Screen Savor: ‘Wonder Woman’ to the Rescue

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Presented in 3D (and IMAX, if you please), “Wonder Woman” (WB/DC), the long-awaited debut of the comic book world’s most celebrated female superhero has arrived just in time for Pride Month. That’s significant because the titular character, aka Princess Diana of Themyscira aka Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), is an Amazonian. Formed from clay and brought to life by Zeus, she was raised amongst women by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright), without the presence or influence of men. In other words, our lesbian separatist sisters are going to love this movie!

Diana, a rambunctious child who was unaware of the depth of her powers, grew into a fierce and impatient warrior. Everything in her life changes when Steve Trevor (a fit and funny Chris Pine), an American spy working with British intelligence breaks through the barrier hiding Themyscira in a World War I German biplane and crashes into the sea.  Diana rescues Steve (along with the stolen notebook containing useful information), but it doesn’t take long for the Germans pursuing him to track him down. The battle that follows results in many casualties, female and male alike, only strengthening Diana’s resolve to track down her half-brother Ares, the god of war, and finish him off.

In true comic book movie fashion, Diana and Steve make their way to London. While there, with the aid of Steve’s secretary Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Diana gets a new wardrobe so that she stands out less in a crowd. With the blessing of armistice-seeking war council member Sir Patrick (David Thewlis), Steve rounds up a band of misfit soldiers. Joined by Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremmer) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), they all head to the front where they plan to stop the devious and destructive campaign of German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his similarly sinister partner-in-crime, the chemist Maru (Elena Anaya), aka Doctor Poison.

Diana’s relentless pursuit of Ares leads her to a violent battle with an unexpected adversary. Endless fight sequences may get comic book readers to turn pages, but they grow tiresome onscreen, and this is one of "Wonder Woman’s" weaknesses.

While energetically directed by Patty Jenkins (the Oscar-winning Monster), unfortunately the same can’t be said about Gadot’s performance. Gadot simply doesn’t have the acting chops to play Diana. Her performance is hollow and tepid. Although, to her credit, she certainly looks the part. Fortunately, she has a capable supporting cast, especially the perfectly pleasing Pine, to do most of the heavy lifting for her. Rating: B

 


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