WON­DER WOMAN

Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN - HE­LEN O’HARA

THE MUDDY BAT­TLE­FIELDS of World War I are no place for a su­per­hero. They of­fer no hiss­ably evil Nazis to stand against, no truth and jus­tice to de­fend: just a re­lent­less, morally murky strug­gle for sur­vival. Yet those khaki plains are the set­ting for the first solo out­ing of Gal Gadot’s Won­der Woman, aka Diana Prince, as di­rec­tor Patty Jenk­ins takes the iconic hero­ine from the shel­tered, all-fe­male is­land of The­myscira into the mud and blood of Flan­ders.

“My ap­proach was to fo­cus on telling the story of mech­a­nised war and how that would look to a god vis­it­ing our world for the first time,” ex­plains Jenk­ins, “[I wanted the au­di­ence] to un­der­stand the hor­rors that a war of this scale makes pos­si­ble, and how shock­ing that would be to some­one who comes with a strong sense of hon­our and jus­tice. She doesn’t re­alise yet just how sense­lessly dark the world can be.” If you’re go­ing to give a re­al­ity check to a young woman who has spent her life dream­ing of be­com­ing a war­rior, they don’t come much more thor­ough than the War To End All Wars. Af­ter her fully formed ap­pear­ance in Bat­man

v Su­per­man: Dawn Of Jus­tice, in which she briefly joined forces with Bruce Wayne and Kal-el, this is very much a Won­der Woman ori­gin story. It will give Gadot a chance to demon­strate why she’s the per­fect per­son to play a Prince among men. “She is ev­ery­thing Diana is,” en­thuses Jenk­ins. “Good, kind, strong, ad­mirable, funny, fun, beau­ti­ful and in­no­cent, yet wise. She em­anates the mes­sage of this movie be­cause it comes so nat­u­rally to her.”

Won­der Woman will be aided by Chris Pine’s Al­lied sol­dier Steve Trevor, whose plane crashes in The­myscira as he tries to de­liver vi­tal in­for­ma­tion to Al­lied com­mand. Their mis­sion: to save lives and stop a mad­man in­tent on mag­ni­fy­ing the slaugh­ter. It’s not — like it might be for Cap­tain Amer­ica or even Su­per­man — about de­feat­ing the Cen­tral Pow­ers, but about pro­tect­ing as many lives as pos­si­ble.

Still, the scale of the car­nage comes as a blow to the ide­al­is­tic new­comer. “She’s vul­ner­a­ble be­cause of how deeply she cares,” says Jenk­ins. “What mo­ti­vates her is philo­soph­i­cal. She isn’t just tak­ing out bad guys or fight­ing crime. She be­lieves in good­ness and love. [She] is fierce and will­ing to fight, but only to pro­tect a bet­ter vi­sion for mankind. Hers is re­ally a com­ing-of-age

story.” Even as she learns about hu­man­ity’s ca­pac­ity for evil, it’s a fair bet that her pres­ence on the bat­tle­field — all red and gold and fe­ro­cious — will in­spire the bet­ter an­gels of our na­tures.

Luck­ily, her pow­ers give her the abil­ity to sur­vive the or­deal and make a dif­fer­ence even in this morass. “She is in­cred­i­bly strong, fast and one of the best trained and skilled fight­ers in the su­per­hero uni­verse,” Jenk­ins posits. “She also has some clas­sic tools at her com­mand, which we fi­nally get to ex­pe­ri­ence in their full and mod­ern glory. Turns out a lasso is a lot more fear­some than one might have imag­ined.” In this clash be­tween a woman with a bit of rope and en­tire armies equipped with mor­tars and mustard gas, our money’s on the one with the tiara.

The won­drous Gal Gadot takes Diana Prince on a solo spin.

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