‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Review: Fun – But Not Wonderful

Wonder Woman 1984

Before COVID-19 turned our world upside down – the film I was most excited for in 2020 was Wonder Woman 1984. After the film was pushed from it’s original date, I held onto hope that there might be some way we could still see it in this crazy year. While most industry folks are pretty angry at Warner Brothers and HBO Max, I, myself, am pretty excited that this film will be available not only in theaters on Christmas day (for those that feel comfortable) but also on HBO Max (for those that don’t feel comfortable going back into theaters yet).

We fast-forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big-screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah. With director Patty Jenkins back at the helm and Gal Gadot returning in the title role, Wonder Woman 1984 is Warner Bros. Pictures’ follow up to the DC Super Hero’s first outing, 2017’s record-breaking “Wonder Woman,” which took in $822 million at the worldwide box office. The film also stars Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Kristen Wiig as The Cheetah, Pedro Pascal as Max Lord, Robin Wright as Antiope, and Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta.


Wonder Woman 1984 Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like

Rarely does a sequel live up to its predecessor. We go into a film, remembering how much we loved the first one – and then, more often than not, we end up disappointed. Wonder Woman 1984 doesn’t break any new ground with this age-old trajectory. I was insanely excited, and I was incredibly disappointed.

I won’t dive into spoilers, but I will say a few things… there’s a point in the film where Steve (Chris Pine) learns to operate a jet in about 90 seconds. And while yes, I know he’s piloted planes before – if you hadn’t used a computer since 1980 – Do you think you could learn to operate one in 90 seconds today? Also, yes, I know my comparisons don’t line up here (as the last Wonder Woman was set in 1918, but my point being if you miss out on even just a decade of tech – it’s hard to pick right up where you left off.

Next, we see Steve and Diana fly through a fireworks display… because that wouldn’t cause any issues for a plane…. And then, the plane they’re in supposedly makes it from DC to Egypt with no need to refuel…. and then back again – also without needing a pit stop…. I realize these sound like nit-picky things. But little details are ultimately the glue of films like this – especially films that tell the story of something unbelievable. You still have to have ordinary and normal moments to keep it grounded in something that feels like it could be real.

My main issue is that we end up with gaps in the story in different areas throughout the whole film. The script just makes assumptions that you won’t question the reality of a situation. When the reality is, I did question it…. throughout the entire film. And that’s not even diving into where Wonder Woman’s new armor comes from. I mean, wasn’t that worthy of a 5-minute scene? Seeing her put it on and feel the gravity of what that meant? Instead, it’s presented like – oh, I guess she just had this in her closet. No biggie.

Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, and Pedro Pascal – all do fine work in their character portrayals. But the character development isn’t there. There are holes in their emotional journey in the same sense there are holes in the actual storyline as I’ve described above. Even if we just stay focused on Diana/Wonder Woman herself – we ignore the comics and the introduction of her flying…. Whether you stick with the storyline of Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths (in 1985) or 2011’s relaunch of DC Comics’ entire line of publications (where Wonder Woman was also gifted the ability to fly by Hermes) – neither of them play out with Wonder Woman learning how to fly the way she does in this film.

Perhaps I was already irritated by this part of the film – that Wonder Woman flying in this way just pushed me off the ledge. And your homegirl here can’t fly, and my feelings on the film just continued to plummet to the earth like the human I am. Dramatic much? You guys, I have strong opinions on comic book films.

I realize how harsh my review sounds. I don’t want to say that I didn’t enjoy the film at all…. I do think there’s a series of hopeful moments at the end where the viewer can draw a parallel to what’s going on in the film and where we are with our country’s leadership in 2020. Why the ending of the movie may be a little too neatly wrapped up – if there’s ever a year in which we need a happy ending with hope – it’s this year. On that note, I appreciate how the film navigates us through roughly the last 10 minutes of the movie.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 is a fun film and brings an inspiring character to the big screen in a year when she’s very much needed. However, fans of the comics (and of coherent storytelling) will probably have some issues with this film. It feels rushed, and in a year where everything has felt like 90234894 years, it’s quite noticeable. If you have HBO Max, definitely check it out – but lower your expectations. Patty Jenkins hasn’t hit another home run with this one.

Wonder Woman 1984 Review:

Grade: C


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