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Innocence Lost: 'Wonder Woman' is a fantastic origins tale

GAL GADOT as Diana in the action adventure "WONDER WOMAN," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Wonder Woman
4 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Patty Jenkins
Writers: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs, William Moulton Marston
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright
Genre: Drama, Action, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content

Synopsis: The origins of Wonder Woman, Princess Diana of the Amazons, and her introduction to mankind and its insatiable appetite for destruction.

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Review: My feathers weren’t nearly as ruffled with “Man of Steel” or “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as some were. I understand the complaints; we’ve come to see Superman in a certain light and to burden him with a sense of doubt and a hefty amount of anger was too much for many fans. I thought it was a bold and interesting choice. It might not have been the right decision, but it was brave nonetheless.

“Suicide Squad” was a disaster. The box office numbers suggest otherwise, but what should have been a wild and enjoyable ride was transformed into an incoherent bore in the hands of writer/director David Ayer.

To say that the fate of the DC Cinematic Universe was resting in the hands of Wonder Woman might be taking things a little too far, but there’s no question that the pressure was on and that DC and Warner Bros. desperately wanted to hit the mark with critics, fans and doubters alike.

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Early trailers had me worried, particularly when it came to the tone of the film, but I’m pleased to report “Wonder Woman” is quite good. I’m not enamored with the way the film is framed and there are details in the final act that I would have tinkered with a bit, but I feel comfortable saying that this is the best DC Comics film since Christian Bale took off Batman’s cowl.

If I wanted to be overly critical I could complain that the film gives audiences pretty much exactly what they’d expect from a Wonder Woman film. No real risks, just sticking to the basic origin facts. Not that we’ve ever had a live-action Wonder Woman film before, which sort of renders the criticism as a moot point.

In fact, part of the thrill of “Wonder Woman” is that we’re finally seeing a film that is focused on a female superhero. Sure, we’ve had a few female characters in supporting roles and you can point to “Catwoman” and “Elektra” as early examples of female-led superhero movies, but none of them have been this good, this adventurous or this satisfying.

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What makes the film work for me is that it is character driven. The emphasis is always on Diana and her introduction to the world outside of her island home. There’s plenty of action, but the majority of these set pieces highlight change or growth within the character.

“Wonder Woman” is the film DC desperately needed. It’s fun, smart and different enough to stand apart from the rest of the superhero pack.


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