‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is the newest film coming from DC and Warner Brothers and is the sequel to 2017’s hit film ‘Wonder Woman‘. This takes place in the 1980’s, with the big hair, parachute pants, and all the vibrance the 80’s had is in full effect. Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) has continued to help mankind in the shadows but has turned into a somewhat hermit crab, still coping with the loss of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). After meeting a new coworker Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) and a new mysterious artifact appearing to grant your every wish, Diana, has a second chance as what was lost. This artifact is being hunted down by Max Lord, (Pedro Pascal) an oil tycoon and tv personality that see’s the artifact as a chance to make his son proud of him, and actually attain his smoke and mirror success. Barbara, seeing her new friend Diana as a perfect person, see’s the artifact as a chance to be what she see’s in Diana. All three are intertwined in this power that takes as much as it gives, and Wonder Woman is faced with the choice of having to give up what she loves for the greater good. ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is a flawed but enjoyable sequel that doesn’t quite match up to the original but may have a more powerful message overall.
It’s important to note that I was able to view this film early from my home. There has been a lot said about Warner Brothers decision to include HBO Max as a release partner alongside of theaters, as well as the remainder of their films for the 2021 slate. I’m not reviewing this film based off of the format I watched it in and think critics that let that influence their overall score of the film are wrong to do so. A film should stand on its own in whatever format it is delivered to you from. There are a few really good moments in ‘WW84’ that I enjoyed. Gal Gadot again is a terrific Wonder Woman and is able to explore a wider acting range that I enjoyed seeing. Chris Pine returning as Steve Trevor was a welcome addition, and they had fun playing with the similar “fish out of water” trope used when Wonder Woman arrives to the world of men in the 2017 film, but turns it around on a fresh from WW1 Steve Trevor being introduced to fanny packs and jet planes. Chris Pine and Gal Gadot’s chemistry is still very good and they really hold the emotional core of the movie together.
New additions to the cast with Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal are for the most part good. I would say these are stronger antagonists than Ares or Doctor Poison from the previous film, but they are not without some quirks that might turn people off to their story. Kristen Wiig’s character arc goes in a similar fashion as Batman Forever’s Riddler (Jim Carrey) or Thor’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and her range of acting kinda jumps between these two extremes. A lot of her eventual transformation into Wonder Woman’s iconic villain Cheetah are cut completely and you never get to see, which really hurt her 3rd act arc that could’ve made her an incredible villain. Max Lord is clearly a nod to Trump, so if you can’t get beyond that or are a die-hard supporter first, why are you watching this? Second, look past it and try to see the intention for Pascal’s character arc to illustrate what is happening now. Pedro Pascal has all the charm and charisma and while a bit cheesy, I could not help but enjoy.
The main issues lie in the films screenplay and story overall. It is about 2 hrs and 15 minutes long, and feels baggy in a few scenes that go on for too long. The character set up in the first act feels clunky, and until Trevor shows up the movie doesn’t really have momentum. Patty Jenkins is a terrific director but tends to focus more on setup more than payoff in the film, aside from a rousing scene where Wonder Woman showcases a new ability that feels as powerful as the no man’s land scene in the previous film. It isn’t that the film is overcrowded or that there wasn’t enough time to establish the character dynamics, the story just doesn’t build these characters relationships enough to payoff in the end.
Overall, I would still recommend ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ for you to check out in whatever format you want! There are some impressive action scenes towards the 2nd and 3rd act, you get to see some moments that dir hard Wonder Woman fans will lose their minds over. The story isn’t quite as strong as the previous film, and tends to feel a little long, but still it has a good message fit for the holidays.