It's no secret that the DC Comics movie universe is off to a rocky start. Man of Steel was nothing if not polarizing. Suicide Squad was just OK. Batman V. Superman was a huge letdown. The latter did give us two bright spots. Affleck's Batman and it introduced us to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. There is a lot of pressure on the 75year old character's Amazonian shoulders, but does she deliver. Yes! She delivers on multiple levels.
An island of only women remains hidden from the world. A race of warrior women from the time of Greek mythology prepare for the second coming of Aries, the God of War. The only child on the island, Diana, questions her path and wished nothing more than to be the greatest warrior her people have known. When an American pilot crashes onto her island and leads a squad of pursuing Germans attack her people, Diana's sheltered life changes. Armed with a magic lasso, sword, shield, and armor, she sets out to end the war to end all wars.
The movie gets so many things right. The cast is spot on. Gal really brings Wonder Woman to life. The romance between her and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) doesn't feel forced. We get plenty of comic references and they did what they failed to do with Superman. They wrote a great character. They made us want to be on the journey with Diana. She wasn't dark and brooding. She didn't need to be. They surrounded her with characters that we like. They gave us a simple but effective origin story and it keeps your interest.
The intro to the amazons on Themyscira is a incredible. The scene is gorgeous. We get to know that world and it is sad that we only visit for a short time. We are left with a few unanswered questions, but not enough to bring the film down. The fight on the beach is very well done and sets the tone for the films action sequences.
The overall balance of the film is on point. The story has a great mix of humor, romance, and the action you would expect from a big budget super hero film. The battle on the western front of WW1 is impressive. The trailers don't truly do the scenes justice. They nailed the use of her gauntlets and the magic lasso. The shield will draw Captain America references and while there are similarities to First Avenger, director Patty Jenkins tells a very distinct story.
The use of World War One gives the film a natural conflict with the German army. If I had to pick a flaw with the movie, it might be Danny Houston. He doesn't turn in a bad performance, but he is a little under used. Don't get me wrong, the film has it's fair share of villains. I won't ruin the Ares twist, but it is well done.