Born to play the role of Wonder Woman, Gadot proves that women can be fierce and loyal, as well as empathetic, in director Patty Jenkins' epic, satisfying origin story. Some might be tempted to dismiss Gadot as just another pretty face, but -- as hinted at in her scenes in Batman v Superman -- she rises to the challenge of playing Diana as both ridiculously strong and sweetly naive. She's ready to fight, but she's even more focused on vanquishing evil for the sake of peace. Unlike Superman, Batman, or any of her male DC fellows, Wonder Woman isn't broodingly conflicted about her role or responsibility in the universe; she's hyper-focused on helping humanity and defeating the warmongering Ares. Whether it's Gadot herself or talented stunt actors, she shines in battle -- as do her Amazon relatives, particularly Wright as Antiope, the leader of the Amazonian army.
There's more romance in Wonder Woman than in many superhero movies (which means Pine has a bigger role than superhero love interests often do), but it's understandable given that it's Diana's origin story. It's especially funny that her first sight of a man would be the blue-eyed Steve, who acknowledges that he's an "above average" male specimen. Their bantery chemistry is predictable but sweet; who could fault either of them for falling fast and hard for each other? Steve's secretary, Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), is the funniest person in the film, with her sarcastic one-liners, but it's a bit of a shame that there's not more back story to help viewers connect with Steve's three mates: Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), a Native American smuggler; Charlie (Ewen Bremner), a Scottish sniper; and Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), a polyglot spy. At least the baddies are deliciously, unambiguously evil. And despite the requisite special effects-heavy fight scenes, everything is so personal for Diana that the battles are surprisingly emotional -- in a good way. With Wonder Woman on board, bring on Justice League.