TL;DR – In many respects, this is a messy film, but it is also engaging and entertaining from start to finish
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Wonder Woman 1984 Review –
Of all the film franchises that have had a rough go of it in recent years, the top of that list would have to be the DC Extended Universe. For a long time, it felt like it was trying to find an identity after the first attempt fell flat and it kept swinging wildly trying to compensate. The first Wonder Women film came out, and for the first time in the franchise’s history, it actually stuck the landing. The question then becomes ‘can they do it again?’ and the answer is apparently yes, yes they can.
So to set the scene, we open back on Themyscira when Diana (Lilly Aspell) was a young girl. It is a festival day where the warriors of the land compete in a grand obstacle course, and of course, Diana wants to join in. It is here where she learns the important lesson that there are no shortcuts in life. As time goes on, we see little snippets of Diana’s (Gal Gadot) life as she hides among the humans but every now and again she dons the mantle of Wonder Women to fight some crime. What she didn’t expect is this crime would unearth something that should have stayed buried.
The first thing that stands out in Wonder Woman 1984 is the characters, which is good because they help smooth over some of the film’s issues. Every single person in this film is swinging for the fences, and honestly, it is a delight to watch. What’s interesting is that there are very few returning characters this time around. Just Diana, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and Antiope (Robin Wright) and the last two only appear briefly in the opening sequence. Indeed we see most of the characters from the first film grow old and probably die in the opening montage. This could be damaging for a film series like this, but WW84 hits the ground running and never looks back.
Part of this is because Gal and Chris have fantastic chemistry with each other which we see from the moment they appear on the screen. I honestly wondered how they could bring Steve back and not have it feel forced, but hey they found a way and even helped make someone’s fantasy of waking up with Chris Pine eating pop tarts in bed a reality. Given their relationship is the bedrock of the film, it makes most of what happens work as well as it does. Of our main new cast, we have Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) who probably has the biggest arc of any character in the film from where she starts and ends up. Honestly, it did remind me of a more gradual Michelle Pfeiffer/Catwoman transition. Then we have Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) who is our big bad. While they say officially that the inspiration comes from old versions of Lex Luther, as a conman who grifts investors out of their money, who is famous for their tv-appearances … well it is not hard to see where they were going with that. However, when you have Pedro Pascal, well he can make anything work which he does here.
Things are a little bit more mixed or at least a little bit more subjective from a production point of view. In the opening scene of 1984, you get the sense of the world they are working in, and it is aggressively 80s. The hair, the clothes, the mall, it is all there. But it is also very straight forward, so if you are looking for the vibrant, colourful film alluded to in the posters, well outside of a scene or two it is missing. Most of the action scenes revolve around Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, which gives them all an almost Cirque du Soleil feel. This is probably the most subjective thing in the film. As well as this, I am not sure the CGI construction of Cheetah helped those action scenes land. Finally, this might be Hans Zimmer’s most out-there score so far regarding his personal style. It is not bad per se, but it is an odd departure from the norm. But then it is always a good time to add John Murphy’s Adagio in D Minor, and when those first few chords played, I made a giddy sound in the theatre.
Where the film does not work as well is in its story, which let’s be honest is a bit of a mess, but at least an earnest mess. While you can understand the Monkey’s Paw nature of our key piece of tech, the film starts going off on weird tangents when Lord incorporates it. I think part of this is that it is never clear how it all works added in with some wildly inaccurate understandings of world history. This mess is then added to by an ending that is just a little bit too neat and tidy. As I said previously, this is not a significant issue because the cast and characters make up for the shortfall. Indeed, it might be a story that works better on a second viewing, but it was not the film’s strongest aspect.
In the end, do we recommend Wonder Woman 1984? Yes, yes we do. It is not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, and the story does hold it back in places. But it was engaging from start to finish, filled with great character moments, and scenes that were a lot of fun.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Wonder Woman 1984
Directed by – Patty Jenkins
Story by – Patty Jenkins & Geoff Johns
Screenplay by – Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns & David Callaham
Based on – Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston
Music by – Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by – Matthew Jensen
Edited by – Richard Pearson
Production/Distribution Companies – DC Films, Atlas Entertainment, The Stone Quarry & Warner Brothers.
Starring – Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked, Natasha Rothwell, Kristoffer Polaha, Oliver Cotton, Lucian Perez, Gabriella Wilde, Kelvin Yu, Stuart Milligan & Lynda Carter
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13