There are no spoilers in this review.
One word describes the new Wonder Woman movie: Balanced. It’s also beautiful, exciting, charming, and satisfying, but my first impression is feeling incredibly pleased with Wonder Woman’s perfect balance of drama, comedy, love, sorrow, and action.
This telling of Wonder Woman’s origin story is everything I wanted it to be. Diana Prince, played flawlessly by Gal Gadot, grows up on the hidden Paradise Island, training as a Warrior Princess with the Amazons (just try watching without having flashbacks to Xena: Warrior Princess!). One day, British spy Steve Trevor crashes his plane on the island. Diana saves him and is called to return with him to the modern world to save humanity from the Great War.
Diana IS Wonder Woman
I loved how Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are not played up as “alter egos” in this movie, the way Clark Kent and Superman are in that origin story. Diana’s Amazon Princess is noble, strong, and compassionate – traits that she maintains as she adjusts to life in World War I-era Europe. While we see only a taste of her adjustment to a “regular” life in this installment, I don’t see Gadot’s Diana Prince to be the dorky librarian that Lynda Carter’s was back in the 1970s.
Was I disappointed that Gadot did not spin to turn into her super hero alter ego? Not one bit. There’s no “turning into Wonder Woman” in this feature. In fact, the words “Wonder Woman” are not even uttered in the movie. She simply just IS Wonder Woman.
This movie reminded me a bit of the first Thor movie. It establishes a world forged by Gods which the main character then leaves. And just as Thor injected lots of humor in that transition, this movie has several witty moments that are perfectly juxtaposed with Diana’s intense commitment to rid the world of war.
Gadot’s Wonder Woman does a beautiful job reacting to the injustice she sees around her. In sequences where she walks the streets and war-ravaged towns, she heartbreakingly yearns to stop and help every person. Steve Trevor has to urge her forward toward her mission again and again.
Now let’s talk Chris Pine. And no, he’s not THAT Chris.
Pine plays Steve Trevor, British spy who embarks on a rogue mission with Diana to go to the front lines of World War I and stop a threat that could change the course of the war. He is both charming and determined and his sweet, humorous interactions with Diana give this movie just the right touch of emotion.
How Does Wonder Woman Score on Violence?
Lately I’ve been feeling that movies are way too over the top with special effects. Just because we have the technological capability doesn’t mean we have to stuff a movie full of gratuitous explosions and far-fetched chase scenes. This movie was not overloaded with unrealistic special effects, which I really appreciated. There is only one big battle that offers out-of-this-world effects and it was completely appropriate for the subject manner.
This film is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content. In one brief scene, Steve Trevor is naked and covering his private parts, but in the context of an innocent, bordering on embarrassing, encounter. The violence, which is refreshingly NOT the focus of the movie, is tame and nothing to be concerned about if your child has seen any other super hero installment.
Finally, a Hit for DC
Wonder Woman is hands-down the best movie from DC Entertainment since the Dark Knight era. Man of Steel was way too serious for my taste. Suicide Squad did a good job of introducing us to the motley group of evil players in this universe, but the plot was lacking. And the only highlight of Batman v. Superman was Jesse Eisenberg‘s performance as Lex Luthor.
But Wonder Woman was an absolute delight. A well-told origin story that incorporates a perfect balance of action, humor, and charm, it will keep you captivated and leave you feeling satisfied.