Patty Jenkins directs the lithe, lovely, and laff-grabbing Gal Gadot as the Amazon princess who helps end World War I, and also DC’s string of dark ‘n dour superhero slogs. The concept is high indeed: Greek mythology is mashed-up with Christianity to give us a Zeus who flings Ares from heaven and gifts the world with a weapon powerful enough to defeat him should he return. When our heroine learns of a worldwide conflagration from a handsome spy (Chris Pine, charming as ever but sporting awfully modern manners for a guy from 100 years back), she decides that Ares must be to blame. What’s more, she concludes that killing him will return humanity to its original, happy state — the devil’s making them do it! (It’s the story she’s been told, you see.) So off she goes, sword in hand, leaving her island paradise for the horrors of the front. But first, a stop in London to gather a team and generate some guffaws (“Is this your armor?” she asks as she strokes a department store corset.) Many big ideas are juggled: war is a force that gives us meaning, the battle will never be fair for women, we do what good we can and move on, wretched humanity doesn’t deserve a savior, etc. And while the story doesn’t exactly drop them, it does flail about a bit, and the awkward effort shows. Still, Jenkins has an eye for moving moments, Gadot is great fun to watch, and there’s some genuine visual panache to be found amid the combat and comedy. (2017) — Matthew Lickona
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