DC Universe and The Suspension of Disbelief
I like Marvel's pseudo-scientific storytelling as much as the next guy. Thor is not a god, he is just a member of an advanced Alien civilization, which happens to be the source of Nordic mythology. Incidentally, anything that looks remotely magical, either harnesses energy from other dimensions or it dates before time itself, so laws of physics do not apply. Even the Spiderman's smart suit got its share, and the trailers made me feel feelings.
In contrast, DC's narrative renders such explanations redundant. With DC, what you see is what you get. In the DC Extended Universe, gods are gods and black magic is black magic. All the paranormal coexist with the rest of the world history, and I'm especially confused about the implications: If Zeus, Ares and all that bunch exist, it means the Ancient Greek got it right, right? Not Christianity. Maybe it is why Superman is a Jesus allegory: he makes up for it.
So, even though the tone couldn't be further than what I'm really trained to expect from a dark superhero movie, I think I'm OK with the stark contrast between Marvel and DC.
Since Marvel presents the material in such apparent technical accuracy, it implies a demand of attention and invites the viewer to nitpick. It invites you to say "yeah, like hell it does that". In contrast, because DC avoids such an attempt, it forces the viewer to suspend their disbelief way further. In order to immerse, you have to abandon your disbelief and accept a world in which the impossible just happens.
Why is Wonder Woman so powerful? BOOM she is a demigod. Done. That is the only explanation you get for her being able to beat the life out of the God of War himself, or that she can scale a tower by finger stabbing the bricks. Her (demi)godliness is not a revelation that is further explored or gradually introduced. It is ubiquitous and it is the foundation on which the entire narrative is built.
Since suspension of disbelief is an indispensable mindset for the DCEU viewer, everything becomes plausible. Nobody bats an eye when Wonder Woman obliterates a tower by a forceful shoulder thrust. Or the movie doesn't waste time on explaining meager details such as the working principle of the power enhancing nasal serum. My humble guess is that it relieves congestion and increases the oxygen intake.
I think that this is a useful narrative technique, because it makes the viewing experience a cinematic equivalent of listening to a fairytale. It steers the movie away from possible pitfalls, which would otherwise force them to devise workarounds to make the technical and realistic aspect of the story work. They will neither explain how the lasso works, nor will they elaborate on how being an Aunt works in an immortal society where classical reproduction doesn't seem to play any role.
This is, at the same time, a dangerous narrative technique, because such an approach makes it possible for an American spy to do this:
Really? I mean, yes, making foreigners speak English amongst each other with an accent is an overused technique in countless work. But come on, man, you are an undercover spy, put some effort into it. Doesn't this make the scene look instantly like a child's play?
Sure, the movie was magical from beginning to end.
Glowing thermal ponds in Themyscira?
Probably bioluminescent bacteria, OK.
Ares, the son of Zeus, who chose a British disguise by the 30th century of his existence, incidentally looked completely British as a Greek God as well?
Well, maybe the British gene descends from Olympos, whatever.
Steve Trevor passes for a German, among Germans, by speaking English with a German accent?
...I think there is a fine line between magical realism and trading reason for a very youtubeable scene.
To reiterate, I don't mind the heavy reliance on mythology and suspension of disbelief. I think it works well, once the context of the movie sets what is redundant properly. In the Groundhog Day, I never felt the need of asking how the time loop works. Because the story was about Phil's character arc. In the Edge of Tomorrow however, the movie spends considerable time on explaining the physics of time loops and this leads me to be cranky about how it doesn't really makes sense. Like hell alien blood does that to you.
I like this contrast between Marvel and DC because I find them complementary rather than rivaling. But, the sparing use of magical elements should not be mistaken for complete lack of reason.
The feminist tone of the movie was very refreshing, but I don't think we are quite there yet. The outfit and the naive demeanor of Diana are all remnants of an earlier feminist tone that belongs to 50 years ago. Seriously though, why is Diana - along with all the other women on the island, without exceptions - portrayed as conforming to the classical definition of female beauty; clean shaven legs and everything? On the one hand, the movie passes the Bechdel Test, but on the other hand Wonder Woman's full potential is unlocked as a response to her love interest Steve Trevor's ultimate heroism of self-sacrifice. Wonder Woman and her character arc are both led by the male supporting character throughout the movie, which is a topic that deserves its own article, written by people who can analyze it much better than I can.
The movie is obscenely video game friendly. My right trigger finger was twitching with excitement during the lasso pull scenes; It is such a classic R2 + X execution strike. mark my words.
Weren't the Amazonians a little too isolated from the rest of the world? I mean, more than you'd expect from an immortal army of warriors, sworn to bring peace and justice to the world? If Zeus could cover the island with one-way vision fog, I'm sure he could conjure a fountain of eternal FM transmission or something to capture communications to inform the inhabitants about what's going on in the rest of the world. What is the purpose of knowing a hundred languages when you're oblivious to a war where more than 30 countries are slaughtering each other?
I think I know what's in the power serum to which General Ludendorff was totally addicted to. I also use something similar when I have the spring allergy and the eucalyptus kick is almost identical.