They did it! After years of anticipation and stalling, WONDER WOMAN has hit theaters and I’m happy to say it’s not only good, it is dare I say, wonderful. The story of how Princess Diana of Theymiscira (Gal Gadot) becomes WONDER WOMAN is a great movie for reasons I will explain below. But first…

Warning: Minor Spoilers…but nothing that will ruin the movie.

First and foremost, you can see Wonder Woman without having seen the other movies in the DCEU. Director, Patty Jenkins is clearly influenced by Superman: The Movie, Spider-Man, and Captain America: The First Avenger and it makes Wonder Woman all the better. Which brings me to my starting point. Director, Patty Jenkins.

Patty Jenkins is a general. She put all the pieces into place and brought them to a solid whole. She didn’t set out to make the next chapter of the DCEU, she set out to make an iconic film for an icon and she succeeded. She also knew she was making a superhero movie and chose to structure the film like the best; Superman, Batman Begins, The Little Mermaid, Captain America: The First Avenger and Spider-Man. There are clear homages to these films (you’ll know them when you see them) yet she twists them into something unique. There are two areas I want to highlight as examples of her directing.

First, is her use of color. The DCEU has a specific palette. The films all look the same. Patty breaks this while at the same time maintaining it. The scenes of Diana (Gal Gadot) on Themyscira are beautiful, lots of waterfalls and color. It is paradise. Then Diana leaves and we are introduced to a dark, doer, war-torn Europe. It’s a reversal of The Wizard of Oz and it works. We see what Diana lost and why her people left “man’s world.”

Next, there is her staging of the quiet moments. A scene I always wanted to see in a Wonder Woman movie, is where Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) dances with Diana. Thankfully, not only is it in this film, it is pulled off flawlessly. To me this scene is the heart of the movie. It’s like Superman’s date with Lois Lane or Spider-Man’s upside down kiss with Mary Jane, it’s a scene where we see the characters as people and brings humanity to the story.

It helps that Patty Jenkins had Allan Heinberg as her screenwriter. Allan is not only a fan of Wonder Woman, he wrote the comics too. And his characterization of Diana is inspired by what many consider to be the best take on Wonder Woman, the run by writer/artist, George Perez. The portrayal of Diana as both a badass and sheltered explorer came from his run and made the movie and character stronger. Which brings me to Wonder Woman herself…

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, both in real life and on screen. She’s Ms. Israel and served in the Israeli Defense Force. A beauty queen that can kick your ass, that’s Wonder Woman. Gal nails every aspect of  what makes Wonder Woman special. She is able to switch from curious daughter to tank smashing badass flawlessly. But, this is not the strength of her performance.

Gal Gadot’s strength is how she portrays, “wonder.”  Diana is sheltered. She grew up on an island populated entirely by women and was the only one to go from child to adult. Like Ariel, she was protected from the harshness of the real world. This is a recipe for making a character look like a fool, Gal Gadot does not let that happen. Gal portrays Diana as naïve but not foolish, which is very hard to do. She does so by expressing joy at little things like seeing a baby and tasting her first ice cream. Gal Gadot makes sure little moments have big meaning in terms of character development. And then there is the way she cuts through bureaucratic BS when she meets British High Command. Like Christopher Reeve and Hugh Jackman, Gal Gadot makes you believe in Diana.

I’d be remiss, if I didn’t mention Chris Pine’s portrayal of Steve Trevor. Steve is the catalyst for Diana’s journey, and Chris’ chemistry with Gal is off the scale. It’s a lot of fun to watch, especially when Steve has to confront his “feelings” for Diana. It’s fun and has purity to it. There is clear sexual tension but its done in a way that kids can enjoy it while parents understand the subtext.

Another highlight is Steve’s “Howling Commandos.” It is a fun, quirky group of international individuals that are both funny and noble. They support Diana and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, and Diana sees this in them and appreciates them. They embody J.R.R. Tolkien’s idea of comradeship. I want more of them.

Robin Wright Penn breaks out of her mold with her portrayal of General Antiope. She trains Diana and is a fighter that takes no prisoners. It’s a side of Ms. Wright I haven’t seen and I like it.  A far cry from Princess Buttercup but a pleasant one.

I could on forever about how good this movie is. I could point out the positive buzz it’s receiving or how it has a 4.11 out of 5 on Fandango’s anticipation scale, a 90% + rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but may not translate into butts in seats.

I wrote an article about how I want Wonder Woman to have a $100million opening weekend. I can honestly say it DESERVES a $100million opening weekend. (I want it to do better than Man of Steel) This movie is good and if you want more like it, you have to support it with your dollars (because that’s the only language execs know). This isn’t Catwoman or Elektra or Batman vs. Superman, Man of Steel, and Suicide Squad. This is a solid, well made, well acted, and joy filled movie that deserves your support.

I have a ticket for opening night and I plan to take my Mom after that. And you should too. Bring, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Grandma…bring the whole family. Bring your class if you’re a teacher. Go to one of Alamo Drafthouse’s “Women Only” screenings. Enjoy this movie because it’s made to be enjoyed, not brooded upon. Purchase tickets here. If you want good female superhero movies, I suggest you get a ticket sooner, rather than later. Diana’s conquered the critics, it’s time for her to conquer the box office.

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