Back in 2017 when Wonder Woman came out my first reaction was that DC needed to give Patty Jenkins the keys to their movie-making department and let her run all of the franchises. That movie was that good. I’ve just finished watching Wonder Woman 1984. My first reaction?
We should take those keys back.
Gal Gadot is, as always, perfect in the role. Chris Pine was also excellent. The opening sequence with a young Diana on Themyscira was great and gives promise of a sequel worthy of the 2017 film. It is a promise ultimately unkept.
The scenes between Gadot and Pine are the highlight of the film, especially when the roles are reversed in the second film and Diana is showing an awe-struck Steve a brand new world full of wonders. Working in both the invisible jet and Lynda Carter into the film were two nice highlights as well as the action scenes involving Diana and Steve.
Sadly, that is the sum total of the good parts of this film.
This movie is set in 1984, which presents a canonical issue with the Justice League films where Bruce Wayne states that Diana had “shut down” for a century after Steve’s death. Even though Diana is dispatching security cameras along with mall robbers to keep from being photographed in 1984, she is being seen by a lot of people, in action and in costume, for word of her activities not to get out.
But major plot hole issues aside, this film didn’t need to be set in 1984. It could have just as easily worked in present day without having to change a thing in how it ends – aside from being able to take a few political pot shots at two Republican presidents. (I read the interview where Jenkins says she didn’t make it political. If you believe this, I have this very nice bridge in New York to sell to you…)
The other problem with the film are the villains. Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara (Cheetah) Minerva (Kristen Wiig) are barely two dimensional characters, much less fully-developed villains to help carry the film. The God of War and a power-mad German General with his psychotic chemical weapons creator-sidekick helped punch up the first film.
In WW84, Wiig’s character could have been cut out from the entire film and not have been missed. Shoot, it might have even made the film better. Pascal did what he could with the part but Max Lord just never rises to the level of a Lex Luthor or a Ra’s al Ghul. Both Lord and Cheetah drag the film down and not even Gadot and Pine can save it.
I also think Chris Pine deserved a better final scene than the one he was given.
Overall, I give the film a “Meh” and thankfully I didn’t waste the price of a theater ticket and the overpriced concession stand food on it. HBOMAX comes free from my cable subscriber. I’m still undecided if I’ll add this film to my DVD collection in March when it is released.