Wonder Woman was not just a revelation for the DCEU; it was a revolution. The DCEU was floundering and drowning under negative reviews, and was at risk of losing mass audiences. Gal Gadot, however, reached into the waves and offered rescue. If the DCEU truly wants to survive, it must take her hand and learn from her example, and from Patty Jenkins's example.
There are countless reasons Wonder Woman was great. What Justice League can learn from Wonder Woman (among other things) is how to capture an audience—or maybe, at least, how not to lose an audience. One of the best elements of Wonder Woman—scratch that—the unequivocally best element of the movie was the scene where Diana stepped onto No Man's Land. This scene was almost pulled from the movie, thanks to clueless Warner Bros. execs. Thank Hippolyta, Patty Jenkins stood her ground, because that scene was groundbreaking. How fitting.
But that's what directors and writers of the DCEU have to contend with. They must avoid the pitfalls of bad superhero movies (or bad movie creators) that prioritize visual stimulation over substance. So, let's look at the ways Wonder Woman will shape the future of the DCEU, if they just frickin' let her.
Also, SPOILERS AHEAD. But come on, who hasn't seen Wonder Woman?
Characters Aren't Props
Wonder Woman was about Diana. Obviously. But the cast didn't end there, and Patty Jenkins (along, of course, with the writers) didn't let us forget that. We came to know and understand ancillary characters like Antiope, Hippolyta, Charlie, Sameer, and the Chief. Compare Steve Trevor's crew with the Howling Commandos of the first Captain America movie, for example. Which characters did you get to know better?
In Wonder Woman, the supporting cast were not just pawns or placeholders. They were fully realized characters with something interesting to add to the story. They didn't simply appear because, "Oh, well they were in the comic books, so we should probs toss 'em in."
Justice League is going to have even more pressure in this regard, because they have at least five main characters they'll need to flesh out, and there'll be supporting cast on top of that. C'mon, DCEU, don't let us down.
You're Allowed To Be Funny, You Guys — It Actually Helps
Virtually the entire London sequence in Wonder Woman was hilarious. And that's okay! There was more humor in the clothes shopping scene than in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Marthas Rising combined. These breaks are welcome and necessary, especially if you want non-superhero fans attending these movies. That's how you get a successful box office showing.
Humor does wonders for the characters, too. Diana was exceedingly lovable in that scene (and all of her comedic scenes... and all scenes in general), and that makes the audience want her to succeed. When Justice League was written, it was said to have a much lighter tone than its predecessors, which is good. That, coupled with Joss Whedon's influence, should help a lot. Let's just hope it has its own identity, and isn't just Avengers, But, Like, With Superman and Stuff.
Make Diana The Focal Point
Despite limited screen time, Wonder Woman was the highlight of Batman v Superman: Straight White Men in Pajamas Being Grumpy. After her solo outing, she has absolutely cemented herself as the hero of the DCEU. Don't run from that, Justice League.
We know you want that to be Batman, and you've already painted yourself into a corner by establishing him as the grand organizer, but you better find a way to squeeze your way out of that. Diana is, in essence, a much more interesting Superman. While Ben Affleck acquitted himself admirably as the Dark Knight, the DCEU has now found its true shining light. Do not dim it.
A Story Should Be Character Driven
Diana is a true hero, with a sense of responsibility. She believes it is her duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Beyond that, though, she is naive about our world, and she evolves throughout the movie as she begins to understand human culture. This progression drives the movie entirely, until she has the ultimate crisis of whether or not humanity even deserves her protection. Which she, of course, overcomes.
In some ways, Wonder Woman was a lot like an MCU movie, in that the villains were sort of secondary. They were a means to a storytelling end. The movie didn't suffer for this, though. These films should be about the hero, and their journey.
Hopefully Justice League recognizes this, especially because we'll be meeting three of the heroes for the first time. Just give Aquaman a little character arc, DCEU, and we should be fine. People are already stoked to see Khal Drogo shirtless, you don't have to take it much farther than that.