When Wonder Woman came out in 2017, fans were ecstatic to witness a new powerful female superhero break out onto the world’s stage. Starring Gal Gadot, it brought a taste of diversity, strength, and light into the struggling DC Extended Universe. Backed by the writing and directing talents of Patty Jenkins, the film was a score for Warner Bros. Entertainment.
So when news of its sequel Wonder Woman 1984 was released, both expectations and hype ran high, especially as the effects of Covid-19 prolonged its release by several months.
Eager viewers bought subscriptions to HBO Max in order to view Jenkins’s second pitch at the story of Diana Prince, but many were left rather unfulfilled as the credits rolled. With a dismal 5.5 on IMDb, audience reactions have been less than optimistic.
Returning actors such as Gal Gadot, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielson renew their characters wonderfully. They retain the almost magical spirit of the first film packed with a meaningful message about greed. Lilly Astell, playing Young Diana, does a great job with a more intense, active opener in comparison to her first appearance in the original. According to her page on IMDb, she did most of her own stunts for Wonder Woman 1984, which is impressive in and of itself, but even more awe-inspiring considering she’s only 13.
Wonder Woman 1984 showcases Diana once again saving the world, now in the mid-1980s. Facing a new enemy, Diana learns to let go of her greed for the greater good of humanity. After her colleague, Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) uncovers a mysterious stone, Diana and others unknowingly make wishes that come true.
Diana finds that Steve Trevor, the love of her life who had been deceased since World War II, has returned from the dead, while Barbara gains the popularity, confidence, and strength that she’s always longed for. However, when failing oil tycoon Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) takes the stone for himself, Diana is forced to choose between Steve and the rest of the world tormented by wishes.
In late 2019, Pascal recently gained notable attention for his leading role as the stoic bounty hunter Din Djarin in The Mandalorian. Now, he’s trading beskar for bright suits as he takes on a supervillain role.
Lord himself is a caricature of the time: ambitious and materialistic. Sadly, as the movie goes on, the writing does little to help Pascal’s best attempt at a quality performance that can easily be found in many of his other roles.
Kristen Wiig fits perfectly into her role; however, albeit the character type is a commonly used one. Barbara Minerva is the epitome of the “take off the glasses and she’s beautiful then struggles to hold onto her kind personality” cliché, except she gets an unsettling CGI Cheetah makeover along with it. Nonetheless, Barbara is initially bubbly and likable and Wiig’s acting is lovely.
Evidently, Jenkins’ writing is the downfall of this movie. Despite the interesting concept and a fun sense of 80s sentimentality, it’s hard to tell if the movie is trying to fit into the superhero genre or be a rom-com. More often than not, it tries to rely on 80s nostalgia and comedy. The result is forced and unoriginal dialogue that even features a montage of Steve trying on different 80s clothes almost like any chick flick from Pretty Woman to Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Speaking of Pine’s character, not much can be said to acclaim the role this time around sadly. The bumbling, happy-go-lucky sidekick of Wonder Woman 1984 is unfortunately so unlike the heroic Steve Trevor of Wonder Woman. His only purpose throughout most of the movie seems to be serving as the comedic effect.
With its release in December of an arguably very difficult year, Wonder Woman 1984 was a disappointing attempt to shed some light on 2020. Despite all the potential the movie had, the poor screenplay places this movie in the box of Bad Sequels.