It has taken awhile, but finally the DC Universe has put the right women in charge — both in front of and behind the camera — and the result should rock the movies this summer. The long-awaited Wonder Woman feature is upon us, and let me be clear: This is not your mother’s Wonder Woman, and it is certainly not Lynda Carter’s (who starred in the cartoon-y 1970s TV series). As I say in my video review above, the casting here could not be better. Stunning Israeli actress Gal Gadot, director Patty Jenkins, a terrific and wryly funny script from Allan Heinberg (and his story in collaboration with Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs) and co-star Chris Pine really light up the screen in a way few new comic book movie franchises can do.
Yes, this is an origin story, but it is one in which the “origins” don’t get in the way of the story. It starts off on the island of Themyscira, an all-female conclave ruled by the Queen (Connie Nielsen) where the young Diana (soon to grow up to be Wonder Woman) learns the ways of their world, especially under the guidance of her aunt (Robin Wright). We see Diana as a young child, a teenager and finally the strong-willed woman inhabited by Gadot. One day a plane carrying World War I military intelligence officer Steve Trevor (Pine) crash-lands on the island, and a relationship starts between him and Diana — he’s the first male she has ever encountered. Their initial dialogue scenes are priceless, very funny and really cut to the core of female and male interaction in a winning way. She is like a fish out of water in this regard, curious but still smart enough to keep him on his toes.
After a battle scene involving Themyscira’s female warriors and invading German troops, the action switches to London, where Steve and Diana become involved in more derring-do, fighting off the baddies including villainous Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) and an evil German general (Danny Huston) as they attempt to destroy Dr. Poison’s chemical weapons lab. A very funny sequence is set in a department store as Diana tries on a number of then-contemporary outfits in order to fit into this new society, but it isn’t long before she is back in her skimpy work outfit and brandishing her famous shield. (Thankfully, she mostly avoids the twirling routine Carter made famous in the TV series — this is a comic book movie that resists camp whenever it can.)
With financial help from a British politician (David Thewlis), Steve and Diana recruit a trio of helpers (played nicely by Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock and Said Taghmaoui). They all make for a memorable crew that would give the Guardians of the Galaxy a run for their money. Wonder Woman follows a predictable path, with lots of fighting leading to the finale, but this gem is a cut above nearly all the way. There is something here for everyone. It should clean up for Warner Bros, which releases it in North America today.
Producers are Chuck Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder and Richard Suckle.
Do you plan to see Wonder Woman? Let us know what you think.
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