Wonder Woman wows the world

Critics fawn over Gal Gadot as blockbuster film expected to soar at the box office.

Gal Gadot stars as the fierce Amazon warrior princess out to save the world in ‘Wonder Woman' (photo credit: COURTESY OF SHALMOR PR)
Gal Gadot stars as the fierce Amazon warrior princess out to save the world in ‘Wonder Woman'
(photo credit: COURTESY OF SHALMOR PR)
While superhero films often make for summer blockbusters, they rarely win critical acclaim. But Wonder Woman, helmed by Israeli Gal Gadot, raked in both accolades and cash this weekend as it hit theaters around the world.
Wonder Woman had a record-breaking opening weekend, and was expected to rack up more than $100 million by the end of Sunday – a feat never before accomplished by a female director. The previous record, which director Patty Jenkins has already broken, was Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey, which had a first weekend gross of $85m. in 2015. Wonder Woman brought in $38.7m. on Friday alone.
The film, an origin story of the superhero Wonder Woman, garnered positive reviews, many of which singled out Gadot, a relative Hollywood newcomer, for praise.
The New York Times called the film “reasonably fresh, touching and fun,” and said Gadot had a “regal, effortlessly charismatic screen presence.” It also said the heroine’s chemistry with co-star Chris Pine added “a jolt of classic Hollywood fizz.”
The review in Vanity Fair said the film was “sturdily built and solidly entertaining... a bright and engaging dream delivering us from a nightmare soup of toxic masculinity.” It said Gadot brought “a welcome dose of personality to what is essentially a dull, pious hero role.”
The Hollywood Reporter said Gadot’s Princess Diana (Wonder Woman’s alter ego) is “exotically kick-ass yet approachable.”
“Gadot brings a graceful athleticism to the role of a superhuman determined to take down Ares himself,” the review noted.
And the Los Angeles Times said that while many superhero films are disappointing, “one’s reservations, whatever they may be, all but melt away in the fire of Gadot’s warm, impassioned heroics.... put more bluntly, she totally kicks ass.” It added that the film “has the power to fill even the most jaded moviegoer with primal stirrings of fear, pride and emotion.”
And Variety called Gadot “an inspired choice for this avatar of truth, justice and the Amazonian way.”
In Israel, Gadot received a personal tribute when the famed Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv lit up with a message for her.
“We’re proud of you, Gal Gadot,” the lights read. “Our Wonder Woman.”
Gadot posted a photo of the image on Instagram earlier this week, writing that at first she thought it was a Photoshop joke.
“I have no words,” she wrote in Hebrew to her almost five million followers. “When I head home from Ben-Gurion Airport those three buildings are always standing straight and twinkling from afar, and reminding me that I’m home. And now they’re calling my name. I’m thankful for everything.”
Reuters contributed to this report.