I know the exact science behind why Wonder Woman is an amazing movie…
Imagine if someone finally released the top secret recipe for Coca-Cola or for the Colonel’s KFC chicken… Well, I’m that guy, but for releasing Marvel’s secret movie formula.
For those of us who have kept up with all comic book movies for the past decade, we know that Marvel seems to always just easily crank out really good super hero movies. Meanwhile, DC hadn’t figured out how to really get it right. Think about their superhero movies last year:
Batman V. Superman? It was entertaining, but ultimately problematic.
Suicide Squad? Eh… kind of a mess.
So did DC just luck out with their wild success of Wonder Woman? Nope.
They simply (and maybe even accidentally) used the same proven yet secret formula that Marvel’s been using all these years:
1) Character Arc of the Super Hero: It’s fundamentally important for the audience to see a flawed protagonist who evolves over the course of the story. Remember how in Batman V. Superman, Batman was the same brooding, disgruntled billionaire while Superman was the same perfect alien? Neither characters individually evolved. We instead want to see an imperfect character who is forced to positively evolve. We want to see character growth.
2) Engaging Arch Nemesis. The superhero is only as interesting as the bad guy. Just as an imperfect superhero is crucial in order to engage an audience in the protagonist, that superhero relies on a villain who spiritually contrasts and compliments their struggles. Being evil isn’t enough. We need to see a memorable arch nemesis who is the perfect foil for our imperfect hero.
3) Genre Hybrid: Marvel knows that their super hero movies aren’t simply super hero movies. Instead, each one is ultimately a different genre, disguised as a superhero movie. Ant-Man is a heist movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a government conspiracy movie. Using that same concept, Wonder Woman is a World War II movie, which also contains strong elements of Greek mythology.
This secret formula is the reason Marvel’s movies do well. And finally, DC has figured it out.
Seriously, who isn’t excited by the new Justice League trailer? It looks like they will be applying the Marvel formula to all their movies from now on. I’m happy that DC is back on track.