Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Set in the 1980s after the events of the first film but before the rest of the DCEU, Wonder Woman 1984 sees Diana drawn into conflict with Maxwell Lord and The Cheetah while dealing with a more personal dilemma when (spoilers but they spoiled it in the trailer) Steve Trevor mysteriously reappears. Wonder Woman 1984 was released on HBO Max on Christmas to predominantly poor reviews, reportedly defeated by Disney+’s Soul in subscribers gained for the streaming services.
Look there’s no easing into this one, Wonder Woman 1984 wasn’t very good. How not good is it? It’s not quite to the point of not worth watching,’ but it is to the point of ‘maybe don’t get an HBO Max subscription JUST to watch it. If you are going to pay for it, go see it if you can! Support movies being in theaters and don’t give Warner Bros justification to stream all their movies. That or wait for it to come out on Redbox. Now let’s jump on in!
1984 has a great many problems, most of which stem from the screenplay. A largest issues worth noting aside from the writing are the uneven pacing and tone. The film attempts to recapture the fish-out-of-water feel of the first, but this rom-com subplot simply doesn’t work very well. However without it this would be called Maxwell Lord 1984, since the majority Gal Gadot gets sidelined to screentime with Chris Pine. While there is a solution to this problem, that would also stem from the screenplay. Huh, so I guess every problem I have with this film comes from the writing. Okay let’s just get into it!
The writing in this film is a complete mess, and I’m on vacation. So here’s just all the things that don’t work: The opening sequence has no payoff; both villains are underdeveloped despite Pedro Pascal stealing the show; the 80s is almost totally ignored, the abilities of the villains aren’t clearly explained- heck the abilities of Wonder Woman aren’t clearly explained! This film introduces ideas that make me wonder why the fight in Batman v Superman wasn’t over more quickly! And I could go on and on here; I probably should. But the takeaway is that the writing not only takes away any potential heart this film has, but creates a consistently confusing viewing experience. So while the film is not quite structurally unsound, it does hurt the flow of the film when you have to stop and for a ‘wait, what?’ every few minutes.
Now I want to make something clear, there is no shortage of problems in this film. However I thought most of them were little problems. There’s a ton of them, and when they add up, it really slows this movie to a crawl. But overall I still didn’t hate Wonder Woman. First, Hans Zimmer’s score is INCREDIBLE. I adore the 80s feel without cheesing up the film, and the playful blend of old and new themes is really great. That said, I hate films that use pieces from other movies, and I guess someone thought Sunshine (2007) and Pompeii (2014) were more fitting I suppose. (That said my all time favorite film uses at least two songs from other movies…)
What really saved this film for me were the performances. In order from least to greatest, I didn’t dislike Kristen Wiig. Actually I thought she did a fine job! Sure here character arc is super weird, but I honestly thought she pulled it off better than a few VERY similar characters from other comic book movies. Chris Pine returning was a questionable choice, however his performance single-handedly sold me on it. Sure it might be a more fluid film without him, but it would be a lifeless one at best. Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman, and she totally sells the constantly confusing things happening with her character. But make no mistake, Wonder Woman 1984 is the Pedro Pascal show. His character motivations aren’t always the most clear, but his never-ending charisma totally steals the show.
A few other mixed feelings I have include the lack of action but choice to focus on character development (or at least moments of it), a surprisingly unique story only to have it be underdeveloped by strange shortcuts, and honestly a handful more of just up and downs. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t that good. On a technical level, it hit more points than Suicide Squad (2016), so I want to give it a 6/10. Actually I think I’m going to give it a 6/10 for the performances alone, but this might be the case where it goes down to a 5/10 after a second viewing.
So Wonder Woman 1984? Have you seen it or watched it yet? What did you think? And did you also like Soul better? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it (Soul for example), be sure to let us know in the comments what you want to see us review next!
-review by Ryan Prince