Wonder Woman ★★★★

It's a plain fact that the DC Extended Universe is controversial. People argued about Man of Steel for years, Batman v Superman solidified the divide between hardcore fans and the unconvinced, and Suicide Squad was an outright disaster that the filmmakers claimed catered only to the devoted. DC needed a hero, and they needed it now.

Well praise the gods and Patty Jenkins, because Wonder Woman is indeed that hero. There's no pseudo-philosophy, toxic characterization or incoherent editing in sight; Diana's first adventure is optimistic, engaging, well-structured, romantic, action-packed and emotional in all the right ways. Outside of a minor framing device, it's also very self-contained, which is a major asset because the story never leaves Diana's focus. Nor should it, given that this is the first female-led comic book movie that will end up mattering.

Gal Gadot was a jolt of energy in Batman v Superman, but it turns out she has more than just screen presence. She's a genuine star player, conveying Diana's multi-faceted personality with grace. Her relationship with Chris Pine's Steve Trevor feels properly paced, with all of the major emotional beats being earned rather than rushed. Beautiful cinematography, thrilling action sequences and a welcome dose of humour make this one of the strongest superhero origin films we've seen in a while. Shame that a couple of the supporting characters and villains don't quite measure up.

Wonder Woman is here, and it's DC's best film since The Dark Knight.

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