Spoiler-free Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – all the world is waiting for you – and the power you possess [at the box office]. So go kick some butt!

The greatest female superhero of all time finally gets her due in this big-budget, action-packed chick flick directed by Patty Jenkins, the first woman to helm a major DC Comic or Marvel movie. Golden-lasso-of-truth be told, Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie, but it is far better than the most recent DC Comic flicks (i.e. Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad) and it delivers a compelling combination of action, romance, backstory, plot, and inspirational message for our times. All packed into a solid two hours and 20 minutes.

Israeli actress (and former soldier) Gal Gadot carries the weight of the movie – and quite possibly, the future of the franchise– squarely on her buff shoulders. And she handles it quite well, putting a new spin on the Wonder Woman mythology and mystique, while preserving the core of the beloved comic book character turned 1970s television icon (as played by Lynda Carter). Gadot’s accent takes a bit of getting used to early in the film, but it grows on you, especially considering her character is multi-lingual.

No spoilers – just the gist: Diana (aka Wonder Woman) grows up an Amazon warrior princess on Themyscira, an idyllic ‘Paradise Island’ inhabited only by women who are forever training to fight the god of war, Ares, should he ever show up on their sacred land. One day, out of the blue, a good guy washes ashore, in the form of Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a spy for the Allied forces who crash lands his plane on the island, inadvertently exposing the women to a band of German soldiers armed with heavy guns and artillery. Wonder Woman saves his life. He sort of helps save her life. He explains what’s going on in the outside world with the ‘War to end all Wars’. Diana insists on accompanying him back to London so they can disrupt an evil plot to unleash deadly chemical weapons on Europe – and they fall for each other in the process.

Gadot and Pine share an easy and affable chemistry and their characters’ attraction lends itself to some light-hearted banter, even as they fight to save humanity, with Wonder Woman most definitely leading the charge. She is driven by a sense of compassion, duty and destiny. Sure, some of the plot elements are preposterous, but that’s par for the course with any sci-fi fantasy superhero movie. It’s still grounded in the realities of politics, war, and romance. In some ways, this Wonder Woman origin story plays a lot like Marvel’s first Captain America movie back in 2011. You’ve got a World War, an evil scientist, and an attractive warrior with a shield and a strong moral compass. And just like Captain America went on to do great things at the box office, I expect/hope Wonder Woman can do the same. She’s got game.

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