First review of the year, and the first new “theatrical” movie I’ve watched in over a year. So how does it hold up? Well here is my non-spoiler review for Wonder Woman 1984.
The film, as one can glean from the title, is set in 1984 and sees Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) working as a senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., Diana has also been fighting crime in secret, which is more to say the lack of cell phones in 1984 makes swooping in, fighting crime and leaving that much easier.
The crux of the plot is centered on the mysterious Dreamstone, an object created by one of the Greek gods. The Dreamstone acts as the device that allows Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor to come back to life after his death at the end of the first film (as seen in the trialer), as well as the main part of antagonist Max Lord’s plans.
Wonder Woman 1984 leans into the cheese factor of classic Silver Age comic book stories as well as the colorful palette matching the decade the film is set. Seriously, the movie is basically a bowl of Skittles and I love it.
Gal Gadot is still excellent in the role as Wonder Woman, perfectly embodying the character in much the same way that Christopher Reeve was Superman. Unfortunately, she feels like she has less to do in this film and feels more like she’s just brought along for the ride.
Chris Pine is great as the fish out of water in this film, a reverse of the relationship Steve and Diana had in the first film. Most of the gags are aimed at how bizarre the 80s feel to a man from 1918.
Pedro Pascal is great as always, playing Max Lord as a charismatic businessman and manipulative man looking to help himself with the use of the Dreamstone, his performance being reminiscent of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor from Superman by way of Wolf of Wall Street.
Lastly, there is Kristen Wiig who plays Barbara Minverva, a nerdy and insecure gemologist. She wishes early in the movie to be like Diana and develops similar powers before gradually turning into a form resembling her comic counterpart. Wiig gives a very interesting performance and can be surprisingly menacing in the role despite what her earlier comedic works may imply.
The film does have flaws. Several effects look awkward and jarring, most notably whenever Diana is running, I’m not certain if the old rear projection running effect was a deliberate choice to match films of the era or if it was just bad compositing.
The score, outside of the Wonder Woman theme, is largely generic and forgettable.
While I enjoy a good Silver Age comic romp, I couldn’t help but feel much of the movie was anticlimactic and ended on more of a whimper, which is a shame as it tries something very different from the typical comic book movie ending.
Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t as strong an entry as the original film, but has some inspired performances and very colorful visuals.
I’m giving Wonder Woman 1984 a 6/10.