WONDER WOMAN (12A, 141 mins)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright. Director: Patty Jenkins.

A GRAVITY-defying girl with bullet-proof bracelets just wants to have fun in director Patty Jenkins' muscular introduction to the DC Comics warrior princess.

Unfortunately, the not-so-fair sex gatecrashes the party, inspiring the heroine's mother to warn: "Be careful in the world of men. They don't deserve you!"

It's debatable whether any of us 'deserve' this flashy and sporadically entertaining origin story.

Scripted by Allan Heinberg, Wonder Woman unfolds largely in flashback during the First World War and employs a framing device that dovetails neatly with lead star Gal Gadot's appearance in last summer's superhero smackdown, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Her eye-catching splash in that lumbering picture heightened expectations of an adrenaline-pumping demonstration of girl power here, behind and in front of the camera.

Disappointingly, Wonder Woman turns out to be another expensive exercise in high-tempo homogeneity, indistinguishable from other Marvel and DC Comics cash cows during the protracted special effects sequences.

Frenetic editing and a bombastic score by Rupert Gregson-Williams give a false impression of dramatic momentum but Jenkins' film sags, and knowing the title character emerges unscathed from the melee leaves us plenty of time to identify supporting cast, who are destined to shift their mortal coils.

Diana (Gadot) is an Amazonian princess, who lives on the island of Themyscira under the benevolent rule of her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen).

"Fighting does not make you a hero," the monarch reminds her impetuous daughter, who is tutored in hand-to-hand combat by her grizzled aunt (Robin Wright).

Handsome US Army spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands in the sea close to the island and Diana rescues him from a watery grave.

He tells the Amazons about the conflict with the Germans, whose forces are marshalled by iron-fisted General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston).

Horrified by mankind's self-destruction, Diana prepares to leave her island, armed with magical artefacts including a fiery lasso.

She bids tearful farewell to her clan and travels to London, where Steve introduces Diana to his plucky secretary Etta (Lucy Davis) and two shady associates: con man Sameer (Said Taghmaoui) and hard-drinking sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner).

Together, they head to the front to rendezvous with trader Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) and wreak havoc on General Ludendorff and his mad scientist, Doctor Maru (Elena Anaya).

Wonder Woman delivers a full arsenal of slam-bang thrills including acrobatic fight sequences and a hellish sprint through no man's land with terrified soldiers.

Gadot is positively luminous but the simplistic script doesn't test her acting mettle and she struggles to scrape off syrup from the film's central assertion that love alone can defeat war.

Pine fans the flames of a romantic subplot with a twinkle in his blue eyes but his gung-ho airman is considerably more enamoured with Wonder Woman than us. 5/10