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When army pilot Steve Trevor crashes on the warriors’ secluded island paradise, disrupting the fictitious all-female sanctuary of Themyscira created by the Gods of Olympus, Princess Diana of the immortal Amazons aids for his rescue and wins the decisive right to escort him home, heading to an early 20th Century London to stop the war she believes is influenced by the God Ares.

Leaving behind the only life she’s ever known and entering the cynical world of men for the first time, torn between a mission to promote peace and her own warrior upbringing, as a “Wonder Woman,” Diana must fight evil in a “war to end all wars,” while hoping to unlock the potential of a humanity she doesn’t always understand.

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Movie Reviews: “Wonder Woman”

Movie Review: NEW YORKER

That tone of modest and restrained clarity is, above all, what distinguishes “Wonder Woman” from the run of a thudding, drubbing, thrashing action scenes in other, male-centered superhero movies. “Wonder Woman” ’s spare simplicity also renders the underlying framework of its ideas and its principles starkly visible through the surfaces of its action.

It’s a good-humored film (my colleague Anthony Lane calls attention to its genial riffs) that features stirring displays of martial courage, wit, and skill, but, above all, it’s a coherent film, in which Jenkins says what she wants to say with clear but ample and generous means.

The director doesn’t tailor the film tightly to her ideas but lets them fill a wide yet well-defined cinematic field, which is why its coherence also seems unusually warm, humane, and hearty.

That sharpness of purpose is as much a part of the movie’s identity as is the enduring character at its center, and, for that matter, the instantly iconic embodiment of that character by Gadot.

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Movie Review: NEW REPUBLIC

In fact, there is much in Wonder Woman that we have seen before. This new offering from DC Comics takes place during World War I, one of the two great wars of the twentieth century that have become fodder for the Hollywood superhero entertainment complex.

Wonder Woman is supposedly an “Amazon,” a people who, in this universe anyway, dwell on a vaguely Greek island where the steely older babes of Hollywood practice knife-fighting.

After an American (Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine) stumbles upon their timeless haven and causes a beachside conflict between these ancient hotties and Germans with guns, the hottest among them joins him to find and fight the mythical villain who is behind all this destruction.

 

It’s a classic comic book interpretation of history, in which random fragments of the past are patched together to create a hero of perfect ideological specificity.

It’s as if a five-year-old were let loose in the Encyclopedia Britannica then allowed to draw boobs and a heart of gold on his findings. As a result, the plot is both absurd and comfortingly familiar.

Emerging from this mess—a hodgepodge of myth, twentieth-century American propaganda, and sentimentality about the power of love—comes Wonder Woman to save the world.

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Movie Review: Chicago Reader

The original Wonder Woman, created by psychologist William Moulton Marston, espoused what he called “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”

In The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014), author Jill Lepore explains how the character arose from the suffragist and birth control movements of the early 20th century, which in turn were fueled by feminist utopian fiction based on the Amazons of Greek mythology.

Marston conceived of Wonder Woman as a warrior princess from the magically shrouded, all-female Paradise Island, who ventures into the modern world mainly to fight masculine evil, destruction, injustice, and intolerance on behalf of democracy, freedom, and equal rights for women.

 

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