Wonder Woman 1984; sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman and the 9th film in the DCEU has Patty Jenkins sitting in the director’s chair once again and Gal Gadot reprising her role as the titular character. Wonder Woman 1984 is half a good movie and half a convoluted illogical mishmash.
It’s 1984 (spoiler alert) and Diana Prince is working at the Smithsonian Institute and also secretly stopping crime as Wonder Woman. Kristen Wiig portrays Diana’s coworker, Barbara Ann Minerva, who is incredibly socially awkward (struggling with what to say mid-conversation) and insecure. Her strange personality contrasts Diana, who nonjudgmentally befriends the character. Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) is a business conman, who wants to steal something he discovers Barbara has. What he wants to take will begin to cause havoc and Diana will have to make some challenging choices. Chris Pine is also in the film, reprising the role of the assumed to be dead love interest, Steve Trevor.
Instead of being dark and grounded in realism like its predecessor, the film is light-heartedly campy and even a little silly (and I didn’t mind this change too much). You do get the same humor seen in the first film when Diana naively first enters the human world but this time with Steve’s character who is in utter awe of all of the technological advances in the 80s. The introduction to Wiig’s character, the bond between her and Diana, and the 80s atmosphere all proved to be an effective setup.
The 80’s era is reflected not only in the style of the sets and fashion, but also in the cinematography. The film has light grain, a large depth of field*, and looks like a film that could have been shot in the 80s (if you dismiss the CGI effects). There’s a scene in the first act that takes place in a mall which appears similar to the also 80s-themed show Stranger Things’ Starcourt Mall. The style for the film is perfectly fitting considering when the story takes place.
*Large Depth of Field: subjects AND background are sharp in focus as opposed to Shallow Depth of Field, which is how many modern day films opt to highlight the subject and have the background be extremely blurry.
Hans Zimmer, who wrote the music, has an orchestral opening that is satisfyingly epic specifically because of the choir in that piece; it sets a beautiful energetic tone at the very start of the film accompanying an interesting flashback. The rest of the film’s score is a decent concoction by Zimmer that you’d expect to hear in a superhero movie, but nothing as noteworthy as the opening.
After an enjoyable hour, the film slowly begins to fall apart, demanding the audience ignore logic and does not establish concrete rules for its supernatural happenings- making it seem like anything can happen as long as it is convenient to end where the writers wants the story to end. The lack of established rules meshed with cheesy dialogue was excruciatingly painful to sit through because it feels like attention to detail was not prioritized and that the meek audience would just go along with the careless decisions made. Additionally, what could have featured strong realistic supporting characters has laughable cringy stock comic book characters instead. The third and fourth acts are a chore to sit through due the cinematically unrealistic decisions that are made. Finally, the action is fairly limited for what you’d expect from a superhero movie and, while that doesn’t particularly bother me, action enthusiasts will be disappointed.
If you’re a fan of Wonder Woman this might be worth checking out, as there’s some aspects to enjoy, but you should go in with lowered expectations and know that the film will go off the rails after the second act. Additionally, it was refreshing to see a high-profile blockbuster inside an IMAX theater. HBO Max home viewing could be more strenuous given all the problems the film has. This is a difficult and frustrating film to grade because while half of it was entertaining, I wanted all of it to be this way. Ultimately, for me, I will not be encouraging my personal circle of family and friends to watch Wonder Woman 1984.
|Final Verdict:||Wonder Woman 1984 is half a good movie and half a convoluted illogical mishmash.|