If the entire film was as good and as well paced as the third act, Wonder Woman 1984 would have left me feeling elated. Unfortunately, that is very much not the case.
Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, is directed once again by Patty Jenkins, and written by Jenkins, Dave Callaham (The Expendables, Zombieland: Double Tap) and Geoff Johns (Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics). Gal Gadot is back as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor, and newly added is Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord, and Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva.
The flaws with this film, in my opinion, ultimately fall with the writing. The first two acts of the film are horribly paced. Forty five minutes into the film and there was still no real excitement. It wasn’t until the two hour and six minute mark that I was actually excited to be watching the film.
The emphasis on love / Steve Trevor for Diana is really where they lost me. So much about that did not make sense. Mainly, I didn’t understand why Diana was so chill about Steve coming back, but by taking over the life of a different human being. Furthermore, Diana choosing Steve over saving civilization from complete destruction, and ultimately having Steve be the one to convince her to renounce her wish was utter garbage, and seemingly out of character for Wonder Woman. While 2017’s Wonder Woman was just a well written comic book film, 2020’s Wonder Woman 1984 felt like the writers were trying to play to the female audience, which was insulting and has ultimately failed.
DC/Warner Brothers continue to try and add comedy within their films, as it works so well for their direct competitors over at Marvel/Disney, which is fine. I’m all for that because comic book films should be fun. However, I have never watched a film where every single joke felt forced and fell flat. Any “comedy” in the film is left up to Steve Trevor discovering all the advances that humans have made by the 1980s. It felt like the segment from George of the Jungle or Austin Powers, except poorly executed.
Moving on to a controversial part of the film: Wonder Woman saves two young arab children from the oncoming tanks. That by itself doesn’t seem too bad, save for the white saviour aspect. What is bad is that, in 2014, Gal Gadot had been very vocal in her support of the Israeli army and a mortar strike in Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinian citizens, including four young children who were playing soccer on the beach. Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I have anything but a basic understanding of the conflict in the Middle East, but to depict a moment so similar, with somebody who was so vocally in support of the strike that killed so many innocent people, well, that just doesn’t sit well with me in the slightest.
The villains, themselves, felt pretty well done. Maxwell Lord very much embodies the mindset of the 1980s, which was that you can do anything as long as you want it bad enough. Barbara Minerva’s transformation into Cheetah was slow and steady. There was a moment where she uses her new found powers to beat up a man who had nearly sexually assaulted her earlier in the film. I don’t know if, at that moment, we were supposed to be rooting against her or if we were supposed to be scared of her, because I was very much in support of what she was doing.
The response to Wonder Woman 1984 has been mixed. Some have really enjoyed it, while others have been stating that it’s the worst superhero film they have ever seen. And, to that, I say you are wrong. You’re just plain wrong, and your sexism is showing. This is like the Captain Marvel sexism all over again. Those that say this is the worst superhero film they have seen, may I recommend that you watch or rewatch Fantastic Four (both versions), Green Lantern, Suicide Squad, Batman & Robin. The list goes on and on. So, unless you can give me that opinion with some concrete reasoning behind it, check your sexism at the door. I didn’t like the film all that much, but it is by no means the worst superhero film ever made.
With a run time of two hours and thirty one minutes and the horribly paced script, the film is a rough one to sit through. I’m going to be honest, I paused it at an hour and a half to pour myself a large glass of wine in order to get through the rest of the film. I have nothing negative to say about Patty Jenkins’ directing. I think she did a wonderful job. Again, had the entire film been as good as the last half hour or so, this would be a very different article.
Wonder Woman 1984 is currently streaming on HBO Max until January 24th, 2021.