” Nothing good is born of lies. And greatness is not what you think.”– Gal Gadot as Diana Prince
By Cain Dennis
“Wonder Woman 1984” is an extremely confusing film. In 2017, Patty Jenkins’ original “Wonder Woman” kind of took the world by storm when it released as the first DC Comics Extended Universe movie to, at the time be received well by critics and audiences alike. While I didn’t think that it was amazing, I enjoyed the first Wonder Woman film, and I still think that Gal Gadot is a perfect fit for the character, but after this new entry in the series, it looks more and more like the first film was a one-hit wonder.
I’ll start with the things that I enjoyed about WW84. Gal Gadot, of course still carries the movie on her back, and I enjoyed the Olympic style set piece that started off the movie with young Diana in the Amazon homeland of Themyscira. Hans Zimmer’s score is very good, but it’s hardly his best work. I was left scratching my head as to why, at a pivotal part in the film, the score just rips John Murphy’s “Adagio in D”, you may know it when you hear it. When you have an incredible composer like Hans Zimmer, use him! I also liked the setting of the year 1984, but it served as little more than set dressing and a few sight gags, even though 1984 is part of the film’s title, the year this story takes place in has very little bearing on the story itself. Kristen Wiig also puts in a good performance as Barbara Minerva/The Cheetah, but her character is written so poorly that even her charming and funny performance can’t salvage it. And I know that I started complaining even as I listed what I liked, but this is kind of movie that really doesn’t have much positive about it to be discussed. At every turn, it contradicts itself and most of its performances are extremely campy and overacted. I have been a fan of Pedro Pascal’s since his turn as Oberyn Martell in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and he has recently gained a huge following because of his turn in “The Mandalorian” but as failed oil baron Maxwell Lord in WW84, he is almost hilariously bad, but almost everyone is. Patty Jenkins’ direction in this film is likely the poorest I have seen in a big budget comic book movie in a very long time.
My criticism of Jenkins doesn’t end at the direction, as she also wrote the terrible script for WW84. I don’t want to speak of specific story beats or spoilers but in this film, things happen just for the sake of happening, and only ever because the story needs it to. Fully fueled jet fighters sit, barely guarded for the taking. Wishes granted by a magic macguffin. Character’s powers come and leave when the plot demands and character motivations and decisions are completely ridiculous. I don’t expect realism from comic book films, but I do expect them to adhere to the rules and restrictions put in place by their own stories or other entries in franchises they are expected to fit in with. WW84 is entirely unconcerned at fitting with other films in the DC universe, and even with its own predecessor. This barely even feels like a sequel, it ignores everything established in the original. The plot relying so heavily on wishes could have been really engaging but it’s executed so poorly that it just feels ridiculous.
At shortly over 2 and a half hours long, WW84 vastly overstays its welcome, and there were many unnecessary scenes that should have been cut. The film practically has two separate opening scenes, and in my opinion, fails to even match the level of excitement found in the first scene after it gets going. The action is few and far between long expository scenes, usually discussing the wish-granting dream stone, how many times do we need to be told that this rock can grant wishes? Bad characters, bad writing and even after an enjoyable debut, Wonder Woman’s second film ended up as, somehow, the worst film yet in this DC Extended Universe. I wish that this would have been better.
“Wonder Woman 1984” is a
WW84 is in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.