Wonder Woman rescues superhero genre
If this were baseball, the new DC Movie universe has been swinging badly at junk pitches.
The joyless “Man of Steel,” morose “Batman V. Superman,” and disjointed “Suicide Squad” are three strikes against an expanding comic book landscape.
But those films were also very profitable, so three strikes doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out in Hollywood.
And now DC and Warner Bros. has a home run in “Wonder Woman,” a soaring superhero movie with a star (Gal Gadot) who shines in every scene, and carries the weighty expectations of a 76-year old beloved character in her first major appearance on the big screen.
Gadot’s Princess Diana lives among the Amazon women on the magical island of Themyscira until American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands in paradise.
He’s being chased by Germans, circa World War 1, and soon Diana is swept up in the battle. It is her belief that Ares, the god of war, is pushing the war and behind the violence in men’s hearts.
The film still follows many of the superhero tropes we’ve come to expect in these blockbusters.
But Patty Jenkins’ direction is creative, punchy, and sure-handed in the kind of action movie that can feel unwieldy if not handled with just the right touch.
In the end, it is Gadot that puts this in the pantheon of superhero movies.
She is a revelation, able to juggle innocence, kindness, strength, and humor with ease as she navigates the origin story of a beloved pop culture icon.
Jenkins has said Gadot’s personality is true to the spirit of Wonder Woman, and that shines through in the film.
In this role of a lifetime, Gal Gadot truly is a wonder.