You couldn’t fault internet fandom for trying to will Pine into a DC superhero role: He’d already been the face of a major pop-culture franchise as Captain Kirk in the current “Star Trek” movies. And even though Pine didn’t come on board with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment to be a member of the Justice League, he still managed to leave a major mark on the movies with his non-super role in “Wonder Woman.”
Pine’s performance, alongside Gadot’s, could help form the template for how a successful DC Comics movie can be made that appeals to both hardcore comic-book fans and the general public. Their pairing showed what the films have been missing: heart and emotion.
Despite not being the titular hero of the movie, Pine still shines in his role as Steve Trevor. He delivers just as much action and saving-the-day tactics as Superman and Batman did in their fistfight last year, while providing a whole lot more romance and laughs.
Pine takes down plenty of bad guys with his guns and fists, but if you had to pinpoint one of the things that separates “Wonder Woman” from WB/DC’s current superhero movie slate, it’s that the film is just as enjoyable when there is no action. (That’s more than we can say for those Daily Planet budget meetings in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” when Perry White tells Clark Kent that he’ll be covering sports and not writing about Batman.)
Despite some well done, in-the-trenches war scenes and a final act that included a CGI-heavy battle — some of “Wonder Woman’s best scenes were just Pine’s Trevor and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman alone together, such as the initial flirtations on a boat leaving Themyscira, dancing under snowfall, and comedic bouts with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.
As you watch “Wonder Woman” and see how well the movie works as a period film, you begin to think that this formula could work again — perhaps sequels where Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman team up in future wars and deal with the drama of Pine’s character getting older while Wonder Woman stays forever young.
But, of course that won’t happen because of the heroic sacrifice Steve Trevor makes at the end of “Wonder Woman,” giving his life to save many others in an airborne explosion that he ignites. Just when you realize you’d like to see more of him, he’s gone forever.
The impact of that moment doesn’t sting as much without Pine’s spectacular supporting performance.
Pine was able to help save the day and break audience’s hearts at the same time, and he did so without a mask or cape. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment would do well to keep that in mind and remember that kind of emotion in their future superhero films.