‘Wonder Woman 1984’- Film Review: A Flawed, but Entertaining Superhero Sequel For All

Since we’re finally near the end of 2020, it’s such a sad feeling the world never got to experience the biggest blockbusters of the summer, which are always the best time for big-budget entertainment to make us feel free. Most of the ones we were excited about got pushed to next year to, hopefully, grace the silver screens again. However, one of my most anticipated movies has come out to give us the cheer we desperately need with the much-talked-about Wonder Woman 1984.

What’s the Story: Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s — an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she’s come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile by curating ancient artifacts, and only performing heroic acts incognito. But soon, Diana will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom and courage as she finds herself squaring off against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and the Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.

Now, if you’re like me and were a fan of the first film, then the anticipation must’ve been killing you. Not only was 2017’s Wonder Woman one of my favorite movies that year, but it’s honestly one of the best comic book movies that showed how to treat this famous DC heroine on the big screen in the most adventurous way imaginable. We have to thank director Patty Jenkins and the amazing performance Gadot provided. The film was also a step forward inside DC Extended Universe (DCEU) since it received positive reviews and made over $800 million worldwide, so it wasn’t entirely surprising a second installment would be coming out. Also, it was the first good superhero movie focusing on a female character, thankfully. But it took a while to wonder if it was still coming out this year or not. Its original scheduled dates (June 5, August 14, October 2), kept getting pushed back until it would be released on Christmas Day not only in theaters, but on HBO Max simultaneous, one of the first big movies from Warner Bros. to make this strategy work.

As much as it would’ve been nice to see this in IMAX, many of us aren’t entirely sure to come back to the theater, including me, and I only been back twice. This year was in a total absence of comic book movies because we only had the underrated Birds of Prey back in February and Bloodshot, the movie I don’t understand why people liked it. With keeping an open mind and hoping for an enjoyable time watching Diana Prince kick butt in the decade of the 1980s, I can’t say it’s better than the original, but it serves as a decent sequel to have fun with, to be honest.

Compared to the film first, you can tell Jenkins went to a totally different tone, in which we don’t have that feeling we’re in the World World I surroundings anymore and now transported into the much more ambitious world of 1984 introducing this character again, where fashion was bright, break dancing was becoming a hip trend at the time, and so many popular movies of that year was dominating the box office. This goes for a lighter tone once it begins, which can throw some off. That was an aspect I knew was going to change when I watched the trailers, and it could be a bothersome fact with everyone else. She doesn’t push this time period down our throats, as she presents it well-enough to establish what our main character has been up to since we last saw her. Just like before, Jenkins’ inspiration must’ve been from Richard Donner’s Superman, rather than something similar like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where it’s cheesy and gives hope at the same time, something we don’t normally see in superhero movies nowadays. From my viewpoint, I can sense she has a genuine passion for this heroine much more than anyone else with another beautiful-looking film on her hands.

Can I say Gal Gadot is still wonderful (pun intended) as the established Wonder Woman? Because she has played this character before, and I can’t say anything wrong about her performance once again. She might’ve been better in here than ever. To me, she’s still the woman I will always picture Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman where we are now seeing her living her life without the love of her life while also protecting everyone as her alter ego with her strength and glorious Lasso of Truth. Plus, I completely forgot how beautiful she is. If I ever doubted her when she was first chosen, then I was so wrong since this is a pitch-perfect choice with no complaints. Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor, which made me worried about how he would come back, but, without spoiling, the way they explained it was reasonable enough to buy it. I couldn’t get enough of their chemistry between each other from before, and it’s still there in this sequel, and those were the moments I worried it wouldn’t be memorable in this, but I honestly couldn’t get enough of the two of them because there was always special about Diana & Steve. Since we saw Diana new to the world before, we’re now seeing a role reversal where she’s showing Steve how things have changed 66 years later, being how this is the fish-out-of-water scenario like last time.

Then you got your two antagonists: Pedro Pascal as this television personality/oil tycoon Maxwell Lord and Kristen Wiig as the bumbling archeologist Barbara Minera. Who doesn’t love Pedro Pascal at the moment, right? It took a while to get into the character when he’s just someone who wants greed. But were most people in the ’80s sole purpose in the world to be rich? Honestly, it took me about an hour after finishing it to understand where he’s coming from, even when he can get silly. However, I didn’t buy the relationship between him and his son because I felt that arc needed more time. And Kristen Wiig has been one of my favorite comedic actresses for a long time, so I wasn’t turned off by the fact she would play Barbara Minera/ Cheetah, who wants to be like her new friend Diana and be recognized for once in her life. For her to be in a big-budget superhero movie like this is enough to showcase how good she can be able to pull off being one of the villains, despite not knowing about the character since I don’t read the comics. While I might have mixed feelings about the progression of their respective characters, there’s nothing wrong with their performances.

There’s a bit of time in-between the action sequences, and though I wished there was more, they were still outstanding to witness when you’ll be entertained by what’s happening on whatever you’re watching this on, that’s on a scale that’s impossible to imagine. No scene was on the same level that stood out more than “No Man’s Land,” yet I didn’t think it had to, mostly, when they were serviceable, though not the most memorable. The flashback sequence at the beginning where a young Diana is in this competition on Themyscria against the Amazons doesn’t exactly serve a purpose to the story besides given a life lesson, but it was definitively fun to watch.

And the score by Hans Zimmer was better than I thought it would be. I was a huge fan of what composer Rupert Gregson-Williams brought to the original with creating quite possibly one of my favorite film scores of that year. I kinda prefer his work better, but just from the opening track during the opening sequence lets you know what kind of vibe we’ll be getting throughout the film. You know it’s gonna be worth listening to when Zimmer handles the music for a superhero movie, and that’s a guarantee. There was even a piece where it uses a well-known musical score will notice it right away. Oddly enough, this doesn’t include a ton of hits from the ’80s as one would expect.

With the story, that might be one of the few negatives most people said about this from early reviews, and I can agree with them. This time around, it wasn’t as impactful as I expected it to be, and that might be because there were some elements thrown around in here that couldn’t keep all of my attention sometimes, feeling like there was a bit too much going on and they could’ve picked a couple of things and waited to use them in a later entry or something. Like, as much as I enjoyed Kristen Wiig’s performance, her character does go through three stages, and the overall development didn’t work for me. Maybe the script by Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and David Callaham could’ve gone through another polish to deliver something mildly different that we haven’t seen before. I know most people didn’t like the third act from the first film (Recent reports said that was reshot), but I’m the opposite where I did tear up, yet there wasn’t a moment that came close in here.But I’m also on the side where it felt overlong. The first was 141 minutes; this is ten minutes long and there were some moments where I didn’t feel like it was necessary to what’s happening in the story.

The film carries on a coherent message about making sure you care for others in the best way imaginable. A few of the characters yearn for something more in the world and how much it might impact everyone else. Most viewers will find there’s the heart within this follow-up, and this says a lot about the kind of hope and optimism we need to see in the world, especially starting next year. If things didn’t go down the toilet at the start of the year and this came out on its original release date, not only do I believe this would’ve been the highest-grossing film of the summer movie season, it would’ve totally been a smash at the box office as well. Regardless of my overall thoughts, I will be on board for a third installment when talks of it go well enough to make it happen.

Final Thoughts: With Wonder Woman 1984, do I consider it superior to its predecessor? It isn’t. But despite the story not being the most captivating and feeling a bit long, it’s still a worthy sequel to, hopefully, please many fans that have been attached to this character for ages, topped with some impressive action and Gadot’s commendable performance as the titular heroine. It’s a shame I didn’t end up loving it, but I can see myself watching this again, and though I missed the confront of experiencing this on the big screen, I’m just glad it came out at the end of the year, something of a glimmer of hope in what can be described as the absolute worst for us all. Flawed, but entertaining.

Grade: B-

Wonder Woman 1984 Movie Poster

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