Wonder Woman 1984
review by Bobby Blakey
In 2017 after hit and miss box office for DCs cinematic universe, the long in development feature film solo film debut of Wonder Woman hit the big screen. The film quickly turned the tide of DC feature films followed up by Aquaman, Shazam and most recently Joker. After numerous delays due to the pandemic the highly anticipated sequel Wonder Woman 1984 starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright is finally here. Could this next chapter capture the same magic of the first film or is it only wishing it could live up to the hype?
Wonder Woman 1984 follows Diana Prince who is now working incognito as a cultural anthropologist at Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian while still feeling the loss of Steve Trevor and trying to keep the world safe as Wonder Woman along with her identity secret. When a mysterious stone arrives at the Smithsonian it garners the attention of Maxwell Lord who knows the truth of what it has to offer. Meanwhile the timid Barbara Minerva who also unwittingly also uses the stone with both setting off a chain of events that will force Wonder Woman into a fight to save the world.
I admit I am not a big fan of the Wonder Woman character, but loved the first film. I was really looking forward to see where they took this next chapter especially bringing to the 80s and the addition of Cheetah. Right out the gate it takes us back to the contest you see in the trailers allowing us to not only return to Paradise Island but to see some characters we’ve lost in previous films. This simple sequence is a ton of fun to watch and instantly reminds you of what made the first film work so great. This is of course a set up for a future lesson like is often used helping to bind it all together.
When we jump ahead we get to not only witness heroics of seeing Wonder Woman in all her superhero glory, but also spend some time with Diana Prince in her isolated world. Believe it or not this film spends more time with Diana in the plain clothes outside of the usual Wonder Woman wardrobe and while that
may seem disappointing it works for the narrative of the bigger story. The return of Steve Trevor is one I was concerned how they were going to wiggle that in, but it works in a very simple and clever way that helps to keep it from being so much forced but an arc that Diana needs.
It’s no surprise that Gal Gadot steps right back into the role like she never left bringing not only the strong powerful and elegant presence of the iconic character, but also a bit of fragility both physically and emotionally that helped to evolve the character. This time around they have switched the roles where she is fully emmersed in the world now and Trevor is now the fish out of water. This offers up some of the more lighthearted moments that Pine executes perfectly. Gadot and Pine have great chemistry and it perfectly shines through on screen to really give you the sense of emotion they are dealing with both good and bad.
Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord is kind of a cheesy villain in the best way possible and Pascal chews up the scenery. He looks to be having a great time in the role and in turn makes it a fun one to watch. The arc for Wiig’s Menerva is familiar in it reminded me initially of Catwoman from Batman Returns, but they bring numerous new elements to it that still makes it feel like its own thing. Wiig is so good in the role shifting between the awkward klutz to the powerful character she becomes. I know some were worried to how the final look of her character looked in the trailer but it comes off really well in the final film. I always hated the gold armor that is showcased in all the trailers and promos, but I admit it seeing how it is used in the finished product is really cool.
For those worried about the amount of time I mentioned focuses more on Diana and Trevor have no fear there is plenty of Wonder Woman action sprinkled throughout with two pretty big sequences. There are also some great nods to classic Wonder Woman that will no doubt have the fans smiling ear to ear. Both films feature a ton of CGI especially in the final act, but there it still felt more grounded to me even with the outlandish characters we are dealing with.
I love the first film and the time period it inhabits, but have to say I think I like this one even more. It just felt like we get more from everyone involved despite there being so much going on. This is not only a great superhero film featuring powerful female characters it showcases a powerful message about being satisfied with what you have and who you are which is so much more important now than ever before. Be sure to stay through the credits per usual for a midcredit scene.
Check out Wonder Woman 1984 when it hits theaters and HBO MAX on December 25th.