“Wonder Woman” is here to deliver a much-needed dose of heroic optimism

“Fierce,” “charming,” “awe-inspiring.”
“Fierce,” “charming,” “awe-inspiring.”
Image: Warner Bros.
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Based on early reviews, Wonder Woman will not only save the world, she might also save the floundering DC comic book universe.

The upcoming superhero film screened for film critics this week, and the reaction thus far has been glowing. Critics are praising the film’s inherent optimism, humor, and Gal Gadot’s magnetism as the eponymous hero. One reviewer compared her to Christopher Reeves’ Superman, an earnest, steadfast hero “with no angst or cynicism”—something we could all use right now.

That comes in stark contrast to the reception for the last two Warner Bros. comic book films, Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman. Both movies were ripped apart by critics, who tired of the relentlessly dour tones. Warner Bros. acknowledged the criticism and promised a more colorful, lighthearted Justice League (out next year). But it looks like Wonder Woman, not the decidedly male-led Justice League, will be the film to put the studio’s DC comic book universe back on track.

Even the marketing for Wonder Woman has looked very different from that of previous DC films. A recent trailer for the film featured the song “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons, and official posters for the film are bright, lavish, and emphasize the character’s numerous virtues:

Image for article titled “Wonder Woman” is here to deliver a much-needed dose of heroic optimism
Image: Warner Bros.

Compare those to the posters for Batman v Superman, which featured two dimly lit heroes, looking angry and forlorn, as actual rain pours on their heads.

Though not many are complaining about the obvious marketing adjustment, some have called into question the amount of marketing that Warner Bros. is doing for the film. Adweek found that Wonder Woman has received a smaller, and shorter, TV ad campaign than those of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. (And at $100 million, the film’s budget is significantly less than the budgets for the two other films.)

Still, the film is tracking fairly well at the box office, and is projected to at least match the opening numbers of other debut superhero films, like Marvel’s Captain America: First Avenger and Thor, when it hits theaters June 2.

Wonder Woman is likely to perform even better financially than those films if critics continue to heap praise upon it. If so, Warner Bros. may have its first superhero hit since Christopher Nolan’s beloved Batman trilogy, which culminated in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises. And it couldn’t come at a better time. The world clearly needs Wonder Woman.