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Running Time:
2 hrs. 55 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman is spectacularly entertaining.

Additional Info:
Gal Gadot ... Diana
Chris Pine ... Steve Trevor
Connie Nielsen ... Hippolyta
Robin Wright ... Antiope
Danny Huston ... Ludendorff
David Thewlis ... Sir Patrick
Sad Taghmaoui ... Sameer
Ewen Bremner ... Charlie
Eugene Brave Rock ... The Chief
Lucy Davis ... Etta
Elena Anaya ... Dr. Maru
Lilly Aspell ... Young Diana

Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot proves an excellent choice to fill Wonder Woman’s new boots. She’s beautiful, of course, but also able to convincingly manage the action requirements while projecting a sense of naivety that can quickly change to an expression of righteous anger when needed. In short, she capably handles every one of the role’s requirements, and does so with elegance and a hint of mystique.

Chris Pine is equally fine as Steve Trevor, the first man Diana ever sets eyes on and her inevitable romantic interest. The script has to go to unlikely lengths to situate an American into its revisionist historical template, but Pine’s combination of boyish bravado and seriousness makes one swallow it without complaint. Trevor is not just a lunkheaded piece of beefcake in distress here, but a thoughtful guy who must symbolize both mankind’s frailties as well as its potential for nobility—and Chris Pine actually manages to pull that off, a task no less challenging than the one Gadot faced. It helps that the two stars have chemistry, too—something increasingly rare with stars in American films.

The script draws elements from various origin mythologies that writers have concocted over the decades: Diana (played as a tyke by young Lilly Aspell and then as a teen by Emily Carey) has been sculpted from clay by her Amazon mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), given life by the Amazons’ protector Zeus (whom they had once helped to defeat the rebellious war god Ares), and then trained as a warrior by her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright). They live in splendid isolation on the island Zeus has given them, champions of peace through strength—until one day a plane crashes in the nearby sea and its pilot, Trevor, is rescued by Diana and brought to the island. Diana will leave with him and become Wonder Woman in the outside world.

In all the traditional accounts, that happens in 1941 (the year of the comic’s creation), and her enemies are the Nazis. Writer, Allan Heinberg , however, changes the time to late 1918, when World War I was reaching its end after more than four years of ghastly carnage. Trevor is now an American assigned to British intelligence who has infiltrated the command of German Erich von Ludendorff (Danny Huston, huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf) and stolen the recipe book of the general’s chief chemical weapons scientist Dr. Poison (Elena Ayala), who has come up with a new gas that could alter the course of the war—or at least prolong it just when an armistice is imminent. Believing that Ares is behind the conflict and she is fated to confront him, Diana determines to accompany Steve to Europe.

The timeline alteration has one great strength: it places Diana in a heavy-handedly man’s world where women don’t yet even have the vote and are treated dismissively by the ruling establishment. Her reaction to the situation has a modern feminist edge, though one often treated comically, as when she is introduced to the uncomfortably confining women’s clothes of the period by Trevor’s motherly secretary Etta (Lucy Davis), or—when informed of a secretary’s duties, observes that back home they call that slavery.

With the help of an apparently enlightened, pro-armistice politician (David Thewlis), Steve and Diana assemble a small group of unconventional warriors—a Moroccan womanizer (Said Taghmaoui), a wild-eyed Scottish sharpshooter (Ewen Bremner) and a Native American smuggler (Eugene Brave Rock), who are obviously designed to bring some comic relief to the last act but don’t manage much of it—and are off to the Western Front, where Diana at last doffs her feminine garb and becomes Wonder Woman, striding across No Man’s Land to take charge of the German trenches and liberate the villages behind them. Her ambition, however, is to confront Ludendorff, whom she presumes to be Ares himself, and bring peace to man’s world once and for all.

Tor roughly half of its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time, Wonder Woman is a better-than-average superhero movie; a pity it falls off so precipitously in the finale. Hobbled by the blandly brown color palette favored in the Snyder DC franchise, cinematographer Matthew Jensen’s lensing is topnotch, and the production design and costumes are first-rate. Rupert Gregson-Williams’ score fulfills its function of adding dash to the visuals without being at all memorable.

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