During this time that we’re living in we’re all in need of a little hope. Whether it’s safely hanging out with a friend or watching a really good movie, we need something to get us through this. Warner Bros. and DC announcing that they’ll release Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max gave some of us that spark of hope that we desperately needed since the beginning of this pandemic. There haven’t really been any substantial movie releases lately and if there were a vast majority of us couldn’t watch them due to theaters being closed. Wonder Woman 1984 being released simultaneously on HBO Max and in select theaters should satisfy all fans and leave them with a sense of normalcy.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984 has had a pretty difficult road getting to theaters. It was initially pushed from November 2019 to June 2020 and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing it to be delayed numerous times. Warner Bros. recently decided to give the film a streaming release for those who can’t watch in theaters and screened it for select members of the press about a week ago. I was one of the lucky few who got to see the film and while I had a good time, I believe that it definitely has some issues.
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 is a very vast departure from the first film. The original was an epic war flick that focuses on themes that the sequel doesn’t quite comprehend. 1984 is basically an ’80s romp. From the moment we see Diana Prince in the ’80s, Patty Jenkins and the rest of the people behind the film hold nothing back and practically force the decade upon you. The first ’80s action sequence was laughable at best in the sense that none of it was believable despite the fact that it was brilliantly choreographed. I know that this is a superhero movie. Just take my word for it when it comes to this scene. This review may come off as very negative, but 1984 isn’t all bad. I had a good time with it, but my issues outweigh my love for it. The story feels like a total cop out just to bring Chris Pine back as Steve Trevor. The villains were really weak and Kristen Wiig’s performance as Cheetah just wasn’t for me. To top it all off the film’s climax was the strangest end to a DC Comics movie that I have ever seen. What was supposed to invoke emotions left me befuddled.
Wonder Woman 1984 shows us who Diana Prince is without Steve Trevor and the Justice League. She’s working at the Smithsonian Museum, leading a team that curates artifacts all the while secretly fighting crime. When the Smithsonian gets a new shipment that features a stone that grants wishes, Diana Prince makes a wish to bring back Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor and Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva wishes to be more like Diana, leading us on a very strange adventure involving Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord. As the story progresses things get a little wacky and sacrifices have to be made for the greater good and that sacrifice is the plot and performances.
Gal Gadot returns to her role as Diana Prince and it’s her fourth time playing Wonder Woman on the big screen. From the moment Diana steps on the screen, Gadot shines. It’s like she was meant to play this character. Gadot has become very comfortable in the role and it shows throughout the movie. The moments that she plays off of Chris Pine are the best and what I loved most about 1984. Their roles are pretty much reversed from the first film. with Pine now playing the “fish out of water” character with Gadot there to guide him. Pine gets brought back to life as Steve Trevor and it’s as if he hasn’t missed a step. He’s charming, hilarious and plays this version of Trevor so well. 1984 certainly solidifies Trevor as one of my favorite DC Extended Universe characters even though the way he was brought back to life was a total cop out. If Wonder Woman 1984 was just a romantic comedy starring Gadot and Pine, I probably would have loved it a little more, but the film features two antagonists that totally ruin it.
Now, Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah and Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord are where I draw my line in the sand. Again, I know that this is a comic book movie, but they’re not realistic. They take the film to a place where things get a little bit too fantastical and their performances become a total let down. 1984 marks Pascal’s DCEU debut. His version of Lord is an oil tycoon whose business is failing. While Pascal is solid during the first act of the film, his performance (and the film) falls apart when he gets his wish from the stone. He becomes totally unhinged and turns the film into a mess, bringing Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah along for the ride. Wiig’s Barbara Minerva is pretty much the exact opposite of Diana. She’s bumbling, not graceful and pretty envious. She wishes to be more like Diana and that wish comes at a price: her humanity. While Cheetah loses her humanity in Wonder Woman 1984, Wiig loses her acting prowess. The character was supposed to come off as frightening and ultimately failed due to the dull performance given by Wiig. Although I had fun with Wonder Woman 1984, the fantastical story and weak villains make it hard for me to love it.
Overall Thoughts: While I had fun with Wonder Woman 1984, there’s no denying that it has flaws. The very predictable plot, terrible villains and the ’80s stuff all add up to a very mediocre film. Would I watch the film again? Yes. Would I recommend that people watch it? Of course. This is definitely a film that kids will enjoy and should make their holidays pretty worthwhile. Chris Pine and Gal Gadot’s chemistry alone is worth the price of getting an HBO Max subscription. Wonder Woman 1984 is very flawed, but it might just be what people at home need right now.