To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Wonder Woman 1984 is a stunning film to look at with a lot of heartwarming moments but fails to slow down to let you enjoy them. In turn, the film feels inferior to the first Wonder Woman in terms of story and in action. Set during 1984, the film follows Diana and Steve as they face off against oil tycoon Maxwell Lord and the wish-granting power that he has recently received from the Dreamstone. Once again directed by Patty Jenkins from a script she co-wrote with Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham. The film sees the return of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, alongside newcomers Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord.
On the positive side, the acting in the film is decent. Gal Gadot is amazing once again as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Diana has an elegance to her that Gal captures very well. There’s the grace of an old soul who may forever be alone because of her immortality and exile from her home island of Themyscira. There’s an inherent sadness to a character like that is not overly emoted on the surface but seen in eyes and facial expressions. It’s great to see her interactions with Steve Trevor being reversed as now he is the “fish out of water.” Speaking of which, Chris Pine is phenomenal. While he is happy to be reunited with Diana, he knows it’s not meant to be and would rather her move on and let herself be happy without him. His possessing a random guy’s body is played for laughs but mostly glossed over. I’ll get more into that later. Pedro Pascal is also good as Max Lord. People have been comparing his performance to Donald Trump, but personally, I don’t see it. Max is shown to have a good heart and really just wants to prove to his son and to the world that you can be successful by following your dream. A little more could have been done to flesh out his background as was done with Diana. Kristin Wiig is very likable as Barbara. She is shown as the klutzy friend but, of course, she becomes hot later by making only a small change to her wardrobe. Her friendship with Diana is a little hard to believe though due to their only meeting during the opening of the film. Barbara’s change into the villainous Cheetah persona starts strong but rushed as the film continues which ends up hurting the character.
The score and cinematography make the film a marvel to look at and listen to. Matthew Jensen does a great job at making all the colors on screen pop (save for the ending fight) making the film look straight out of the ’80s. everything is bright and colorful, reminiscent of the Christopher Reeves’ Superman films. Then there’s the score! Hans Zimmer was born to score superhero films and Wonder Woman 1984 is more enjoyable because of him. The scene where she learns to fly is the best scene in the film and pulls at the heartstrings a bit thanks to the scene that precedes it. Zimmer adds a nice touch to this scene by using his “Time” theme from Inception and it fits perfectly.
On the negative side, continuity is a major issue with this film and this is where I will get into major spoilers. You can tell the writers crafted the story with very little connection to the previous films in the DCEU and it hurts the film. It is clearly mentioned in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League that Wonder Woman has not actively been a heroine in the past 100 years having walked away from humanity after fighting in World War I and losing her love Steve Trevor. Yet here she is in 1984 saving the day in broad daylight, fully dressed in her Wonder Woman gear with her only way of hiding her identity being destroying a few cameras. At one point she’s even fighting in the White House! It somewhat takes away the believability of the overall story and that Lex Luthor was only able to get a single picture with her in it when there should be so much more evidence of her existence. Also, there is Diana’s wish to get Steve Trevor back. The Dreamstone is shown to grant your wish with a negative effect i.e., getting sick, losing her humanity, or burning your mouth on coffee. But with Diana, she gets two. Diana gets Steve back, but he’s in a different man’s body, but as a bonus, she’s also losing her powers. More so, she has abilities in this film that are never explored in the previous movies that are set after this one. As mentioned before, she learns to fly, but can also make things invisible and her lasso of truth can show people the truth via visions. Being generous she could have had all these powers in the future, but it is strange she never decided to use them. Also, there’s her golden eagle armor which feels like it was added to the movie to sell toys. It would make sense if the armor gave her a power boost, but by the time she decides to wear it, she has her full power back. And if the armor is so useful why didn’t use it to fight Doomsday? It wasn’t destroyed at the end of the film. One could say she didn’t have it on her at the time, but that still doesn’t excuse why she didn’t wear it in Justice League. Then there is Cheetah. Barbara’s physical transformation comes out of nowhere and feels unnecessary. As if it was tacked on to give Diana a “big bad” to fight against. Speaking of which, the battle between Cheetah and Wonder Woman takes place at night and the scenes are very dark. It’s like they were trying to hide the shotty CGI on Cheetah when it could have been easily done with practical makeup.
Overall, I felt the film could’ve been better. The writing was subpar and the action was just okay. For a film being marketing as taking place during the Cold War, there are so many avenues they could’ve taken. The film could’ve taken place in any decade after 1960 and worked the same. I give Wonder Woman 1984 a Solid 6.9/10.
[…] Wonder Woman 3 was greenlit hot off the release of Wonder Woman 1984 this past Christmas. The film was delayed numerous times due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and was eventually released on HBO Max. Nonetheless, the film turned out to be a hit for the streaming service, even if the critics did not appreciate it as much as the first film. You can check out our review of the film here. […]