Wonder Woman is now in theaters and is getting a (generally) warm welcome from fans and critics alike. Of course, as with any movie, Wonder Woman isn't immune to its fair share of criticisms, and one of the biggest nitpicks so far has been whether or not this DC Extended Universe entry bears too much of a resemblance to certain Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
Captain America: The First Avenger hit theaters in 2011, kicking the saga of Steve Rogers/Captain America, which has since become one of Marvel's top franchises. In every discussion thread about Wonder Woman that's happening right now, there seems to be a section of the discussion dedicated to whether or not the film is too derivative of The First Avenger. So is it a fair criticism? Or are some viewers trying to stretch a little bit of coincidence into being more than it is? Is Wonder Woman Too Similar to Captain America: The First Avenger? Read on for our breakdown.
Aside from the obvious differences in gender, there isn't very much that's too similar in the characters of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Steve Rogers/Captain America.
If there is one similarity between the two heroes, it is that they both exhibit an almost naive level of compassion and optimism in the darkness of wartime. However, the characters have very different origin stories, as well as very different personal arcs and developments throughout the story.
Wonder Woman's tale is all about the Amazonian warrior learning that man's world was a much more complicated and tragic place than she ever imagined. Captain America, on the other hand, was all about proving that one man's actions can make all the difference in the world. We won't go too deep into all the socio-political differences in those two themes, but suffice to say, there's a world of difference between them.
SYNOPSIS: An unlikely candidate for heroism gets endowed with extraordinary power, and sets off into a world-consuming war in order to stop a German scientist and rogue general from unleashing a terrible weapon (born of mystical power) that could change the course of the war. Along the way, our hero picks up a diverse group of rag-tag fighters, who help to reach that mission objective. In the end, the hero destroys the villain, before a massive plane carrying the weapon can destroy Allied forces. However, that victory comes at the price of the hero losing his/her closest confidant, and a deep romance ends up going unrequited.
...Okay, so maybe putting that way isn't the best approach. In terms of general premise, Wonder Woman and The First Avenger definitely seem like very similar movies.
However, the differences are, again, in the details. Wonder Woman tells a much more complex story about war and savagery and the nature of humanity, while The First Avenger was a much more simplistic tale of good vs. evil.
Of course, the similarity in the premise is probably where a lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that the two films are too similar.
If the premises of Wonder Woman and The First Avenger are too similar, then the tone of the two films should be plenty good proof of how they're different.
Both films mix a throwback serial feel with modern action and some light humor. However, Wonder Woman has a darker and more serious undertone in its treatment of the war history aspect of the story, while The First Avenger is much more of a comic book fantasy, dressed up in a historical setting.
Many people were critical of how First Avenger director Joe Johnston infused the WWII setting with a bunch of hokey sci-fi weaponry and vehicles, and never quite captured a "realistic" view of Captain America being on a WWII battlefield. Wonder Woman certainly doesn't have that problem, mixing those two worlds - if anything, some critics say the wartime aspects are too serious for the comic book fantasy and light humor. You can have whatever opinion you want of both films, but it's undeniable that they craft their respective stories in very different ways.
The First Avenger and Wonder Woman both have their respective approaches to action, and take some very different roads to get there.
Some people are complaining that Wonder Woman takes too long to really get to its epic superhero action; however, anyone claiming that has to acknowledge that Captain America: TFA had a much slower pace to get to its big superhero debut.
Wonder Woman gives us an epic battle sequence betwen Amazons and German invaders right in the first act; Captain America didn't even get to chase down the HYDRA spy that sabotaged his super soldier creation until the start of Act 2; before that, The First Avenger indulged in a ton of buildup, as scrawny Steve Rogers got enlisted and went through boot camp, to get to the experiment that would transform him into a hero.
In terms of pure action, there's even less of a comparisson: Wonder Woman's action outclasses The First Avenger in just about every way. It's debatable which film has the better final "Boss Battle": First Avenger's is a bit more tame, Wonder Woman's is almost too overblown and bombastic.
However, both films manage to infuse their climaxes with good drama, so that the stakes and outcomes of each respective battle have dramatic weight. In the end though, there's a big difference in the level of excitment each film brings.
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Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
Joining Gal Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner and Saïd Taghmaoui. Patty Jenkins directs the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns, story by Zack Snyder and Allan Heinberg, based on characters from DC Entertainment. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston.
The film is produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Richard Suckle, with Rebecca Roven, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual production, Wonder Woman.
Photo Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures & Marvel Studios