It seems like just when we need them, the perfect superhero for the moment emerges at the box office. Christopher Reeve and Superman brought a much-needed jolt of truth, justice, and the American Way, helping close the door on the down-and-out 1970s.
Post-9/11, we turned to Christopher Nolan’s brooding and determined Dark Knight to make sense of a world turned upside down; while Iron Man and his Avenger buddies embodied the optimistic spirit of hope, change, and teamwork that emerged out of the Great Recession.
Now in 2017, in this summer of fear and loathing, a hero has emerged to remind the world all you need is love — along with some bullet-deflecting bracelets and the power to kick a whole lot of butt.
Wonder Woman has come to save us from ourselves in her long, long, long overdue cinematic debut. And in the best news of all, the wait was worth it.
The DC cinematic universe has up until now been wobbly at best, but there was a glimmer of promise in Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, whose brief appearance was the best thing about the lumbering, overstuffed “Batman v Superman.”
Gadot is back, this time with director Patty Jenkins giving us the full origin-story treatment, with “Wonder Woman.”
Raised on a secluded island of ageless Amazon women, Wonder Woman is better known as Diana, a headstrong princess schooled in wisdom by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and schooled in battle by fierce warrior Antiope (Robin Wright).
Diana is introduced to the outside world when American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands on her island and brings the brutality of World War I to her doorstep.
Steve wants to get back to the front to stop sadistic German General Ludendorff from unleashing an incredibly deadly poison gas, while Diana agrees to accompany him, believing her sworn enemy, the Greek god of war Ares, must be the one behind all the bloodshed.
There are some fun fish-out-of-water moments, as Diana encounters the early 20th-century world of men, but it’s when she shatters the glass ceiling — and a few tanks — on the battlefield that “Wonder Woman” truly soars.
This movie also pulls off the rare feat of making a strong anti-war statement, while presenting a ton of thrilling action — all without feeling hypocritical.
As for Gadot, she unquestionably looks the part, but beyond being a physical knockout, she brings a lot of charm to her character and convincingly takes her from a wide-eyed innocent to a battle-hardened woman of principle.
We’ll next see Gadot’s Wonder Woman joining forces with other DC all-stars in the upcoming “Justice League” in November. It will be cool to see her in action again and if the DC cinematic universe has any chance of rivaling Marvel, then the boys in the capes better start taking notes.
“Wonder Woman” is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action and some suggestive content.