Gal power: Wonder Woman's first big screen adventure
Gal Gadot's superheroine gets her first standalone cinematic adventure with Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman. David Roy finds himself wowed by her considerable charms, though not entirely won over by the film itself
"WONDER Woman! All the world is waiting for you / and the power you possess – in your satin tights / fighting for your rights / and the old red white and blue."
Readers of a certain (middle) age will recognise those immortal words as the opening lines of the irritatingly catchy disco-rocking Wonder Woman theme song from the 1970s TV programme starring Lynda Carter as DC Comics' gutsiest/bustiest superheroine.
Now it's Israeli vixen Gal Godot's turn to don Wonder Woman's boots 'n' bulletproof bustier, following her movie-stealing cameo in Zack Snyder's thunderously dull dud Batman V Superman.
Though Wonder Woman 2017's slick CGI-powered superactioner may have ditched the campy charm of its enjoyably corny 1970s forerunner, screenwriter Allan Heinberg – working from a story cooked up with Snyder and Jason Fuchs – appears to have drawn heavily from the TV version's theme tune in terms of inspiration.
Specifically, the memorable couplets "make a hawk a dove / stop a war with love" and "stop a bullet cold / make the axis fold / change their minds and change the wooooorld" factor heavily in this combined origin/intro tale set during the First World War – cue sharp intakes of breath from irate Comic Book Guys/Gals over Heinberg and co's decision to switch eras from the 1940s to the 1910s – which paints Wonder Woman as a bad-ass goddess of peace clad in bullet-deflecting bracelets.
However, kudos to Mr Writers, because while women played a vital role in the Second World War on the home front, they didn't even have the right to vote while the 'war to end all wars' was raging – a situation the Patty Jenkins-directed film exploits to amusing comic effect.
Wonder Woman's character has her roots in Greek mythology: being born to an island race of fight-skilled Amazonian warrior women led by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), Princess Diana of Themyscira (to give her official title) is repeatedly shocked by the fairer sex's lack of status in early 20th century London.
This is where she initially fetches up with human sidekick Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a US spy determined to smash the chemical weapons programme of evil German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his pet mad scientist Doctor Maru (Elena Anaya).
It's Diana's destiny to finally defeat Aries the god of war, thus freeing mankind from his corrupting influence: she's convinced that he's General Ludendorff, beavering away at his experimental gasses in a secret location on the Belgian front as the prospect of a humiliating armistice looms large.
However, first Steve has to teach his 'God-killer' sword and 'lasso of truth'-wielding chum how to pass among mere mortals.
This can mean only one thing: a fun trip to Selfridges in the company of his secretary – all spies have secretaries, didn't you know? – Etta (Lucy Davis).
"I get him whatever he needs," she explains.
"Where I come from, we call that a slave," responds Diana.
"I like her – a lot", swoons Etta.
Indeed, Gal Godot is tremendous as Wonder Woman. The camera loves this former model who can actually act and also looks convincing in the film's many fight/action sequences.
Large swathes of the film are good fun – the aforementioned Amazonian-out-of-water antics in London, a covert infiltration of a gala function attended by Ludendorff and the cutesy romance between Diana and Steve – but some of it just doesn't work very well.
As with any superhero/human team-up, the human element – here rounded out Steve sidekicks/stereotypes Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) – becomes pretty superfluous any time there's any actual jeopardy involved.
Able to leap 50 feet in the air and throw tanks about, Wonder Woman is apparently so indestructible that she can storm the German front single handedly – so why not just ditch Steve and co and wrap up the war?
The requisite 'final battle' is pretty standard CGI fighty-smashy stuff too, so while Wonder Woman is enjoyable enough, the world is still waiting for this successfully rebooted superheroine to get a truly super film.
WONDER WOMAN (12A, 141 mins) Action/Fantasy/Adventure/Romance.
Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright.
Director: Patty Jenkins