I’ll say at the outset, I really enjoyed this film. Yes, it is another super-hero movie, but it’s more than a good super-hero movie – it’s a damn fine movie, with wonderful performances by its two main characters, played by Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, and a strong story line.
Synopsis: We are introduced to Diana as a small girl with determination. Raised on the hidden paradise island of Themyscira, which is populated by Amazons, Diana is trained to be a warrior by Antiope, played by the magnificent Robin Wright, and tutored by her mother, Hyppolita (Connie Nielsen). When a WW II plane crashes through the fog hiding the island, Diana rescues the American pilot, a spy named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who tells her about the massive war raging in the outside world. Diana has been taught by her mother that Ares, the god of war, is responsible for all conflicts, and Diana believes she must find and destroy him to end this war. Diana leaves her home, never to return, to fight alongside men and find Ares. In doing so, she realizes her full powers and in the end, her destiny.
The story is not kitchy, as the TV series Wonder Woman was; it’s more rational, in a Marvel comics sort of way. Plus Diana’s outfit is rather modest, in contrast to the revealing bustier worn by Linda Carter! Diana only gradually becomes Wonder Woman, and Gal Gadot’s nuanced performance allows you to experience her transformation from an emotional standpoint. She’s got a good career ahead of her. Her developing relationship with Steve Trevor is fun, tender, and heart-touching. Chris Pine is at his best – roguish and sarcastic with funny cast-off lines and the heart of a hero. I’ll admit, I adore this actor.
I completely agree with reviewer David Orr: “Befitting its World War I setting, Wonder Woman has a certain throwback charm, with Gadot and Pine playing off one another as good-naturedly as partners in a 1930s screwball comedy.”
The secondary characters playing Trevor’s band of men are well wrought – Eugene Brave Rock as the Chief (yes, there’s a Native American in the movie), Said Taghmaoui as Sameer, and Ewen Bremner as Charlie, the singing Scot – plus Etta Candy as Trevor’s nattering secretary. There were a few two-dimensional characters, unfortunately – Danny Huston as General Ludendorff and Elena Anaya as Dr. Poison. But overall, the plot is very character-driven.
There were a few oops moments: one, the sailboat, with no winds in its sails, sailed itself to England while Trevor and Diana slept (how did they get there?); and two, Sir Patrick, who is really Ares, being the point man in the British government who is pushing for peace and who sends Trevor, Diana and his merry men to stop General Ludendorff from interfering with the peace process. The logic escaped me. Oh well, maybe I missed something.
The special effects are about what you would expect for a movie of this type, but they are not the reason to see the film. It’s a good movie. Go see it!