“Wonder Woman” has typically-overblown Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) fights, explosions and over-the-top special effects (too much “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” flying “Wonder Woman” for me), which bloat the film to a butt-numbing approximate 2-1/2 hours. The plot sticks to the DC Comics storyline whereby a World War I (originally, the setting was World War II) airplane pilot crash-lands on a Greek island of Amazons, among them, Diana, aka Wonder Woman.
The saving grace of “Wonder Woman” is the casting of Gal Gadot as the title character. Gadot (“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” 2016; “Fast & Furious” series; Miss Israel in the 2004 Miss Universe pageant, and a veteran of Ttzahal, the Israel Defense Forces) is nothing short of, well, a wonder. Facially, she moves easily from, ahem, wonder, to rage. Her presence is strong. Her stance is vigorous. Her image is indelible. Gadot is compelling. She has a wonderful intensity. Thankfully, she is not overly sexualized. That’s not to say there isn’t chemistry between Gadot as Wonder Woman and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Pine (“Star Trek” series, “Into the Woods,” 2014) has a forthright, playful attitude that alternately meshes and clashes with Gadot. The dialogue is sometimes double entendre.
Wonder Woman fights Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and Sir Patrick (David Thewlis, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” 2004). In supporting roles are Robin Wright (Antiope), Connie Nielsen, (Hippolyta), Saïd Taghmaoui (Sameer), Ewen Bremner (Charlie), Eugene Brave Rock (The Chief), and Elena Anaya (Dr. Maru).
Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” 2003) directs “Wonder Woman,” certain that it needs to be epic in scope, which it is. Jenkins, who studied to be an artist, makes Renaissance-style paintings come to life in slow-motion (an extraordinary sequence of poetic mayhem). The film is three genres in one: contemporary superhero film (Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, works at The Louvre, Paris), sword and sandal melodrama (the beautiful Greek isle of the Amazons), and war movie (detailed and effective World War I battles).
The screenplay by Allan Heinberg (in his theatrical screenplay debut; TV’s “The Catch,” 2017; “Grey’s Anatomy,” 2006-2010) is from a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder (director, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” 2016; director, “Man of Steel,” 2013), and Jason Fuchs (screenplay, “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” 2012) with the Wonder Woman DC Comics character created by William Moulton Marston (1893 - 1947).
Wonder Woman’s abilities are intact: a magic belt gives her incredible strength, a bullet-stopping forearm bracelet, and a magic truth-seeking lasso. The film is a far cry from the “Wonder Woman” TV series (1975-79) starring Lynda Carter as the title character. The film was seen in 3D for this review. Other than a few well-aimed bullets, seeing it in 3D not required.
“Wonder Woman,”MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.) for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content; Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, War; Run Time: 2 hrs., 21 mins.; Distributed by Warner Bros.
Credit Readers Anonymous:“Wonder Woman” was filmed in Italy, France and England.
Box Office,June 9: “Wonder Woman” worked wonders two weeks in a row at No. 1, with a strong $57.1 million, $205 million, two weeks, embalming Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy,” opening with a disappointing $32.2 million. 3. “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” dropped one place, $12.3 million, $44.5 million, two weeks; 4. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” dropped one place, $10.7 million, $135.8 million, three weeks; 5. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” dropped one place, $6.2 million, $366.3 million, six weeks; 6. “It Comes at Night,” $6 million, opening; 7. “Baywatch” dropped two places, $4.6 million, $51.1 million, three weeks; 8. “Megan Leavey,” $3.7 million, opening; 9. “Alien: Covenant” dropped three places, $1.8 million, $71.2 million, four weeks; 10. “Everything, Everything” dropped three places, $1.6 million, $31.7 million, four weeks.
Unreel,June 14:“Cars 3,”G: Brian Fee directs the voice talents of Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, and Nathan Fillion in the Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sport, Animation feature film. Lightning McQueen is back and must prove himself all over again as the best race car in the world.“Rough Night,”Lucia Aniello directs Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, and Demi Moore in the Comedy about a bachelorette party in Miami that goes horribly wrong.“All Eyez on Me,”R: Benny Boom directs Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, and Annie Ilonzeh in the Biography, Music, Drama based on the true story of rapper and actor Tupac Shakur.
Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes