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With: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya, Lilly Aspell, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Ann J. Wolfe, Ann Ogbomo
Written by: Allan Heinberg, based on a story by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs, and on a character created by William Moulton Marston
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content
Running Time: 141
Date: 06/02/2017

Wonder Woman (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Amazon Prime

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The boys behind the DC movies finally allowed a girl director into their club, and, much like a superhero herself, Patty Jenkins has shown them how it's really done.

Jenkins's Wonder Woman is a heroic piece of work, and it puts to shame the other DC Extended Universe movies, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad.

Whereas those movies attempted to be "edgy" and simply ended up sludgy — not to mention gray, lifeless, and humorless — Wonder Woman is a thing of hope and beauty; it'll give you a lump in your throat and make you want to cheer.

Director Jenkins may be vaguely familiar to movie fans as the woman who directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar in Monster (2003). Jenkins has not made a theatrical film since then, and so this resurrection is doubly satisfying.

Gal Gadot plays the title character, introduced as a distant third banana in Batman v. Superman. In the present day, she examines a century-old photo of herself, and flashes back to her story.

She was born Diana on Paradise Island, among the amazons, the daughter of the queen (Connie Nielsen). Young Diana watches the women warriors train — with no man around to tell them they can't — and she wishes to do the same. Her mother objects, but her aunt (Robin Wright) secretly agrees.

Years later, a dashing, roguish World War One pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands on the island, alerting Diana to the vast troubles in the real world. Following her destiny to vanquish the God of War, Aries, she joins Steve in the real world to do just that.

Steve, meanwhile, has a smaller mission; he joins with his international band of misfits — Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, and Eugene Brave Rock — to stop a German general (Danny Huston) and an evil chemist (Elena Anaya) from poisoning the world with a deadly new gas.

Diana sees the humans with genuine wonder and empathy, wishing to help and ease suffering everywhere. She understands that, despite everything, each person is beautiful. It's a simple, brave message that seems needed at this moment.

In her performance, Gadot captures what Christopher Reeve's Superman and Chris Evans's Captain America had: a special kind of humble displacement and appealing innocence.

At the same time, she full of flash and dazzle, and flat-out amazing. Her action sequences are choreographed gorgeously, fluidly, designed to be clearly seen and enjoyed, like a badass ballet.

This fall, the boys are back with a new Justice League movie, but for now, DC is sitting pretty with Wonder Woman.

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