When she was first sketched on a blank page, it was 1940, the dark days of the Second World War. A year later she made her first appearance in All Star Comics. Little boys liked her because she was strong—and half-naked. Little girls liked her because she was pretty.
31 years later, in 1972, she graduated to a televised audience when she appeared as a guest in an episode of the ABC animated TV series, “The Brady Kids.” That guest appearance led to a 13-year stint on every incarnation of the network’s hit Saturday morning cartoon series, “Super Friends.” Next, she starred in her own self-titled television film in 1974 (played by a very blonde Cathy Lee Crosby). Then, in 1975, she scored a live-action television series, when a young and brunette Lynda Carter dawned the role to commercially widespread, but ultimately short-lived, reception and success. The series ended in 1979.
She hung around in the eighties but didn’t make much noise in the decade. Fast-forward to the 21st century, she returned to prominence in Cartoon Network’s critically acclaimed series, “Justice League” (2001-2004) and “Justice League Unlimited” (2004-2006). After that, she bounced around in the DC Animated Universe for quite a while…
But now, in 2017, she’s back and it’s her finest incarnation we have ever seen. “Wonder Woman,” based on the long-running and iconic comic book series of the same name, is one of the best cinematic choices you will make this year. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as the titular character, “Wonder Women” is wildly entertaining and equally satisfying to the eye. Allan Heinberg’s screenplay drags for much of the first act, but once it hits the latter half of the second and early portion of the third, it increases to mach-3 levels.
And it must be said: Robin Wright as the Amazon general Antiope is pure gold in this movie. Wright embodied this character so well you forget she is Claire Underwood, the cold and sexy female lead on the Emmy-winning Netflix web series, “House of Cards.” As a matter of fact, all the actors who played Amazons in this film were awesome, including Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, it was nice to see her on the big screen again. Also, Chris Pine deserves some mention here, too, as the male lead and the person who, literally, crashes into the Amazons’ lives at the beginning of the film. Pine does a convincing job as WWII soldier Captain Steve Trevor—DC’s unenhanced answer to Marvel’s enhanced Captain America—as his naturally chauvinistic, preconceived bias of gender roles are put to the test when he meets Diana and the rest of the Amazons. What is great, though, is that Pine delivers a performance that is neither overly overdone or equally so on the opposite side of that. Instead, he gives a performance that is just about right for the size and scope of his role, as written by Heinberg, and he does it with a smile and a prayer, and it works.
But now I turn my attention to the she who is the reason for this entire review: Gal Gadot. Before this, the Israeli actress was a relative unknown with only minor success in the “Fast and Furious” film series. She was even considering quitting the acting business around the time Zack Snyder called her about the playing the role. I must admit when I first heard Gadot landed the part, I was not impressed. The chauvinism within me quickly came to light as I caught myself thinking, “Yea but her boobs are too small” and “her butt isn’t big enough.” I pictured someone like Alexandria Daddario or someone else who met the above criteria. This is what happens when you view countless images of Wonder Woman’s scantily clad and aggressive cleavage, as drawn by male artists almost exclusively, but I digress. “Wonder Woman” is a love letter from women to women, and Gal Gadot absolutely does the character justice with her charming ‘fish out of water’ persona meshed with her war-cry, demigoddess-like action scenes. Like the character’s origin being molded out of clay, this movie, too, is molded out, and in the image, of pro-feminism and gender equality, and admirably so.
“Wonder Woman” is the inaugural film of what looks to be the first superheroine trilogy and is the third of the DC Extended Universe. With over $450M at the box office worldwide and still growing and a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes, “Wonder Woman” has supplanted itself as the top blockbuster of the year—so far. The commercial and critical success of “Wonder Woman” aside, though, I think this film serves as the global war drum and marching order for all women—young and old— everywhere. And it should, because if the Wonder Woman character could persist for 45 years until she powered her way to the top, then real women certainly can as well.