GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The first of June brings big summer box office hits. Tim Lammers, syndicated movie reporter for Direct Conversations, takes a look at this week's new releases.
"Wonder Woman" (PG-13) 3 1/2 stars (out of 4); Kid Quotient: 3 stars
More than 75 years after she debuted in the DC's comic book universe, the Amazon Warrior Princess has finally gotten her due with Wonder Woman, a wonderful origins movie that marks the first live-action appearance of the character since Lynda Carter's classic TV series that ran from 1975-79.
Marking the first solo movie for the Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (a stunning Gal Gadot) after she made her scene-stealing debut in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in 2016, the movie takes us back to World War I, where an American spy pilot, Steve Trevor (the always great Chris Pine) crash lands in the ocean near the secret island paradise where Diana, Princess of Themyscira, was raised, and by happenstance drags her and her fellow warriors into the conflict.
Leaving behind her home to rid the world of the evil force she believes is responsible for the war, Diana finds adjusting to the outside world is a bit harder than she could have imagined -- that is, until she discovers her true identity and destiny. Full of humor, heart and action, "Wonder Woman" is a must-see.
"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" (PG) 3 1/2 stars (out of 4); Kid Quotient: 4 stars
A different kind of superhero saves the day (or at least, tries) in "Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie," the first (obviously) of hopefully many movies based on the best-selling illustrated children's book series by Dav Pilkey. Hilarious and full of heart, it's easily the best animated movie of the year so far.
Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch bring glee to the voices of George and Harold, a pair of practical joking grade-schoolers who get revenge on their ultra-strict principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms), who rules the school with an iron fist. Accidentally hypnotizing Mr. Krupp with a cereal box "Hypo Ring," George and Harold convince Krupp he's a dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants, who wears only underwear and a cape made of office drapery. Complicating manners is a Mr. P. (Nick Kroll, who steals the show), as a villainous science teacher who is onto George and Harold's scheme.
"Captain Underpants" separates itself from most animated movies by relying on its already clever origins material (which is expanded here and there), instead of giving into Hollywood convention and employing pop culture references, sly jokes that only adults would get, and a hip soundtrack in a vain attempt to help tell the story. It's a refreshing take in any genre, where story matters first -- and in this case "Captain Underpants" is ultimately a great story about friendship.