SPOILER FREE REVIEW: Wonder Woman

Nearly eight decades after her comic book debut, Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Wonder Woman to the rest of the world, receives her own movie. Not a moment too soon, it delights.

Gal Gadot, returning to the role she played in the loathed Batman v Superman, brings a lighter Diana to a brighter film.

Gadot excels as the Amazonian princess. Sculpted from clay, Diana trains harder than any other Amazonian woman to kill Ares, the god of war and last living Greek god, out there in the world of men making them fight endless wars.

When a soldier from that war crashes near her island home, Diana decides Ares is behind it and sets out to destroy him. For much of the second act we take a detour into London and the western front, and here the film continues to shine, and departs from its counterparts in the DC Extended Universe.

Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s love interest/bridge to the modern world. He brings a boyish charm and reluctant belief to the role. He starts the movie as a spy, and ends it believing that a woman thousands of years old can kill a god and save humanity from warfare.

Wonder Woman‘s finest moments occur in the beginning on the beguiling island of Themyscira, a women-only paradise set up by Zeus to train warriors should Ares ever return to the realm of mortals. Sounds tough, but the island’s got armadillos and longhorn bulls, easing its edges. The Amazonian women will fuel cosplayers at comic conventions for decades to come.

The film is light on extended, brutal action sequences. This is a coming out party for Gadot and Diana, and a trek across Belgium’s No Man’s Land serves as the moment when both become Wonder Woman. Gadget might win 10 Oscars and a Nobel Prize in her life and she will still be Wonder Woman to most, she’s that good and so is the movie.

Exploder viewing guide: See it in theaters now.