Wonder Woman (2017)  — PICK

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) — PICK

There are issues, including dialogue about sex and marriage that makes no cultural sense, either for Gal Gadot’s Diana or for Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, and a mythological back story has Zeus creating man in his own image.The summer’s surprise No. 1 film, Wonder Woman isn’t just about the first big-screen superheroine to get her own franchise. She’s also something almost unheard of in modern superhero movies: a genuinely good, aspirational hero.

Yet where movies like Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger misunderstand and besmirch their iconic heroes, this one gets and reveres its protagonist. That’s worth a lot.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Steven Spielberg’s other sci-fi early masterpiece, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, returns to home video in a new 4K restoration Blu-ray edition. (Last issue’s column included E.T.)

Like Wonder Woman, Close Encounters has issues, including a husband and father abandoning his family, but also offers a sci-fi window onto religious themes of wonder, visions, mission, pilgrimage and revelation. Both need critical viewing, but are worth watching.


Caveat Spectator: Close Encounters: Domestic tensions and problematic marriage/family theme. Teens and up. Wonder Woman: Stylized action violence; polytheistic religious themes; sexually themed dialogue and humor, brief non-explicit male nudity and an off-screen nonmarital sexual encounter; limited profanity and some cursing. Teens and up.