WONDER WOMAN: Full disclosure compels me to confess a concern about this movie being potentially overpraised and positioned as a sort of cinematic feminist manifesto. Trust me when I say it’s “white noise” since this long awaited origin story about DC Comics’ superheroine (Gal Gadot) earns just about every plaudit sure to come its’ way. I’ll start with praise for an intelligent screenplay from Allan Heinberg where the primary conflict has the title character pondering whether mankind is worthy of her efforts to rescue from self-destruction. Matthew Jensen’s cinematography opens with a sun-drenched, white cliffed idyllic island paradise before shifting to a darker, mist-infested London circa 1918. Loyal to its comic book roots, the storyline puts the lady with the golden lasso of truth in the middle of World War I’s deadliest trenches where she’s out to stop a German general (Danny Huston) from unleashing a deadly biological agent. The battle scenes have a near epic quality about them and Lindy Hemmings’ costume design adds to the authenticity of the era. Gadot’s (FAST FIVE) acting range may only go from A to B but the former Israeli beauty queen has an exotic, otherworldly quality that does fit with her “fish out of water” character. She has a nice chemistry with Chris Pine’s (HELL OR HIGH WATER) undercover spy. The special effects have a disappointing CGI obvious quality about them with a tendency to be overdone at the expense of the narrative. And I never figured out why some of the Amazon women could be shot while W.W. remained invulnerable to bullets. But if there is such a thing as a “thinking person’s superhero movie”, this may well be it with its depth of ideas. But it’s also a lot of fun and moves with a quick pace that only stops to catch its breath while contemplating how humans can be both noble and cruel. CRITIC’S GRADE: B+

DOUBLE FEATURE: When a pair of philandering spouses (Tracy Letts, Debra Winger) rediscover their ardor for each other, they begin “cheating” on their paramours (Aidan Gillen, Melora Walters) in THE LOVERS. Directed and written by Azazel Jacobs, the film is highlighted by Winger (TERMS OF ENDEARMENT) who demonstrates that middle age can be downright sexy. It’s a brutally honest dramedy about people making bad choices while proving that nothing ruins a good relationship like marriage. CRITIC’S GRADE: B