It was back in 1996 that Warner Bros. began to actively pursue bringing the Amazon Princess to the big screen in her own standalone major motion picture. Now, 21 years later, Wonder Woman has finally arrived, earning monumental praise from fans and critics alike in the process. Admittedly, past entries in the DC Extended Universe’s cinematic slate have been divisive at best, so the fact that Wonder Woman is being met with such open arms is not only a massive load off the shoulders of DCEU apologists but a major step towards a more progressive approach for future superhero films.
Wonder Woman is a film that appeals to all ends of the emotional spectrum, with countless standout sequences that won’t soon be forgotten, and even some that are likely to set new standards in the ever-growing, trope-filled superhero genre. If you haven’t seen the film yet, this is your official SPOILER WARNING, because these are the 12 best moments from Wonder Woman:
Ice Cream Is Wonderful
This is perhaps one of the most lighthearted moments of the film but nevertheless, it earns a spot on this list simply because of how fun of an Easter egg it is for comic book fans.
As Diana and Steve hurry down the busy platform of a London train station, Steve asks Diana if she’s hungry and buys his newfound friend an ice cream cone. Upon tasting this exotic new frozen treat, Diana’s eyes widen as she declares, “It’s wonderful,” then informs the confused vendor that he should be “very proud.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because a near-identical sequence took place in the pages of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League #3 from The New 52. Additionally, the scene also played out in the DC animated film Justice League: War, which loosely adapts that particular volume of the source material.
Introduction To The Lasso Of Truth
When Steve Trevor crash-lands just off the shores of Themyscira, the Amazons are naturally skeptical. After all, he was the first man to set foot on the island and was sporting the same uniform as the German soldiers who pursued him and attacked the native warriors. Of course, the reason for this is because Steve is a spy who had infiltrated the German forces, but being the loyal soldier that he is, he isn’t willing to divulge this information to the Amazons when he’s questioned.
Thankfully, his lack of compliance proves to be a non-issue as we get our first glimpse of the Lasso of Truth’s amazing capabilities in action. Bound by the lasso, Steve is forced to reveal the true nature of his mission and news of the war that is raging in the outside world. While Chris Pine’s fun and slightly humorous delivery make the effects of the lasso believable, the scene is most notable for establishing the power of one of Wonder Woman’s most iconic weapons in a manner that’s completely organic within the confines of the story.
The Student Becomes The Master
Throughout the early parts of the film, we see sequences of a young Diana expressing her desire to be a warrior like her fellow Amazons. So much, in fact, that she even convinces her aunt Antiope – Themyscira’s most formidable fighter – to train her in secret, despite the objections of Queen Hippolyta. However, after realizing her daughter is too headstrong, Hippolyta agrees to allow Antiope to continue training her, but only under the condition that she work Diana harder than any warrior she’s ever trained before.
By the time we see her reach adulthood, Diana seems to have become quite the combatant, making quick work of her sisters during an epic sparring match. Still, she isn’t able to best her aunt, who gains the upper hand thanks to an opportunistic strike while Diana’s guard is down. Angrily expressing disappointment in her niece’s naivety, Antiope attempts to deliver a finishing blow, but Diana slams her bracers together to block it and in turn, causes a seismic shock that sends her aunt hurtling backward, much to the surprise of not only the Amazons but to Diana herself. It’s at this point that Diana truly begins to realize that she’s not like her sisters.
Antiope’s aggression towards Diana during their sparring match was entirely out of love. After all, she knew that Diana would be the key to defeating Ares, as did Hippolyta, which is why she was pushed so hard. However, that love would eventually lead to Antiope’s death, thanks to her final heroic act.
When the German troops storm the beaches of Themyscira, they bring with them weapons that the Amazons have never seen the likes of before, namely guns. Still, the women quickly realize just how deadly a bullet can be, and when a German soldier points his weapon at Diana, Antiope dives straight into the bullet’s path, sacrificing her life to save that of her niece. Diana’s reaction is absolutely heartbreaking, but nevertheless, it serves as one final lesson as it’s the first time she’s forced to cope with the loss of a loved one, which can make or break even the fiercest of warriors.
You Can Never Go Home Again
Diana’s evolution from eager young warrior-in-training to full-fledged superheroine sees her reach several important milestones in the first act of the film, alone. Perhaps the most integral of these steps, though, is her decision to leave Themyscira, her sisters, and her mother behind to become a part of something much bigger than herself.
Grabbing a shield, a suit of armor, the Lasso of Truth, and the Godkiller sword, Diana prepares to set sail with Steve for the world of man, but not before Hippolyta arrives to reluctantly bid farewell to her daughter. Telling her that she can never return, Hippolyta gives Diana Antiope’s crown as a final gift before somberly informing her that she’s both her greatest love and now, her greatest sorrow.
Venturing Into Man's World
When Diana and Steve finally arrive in London, the emotional weight of Diana’s departure begins to lift in exchange for some lighthearted, fish-out-of-water humor, starting with the Amazon Princess’ disgust at the sight of jolly old England (“It’s hideous,” she tells Steve). After spending her entire life on an island that’s literally referred to as “paradise,” though, can you really blame her?
Once the duo reaches land, the playful innocence and wonder (no pun intended) displayed by Gal Gadot make for some of the film’s most sincere and downright comical moments. Diana’s failure to grasp the understanding of modesty (both in the streets of London when she opens her coat and in the clothing store when she attempts to change her outfit in plain sight) is funny enough on its own, but it’s made all the more entertaining by the chemistry between Gadot and Pine and how they’re able to play off of one another. This is further conveyed when Diana struggles to squeeze her way through a revolving door while carrying her sword and shield, with Steve insisting that she ditch the weapons and Diana failing to see why.
Additionally, Diana’s absolute elation at the sight of a baby, which she’s just now seeing for the very first time, is positively heartwarming. It’s moments like this that really help keep the film feeling fresh and exciting, rather than weighed down by too much drama and action; a problem that could have easily plagued this World War I superhero epic if left in the wrong hands.
London Alley Skirmish
At this point in the film, Steve knows that Diana isn’t like any woman he’s met before. After all, he picked her up on an island populated entirely by Amazon warriors. Still, he doesn’t begin to realize just how different Diana is until the two of them are confronted by a few undercover German soldiers in a London alleyway.
Held at gunpoint, Steve decides to strike first, delivering a powerful headbutt to one of the Germans. When shots are fired, though, it’s Diana who puts a decisive end to the scuffle, deflecting bullets off her bracers and proving to Steve that she’s more than capable of handling herself in a fight. The first gunshot, in particular, is especially satisfying as Diana’s deflection evokes fond memories of Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman film, where a bumbling Clark Kent does the same for Lois Lane.
Battle On The Beaches Of Themyscira
We’ve already touched upon the death of Antiope, which takes place at the end of this battle. Still, the entire sequence deserves praise in its own right, so for that reason, it receives a separate entry on this list.
As the German’s storm the shores of Themyscira, we see how the lifelong warrior mentality of the Amazons more than makes up for their primitive weapons as they manage to fend off the invaders with minimal casualties. The fight choreography is absolutely stunning, and the ferocity, agility, and strength displayed by every one of the women in this scene is phenomenal; more than enough to lend credence to their spears and arrows taking down a barrage of bullets.
The Harsh Realities Of War
At several points in the film, we see Diana attempt to come to grips with the cold, harsh realities of war. After all, despite training as a warrior since she was a young child, she doesn’t truly witness such atrocities firsthand until she enters man’s world.
Naturally, Diana’s instinct is to try and help everyone, which at times puts her at odds with Steve, whose focus is on the big picture. If he can end the war, the killing will stop, but Diana’s hero mentality makes it difficult for her to ignore any individuals in need, such as the woman and child who beg for help during the crossfire in Belgium.
Diana’s exposure to humanity’s cruelty is also highlighted when she and Steve make their way through a crowd of wounded soldiers, many of whom are missing limbs. She’s never had to see carnage like this before, which gives her all the more reason to make sure she never has to see it again.
Battle With Ares
Despite some rather heavy CGI, Diana’s climactic battle with Ares is an absolute highlight of the film, especially considering how much emotional weight it carries. Steve’s death (more on that later) proves to be enough fuel to ignite the fire of a rage-filled Diana, who mercilessly pummels Ares with every ounce of her being. Still, despite her best efforts, she still finds herself outmatched.
Thinking back upon Steve’s final words, Diana realizes that giving into her rage isn’t the way to defeat Ares. Instead, she’s inspired by Steve’s selfless act and his declaration of love and is able to absorb Ares’ attacks and fire them back at him tenfold, leaving a massive crater where he once stood.
It’s a fitting end to the battle that’s incredibly true to the character’s core values, and it also provides some retroactive context for the stunning displays of heroism we witness from Diana in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Steve Trevor's Sacrifice
Going into this film, the odds seemed pretty high that Steve Trevor wasn’t going to make it out alive. We know he isn’t alive by the time BvS rolls around and we know that at the time of that film, Diana had given up super heroics for 100 years. With all that in mind, was anyone out there thinking that Wonder Woman would end with Diana and Steve riding off into the sunset so she could watch him grow old and die over the course of the next 60 years?
Preconceptions aside, the way in which Steve goes out could not have been executed more perfectly. He realizes that the only way to ensure the mustard gas is destroyed in a manner that won’t cause harm to anyone else is to detonate the bombs thousands of feet in the air, so he hijacks the bomber plane and shoots the deadly cargo, causing it to combust and costing him his life.
It’s an incredibly poignant scene, as the blossoming love between Diana and Steve screeches to a fiery halt. However, as sad as it is to see him go, it ultimately helps bring Steve’s character arc full circle. Back on Themyscria, he told Diana about the values his father instilled in him; about how when you see something wrong in the world, you can either do something or you can do nothing. Nothing was him stopping Diana from killing Ludendorff, which led to thousands of troops and civilians falling victim to a gas bomb. This time around, he chose to do something, proving to Diana that mankind is still capable of great things.
No Man's Land
At the time of this writing, we’re four films deep into the DCEU. That being said, not a single action scene from the previous three movies can hold a candle to the sequence that takes place from the moment Diana climbs out from the trench in No Man’s Land to the moment she emerges from the rubble after taking out the sniper in the village. The only thing that even comes close is the warehouse scene from BvS, but even so, this one still manages to blow that sequence out of the water.
As Diana disrobes, we get to see her in full costume for the first time in the film, as she then proceeds to throw caution to the wind and use her shield to block a bombardment of German machine gun fire. Once the initial bullets stop flying, we see Diana switch from defense to offense, with picturesque fight choreography, outstanding visual effects, and of course, the Tina Guo cello riff that we first heard in BvS. In fact, this very well may be the best action sequence in any superhero movie in recent memory, and it’s made all the more satisfying with the conclusion that sees Diana, Steve, Sameer, Charlie, and Chief pose for the photograph that, coincidentally, also first appeared in BvS (maybe that film deserves a bit more credit than it gets).
What about you? What were your favorite moments from Wonder Woman? Let us know in the comments section!