‘Wonder Woman’ is the epic story of a man, a woman, a dog and a piano. Okay, you can forget the part about the dog and the piano. I wrote that before I saw the movie. I’m going to try to do this without any spoilers, but let me start by saying this is an above average superhero movie. If you just want to take my recommendation and go surf the web for Gal Gadot pictures, go ahead.
The first part of the movie is an obligatory flashback to Diana’s youth. Young girl wants to be warrior princess, like her mom and her aunt and every other woman on the island. It could be worse. Remember the first Superman with Christopher Reeve? All that origin story needed was a guy in a headband tucking his baby boy into a rocket while the planet disintegrates around him. Five minutes tops. But, noooo! They hire a bloated Marlon Brando in a white wig, and build this long boring back story around him. Wonder Woman is not that bad, however, if you can get past the whole “Zeus created man, gods walk the Earth and give Wonder Woman her powers.” I’m more of a mono-theistic kind of guy, but if I can believe in Hobbits and Orcs, I can suspend disbelief for a couple of hours.
Enter our intrepid male lead, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), American pilot/spy/Amazon boy toy, who crash lands next to the island, bringing a large portion of the German Navy with him. Kickass battle on the beach ensues and Diana, having now heard about WWI, decides that saving the world is part of her job description, so she’s off!
The story is generally well written, well paced, well directed. There’s a CGI-fest towards the end that may be more popular with directors and the popcorn crowd, but is frankly a matter of taste. More importantly, between the Origin story and the CGI denouement, is a very solid motion picture. Woman Woman is the proverbial innocent abroad, a stranger to the customs and habits of mankind. There’s humor to be found in her naivety. Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman as a very confident hero, courageous to a fault, and acrobatically graceful in her slow motion fighting scenes. Supporting characters are well cast and well acted. Those who survive.
I can personally attest that the feminist complaint that Wonder Woman shaves her armpits is true, but was not terribly distracting from the story. There was no overt feminist message that I could detect. Diana did not lord her abilities over men, but was the consummate heroine, self confident, but lacking any need to “prove” herself to anyone.
There are also rumblings that some do not accept Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman because she is an Israeli. Aside from looking great in the outfit, her two years in the IDF may have given her the attitude necessary to pull off the character.
As with her brief appearance in the abysmal Batman vs. Superman movie, look for her in an upcoming Justice League movie. Hopefully that movie will be more like this one and less like a brooding Ben Affleck movie.
Four stars out of five.
Photo by Gage Skidmore