This year marks four years of the DC Extended Universe's existence on the big screen, but it's been a rocky start for the growing superhero franchise. While the films have been making money, they've also managed to earn an extremely divisive position in pop culture, and mostly negative reviews. Thankfully, that's a streak that is coming to an end with Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman: the film that can unquestionably be called the best movie in the franchise so far.
The bar for the franchise was set with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, but it's one that Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman hurdles over with ease in her first solo adventure. What exactly is it that gives the new film the edge? It basically breaks down into four key points -- which you will find as you read on!
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Wonder Woman. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to have any specific details about it ruined in advance, please bookmark this page and return after your screening!
Its hero legitimately wants to be a hero
The dream of becoming a superhero is a near universal one that we can all relate to... but it's oddly a motivation that has become infrequent in modern comic book movies. Stories are driven by conflict, and it's fish in a barrel to tell the story of a powerful individual who feels burdened by their power and the responsibility that comes with it. It's not just a big part of DC Extended Universe movies, but plenty of Marvel titles as well. A huge part of what makes Wonder Woman so refreshing, however, is that its titular heroine's legitimate drive to do good is constant and never faltering.
Rather than being burned by power and responsibility, Diana is entirely free and literally living in paradise before the story of Wonder Woman really kicks off -- and everything that happens in the movie happens because she feels that it is her duty to do everything within her abilities to help the world. It's entirely summed up in her trip into No Man's Land on the frontlines, and it's why that particular sequence will be remembered for decades to come. It certainly helps that Gal Gadot sells the hell out of this attitude, but it's also just downright inspiring to watch within the context of the story being told and the atmosphere of the world into which the film is being released. It's a feeling that is completely absent in all of the DC Extended Universe movies that precede it, and puts it a head above them all.