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dir Patty Jenkins
scr Allan Heinberg
prd Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle
with Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, David Thewlis, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Danny Huston, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Florence Kasumba
release UK/US 2.Jun.17
17/UK Warner 2h21
Try to blend in: Pine and Gadot
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This adventure has a refreshing moral clarity that's lacking from most superhero movies. It's the simple assertion that some things are just right, and that it's wrong to do nothing in the face of injustice. But perhaps more importantly for audiences is the fact that this entertaining romp has a hugely engaging hero who easily transcends the requisite climactic digital onslaught.
When WWI American spy Steve (Pine) crashes on a secret island, he discovers the home of the Amazons, ruled by fierce sisters (Nielsen and Wright). And Diana (Gadot) volunteers to return with him to London. There they consult a dismissive politician (Thewlis) before gathering some sidekicks (Taghmaoui and Bremner) and heading to the front to stop a nefarious atrocity that's being planned by German General Ludendorff (Huston) and his chemical weapons expert Maru (Anaya). But Diana's real goal is to find the god Aries and put an end to war once and for all.
Gadot brings a superb sense of curiosity to this woman who is discovering the human world for the first time. And men too. Strong and single-minded, she's easy to root for as she is underestimated by every man she meets, and Gadot nicely combines Diana's optimism and physicality. Opposite her, Pine brings a blast of humour and some lusty interest as a smart guy who knows how to fly by the seat of his pants. The supporting cast is colourful and enjoyably prone to scene-stealing, with the prize going to Anaya for deliciously subtle touches.
Jenkins directs this as a colourful war epic with a ragtag group of misfits heading into the battlefield and surmounting a variety of distracting challenges to complete their mission. This involves big fight sequences, some harrowing nastiness, a moment of quiet celebration and even going undercover to attend a glamorous ball in a German castle. Every scene bursts with energy, including a welcome sense of freewheeling humour.
At least until the unnecessarily destructive digital finale. This huge-scale face-off may please genre fans, but after the fresh tone of what went before it's a surprisingly dark and overly violent sell-out. Up until this point, the focus has been on Diana's quest to stop the fighting, not to indulge in it. And the design of this sequence is so over-the-top that it almost sinks the whole film. Fortunately, Gadot, Pine and company pull it back from the brink just in time to (no spoiler here) save the world. Until next time.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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