The DCEU was supposedly over, but it limps along with ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ directed by Patty Jenkins, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Geoff Johns. Warner Bros. released it theatrically right beside streaming it on HBO Max.
Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is living alone in Washington, DC, and working at the Smithsonian. She befriends her mousy and shy co-worker Babara Minerva (Kristen Wiig). One day, a mysterious stone arrives at their office after Wonder Woman stops it from being stolen. Diana and Barbara read that it is a wishing stone of some kind and both women make their respective wishes on a whim. Diana wishing to see Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) again and Minerva wishing to have what Diana has. Soon after the flashy, but broke businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) arrives to take possession of it. He uses it to become the wishing stone, which allows him to trade people’s wishes for his own. As Diana researches the effects of the stone, she discovers Steve alive and well. At first, things go well, but Diana slowly begins to lose her powers and Minerva begins to become more powerful, but not in the way she expected.
I knew something was up when the initial reviews had critics slobbering all over it. Typically, critics love to back the wrong horse when it comes to comic book films, but I went into it with an open mind. Its predecessor was way more creative and paid homage to Wonder Woman. Not so much with this latest entry into the Martha Verse. This movie had a lot of hype and a lot of excitement going into it, but there was no payoff.
Gal Gadot was, of course, incredible. She brings both grace and strength to the role of Wonder Woman that a lot of other actresses cannot seem to work out when it comes to playing a superheroine. The rest of the cast does okay, considering what they had to work with, but her performance was the only one that really made any splash.
As for the plot, it was a bloated mess. It definitely had some interesting spots, but the movie tried to do too much with too little. The story of Wonder Woman and Minerva was interesting, but Maxwell Lord bogged it down. Now, while there was some politically correct crap here and there, but I do feel some of the panic surrounding that from certain reviewers was overblown. However, the story was stuffed with so much that you felt like it was waffling from one thing to another, especially with the eighties vibe. The first twenty minutes had the nostalgia thing working and then it just… kind of stops. Even Chris Pine as Steve Trevor looking at the decadence of the eighties felt forced and out of place instead of funny.
I think if Maxwell Lord had been cut or used as the final boss it would have been more straightforward. It could have focused more on the jealousy Minerva feels toward Wonder Woman and how their strengths reflect on one another. This would have made the climax more personal and would have made Steve’s interactions more enduring. Unfortunately, Patty Jenkins did not go in that direction. Considering DCEU directors love to whine that their “true vision” did not get fully realized when bad reviews or fan reactions come in, I wonder if a “release the Jenkins cut” will happen. To her credit, she has stayed above the fray in that regard.
Bottom line, Wonder Woman 1984 shows Gal Gadot’s natural talent as the DC Comics Amazon Princess, but it feels so bloated in the story department you feel like you are watching Diana jump from one thing to another with no end in sight. It is fun here and there, but ultimately, fails to live up to the hype.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Some days, my childhood feels so very far away. And others… I can almost see it. The magical land of my youth… like a beautiful dream of when the whole world felt like a promise and the lessons that lay ahead yet unseen. Looking back, I wish I’d listened. Wish I’d watched more closely and understood. But sometimes you can’t see what you’re learning until you come out the other side.
Check out the trailer below:
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