Wonder Woman is, finally, the DC film you’ve been waiting for.
You may have been patient through the brooding reinvention of Superman and the seemingly interminable fight scenes of Man of Steel. You may have winced at the gritty bitterness of Batman’s character reboot and the largely inexplicable warring between two heroes in Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice.
You may even have watched Suicide Squad in theaters, still waiting for the qualities that make DC’s comic book heroes (and some of its villains) so compelling, to no avail. Well, DC should’ve led out with Wonder Woman instead. It has exactly what those other films were so obviously missing: intelligence, humor, idealism, a yearning for justice to be done, and—above all—a sense of hope.
For many years the Greek island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons, has been hidden away from the world of men by the power of Zeus. The women of Themyscira, while training for warfare, live untroubled by outside events. But when Steve Trevor, a World War I pilot, crash-lands in Themysciran territory with the Germans hot on his tail, those outside events become impossible to ignore.
After conferring with Trevor, young Amazon princess Diana decides that the only way to stop the War to End All Wars is to find and defeat Ares, the god of war. Overriding her mother’s wishes, she leaves Themyscira forever to bring Ares to justice.
Much has been said about the fine direction of Patty Jenkins, which, frankly, is not to be ignored. But the success of Wonder Woman also rests on the shoulders of a perfectly chosen cast. Chris Pine makes a great Steve Trevor — attractive, cocky, cunning and humorous, yet admittedly out of his depth with Diana. Danny Huston and Elena Anaya as the hissable Ludendorff and Dr. Maru are sublimely slithery proto-Nazi villains.
The supporting cast, consisting of (among others) Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock and Lucy Davis are so spot-on in their roles it might make you weep. Our party of theatergoers had to hold back from yelling “HEY IT’S REMUS LUPIN!” the moment we saw David Thewlis on screen.
And Gal Gadot absolutely embodies the Princess of the Amazons in a way no other screen version of Wonder Woman has done to date. Her Diana Prince is strong, intelligent, optimistic, supremely confident and self-assured, idealistic and earnest the way big-screen superheroes used to be before Hollywood decided they all ought to be portrayed as damaged goods.
Wonder Woman is often championed as a feminist icon, yet this Diana is not a feminist in the sense of working toward equality of the sexes. On Themyscira, women are the only sex. She simply, unquestioningly takes her proper place as a hero wherever she goes, and NO ONE can deter her from her purpose.
TL;DR? Just get out your wallet and run to the nearest showing of Wonder Woman. You can thank me later.
Release Date: June 2, 2017 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 3 (social drinking, some smoking, use of apparently-addictive drugs, cyanide pill)
Language: 1 (brief mild, deity)
Nudity: 2 (male character exits a pool nude, covering his genitalia with his hands)
Sexuality: 3 (conversational, innuendo, implied sex)
Violence: 3 (combat training, stabbing, shooting, fisticuffs, intense war and battle sequences, war injuries, gassing and poison, superhuman fighting and tank-throwing)