-- After three DC Universe movies, including the critically panned "Suicide Squad" and the divisive "Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice," things are looking up for the Warner Bros. studio's attempts to compete with rival Marvel.
In 2013, we met a new Superman in "Man of Steel," which kicked off DC's modern run. That was followed in 2016 by "Dawn of Justice," an attempt to bring in other characters like Batman into the mix. But those two movies didn't fare well with critics, and things only got worse last summer with "Suicide Squad."
But now there is a silver lining as Diana Prince takes center stage in her first solo offering.
The first batch of reviews for "Wonder Woman" are in and mostly positive. In fact, almost all critics are raving about Gal Gadot's second turn as the Amazonian Justice League member.
USA Today gave the film 3.5 out of four stars and critic Kelly Lawler wrote, "Diana Prince, we’ve been waiting for you."
The movie "is a departure from most superhero films you’ve seen," Lawler wrote. "It's a female superhero film — which is revolutionary enough by itself — but it's also a genuinely surprising film that plays with genre and throws out the now very tired superhero movie formula. It’s an action film, a romantic comedy and a coming-of-age story and a period piece and a war movie all in one."
Entertainment Weekly shared similar thoughts, with Chris Nashawaty giving the film an A-.
"Ever since Christopher Nolan’s last great Batman film, 2008’s "The Dark Knight," DC has been in a pretty brutal big-screen slump," Nashawaty wrote. "[But] Wonder Woman is smart, slick, and satisfying in all of the ways superhero films ought to be. How deliciously ironic that in a genre where the boys seem to have all the fun, a female hero and a female director are the ones to show the fellas how it’s done."
As of now, "Wonder Woman" has a 96 percent critics' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates reviews by both fans and critics.
Variety's Andrew Barker pointed out that in addition to Gadot leading the charge, Patty Jenkins is the first women to direct in this genre.
"Wonder Woman is the first major studio superhero film directed by a woman, and it shows in a number of subtle, yet important ways. As skimpy as Gadot’s outfits may get, for example, Jenkins’ camera never leers or lingers gratuitously — Diana is always framed as an agent of power, rather than its object," Barker wrote.
Alonso Durable from The Wrap went as far as to say "Wonder Woman ranks as one of the few great ones" in the superhero genre.
To be fair, the movie wasn't acclaimed by all critics.
The Guardian's Steve Rose gave it only two out of five stars and added that viewers looking for a good DC film "might need to lower their expectations."
"Like many people out there, I had no shortage of excitement and goodwill towards this female-led superhero project, but in the event it’s plagued by the same problems that dragged down previous visits to the DC movie world: over-earnestness, bludgeoning special effects, and a messy, often wildly implausible plot," he added.
"Wonder Woman" hits theaters nationwide on Friday.