A superhero movie with the woman in charge? Wonders never cease!
K A-POW! She made her first appearance in a DC comic 76 years ago, then she twirled around in star-spangled hotpants during a 1970s television series. However, it has taken until now for this she- crusader to finally star in her own film.
Wonder Woman opens this week, with Israeli actress Gal Gadot starring as a rebooted Diana Prince, the warrior who battles evil forces armed only with her god-killer sword, her magic metal cuffs and some really great lipstick shades.
This Diana is long of thigh and short of skirt, as tradition demands, while under her swelling C-cup breastplate, there lurks a heart formed of goodness and gold – for Wonder Woman 2017-style is still a girl who knows where her duty lies.
‘If no one else will defend the world’, she cries early on, ‘then I must!’ About time, too. Of the 55 comic-book films produced by Hollywood in the last decade, none have been centred on a solo female character.
It has been four decades since Lynda Carter starred as Diana in the TV adaptation of the comic book character’s tale.
She is back, and once more the future of justice begins with her – which is what nobody said about Labour’s Diane Abbott, ever.
So is the new Wonder Woman the ultra superheroine feminists have been waiting and longing for? Actually, she is pretty darned marvellous.
Gadot’s Diana looks like a young Angelina Jolie who has grown strong on pasta and cream and knows how to twirl her Lasso of Truth – yes, she’s still got it, in more ways than one.
Diana is not just strong and kickass, she is also kind, warm and not prepared to accept the death of civilians and soldiers as collateral damage – like the pesky men do.
She is also no slouch in the combat department. There are bonesplintering scenes when Wonder Woman smashes men to bits, absolutely pulverising them to manrubble in that comic-book way – and I have to admit, my heart soared. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.
Her mythic backstory has little changed. Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta, comes from a tribe of Amazons who live on a man-free island that looks a bit like Capri, only with fewer prosecco bars. ‘My mother sculpted me from clay and I was brought to life by Zeus,’ Diana explains, displaying an unsure grasp of biology, even though she can speak 100 languages. She’s got an aunt in the army called Antiope (Robin Wright, lovely scars) who teaches her how to fight and shoot three arrows at once.
Soon, Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) arrives on the island, a handsome spy who so typifies the all-American, square-jawed hero that he looks as if he might have padded up with a couple of boiled eagle eggs in each cheek.
‘Wow’, he says, when he first looks at Diana, and we all know it won’t be too long before they are making Malteser eyes at each other and having superhero, eveof-battle sex. Discreetly of course.
is the Clark Kent/Lois Lane relationship at the heart of the film – with the twist being that he is the secondary Lois character, forever at her mercy, smitten by her charm, run- ning at her heels. Together, they leave to fight the War to End All Wars and with 25million dead in over 27 countries, it’s a big ask.
They visit ‘ jolly old London’ which she thinks is ‘hideous’, but she needs to get kitted out in proper clothes – but what’s this? High heels she can’t run in, dresses that constrict?
Wonder Woman wonders if corsets are armour and is puzzled when their purpose is explained.
‘Why do women have to hold in their stomachs?’ she wonders.
‘Only someone without a stomach would ask that,’ says Steve’s secretary Etta (Lucy Davis, who is hilarious).
It’s all preposterous nonsense of course, but good fun and a big summer hit – if a little too dark for younger children. And it is interesting that a film which tries so hard to address gender balance relies so heavily on clumsy stereotypes elsewhere; the baddies are still the Germans (plus Turks), the Scotsman is a drunk, the Italian a flirt and so on. The British generals just bumble around being luxuriantly-moustachioed cowards, waiting for an impetuous American hero in a flying jacket to save the day.
In the end, Wonder Woman has a message – and a warning – for all womankind.
The first is that only love can save the world. The second is to be careful in the World of Men, for they do not deserve you.
Tell us something we don’t know, girlfriend.
‘Strong and kickass’: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
ON THE FEMALE-FRIENDLY COMIC-BOOK BLOCKBUSTER Wonder Woman ★★★✩✩