Directed by Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen
Runtime: 151 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of action and violence)
First I would like to dedicate this week’s review to my Grandpa Steve McManus. My grandma Jane and he would always reads my reviews weekly. Thinking of you.
We SUPRISINGLY had three new options this week. A sequel, a western, and a thriller. You can add one more to the list if you want to add Pinocchio. We won’t be seeing that one. I should be viewing all three of these films but I wanted to start with the “biggest” release. Wonder Woman 1984 is a direct sequel to the 2017 origin film. If you follow any news on movie releases at all you will know there was controversy surrounding this release. Warner Brothers (the production company) made the decision to release all of their films on HBO Max the same day as theater releases. This has caused much division between large cinema chains and the WB. The conflict is warranted. You have one side mentioning safety with COVID and want to give every viewer the opportunity to see the film (if they don’t feel comfortable indoors yet) and you have the theaters saying this will cause a quick demise to theaters as we know it. I don’t have the answer for this dilemma. I will say that since I’ve been back into theaters I’ve felt that each cinema I have been too has went above and beyond with social distancing and procedures to keep us all safe. This film came out Christmas Day and I wanted to see it in the theaters. I’ve said it before but to me there is something special about sitting down with popcorn and turning things off for a couple hours to become entranced in whatever is on the screen. Regardless of our ratings the next few weeks. PLEASE go to the theater and watch these films.
Onto the movie.
We open with a flashback of sorts. Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) is seen as a child competing in an “Olympic” event with other warriors. She’s young here (maybe 7 or 8 years old) and is determined to win. We see her take a shortcut to win, but is disqualified from the competition. Que life lesson here. We then are treated to a 2nd opening.
As the film is titled 1984 we see a now adult Wonder Woman (Gadot) fighting criminals in a mall. It has a touch of cheesiness and over-the-top action that collates with the 80s tone. Unfortunately, besides the costumes, the 80s throwbacks in there. We learn that Diana works for the Smithsonian, and we meet her new friend Barbara (Wiig) who works as a geologist and a crypto-zoologist. This is where the film falls back into cliché plot points (similar to the life lesson we get in the beginning.) Barbara isn’t very confident and doesn’t
have many friends. We then learn of an object called the “Dreamstone” that grants wishes. Yes that’s literally the McGuffin in this film. Surprised it wasn’t shaped like a lamp. Meanwhile, we meet Maxwell Lord (Pascal) who as a businessman is essentially running a Ponzi scheme. We see his business is failing and akin to Barbara he has a wish. We now get back to Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. It’s obvious from having dinner alone and living by herself she misses her lost love Steve Trevor (Pine) I won’t spoil the last film, but if you’ve watched it you realize there is a reason he isn’t around. All of the main cast each has something they wish for and as you can imagine the dreamstone works magic. However, each wish comes with a price.
I won’t delve anymore into the plot, but I will say I left feeling disappointed. I personally thought that the last Wonder Woman film (2017) was one of the few highlights in the DC universe. Whether this was because it was a sequel, or the bar was set to high, this film didn’t live up to the expectations set up by its predecessor. The acting was over-the-top which worked at parts but others was too much. The action was hit or miss as well. We had a great fight scene in the middle of the film, jumping between vehicles, but the end turns into a CGI nightmare. I get the film trying to show you hidden meaning to their messages, but we were force-fed it and it fell flat. However, I was happy with the casting, both Wiig and Pascal were welcome additions to the cast, they just couldn’t elevate a subpar script and storyline. If you’re a fan of the first film, watch it. You could do worse with 2 hours and some of the action pieces look great on the big-screen. Just don’t expect to be wowed like seeing Wonder Woman in WWI. 2 ½ stars out of 5
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper