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Movie Night – ‘Wonder Woman’ shows what superhero movie should be

By Bradley Griffith

The long-awaited and much-anticipated arrival of the first movie dedicated to a female superhero has finally arrived, and it was worth the wait. While the character of Wonder Woman made her theatrical debut with a supporting role in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” it’s in “Wonder Woman” where we see what a wonder she truly is.

Diana, aka Wonder Woman, (Gal Gadot) was born on the mythical and hidden island of Themyscira. The only inhabitants of the island are a race of female warriors known as Amazons. The Amazons were created by Zeus and exist to protect humankind from Ares, the Greek God of War. Diana’s mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielson), is the queen of the Amazons.

Diana enlists the help of Antiope (Robin Wright), the greatest warrior in the history of the Amazons, to train her as a warrior.  Antiope pushes Diana harder, makes her work longer, and holds her to a higher standard than any other warrior to come before her.  Antiope knows what Diana does not, that one day Diana will be called upon to save the entire human race.

That day soon approaches when an airplane crashes into the sea near the island’s coast. Diana pulls the pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), from the ocean before he drowns. But he is not alone. The German soldiers chasing him soon make their way to the beach and to a fight that they cannot win against the Amazons.

Steve later tells Diana his story. He is an American on loan to the British and acting as a spy. He had infiltrated the German command to gain intelligence to defeat the Germans in World War I. Diana understands very little of his tale, she has never been off the island and has never seen a man before. What she does understand is that the fate of the entire world rests on the outcome of the war to end all wars. She believes that Ares is on the side of the Germans and she is determined to destroy him.  Diana helps Steve escape the island and accompanies him toward her destiny.

“Wonder Woman” is what a superhero movie should be. There are no conflicted emotions or anti-heroes here, Diana represents all that is good and right with the world.  “Wonder Woman” is a great role model for young girls. She is strong and fierce, yet kind and compassionate. She declares that she must fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, which should be the motto of every superhero. While “Wonder Woman” is an action movie, the film focuses on the integrity of the characters as much as it does on action.

Speaking of superhero action, you won’t find any better action scenes in any superhero movie than those in “Wonder Woman.” The choreography of the fight scenes was expertly plotted and perfectly executed. The final act of the movie is all about action, and the special effects are great.

Any lingering questions about whether Gall Gadot was the right woman for the role of Wonder Woman have been completely put to rest. She was brilliant. She was born to play Wonder Woman and will hopefully do so for many years. She also had great chemistry with Chris Pine as the two made their way through the story. Their banter back and forth provided much needed laughter for a DC comics movie.

While, like all DC comics movies, there are bleak and dark scenes, “Wonder Woman” is more about hope and goodness. “Wonder Woman” is the wildly rare action movie that doesn’t include action for the sake of action. The action is actually necessary to further the plot. It’s a refreshing change for the genre.

“Wonder Woman” has the distinction of having the highest opening weekend at the box office for a movie directed by a woman.  But it’s much more than that.  “Wonder Woman” is a movie the entire family can enjoy.

Grade: A

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action and some suggestive content.