disfigurement. She works for Erich Ludendorff, played by the brilliant Danny Huston. He’s a bit of a red herring for our real villain Ares, David Thewlis. Sorry about a spoiler on a 6-year-old movie, but we have to talk about this twist as most of the film, Ludendorff is thought to be Ares, so when he’s defeated and Thewlis is revealed, it feels a little…underwhelming. Especially when put right next to the very emotional moment of Steve Trevor’s sacrifice. Oops. Another spoiler.

Most of the humor in the film comes from Diana’s mercenary buddies. Said Taghmaoui played Sameer, Eugene Brave Rock as The Chief, and Ewen Bremner absolutely stole the show as Charlie. Lucy Davis also appears as Steve Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy, though she’s not in it nearly enough.

Without these characters, a lot of the levity in the film would be lost, so their inclusion is absolutely vital to the blockbuster.

Lindy Hemming served as the costume designer on the film and brought a wonderful mix of period costumes and warrior outfits for the Amazons. Diana’s costume represents a more armor-based design, and the colors were brightened by her appearance.

Filming for Wonder Woman began on November 21st, 2015, and took place throughout Europe until finally wrapping principal photography in May 2016. Diana’s beautiful homeworld of Themyscira was filmed on the coast in Southern Italy. Director of Photography Matthew Jensen wanted to do something very different from most World War 1 films, which were often very drab and grey. Instead, he bumped the saturation and shot in a more conventional Hollywood style. This allowed the film to feel like a blockbuster while taking place in a time often devoid of fun. For the reshoots, Gadot was five months pregnant and required a green cloth to cover her stomach, which would be edited out later. 

Rupert Gregson-Williams was brought aboard to compose the film’s score, providing plenty of high-intensity moments. Oddly enough, four other musicians joined him, who provided additional music. But it’s Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s Wonder Woman theme, “Is She With You,” that really stands out. It really allows Diana to make quite the entrance.

Wonder Woman was released in the United States on June 2nd, 2017, and brought in over $103.3 Million on its opening weekend. The film would end its run at over $822.8 million, the highest gross for a female director ever. Quite the accomplishment for Jenkins, who has experienced a very polarizing career. The film also earned glowing reviews from critics, earning a  93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Critical Consensus was that the film was “Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot’s charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.”

Due to this success, a Wonder Woman sequel was immediately greenlit, with Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot set to return. 

We would see Gal Gadot return as Wonder Woman in future films, but what of the other cast? Chris Pine would voice Peter Parker in Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse. Danny Huston appeared as William Stryker in X-Men Origins Wolverine. And I guess we can count David Thewlis’s role as John Dee in the Sandman series since that’s based on a comic. Otherwise, the field is barren of actors in other comic book properties.

To this day, Wonder Woman is considered one of DC’s best films. From its wonderful visuals to finally giving young girls a hero they can look up to, there’s plenty that this film offers. Jumping way ahead to the present day, we’re ready to screw up the timeline and witness all the madness that ensues in the multiverse. But that’s a story for next time. Join us. Saaame movie time, saaaame movie channel.

About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.