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'Wonder Woman' Hits The Big Screen

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Enough with "Batman," "Superman" and "Spider-Man" already. Come on. One of comic books' most enduring characters is finally getting her own movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WONDER WOMAN")

GAL GADOT: (As Diana) It is our sacred duty to defend the world, and it's what I'm going to do.

MARTIN: There she is. "Wonder Woman" is hitting the big screen. Here to give us her take on this superhero blockbuster is Claudia Puig. She is the president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and she stopped into our studios at NPR West in Culver City to have this conversation. Hi, Claudia.

CLAUDIA PUIG: How are you?

MARTIN: I am well. I'm so excited to talk about this because I want this movie to be good because I loved "Wonder Woman" as a kid. And so I'm just going to get right to it. Is this a good movie?

PUIG: (Laughter) Yes. You get what you desired here.

MARTIN: Yay.

(LAUGHTER)

PUIG: It is. I think that the director, Patty Jenkins, did a beautiful job with that.

MARTIN: Patty Jenkins, the director. Gal Gadot, she stars as Wonder Woman - the former Miss Israel, we should say...

PUIG: That is right.

MARTIN: ...Back in 2004, turned actress.

PUIG: Yes.

MARTIN: That's got to be a heady role for her.

PUIG: I think it's hugely heady. It's her first lead role. She is in practically every take, and she's wonderful. It's a very charismatic performance, and the way the action scenes are shot, sometimes in slow motion when she leaps and sometimes sped up too, it's beautifully directed. It's not perfect. It's a little bit too long at the end, and it has one of those really CG laden, kind of huge battle things that you kind of zone out a little bit on at the very end.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Hey, speak for yourself, Claudia.

PUIG: (Laughter).

MARTIN: I'm kind of into those (laughter).

PUIG: (Laughter) OK, well, then you'll like it.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: And this in particular, there was so much mythology around the story of Wonder Woman. She was originally the descendant of Greek gods.

PUIG: Yes.

MARTIN: Is the origin story the same in this new treatment?

PUIG: Yes. She is Diana, and she lives on an idyllic, beautiful island that looks like a cross between Shangri-La and Rivendell from "Lord Of The Rings."

MARTIN: I love those places.

PUIG: Who doesn't want to live there, right?

MARTIN: (Laughter).

PUIG: And she lives there with all these strong but peaceful women. It's the Amazons.

MARTIN: Yeah, there's no men there, right?

PUIG: No men, no, not until Chris Pine gets there.

MARTIN: Chris Pine.

PUIG: Not a bad first man.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

PUIG: And so she's living her life. And Chris Pine crash-lands nearby. It's in this scene from, like, World War I. So she learns about World War I, and that - she learns that this terrible evil is engulfing the planet, and she wants to use her superpowers to bring peace. And what's nice about it, too, is that in addition to being this epic action film, it's also a bit of a romantic comedy. They have wonderful chemistry. There's the whole fish out of water kind of, you know, someone who's lived on an island, never seen men and suddenly adjusting to wearing clothes outside of, you know, her usual Wonder Woman outfit.

MARTIN: So many adjustments.

PUIG: (Laughter).

MARTIN: So many.

PUIG: Yes.

MARTIN: OK, so I want to play a clip of a scene. This is Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. He's the character who's played by Chris Pine. They encounter some bad guys. Steve Trevor is kind of bringing his own bravado. Wonder Woman takes over. Let's listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "WONDER WOMAN")

CHRIS PINE: (As Steve Trevor) Oh, it's the bad guy convention.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Give us Dr. Maru's notebook.

(SOUNDBITE OF FIGHTING)

PINE: (As Steve Trevor) Stay back.

(SOUNDBITE OF FIGHTING)

PINE: (As Steve Trevor) Or maybe not.

MARTIN: So we can fill in the blanks there. He thinks he's got the situation under control. Clearly, he doesn't. Wonder Woman saves the day.

PUIG: That's right.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

PUIG: What's nice, too, is their relationship because, you know, she's obviously no damsel in distress, and he's not a knight in shining armor. They're pretty much equals. He's kind of roguish, and he's got an appealing sense of humor. I think it's one of his best roles ever. But it's her movie. It's completely her movie.

MARTIN: Claudia Puig is the president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. We were talking to her about the new film, "Wonder Woman." Claudia, thanks so much.

PUIG: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.