Wonder Woman

Rated 4.0

The DC Universe gets the blast of fun it sorely needed with a film that gets it right on almost every front, and features a performance from Gal Gadot that makes it seem the role was her birthright. Gadot lights up the screen and commands the camera on a level with Christopher Reeve and Robert Downey, Jr., in past films of the superhero genre. She simply is Wonder Woman to the extent that I can’t picture another actress ever even attempting to play the character again. She owns it. It’s hers. Game over. There’s always that faction of fans who bitch about superhero origin stories, wanting these films to jump straight to the hardcore action, but I love a good superhero origin story done well, and this is one of them. The movie starts with young Amazonian princess Diana running around in her island paradise, practicing her fight moves and yearning to be trained as a warrior. After butting heads with her sister Antiope (Robin Wright, rightfully cast as an Amazonian badass), Diana’s mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen, yet another piece of great casting) relents, and allows Antiope to train Diana, as long as she doesn’t tell her about the true powers she possesses. For those who don’t know the Wonder Woman back story—I was a little rusty on it myself—it’s a sweet little piece of mythology and mystery, and director Patty Jenkins (the Charlize Theron Oscar vehicle Monster) perfectly paces all the revelations. Gadot has the best superhero smile since Reeve flashed his pearly whites in the original Superman (1978). When Reeve smiled, he just drove home the fact that he was Superman for the two hours you were watching him, that being the sweetest, best darned guy running around on planet Earth. (You know, back when Superman was generally happy rather than moping about.) Gadot has that same kind of smile superpower. It says a lot that Gadot and Jenkins make you feel good in a movie that has its share of violence and villainy in it.