By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic

Las Vegas Informer

No matter how the “fairy tale” really happened, some unknown named Gal Gadot was chosen for instant stardom. And she deserves it! Patty Jenkins of the great film MONSTER was finally released from Hollywood jail.

The October 12, 2016 issue of Entertainment Weekly chose Wonder Woman as it’s No. 1 superhero. (The continued curse of BATMAN V. SUPERMAN.)  Being the first female superhero to have her own stand-alone feature, the rumors started early that the film was a “a discombobulated mess.”

On an episode of the Schmoes Know podcast, a contributor named Sasha (apparently or supposedly a DC insider) talked about Wonder Woman and mentioned what she heard from a DC source. She also made it clear that she and the source were huge DC fans: “I’m very disappointed in what I saw, and it seems like all the problems are the same problems. It’s discombobulated, it doesn’t have narrative flow. It’s just very disjointed.”

Well Sasha, “someone” fixed the mess. Its the best DC superhero movie since, well, Christopher Nolan decided he wanted Christian Bale to be his Batman.

Can we ever forget/forgive the epic battle between Batman and Superman that ended when they both realized their moms had the same first name and they had the same birthday and both loved vanilla ice-cream?

We all would have loved more of Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s homeland where she is Princess Diana. The women-only island is ruled by Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). Themyscira was nearly destroyed by war so the only logical thing to do was to ban men and create a race of warrior women – just in case men were interested in trying to conquer Themyscira again.

Imagine the bloodshed and festivities when the Themyscira women went sperm hunting.

Queen Hippolyta does not want Diana to become a warrior but a stay-at-home royal with charities and visits to hospitals. But Diana is not interested in waiting for her mother to die and becoming queen. She wants to be a warrior and is secretly trained by her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright). Nielsen and Wright are absolutely terrific.

These two were meant to be lovers not sisters.

Diana is told she was sculpted from clay by her mother. She has divine superpowers and has sworn to defend the world against it’s sworn enemy, Ares, the God of War. To add to her divine gifts of flying and slow-mo twists in the air, Diana has indestructible bracelets, the Lasso of Truth, and a projectile tiara, crafted from an aborigine boomerang that was washed up on shore long ago.

When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy working for British Intelligence during this First World War, crashes his plane on Themyscira, Diana sees a man for the first time.  She is intrigued. She knows all about men from her book study, but is fascinated to have a live one for a pet – until they kiss.

Steve tells her about the great war and Diana immediately understands that the agent behind the war is really arch-nemesis Ares.

With the reluctant permission of the Queen, Diana heads to London with Steve to find the mastermind behind the enemy’s use of chemical weapons. The mad chemist, Isabel Maru – also known as Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) – regrettably doesn’t have a really cool costume to detract from her half-face mask. Isabel needs a makeover to become a proper villainess. Isabel, like amateur bomb and meth makers, has visual profit of her trial experiments.

Supporting Diana and Steve’s mission is a British politician, Sir Patrick (David Thewlis). Steve calls upon a diverse set of mercenaries to tag along: Charlie (Ewen Bremner) a skilled marksman;  Sameer (Said Taghmaoui) a Moroccan spy; and The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) a Native American black market adventurer.

Running the war’s day-to-day drudge work is German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston).

Diana, still dressing as a warrior princess, is amazed at how ugly London is. Where are the trees, the birds, the high cliffs to dive off of?

The expectable battle between Wonder Woman and Ares is too long by 30 minutes. Wonder Woman gets thrashed around and has a train thrown on top of her. She emerges without a scratch or a limp!

The absolute sure success of WONDER WOMAN can be rightly placed on Gadot, who has overwhelming charm and gives Diana an earnest belief in her mission to rid the earth of Ares.

Diana/Wonder Woman’s zealotry makes WONDER WOMAN stand alone among other superheroes. Gadot’s sincere naivety holds the whole movie together.

Vanity Fair had an article on Gadot’s trainer Mark Twight, who had to not only re-make the “supermodel-skinny five-foot-ten-inch” Gadot into Wonder Woman, but he had to work with her Miss Israel “starved to perfection” body image.  Its not easy being five-foot-ten-inches and 110 pounds. It takes determination and a strong will not easily broken. That took, what Twight calls “psychological re-mapping.” Gadot put on 14 pounds of muscle and, for a woman in the beauty business, must have been tougher than the daily six hours of intense training.

Gadot and Pine have strong chemistry and it is evident that Pine is a better actor – more comfortable – when he is not burdened with carrying a movie. He’s actually sexy in WONDER WOMAN.

No matter how rough the filming might have been, now all is forgiven and praise goes to director Patty Jenkins, who hasn’t been in the spotlight since the terrific MONSTER (released in 2003).

Jenkins was courted by Marvel to direct THOR: THE DARK WORLD but left after only two months due to “creative differences”. Thor needs a female director to bring some lust into that magnificent creature. Isn’t Thor’s hammer is a Freudian metaphor? (Its Norse mythology and has nothing to do with sexual prowess – but a female director may see it differently. I know I do.)

Victoria Alexander

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com. 

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