Wonder Woman 1984
Warner Brothers Pictures
Written by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig, Robin Wright and Connie Neilsen
Rewind to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.
Set around 65 years after the events in the original film, Wonder Woman 1984 chronicles Diana Prince as she navigates life in 1980s Washington, DC. Working as a curator for the Smithsonian, Diana continues to moonlight as Wonder Woman. She is also lonely and still mourning the death of Steve Trevor.
Barbara Minerva is the socially awkward new friend of Diana. A geologist at the Smithsonian, she is tasked with research a rare stone that was recovered by the police. Diana helps Barbara translate the stone and they discover the stone grants wishes for the person holding it. Diana’s use of the stone prompts the return of Steve Trevor. Gal Gadot shines as she always does in the role. And her interactions with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor are well done.
Barbara uses the stone as well and her wish has a connection to Diana that starts Barbara on her journey to becoming the secondary villain in the film.
The movie has a slow build, that ramps up significantly after Maxwell Lord takes possession of the stone. In his quest for power, he now has the ability to not only grant wishes, but take something in return. This movie is a warning of the dangers of greed, and manipulation. Maxwell Lord’s depiction of a corrupt business man that desires ultimate power and god like worship is a great concept. Pedro Pascal’s acting is wonderful and his televangelist-inspired speech to the world is on point.
There are some fun action sequences, and we see Diana, in her Wonder Woman gear fight beside Steve Trevor. The two of them make an excellent team and it is heart-breaking when she has to decide between her love for Steve and her duty to save the world.
Wonder Woman’ 1984’s biggest flaws are that, even though it’s run time is slightly over 2.5 hours, it doesn’t take the time to flesh out any of its characters and chooses high emotion over realism. A tighter script and a few minutes’ worth of character development would have made all the difference in this movie.
Unfortunately, it follows the modern trope of depicting the 1980s as cartoonish and purposefully campy. Instead of dangerous, the small-time criminals and sometimes even the major villains come across as bumbling and silly. Even Diana has moments of over the top cheese. (I’m looking at you mall chase scene).
While largely pointless, the 11-minute opener is clearly meant for younger viewers. Honestly, it should have been a stand-alone children’s short film. And while the graphics look awkward on regular TV, it would have been fun to watch in 3D at the cinema.
The overall story works with two villains, and I sincerely hope to see more of Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah. But it is impossible to overlook its weakest points including how Steve Trevor returns, Barbara’s questionable powers and risk of losing them, Maxwell Lord’s inconsistent and convenient powers and the entire premise of the final act.
In my nerdy heart, I really wish we had a scene where Lord was being nudged over the edge by some unseen force . It would have made his quick descent into madness make so much more sense. As well as added to the suspense surrounding the stone’s origin. Alas…
As a story about women, it also takes the time to highlight the danger and discomfort that women are subjected to by men on a daily basis. And this feminist is appreciative of that. The scenes are quick and campy. Barbara is attacked and cat called. Men constantly beg for Diana’s attention. Its uncomfortable, and unfortunately pretty realistic. Diana deals with these types of men one way, Barbara another. It shows that these two disparate women must deal with toxic masculinity no matter their role as hero or villain.
All in all, it’s not a bad movie. Especially for the DCEU. I think children will really enjoy it, even if their parents can clearly see all the holes in the story’s plot.
Also, there is an end credit scene certain to charm Wonder Woman fans of all ages.