Israel’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Slays on the Silver Screen
Israeli actress Gal Gadot has the looks of a goddess. But in order to fill the shoes of a superhero, you need more tricks up your sleeve — or, in this case, bracelets that can stop bullets. Gadot has plenty of tricks, from the physicality in fight scenes — where she swings a sword and kicks the stuffing out of her foes — to the comedic scenes, where she shows verve and versatility.
“Wonder Woman” is clearly Gadot’s vehicle to show that she is a star, and the witty, impactful script by Allan Heinberg makes this a polished product. Some recent comic-book movies have gone too dark, with humorless dialogue and action scenes so bogged down with a flurry of projectiles and explosions, that they became a misguided mishmash.
This movie is the exception.
Wonder Woman, whose alter ego is Diana Prince, saves a pilot whose plane crashes. He tells her about World War I, and she believes that she can stop it. The pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), assures her that he is “above average.”
Pine is a fine pairing for Gadot, because he has innocence, an intrinsic chivalry and an ability to partake in witty banter to boot. The result is a palpable chemistry between the duo.
The story picks up as the Germans are chasing Steve. The Amazon women, including Wonder Woman, do battle against the German soldiers, and then use a weapon called the Lasso of Truth so that Steve will tell them who he really is. They aren’t sure if they can trust him, but Diana does.
Steve needs to stop the evil General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and a deranged chemist named Dr. Maru (played by Elena Anaya, with a mask covering her partly disfigured face). She’s trying to come up with a hydrogen-based gas that will help Germany win the war — but she has to work fast, as an armistice is about to be signed.
The sidekicks get just the right amount of screen-time. Sameer (Said Taghmaoui) is a fast-talker, Charlie (Ewen Brenner) is a sharpshooter who gets drunk a lot, and Eugene Brave Rock is a Native American known as “The Chief.” We get our social commentary when Sameer, who is dark-sinned, says that he wanted to be an actor, but was the wrong color. And Diana is lambasted for entering a room of only men. How dare she?
Of course there is a betrayal of someone they trust, and good must triumph over evil. Still, the movie is nearly perfect. On the negative side, the villains could be a little tougher, and Steve and Diana’s love scene is cut short — presumably to keep it PG-13.
Robin Wright, whom you can see as Claire Underwood on “House of Cards,” is wonderful as Antiope, who trains Diana to fight, against her mother’s wishes. And David Thewlis hits the right notes as a distinguished British leader, Sir Patrick.
While watching the movie, you’ll be reminded of the Indiana Jones series and “Star Wars” — and you’ll wish that you knew how to ride a horse or use a shield. Director Patty Jenkins pushes all the right buttons. Gadot can now be anointed as an A-lister, and this “Wonder Woman” gets an “A.”