Review: ‘Wonder Woman’ — What parents should know
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Wonder Woman. Before there was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Marvel’s Black Widow, Wonder Woman was the first female fictional superhero to inspire little girls. She pushed her way forward for all of the rest to follow, which is why her first solo appearance on the big screen has been such a big deal for so many. After all, it’s only taken approximately 75 years for her to earn her own standalone live-action movie.
“Wonder Woman” stars Gal Gadot, who actually made her first brief appearance as Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, in last year’s “Batman v Superman” and quickly made fans for her portrayal. “Wonder Woman” is the character’s origin story, and told as an answer to a note from Bruce Wayne — "someday, you'll have to tell me your story." It starts on the island of Themyscira, a lush, beautiful island nation protected by the Olympian gods from the rest of the world and populated by the Amazons, a race of tall and strong female warriors created by the gods. Diana is a charming, outgoing and mischievous little girl, determined to learn how to be a warrior despite her mother Queen Hippolyta’s (Connie Nielsen) reprimands. Diana is different, not like the other Amazons, and there’s a secret her family is keeping from her. Determined, she trains in private with her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright), the greatest warrior the Amazons have known, until as a young woman she witnesses a plane crash in the distance. After rescuing Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a spy being hunted by the Germans during the first World War, Diana decides to leave the island, feeling destined to stop the outside "war to end all wars." Against her mother’s wishes, she travels with Steve to London, where she humorously discovers the outside world for the first time and eventually learns the truth about who she really is.
Lots of young girls (and boys!) are going to want to see this movie, but how appropriate is it for kids?
“Wonder Woman” is rated PG-13 “for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content.”
There is a lot of comic-book style violence, with fighting, swordplay, guns, bombs, and arrows. Many characters die. The movie is set during WWI and depicts the horrors of war through sometimes disturbing images. For example, soldiers are carried off the battlefield with missing limbs, but the images aren’t gory. People also die from being exposed to deadly gas. Most of these scenes are quick cutaways but might affect sensitive children.
There is some mild profanity, as well as some brief discussions about procreation, reproduction, and “the pleasures of the flesh.”
Overall, I’d adhere to the rating unless you feel comfortable taking your children to modern superhero movies. If it helps, “Wonder Woman” reminded me at times of “Captain America: The First Avenger” with the spirit of the 1978 version of “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve.
Personally, I wasn’t sure if I’d like “Wonder Woman” because the previous three DC Comics films have been so dark in theme with poor character development. I’m happy to say I mostly enjoyed “Wonder Woman.” Most of the special effects were terrible and a bit distracting (I saw it in 2D and it’s obvious this movie was made for 3D viewing) and the pacing — at 2 hours and 21 minutes — was a little off at times, but the story was good and Gadot proved once again she was perfectly cast in this role. The fact that “Wonder Woman” is also the first superhero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, shows in subtle ways.
Best of all is the movie’s message: everyone’s choices matter, and we should all choose love over hate. In the end, that’s what makes a true hero.
“Wonder Woman” is now playing in theaters nationwide.