There’s a lot resting on the Amazonian shoulders of DC Comics’ pre-eminent heroine.
Wonder Woman, who celebrated her 75th anniversary last year, is easily the highest profile female superhero to hit the big screen in her own movie, and if this film fails, studios might not be willing to take another chance on a female hero. Based on “Wonder Woman,” we’re thankfully going to see a ton of female heroes.
Gal Gadot returns to the role of Wonder Woman — she debuted in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” last year — and takes command as the Amazon warrior. Her performance is powerful and inspiring, the polar opposite to many of DC’s previous films where everything is dark and dreary.
Told as a flashback, the film begins with the rambunctious young Diana, a kid running around the mythical Themyscira, the home of the Amazons. She’s a pint-size dreamer with ambitions of one day learning to fight among the soldiers on the island. The grown-up Diana gets her chance when World War I soldier Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) falls out of the sky, followed by attacking German forces.
The film takes Diana from Themyscira to the battlefields of World War I, where, alongside roguish Trevor, a spy, and his ragtag band of mercenaries, they work together to stop German forces from destroying the world. Of course, Diana, whose origins are from Greek mythology, believes that it’s Ares who is causing all the violence, much to the disbelief of Trevor and company.
Allan Heinberg — who knows Wonder Woman well, having written her comics — delivers an energetic, invigorating script that is both funny and poignant. There are rah-rah moments where you’ll want to jump up and cheer.
The supporting cast around Gadot and Pine is strong, starting with Lucy Davis’ ebullient Etta Candy, Trevor’s assistant, and Connie Nielsen’s stoic performance as Diana’s mother Hippolyta.
If there’s any detractors from the film, it’s the hokiness of the villains, but the reality is that they fit the film.
Wonder Woman might have been created a few generations ago, but this film proves she is the timeless hero that everyone can celebrate.