‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Review
Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and some new faces join together on the big screen for the epic spectacle Wonder Woman 1984. Three years after Patty Jenkins’ original blockbuster hit, the story about the Amazonian warrior Diana, born from the gods and royalty, continues - but this time it’s 1984.
The feminist outlook of the 2017 ‘Wonder Woman’ gathered in many audiences, quite possibly saving DC’s bad reputation for superhero movies. In this portrayal of the original comic books, Diana, a pilot, and a few other friends joined forces to earn a World War I victory against a chemical weaponry engineer/the god Ares that would end all wars. The prequel was action-packed, involving sword fights, explosions, fistfights, and more to keep the audiences’ attention. And as per usual, these movies always add a romantic element, pairing Diana and Steve (the pilot) together as a questionable couple. But of course, the great power of Diana and her kind against the weaker men at the time was the big eye-catcher of the film, as the activism for feminism continued to grow as a movement.
After many were amazed and impressed by this first movie, the announcement of the sequel received a lot of hype. The major timeskip excited fans, the new concept bringing hope that the new movie would come with more punches, kicks, and action. But, once the movie was released in theaters and on HBO Max on Christmas Day, we were up for a major disappointment. Even though sequels are infamous for being terrible movies compared to their predecessors, we never saw it coming. DC just happened to lose the reputation once again.
The over impressive flashback beginning to the movie still kept us interested, the younger Diana (Lilly Aspell) and her inhumane strength beating full-grown women in what looks similar to an Olympic event… only to lose for cheating. But the set, the stunts, the acting, the suspense, is all that we needed for the movie to be absolute gold. Then we flash-forward to 1984, where a lonely, grown-up Diana (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Museums in the bustling city of Washington D.C. In the crazy-shaped, crazy-colored ‘80s, Diana finds her “opposite,” an awkward, loud, but rather intelligent Barbara (Kristen Wiig). As they start to become friends through a few trips to restaurants and hangouts at work, they come upon a magical stone with an untranslatable message. Well, it turns out this magical stone grants wishes, the first (although accidental) one involving Barbara’s jealousy of Diana. Once she gets power, confidence, and attractiveness on her side, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) struts into things, taking a suspicious interest in the stone after years of research. Creating a fake relationship with Barbara, he snatches the stone and becomes it, they both become villains after granting any wish to literally the whole world, and therefore the world comes way too close to ending. Diana even wishes herself to bring back her boyfriend before all the madness, Steve (Christopher Pine), taking the body of a random man. But during the chaos, Diana still manages to save the day and gets them all to renounce their wishes, so once Maxwell renounced his, world peace was back at it again.
The thing about all of this is, even though Diana is so physically strong, we learn that much of her strength is just a magical power, and she doesn’t maintain mental strength at all. She loses her physical power as her mental health worsens, because her wish to keep Steve as her boyfriend ruins it all. In this film, Diana isn’t portrayed as a powerful woman to portray the feminism movement, but she’s portrayed as a weak woman who can’t handle any physical or mental stress once we get to the climax. This was one of the major disappointments for this sequel, as in the prequel she’s able to withstand so much more.
The movie writers also fail to realize that the theme or message of this movie is a huge step down from the impact that the original gave us. “Be careful of what you wish for” is such a basic message for this movie, an easy feat for actors to show throughout the movie. This theme is something so generic, essentially following the message of movies like Aladdin. Being a movie intended for slightly older audiences, I’d expect a much deeper, hard-to-spot, impactful meaning for Wonder Woman 1984, but the way this message was executed wasn’t even done well at all either. Having the “be careful what you wish for” image as the theme is one thing if it’s executed well, but another thing to be able to spot so easily.
And of course, I can’t finish without mentioning the infamous plot holes all throughout the movie. I just happened to spend most of the movie not knowing what’s going on at all because nothing told me or let me infer what’s going on. I didn’t even know what the purpose of this wishing stone was until Maxwell “became” it, and being the most important object in the movie, I expected to know what it was.
When Barbara suddenly became pretty, neat, confident, and powerful, I couldn’t fathom how it could happen. Because I didn’t know what the stone’s power was at the time, it seemed so random that something like this would happen. And when Steve took over the body of “Handsome Man” as he’s been named, I didn’t realize until the end of the movie that she had wished for this to happen, and I assumed that Steve was magically reincarnated too (I had no idea that he took over the body of someone else until Diana said something about it 20 minutes later). This list of logic-missing moments from the writers could go on forever, this confusion of mine was likely relevant with many other audiences.
Despite all of these negative points that I mentioned, I actually enjoyed the movie when I wasn’t confused or angry. The top-notch acting (especially from Pedro Pascal), the sets, the outfits, the humor, it was all fun and good to watch. Some other prominent issues, like Maxwell’s with his family, could even be relatable and meaningful to others. While I found this to be a slightly below average movie, there are opinions all over the spectrum. But to me and to many other people, DC basically ruined it all again.