Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984

In Theatres: 
Dec 25, 2020
Running Time: 
151 minutes

The DC Extended Universe was in pretty dire straits until 2017’s Wonder Woman came onto the scene and breathed some much needed life into it. The film was everything I wanted in a superhero movie and more. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was and still is, in my opinion, DCs most interesting and entertaining character in their DCEU lineup. For three years I’ve been dreaming of a sequel, and when Wonder Woman 1984 was officially revealed I couldn’t have been more excited. But just as in the film itself, you have to be careful with what you wish for. Wonder Woman 1984 pales in comparison to its predecessor and while the action will get your blood pumping, it leaves more to be desired in nearly every other aspect.


It’s been decades since the events that happened during World War I and Diana (Gal Gadot) is now working as an anthropologist at the Smithsonian by day while also trying to keep a low profile fighting crime as Wonder Woman. After foiling a robbery at a jewelry store that was a front for a black market, Diana’s department comes into possession of a mysterious stone with the story being that whoever holds the stone can wish for what they desire most, and it will be granted. Businessman and con artist Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) has been searching for the power of the stone as well, but every wish comes with a price. It’s a price that Lord is seemingly willing to pay in order to rule the world.


Right off the bat, Wonder Woman 1984 showcases a vibrant and stylish color palate that captures its time period perfectly. One of the first action scenes at a mall shows everything the film has to offer with a flashy and frenetic pace. Even among all the bright colors, Wonder Woman’s glinting costume and electric Lasso of Truth stand out. The design of it all is absolutely wonderful. The tone of the film is a bit too campy, although it does fit the 80s aesthetic rather well I’d say. There are a few moments that are simply overdone and overacted, typically by secondary characters, that it becomes laughable and just too over-the-top. It’s not necessarily bad; it’s just noticeable.


Where the film really falters is with its story. The main plot revolving around a “Monkey’s Paw” artifact that grants wishes but not without a cost to them brings some interesting ideas to the film, but everything feels half-baked and under-delivered. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is back thanks to a wish from Diana, although he’s been brought back in another man’s body. WW84 casually glances over this and instead just goes along with the idea that audiences are essentially seeing “Steve” as Diana would see him, as Chris Pine. That being said, Pine and Gadot share some of the best moments in the film. I did enjoy the reversal of the fish out of water plot where Steve is now the one who feels out of place in the world of 1984, and it’s Diana who is teaching him about society. 


Kristen Wiig joins the film as Barbara Minerva aka Cheetah, and she’s the main physical antagonist to Wonder Woman, as opposed to Maxwell Lord who is more about controlling society than actually fighting hand-to-hand against her. Wiig is great in the role, and her character actually has more development than Lord. Wonder Woman 1984 struggles in balancing the two, resulting in the latter under delivering. 


Another problem I had with the film is how it just glances over elements. After watching the trailers, I expected Wonder Woman’s golden armor to be a major plot point in the film. As it turns out, she’s just been literally keeping it in the closet collecting dust. While there’s a brief flashback that tells of the origins of the armor itself, Diana just casually mentions how she found it at one point. This is a moment where showing and not telling would have greatly improved the story. The third act of the film feels especially rushed as things reach their apex and then are suddenly brought crashing down as if they’ve hit an invisible wall. The whole film revolves around wishes having consequences, but aside from Wonder Woman herself, we don’t really see many of those consequences play out with audiences just having to assume things happen off screen. 


What also needed vast improvement was the visual effects. While the sets and costumes looked amazing, the CGI looked rather terrible and distracting. There’s a scene where Wonder Woman learns how to ride the wind currents or fly. I’m not sure exactly what she’s doing because the scene itself is laughably bad. That may be the effect of working on post-production during a pandemic, but it definitely shows.


As good as 2017’s Wonder Woman is, it’s disappointing that Wonder Woman 1984 doesn’t even come close to matching the excitement, wonder, and splendor of it. There’s no “No Man’s Land” moment. It has plenty of build up, but no payoff. It’s not as bad as many of the other DC films, but it’s nowhere near as good as we’ve seen her before. Wonder Woman 1984 is mediocrity at its finest.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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