“Wonder Woman”

Susan Granger’s review of “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.)

wonder_woman_ver8_xlg-1

According to Fandango, “Wonder Woman” is the summer’s most anticipated movie. It’s the fourth – and best – in DC’s Extended Universe, following “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.”

I grew up reading “Wonder Woman” comics and watched TV’s kitschy Lynda Carter, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting Princess Diana’s standalone superhero movie. Now she’s here!

On Themyscira, a secret island gifted to the Amazons by Zeus, defiant Diana (Gal Gadot), daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), has been trained as a warrior by her aunt, badass General Antiope (Robin Wright), to battle Ares, the God of War.

During the First World War in 1918, American pilot Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) plane is shot down near idyllic Themyscira. Rescuing him, Diana gets her first glimpse of a man.

Bound by the Lasso of Truth, Steve confesses he’s on a spy mission to thwart maniacal Gen. Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his ‘poisoner,’ Dr. Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya), from waging chemical warfare.

Exuding both force and compassion, Diana sails off with charming Steve to London, where his dependable secretary, Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), helps outfit her to blend in with the populace.

With support from Britain’s Sir Patrick (David Thewlis), they travel to war-torn Belgium to broker an armistice, accompanied by three cronies: multilingual Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), former sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock).

Created in 1941 as a feminist icon by William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman’s origin story is scripted by Allan Heinberg (DC’s “Wonder Woman” comic-book writer, 2006-7) with Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs.

Adroitly directed by Patty Jenkins (“Monster”), it has humor and heart, along with awesome action – thanks to Matthew Jensen’s cinematography, Damon Caro’s stunts and Bill Westenhofer’s VFX.

My only quibble: Gal Gadot can’t act. She’s strong & sexy, statuesque & stunning. Physically perfect! But her expressionless line readings are rote. Perhaps that’s not too important in a comic-book movie.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Wonder Woman” is an entertaining, empowering 9 – with no post-credit scenes.

09