Gal Gadot is a breakout star, true to the iconic Lynda Carter version, but very much making Wonder Woman her own. The experience was very much like 1978, seeing Christopher Reeve earning the role of Superman when George Reeves seemed to still own it in the minds of many.
Gadot has a riveting presence. One can’t take one’s eye off her. She looks as striking in the trenchcoat and glasses–if not more so–as in the costume, which BTW is a fine design compromise between the superhero look of today and the more garish ones of yesterday.
Diana’s strength came through her compassion, her intense sense of what was right, not just through her ability to kick butt (though no complaints there either). Sometimes in films and TV there’s a tendency to endlessly overstate “strength” than effectively exemplify it through character. This film does it beautifully — better than many recent films with the same message.
When Diana sees the suffering of the people in no man’s land and can’t move on, I know it’s clichéd a bit, but the way she decides she’s mad as hell and not going to take it is indicative of how we all feel at this point in our history and why these movies are so popular. What the heck can we do? We can’t help everybody, and we can barely help ourselves sometimes, but we want to believe in something better than ourselves. DC finally figured out what Marvel knew all along, and in some ways, humanized in a way unlike any previous superhero film because it hit on a more personal level.
As to the whole “love conquers all” thing, it was a simplistic way of explaining the concept of grace. In religious terms (and the movie was using tons of iconography) it’s the idea that we are given things we don’t deserve by through grace, through love. On a secular level, a parent or loved one gives without expectation of thanks or reward for the same reason. You don’t see that in ANY form of modern entertainment nowadays (cough-cough Kardashians).
But by gosh and gum, Gadot was super great. I just wish they’d put a little of Charles Fox’s TV theme song in there during the credits, just as an homage, like they did in the first Spiderman movie, even if it was an updated version.
Speaking of the TV series music, La La Land released a complete stereo soundtrack of ALL the music and themes from the ’70s series on a multi-disc set that is a treasure for fans and can be found here.