Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is the first movie released mid-pandemic for which I was sorely tempted to mask up and venture into a theater. Really glad I didn’t. Lasso of truth: WW84 is okay, but falls far short of its predecessor and is, most definitely, not worth risking your life for. It’s simply too long and meandering in plot to fully satisfy all but those desperately hungry for a superhero movie. I thought I was. Now I’m not so sure! I didn’t dislike WW84; but I was disappointed.

Girl Power – in front of and behind the camera – can only take you so far. Pieces of the story are good. They just don’t hang together all that well. The movie is too heavy on the messaging (Don’t lie. Greed is bad. Most people want to be good. Be careful what you wish for. Truth is all there is.) and too light on the superheroics. I’m all for Diana Prince living a double life, but aren’t we here mostly to see Wonder Woman doing her thing? Wonder Woman 1984 needed more Wonder Woman!

I get it. Sequels are hard. Especially sequels to really good movies that justifiably rack up hundreds of millions of dollars at the global box office, as Wonder Woman did in 2017. Sometimes the cake doesn’t come out so great, even if you’re following a proven recipe with the same key ingredients, including Gal Gadot as the ageless Amazon warrior princess Diana Prince/Wonder Woman; Chris Pine as the love of her life Steve Trevor (even though yes, he did die in the first movie); and Patty Jenkins back at the helm as director and co-writer of the script, based on the legendary DC Comics character created by William Moulton Marston. Added to the mix this go-round: Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and Pedro Pascal as chief villain Maxwell Lord. The other main character is the nation’s capital, circa 1984 – a locale and an era I’m quite familiar with. Bring on the parachute pants, leotards, leg warmers, headbands, side ponytails and big glasses!

The gist of the plot revolves around an ancient artifact that is brought to the Smithsonian museum where Diana and Barbara both work. It turns out to be a magical stone that grants wishes. Can you guess what (or who) Diana pines for? I won’t divulge who wants what and when and how it all comes to a head with the whole world in peril. But it’s a pretty safe bet that Wonder Woman and her alter-ego Diana live to see another day – and another sequel.

In deference to the pandemic, Warner Brothers is releasing Wonder Woman 1984 simultaneously in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming platform on December 25. It’ll be available for a month on HBO Max at no additional cost to subscribers. So if you have HBO Max, and a big screen TV, and two and a half hours to kill… then WW84 is certainly an option.

Arty Chicks 2 cents: I too was disappointed. There’s way too much of a villain who isn’t really all that compelling. And definitely not enough of Wonder Woman being the wondrous hero. Even the parts with Chris Pine seemed cut short. Maybe it would be better in a big theater with big sound and big images, but sadly this was not the film I was waiting for.

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