Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Patty Jenkins brings us back into the world of Wonder Woman, but this time during the nostalgic 1980s where Diana Prince works as a curator of ancient artifacts in Washington D.C., keeping a "low profile" while living a double life as Wonder Woman, saving citizens of the city in the worst disguise possible. I mean is no one going to ask why Diana Prince is running around Washington D.C. in a colorful costume during her lunch hour, with her face in full view for all to see her godlike abilities? No one? Seriously?
SPOILERS AHEAD BY THE WAY!
The movie kicks off with a young Diana running a race against Amazons double her size as her mother watches from her throne in a massive arena fit for Rome. We're brought back to Themyscira, viewing it's majestic countryside during the race where Diana is in a distant lead. I felt the magic from the first film was definitely bleeding into the sequel already. The music from Hans Zimmer was powerful and exciting, the epic dialogue from Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen teaching the young Diana a much needed lesson was an echo from the first film, but once we dive into 1984 something felt different.
As I watched I missed the World War 1 vibe Wonder Woman (2017) had. The romanticized era that was the 1910s in Europe, the era where flying was new, technology wasn't rampant and the music was more violin and less synthesized. But as I adapted to Diana Prince in a new world she was comfortable in I still wondered where this story was going. After decades of missing a man she had known for less than a week, she makes a wish while placing her hand on an artifact that could potentially grant wishes, this is where the film took a different turn than what I was expecting and answered the question, How the hell does Chris Pine come back as Steve Trevor? Diana's wish to bring back the man she loves ends up coming true with a catch, his spirit ends up inhabiting another man's body, and her powers are slowly going away.
The villains of Wonder Woman 1984 are the comic book characters Cheetah and Maxwell Lord, played by Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal, but they're not the traditional villains you would expect. For both Cheetah and Lord the writers took a note from Batman Returns and made them both sympathetic and relatable, much like Tim Burton did with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman; The characters do bad things but for reasons and motivations we could all completely understand.
What I'm so split on as to whether Wonder Woman 1984 is a good movie or not is the way they go about developing the antagonists in this film, that the real villain isn't a physical person, but the greedy wishes made that all comes with a price that could potentially destroy all civilization as we know it. There was no army or physical being that Diana had to fight in the end of everything like most typical superhero films, instead Diana had to talk the world down from their own greedy needs and take back the wishes that were granted to them, a very different fight than we normally ever see.
Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of action throughout the film and the big climatic fight between Wonder Woman and Cheetah is fun, but the fight was short with very little payoff as the emotional weight of Diana seemed to vanish the moment she had to let Steve go again in order to gain back her powers. In the end the near destruction of the world was all because of our greed and that it's people that makes a difference in our lives and not the materialistic things we work for, a beautiful message to say the least.
The acting from every actor were great. There were times I felt the sadness Diana was going through in her grief of feeling alone in the world, showing a growing actor in Gal Gadot with each movie she stars in. Kristen Wiig's performance was the first time I thought she might actually have a career in the dramatic arena of film, and of course Pedro Pascal, who is ending a year where his name is already buzzing from Season 2 of The Mandalorian, does a superb job as a father just trying to make his son proud at the end of the day.
I had to think on it for awhile after first watching Wonder Woman 1984, on whether it felt natural for Diana to stumble upon a magic rock that grants wishes and will eventually end civilizations. Did it feel like a good story arc for Cheetah to go from being a kind soul and turning into a monster in the end, wishing to be an apex predator? Which was a wish she never really wanted up until the moment she asked for it. The movie has flaws, and some choices with the story seemed to be due to wanting to bring Steve Trevor back in some fashion that made sense, to rehash the fish out of water story line that was reversed in the sequel where Steve Trevor was the one out of time and not Diana; but the third act was definitely an original take on a superhero property. The ending wasn't as climatic as the first one felt, and I missed some of the badass moments the first film had sprinkled throughout, stellar moments like Wonder Woman facing off against an army of German's or fighting the God of War.
Wonder Woman 1984 is an interesting edition to the DCEU, definitely entertaining and ranks somewhere in the middle when it comes to the best and worst the DC Multiverse has to offer.
Out of 10 I give this film a 5.5.