4.5 out of 5
Wonder Woman is in theaters this week, and those involved in the DC Universe are praying they finally have a hit on their hands. Another critical flop could make things very difficult for “Justice League” coming out later this year, as well as the rest of the planned superhero movies being released from DC. It’s a tall order, not only does Wonder Woman have to save the day in the film, but she is also tasked with potentially saving the whole DC Universe — something so far — not even Superman or Batman has been able to do.
To make a long story short — she does it. All of it. She saves the day in the film (of course she does — she’s Wonder Woman), but more importantly she pulls DC out of the critical ditch it’s been in since the release of “Man of Steel.”
Gal Gadot — a casting choice that many questioned when it was first announced — shines. First, she is strikingly beautiful, and each time she is on the screen — she embodies what Wonder Woman is supposed to be. Innocent, strong, independent and full of valor. Perhaps the most important part of the movie is that she is truly a superhero — not just a woman superhero. The fact that she was a woman was never forced, or politicized. She just is who she is, Wonder Woman. Swap out a guy for the part — and it’s still a great film.
Her chemistry with Chris Pine is also very evident. The two playoff of each other very well, with several hilarious moments of awkward sexual tension on Pine’s part. The story — unlike its predecessors — has good humor and a lot of heart. It’s not just all about good versus evil, and a forced ending with the superhero inevitably winning. The way that Diana’s character is developed from when we first see her as a small child, all the way to her departing her beloved home to enter the world of men, makes her relatable and believable when she says wants to save all of humanity.
After we learn where she is from, and begin to understand how important she is to her people, Diana decides she must leave when she learns of the Great War and the death that surrounds it. She arrives in London and begins her search for Aries — the god of war — during World War I, who she believes is behind all of the warfare. She immediately presses her plans by interrupting meetings that are “men only” and generally making everyone from the era uncomfortable and mad. When Steve Trevor (Pine), who has stolen plans from the evil German Officer Ludendorff and Dr. Maru (known for her treacherous poisons), cannot get the leaders of the British Army to move to strike — since a peace accord is in place — Diana and Trevor decide to take matters into their own hands.
While the great minds of men ponder peace, the war continues, and this is when Diana truly becomes Wonder Woman. Her first taste of battle is magnificent and inspiring — not only to the people has she saved — but also on screen. Even in her victories though — she will not stop until she has destroyed Aries and ended the war, for what she believes is forever. Unfortunately, she has to learn the hard way — that Aries or no — war and death will continue. The story which is basically told in flashback, then moves to present day and nicely sets up “Justice League” coming up in November.
Director Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine genuinely have a hit on their hands. This movie is good. And yes, Wonder Woman saves the day — but more importantly — she has most likely saved the entire DC Universe.