Wonder Woman 1984
Years ago, I wrote a review that praised the Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot and how much it impacted me. It still remains one of my favorite films from DC Comics, and needless to say, I was looking forward to more adventures with the Amazonian warrior, seeing what wonderful stories and lessons could come from the world’s most iconic female superhero. At long last, we finally have a sequel, but does it invoke inspiration and hope as the first movie did?
Unfortunately, this sequel was not worth the wait. In fact, we probably would have benefited if the movie used more time to fully develop its plot hole filled narrative and iron out some really rough and painful edges. The story features two famous villains from the Wonder Woman comics, Maxwell Lord and Cheetah, but neither character was used to great effect. Whereas Ares made Wonder Woman question her faith in the human race, these villains just seem to be merely nuisances to her, not challenging her personally. It’s a shame because the actors that play these antagonists are very talented and have done great work in other projects. Here, they feel like they jumped out of a Saturday morning cartoon, being overly dramatic and cheesy to the point it’s sort of an eye sore. Additionally, Diana’s dilemma is dealing with her loss of Trevor. She wishes him back into her life...only to bring him back! This presents an interesting issue for her, and admittingly, it produces a couple of emotional scenes that force Diana to make tough decisions in order to be the selfless hero we adore. However, it’s hard to ignore a very bad and glaring fact about Trevor’s return that really detracts the emotional weight. Trevor comes back only consciously, not physically. Trevor’s mind/soul/essence possesses the body of another man, and Diana has some *ahem* fun with the man without consent. Why Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and the other storytellers of this movie decided to do this is inexcusable. They make it very clear that the wish granting rock that drives the whole plot can pretty much do whatever you want it to do, and Trevor could have just resurrected without possessing anyone--simple as that. There are many glaring issues with this story that just get overlooked and ignored, but this is probably the most insulting one. It really saddens me to see so many stupid moments in this movie, because the Wonder Woman franchise is capable of greater things.
Speaking of underutilizing potential, this movie takes place in the year, as the title implies, 1984, a time in history when the king of pop thrilled us and kids were told they would shoot their eyes out with BB guns. The 80s are looked back on fondly, and many kids today still enjoy the music, movies, and culture of that time. It was a unique and exciting decade, but you wouldn't know it from this movie. Aside from the clothing and the President of the United States, this movie could have taken place in almost any decade after WWII. And no, you won't be bopping your head to classic songs. Instead, you may be lulled to sleep with operatic music instead. The underutilized setting made me question why the movie bothered having 1984 in its title.
The one saving grace in this movie are the lead actors. Gadot and Pine are once again an adorable on-screen couple, and their chemistry provides for some fun interactions and funny moments. You can sense that they really care about their characters and strive to connect to the audience as much as they can. They help sell the awe, wonder, and heartbreak that their characters experience. It’s just a shame they weren’t able to showcase their acting chops with a more robust script.
Wonder Woman 1984 leaves much to be desired and is not a satisfying continuation of the iconic hero. There are a lot of promising ideas at play here, but unfortunately, they aren’t as fully realized as they could have been. Despite this disappointing entry, I still look forward to further adventures with the Amazonian warrior, and I sincerely hope the next movie focuses more tightly on its theme and its messaging, as well as leaving no plot hole unfilled. I know the Wonder Woman franchise is capable of better stories, and I remain optimistic that we will get another movie that showcases the character and her legacy in a more wondrous way.
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