When I was a preteen I had a crush on Lynda Carter. She was Wonder Woman on the TV show which ran from 1975 to 1979. I never watched the show but I remember her in her outfit and she was tall and beautiful.
I remember watching the Super Friends cartoon in the early 70s and the animated Wonder Woman had an invisible plane! That was about all the info I had about Wonder Woman.
There have recently been a few female action stars in the movies. Angelina Jolie was Lara Croft and had huge success with Wanted (2008) and Salt (2010). Mila Jovovich has the Resident Evil franchise. Scarlett Johansson has the Avenger movies, Lucy (2014) and Ghost In The Shell (2017). And now Charlize Theron has joined the action film world with Mad Max (2015), The Fate of The Furious (2017) and the soon to be released Atomic Blonde (2017). But the release of the Wonder Woman film is a step beyond and carries much more weight and responsibility. I’m happy to say it’s a complete success in every regard.
A lot was riding on this film. DC needed a hit after the poorly received Batman vs Superman film. More importantly, the film was directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, whose last feature film was in 2003 (Monster) and the lead was a woman, Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious films). In an industry dominated by big action films that only men have been directing, this was a chance to prove a woman could direct a big action hit. Well, Patty Jenkins has done just that. Wonder Woman is a huge hit. It had the biggest opening for a film directed by a woman, as a matter of fact. Women are having a very strong response to the film and feeling surges of emotion like I have never seen before. This is more than a movie to them. It’s vindication. It’s a celebration. They have a hero. Actually a few heroes here. But none of this would have been possible if the film wasn’t any good. The fact that it is very good makes all the hype genuine and well earned.
Wonder Woman opens with a nod to the present world that Wonder Woman has already been introduced into – Bruce Wayne has sent Diana Prince a gift; an old photo of her with a group of men. It triggers an emotional response from Diana which sends her thinking about her past. We are then treated to her origin story.
We see her as a little girl on the island of Themyscira. A place where only women live, Amazons, warrior women created by the gods to protect humankind from Ares the god of war. She watches as the women train for battle. They are fierce and strong and she is chomping at the bit to start her training. Her mother, Queen Hipolyta (Connie Nielsen) will not allow it however, so her sister, Antiope (Robin Wright) starts training her in private. When Hipolyta finds out she relents and allows Diana to continue her training.
When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane into the nearby seas Diana dives in to save him. Unfortunately, he was being chased by German soldiers who come ashore after him. The outside world comes crashing in for Diana and the Amazons. Steve tells them of a great war happening where millions are dying. Diana feels this is just what she has trained for and feels compelled to go with Steve back to London and seek out Ares to stop him, since he must be the one behind this evil war.
From here on out, we get a rousing World War I action story as well as see Wonder Woman in glorious action fighting the German armies. We are introduced to some interesting sidekicks (Said Taghmaui, Ewan Bremner, Lucy Davis), nasty villains (Danny Huston, David Thewlis) and a sweet love story between Diana and Steve.
Gal Gadot is marvelous as Diana. Her convictions are honest and real and her genuine curiosity about the new world and people she is introduced to is funny and touching. Her chemistry with Chris Pine is palpable. Pine does charming with the best of them and they develop a real relationship as the film goes on that’s filled with humor and attraction and fighting and eventually love.
Director Patty Jenkins sets the right tone throughout. The film never feels cartoonish. The action is thrilling and the characters are fleshed out. Everything feels real and not over done. The humor comes from the characters and not silly. It’s a wonderful adventure film! It’s a film everyone will enjoy. Brava!