This is a colossally entertaining film with a social significance that makes it special.
Set aside the criticism from some critics that Director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman has received concerning its ending. This is a special film that should not be missed.
Gal Godot is astounding in her role as Diana/Wonder Woman. The film begins when she receives a picture at her job at the Louvre which shows a group photo of her and her team during World War I. She puts it down and begins to reflect on her past, which begins as a child on a beautiful unknown Mediterranean island.
She was the daughter of Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the Queen of the Amazons. As she grows, she defies her mother’s instructions and learns the Amazon traditions in combat from her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright). When a plane crashes offshore, she rescues the pilot, Steve Trevor, played with warmth and spirit by Chris Pine. This is the first man she has ever encountered, and she becomes completely captivated, particularly after seeing him emerge naked from a small tub.
Part of the Amazon tradition lies with their devotion to Greek mythology. While they worship Zeus, they all fear and detest Aries, the God of War. He is thought to be loose somewhere in the world and Diana concludes that he is responsible for the violence embraced by a hoard of German invaders who seek to capture and kill Mr. Trevor.
Against the wishes of her mother, she agrees to escort Trevor back to London. While he hopes to play a role in bringing an end to the carnage brought by World War I, the war to end all wars, she seeks to hunt down Aries so that mankind can again follow their instincts and live in peace.
Though Diana and Trevor have different goals, it matters not as they join Allied troops locked in the horror of trench warfare. In the process, our two heroes gradually fall in love, although Diana doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.
The special effects and sound track are both marvelous and endearing. On top of that, there are some wonderful supporting performances by a variety of actors. Danny Huston, the son of the late, great director John Huston, and Elena Anaya command your attention as German General Ludendorff and Ms. Maru, a German physicist dedicated to developing a gas that will kill all opponents.
You will embrace Diana and Steve’s three sidekicks, a sharpshooter (Ewen Bremner), a native American scout (Eugene Brave Rock) and a Middle Eastern Jack of all trades played sardonically by Said Taghmaoui. Add to that a very funny performance by Lucy Davis as Steve’s English assistant and David Thewlis as an English government official with a hidden agenda and you end up with a film that should rocket to Oscar consideration at the end of this year.
But it is the relationship of Ms. Godot and Mr. Pine that makes this movie a film to remember. While Ms. Godot’s Wonder Woman is spectacular in combat, she is funny beyond words as she struggles to find appropriate clothing when first visiting England. She strongly believes that mankind’s pursuit of war comes only from the manipulation of Aries, and her only goal is to find and eliminate him.
As for Mr. Pine, he in many ways is a mondern day Clark Gable. While known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series, you can’t overlook his hysterical performance as Cinderella’s prince in the engaging Into the Woods (2014) and his heartbreaking role as a bank robbing brother in last year’s Oscar nominated Hell or High Water. Here, while he recognizes that Wonder Woman fails to grasp the nature of the human condition, their disagreements bond them together in a common goal.
What makes this movie so remarkable is the role of a woman as the star of a Marvel-based film. Hollywood is gradually cracking through its historical discrimination against women, and if you doubt it, watch Katherine Waterston in both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ((2016) and the recent Alien: Covenant as well as Sofia Boutella in Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), her devastatingly powerful performance as the alien Jayla in the recent Star Trek Beyond (2016) and in both upcoming films, Atomic Blonde and The Mummy.
In addition, this film wrestles with a dark theme largely avoided in more serious releases. What causes men to develop into vengeful terrorists when they were all raised as loving children? Are humans directed by a devilish force or are we all flawed in fundamental ways that need to be addressed?
This film reaches a shattering apex when Steve must risk giving up his life to save fellow human beings from destruction. As for Wonder Woman, she gradually learns that the human race will always need her help. This is a film with a soul that transcends entertainment.