When she was first sketched on a blank page, it was 1940, the dark days of the Second World War. A year later she made her first appearance in AllStar Comics. Little boys liked her because she was strong—and half-naked. Little girls liked her because she was pretty.
31 years later, in 1972, she graduated from broadcasting television when she appeared as a guest in an episode of the ABC animated TV series, “The Brady Kids.
That guest appearance led her to have a thirteen-year stint on every incarnation of the network’s hit Saturday morning cartoon series, “Super Friends. As the earliest heroic female character of the series, she stood out as she fought against evildoers alongside the uber-popular Superman, Batman, and the Flash.
Even I remember her from syndicated reruns of the show on Cartoon Network. Sure, her personality was as colorless and dry as a white wall, and being the butt of egregiously sexist jokes by her male "friends" (thanks to the overt chauvinism of the shows' all-male writing team). Still, she was memorable because her powers awed me and she was hot--I'll say it.
However, when "Super Friends" ended in 1986, she returned to the dusty comic book shelves and remained there indefinitely, as the comic book industry struggled through the eighties with major financial troubles due to the percentage of comic book sales dropping to all-time lows.
It was a time of raging rock music and copious drug use. However, several kids that grew up reading comic books, Wonder Woman included, were now older. Some of which grew up to become drug dealers and crack addicts...or cops and lawyers working to catch them.
Fast forward to the 21st century, she returned to prominence in the Cartoon Network’s critically acclaimed series, “Justice League” (2001-2004) and “Justice League Unlimited” (2004-2006). Around this time, the CW was in talks to put out a "coming-of-age" Wonder Woman TV pilot--something in the vein of "Smallville" (2000-2010).
But, of course, creative differences or money got in the way and it fell through the cracks to developmental hell.
However, after 2006, she bounced around from animated series to animated series within the highly successful DC Animated Universe (DCAU)...up until someone realized it wasn't working anymore.
Then Warner Bros. director Zack Snyder's okay-ish "Man of Steel" blockbuster hit theaters in 2014...followed by his lackluster "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" and David Ayers' disorganized "Suicide Squad" in 2016.
Meanwhile, she remained on the comic book shelves and/or on the cutting room floor of Warner Bros.' film studios. Fortunately, neither she nor we had to wait as long as one thought.
But now, in 2017, she’s back and it’s her finest incarnation we have ever seen. “Wonder Woman,” based on the long-running and iconic comic book series of the same name, is one of the best cinematic choices you will make this year. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as the titular character, “Wonder Women” tells the story of Princess Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen, "Gladiator"), who is born on the paradise island of Themyscria amid a race of immortal female warriors called Amazons. From a young age she shows her allure to the ways of a warrior and undergoes training, secretly, to become such. However, when the soldier Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, the "Star Trek" series) comes barreling into their lives, literally, Diana's world changes within an instant...and it is brilliant. Overall, the film is wildly entertaining, though a bit long with a runtime of 2 hours and 21 minutes, regardless, it is still unexplainably satisfying to the eye.
Although screenwriter Allan Heinberg’s screenplay drags on for much of the first act, he makes up for it, when the film hits the latter half of the second/early portion of the third--it increases intensity after the glorious "No Man's Land" scene.
And it must be said: Robin Wright (far right) as the Amazon general Antiope is pure gold in this movie. Wright embodied this character so well you forget she is Claire Underwood, the cold and sexy female lead on the Emmy-winning Netflix web series, “House of Cards.” As a matter of fact, all the actors who played Amazons in this film were awesome, including Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, it was nice to see her on the big screen again.
But now I turn my attention to the she who is the reason for this entire review: Gal Gadot.
Before this, the Israeli actress was a relative unknown with only minor success in the “Fast and Furious” film series. She was even considering quitting the acting business around the time Zack Snyder called her about the playing the role. I must admit when I first heard Gadot landed the part, I was not impressed. The chauvinism within me quickly came to light as I caught myself thinking, “Yea but her boobs are too small” and “her butt isn’t big enough.” I pictured someone like Alexandria Daddario or someone else who met the above criteria. This is what happens when you view countless images of Wonder Woman’s scantily clad and aggressive cleavage, as drawn exclusively by male artists, but I digress...
“Wonder Woman” is a love letter from women to women, and Gal Gadot absolutely does the character justice with her charming naïveté meshed with a battle roaring, "I Am Legend," high-octane delivery of action sequences.
Like the character’s origin of being molded out of clay, this movie, too, is molded out, and in the image, of something too. And that is pro-feminism and gender equality, and admirably so.
“Wonder Woman” is the inaugural film of what looks to be the first major superheroine trilogy (EVER!) and is the third in the DC Extended Universe. With over $450M at the box office worldwide and still growing and a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes, “Wonder Woman” has supplanted itself as the top blockbuster of the year—so far.
The commercial and critical success of “Wonder Woman” aside, though, I think this film serves as the global war drum and marching order for all women—young and old— everywhere.
And it should, because if the character could persist for 45 years until she powered her way to the top, then real women certainly can as well.
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