"Wonder Woman" follows the character from her childhood on the secluded island of Themyscira, where she is raised by a tribe of mythical Amazon women including her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and aunt Antiope (Robin Wright).
Gadot, who will reprise Wonder Woman later this year in Justice League, teased big things for that superhero film. How much harm does Wonder Woman do when she strides boldly into war? In a summer where the disappointments are already piling up, this is a movie that makes good on its promise, and then some. She's a cheerleader for strong female leads everywhere, and a colossal breath of fresh air after the noxious misogyny of Suicide Squad. "Wonder Woman" is like nothing that has come before it in how it joyously displays the camaraderie among women, many of whom are women of color and over 40".
Once they do, the action delivers, even if Wonder Woman's high bound leaps suffer from a bit of CGI excess. And it tosses in casual, throwaway anachronisms, a lot of them falling from the lips of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a USA soldier seconded to British intelligence, which is Hollywood's go-to way of getting around the fact that America was late to both World Wars.
It is told in flashback, the viewer first meeting Wonder Woman's alter ego, Diana Prince, in present day, glancing back at a now-familiar decades-old photo of her with Steve and others fighting in the war.
Gadot posted a photo of the image on Instagram earlier this week, writing that at first she thought it was a Photoshop joke. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. The bimonthly series rotates between two stories which revolve around Wonder Woman's connection to her past life in Themyscira and the gods that guide her.
When making the film, Jenkins says she was inspired by Richard Donner's original 1978 Superman with Christopher Reeve, Casablanca and Indiana Jones.
There's been a big gap between when you played Wonder Woman and now - why did it take so long to bring this iconic character to the big screen?More news: Hate speech stabbing suspect has repeated outbursts in court
"It's disgusting", she says flatly.
For starters, the screenplay plays fast and loose with Greek mythology - pretty sure no one else has ever claimed Zeus was an all-around great guy - as well as the more recent history of the Great War, which it uses as a backdrop. Wonder Woman suggests that a new role exists somewhere between the Bond girl and the damaged, bloodthirsty living weapon.
Maybe the perspective offered by Wonder Woman is what it feels like to be a confident, powerful woman.
Pine and Gadot are fantastic as co-stars, matching one another step-for-step in the film's action sequences, romantic moments and comedic conversations.
Wonder Woman, the comic-book epic poised to dominate the box office this weekend, also shatters one of the remaining glass ceilings for women - directing big-budget, Hollywood superhero movies. However, it is directed by Snyder, who continually shows gift for visuals but not storytelling.
Gadot's Diana/Wonder Woman is brilliant but unsophisticated; fearless but sometimes reckless; compassionate yet stubborn; idealistic yet capable of deadly force when there's no other choice; endowed with astounding powers but as yet unsure of how to harness and master all her gifts.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.