Movie Review – ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

At last! I’ve finally seen ‘Wonder Woman 1984’! I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie since it was promoted in late 2019 and the whole of 2020. It was meant to come out in June 2020 before getting delayed to October 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic happening – please keep safe. 😐

Eventually, the movie got released in the USA on Christmas Day 2020 via HBO Max. I was disappointed I didn’t get to see the movie at Christmas time. 😦 The film was released at selected cinemas in the UK on the 16th of December, but where I lived in Wales, all of the cinemas were shut.

It became a relief to me that the film would be released via premium-video-on-demand (PVOD) on the 13th of January 2021 in the UK, so, I rented the film to watch via Google Play. My parents and I watched the film last Friday and had a good time watching it. Does that make it a great film though?

Well… In 2020, I made some predictions on ‘Wonder Woman 1984′ based on the movie trailers via YouTube. I hoped the film would be as excellent as the first ‘Wonder Woman’ movie, which I enjoyed watching at cinemas in 2017. I even re-watched the first ‘Woman Woman’ movie in 2020. 🙂

That was during the Christmas holidays of 2020 via ITV1 before I saw ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ on Google Play. I can’t say ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ was very good since there were things about the film that were pretty messed up in terms of the character development and the film’s climax was clunky.

Now before we go any further, I just want to make it clear. I don’t hate this movie. I feel ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ had the potential to be a really good film. But the choices made in how characters were presented in the film should have been thought-through in terms of the writing and the acting.

The film takes place in 1984 during the Cold War. Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is still getting over the loss of her past love Steve Trevor. Very soon, a powerful stone called the ‘Dreamstone’ gets discovered and it can grant people their wishes except it can take something from them in return. 😐

Diana has her wish to have Steve Trevor back in her life (more on this later). Barbara Minerva, a geologist whom Diana befriends also has her wishes granted as well as businessman Maxwell Lord who wants the Dreamstone for himself. Very soon, Diana with Steve’s assistance must tackle two villains.

Gal Gadot returns to play Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the film and I’ll just say it, she’s the best part of the movie in my humble opinion. Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor and there’s also Kristen Wigg as Barbara Minerva who later becomes the Cheetah and there’s Pedro Pascal as Max Lord.

Now, I can’t claim to know anything about the Wonder Woman comics since I’ve not read any of them and I don’t know how faithful the film is to the characters based on the comics. But I speculate the filmmakers took some liberties with how they adapted characters from the comics into the film.

You see, the idea behind the ‘Dreamstone’ is actually a very good one. You have your wishes granted but something gets taken from you in the process. Diana has her lover Steve Trevor back, but her powers get lost. Barbara wants to be like Diana, but her warmth and compassion gets taken away. 😮

That’s great! I’m behind the concepts of those ideas and I would like to think the film executes them well in the output. But…that’s not what happens. In fact, a lot of things going on in the film mess those ideas up, especially with how Steve’s return gets handled and how Barbara gets characterised.

Now with Steve’s return, how do you think this would be handled in a sensible manner? Well, after Diana wishes for him to come back, I expect him to appear, being taken out of time from the plane he was flying in World War I and ending up in 1984. You think that is what the filmmakers would do.

But no! Instead what happens is that Steve Trevor’s consciousness gets transplanted into the mind of another man, played by Kristoffer Polaha. So, when Diana’s with Steve in 1984, it’s actually another man being possessed by Steve himself. Diana even has sex with the guy possessed by Steve.

I just…I don’t understand the logic of that. Why did the filmmakers think that was a good idea to put into the film? How does that feel acceptable? It feels very uncomfortable and it raises many questions over what happens to the man Steve’s possessing and how he’s even able to do that here.

I don’t want Steve to return in another man’s body. I want Steve to return as himself. At least it would make Steve’s exit from the movie more emotionally-driven and emotionally-engaging (more on that later). I really feel that this was a very bad choice by the writing team who thought it was a great idea.

Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva is another issue. Now, I later discovered Kristen Wiig was in 2016’s ‘Ghostbusters’ film. I have seen a bit of that film and I’d like to think Kristen Wiig’s performance in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is more dignified than that. Her acting here isn’t an issue as it’s the writing.

You see, I’m okay with the idea of Barbara being an insecure woman that Diana befriends and she wants to be more like Diana. I’m all for that since Barbara soon possesses superhuman strength as well as sexy appeal. This is while her warmth and compassion gets taken away which is disturbing. 😐

But it falls apart for me when… (sighs) …Barbara wishes from Max Lord who becomes the Dreamstone (more later) to become ‘an apex predator’. Meaning she wants to be a cat-woman. No, not that Catwoman! 😀 I mean, she ends up being the Cheetah and fights Wonder Woman at the end.

Now the biggest problem I have with that is there’s no reason for Barbara to want to be a Cheetah. There’s no build-up to that. And the ‘cheetah’-like shoes she has don’t amount to that. Why couldn’t she have just stayed being an evil Wonder Woman-like villain for Diana to fight against in the movie?

Some of you might be saying “Well, Barbara needs to end up being the Cheetah because that’s what she ends up becoming in the comics.” Yeah, but it doesn’t make sense and she becomes the Cheetah during the film’s last act and there’s not enough time for us to appreciate her as the Cheetah here. 😐

Also, Barbara ending up as the Cheetah looks so…not right. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the bad CGI or costume she wears, but Barbara as the Cheetah doesn’t look convincing. She might’ve been one of those cats from the 2019 ‘Cats’ film, which I’ve heard is not very popular among people.

Barbara being the Cheetah reminds me of Harry Osborn becoming the Green Goblin for a short amount of time in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. So yeah, Barbara ending up being the Cheetah was a disappointment on my part, which is a shame as I was really liking Barbara’s character development.

And of course, we have Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord, the villainous businessman in the movie who wants the Dreamstone for himself. I was amazed to see Pedro Pascal in this movie after having seen him playing ‘The Mandalorian’ in the ‘Star Wars’ universe. I wondered what he would be like here. 🙂

After seeing him in this movie, Pedro’s performance is…well, really something. For one thing, he doesn’t sound like he does in ‘The Mandalorian’, which I suppose is to be expected. Secondly, he does seem to be rather over-the-top in some scenes, which doesn’t make him altogether imitating.

Now, I get he’s a struggling businessman and he wants to have the Dreamstone in him to fulfil his wish to grant everyone wishes in order to become a big success. But there’s something about the way it gets handled as Max Lord’s rather erratic and he could lose some self-control in his wish-granting.

That would be fine if Pedro Pascal calmed it down a bit with delivering his villainous performance. He could be charming yes, but the way he unleashes his villainy can be quite…well, hammy. And that’s not something I want to see in a villain. I want to see the main villain being rather intimidating.

If this is meant to be a nod to the days of Gene Hackman playing Lex Luthor in the ‘Superman’ movies, then fair enough. But I feel like I’ve moved on from that and I’m sure Gene Hackman was more intimidating than that playing Lex Luthor. So yeah, Pedro Pascal’s performance did feel misguided. 😦

The Mandalorian enters.

Oh hi, Mando. What are you doing here?

Mandalorian: “I just wanted to say…this is not the way.”

Yeah. It’s not that good, is it?

The Mandalorian walks off.

Mandalorian: “Just…not the way.”

(continues) Like I said, the ending felt rather clunky, especially in how everybody was making wishes and it became chaotic. Even Wonder Woman dressing up in that ‘gold archangel’ armour (which belonged to legendary Amazon warrior Asteria, I believe) didn’t help matters for the movie’s climax.

I prefer Wonder Woman in her original outfit. The crisis is solved when Diana/Wonder Woman broadcasts to everyone (which is how Max Lord granted everyone’s wishes) that they must renounce their wishes for the big crisis to end. Thus, Diana renounces her wish to have Steve back.

So yeah, it’s sad that Diana’s lost Steve again after losing him in the first movie. But why does that feel so empty when watching it? I don’t want Steve to go. I wish Steve could’ve lived on and stayed with Diana in 1984 afterwards. But somehow the sacrifice Diana makes isn’t that emotional-gripping.

A couple of reasons for that! First, it doesn’t help when Steve’s already possessing another man’s body to interact with Diana. Had Steve come back as himself, it would’ve made it more genuine. Second, we don’t even see Steve depart in the movie as Diana just runs away while renouncing her wish.

Had we seen Steve actually leave in front of Diana’s eyes, it would’ve felt more emotionally gut-wrenching. Instead, she can’t bear to look Steve in the eye when renouncing her wish as she’s saying goodbye to him. I wish the execution of that in the film was better handled than it actually was here.

Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta, Diana’s mother and Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana’s aunt return to appear in a prologue scene along with Lilly Aspell playing young Diana. It seems I was wrong about the Themyscira scenes being ‘flashbacks’ in the film and they don’t connect to the main plot much.

Actually, now I come to think of it, why was the film set in 1984? Why couldn’t it have been set after the events of the ‘Justice League’ film? I know Diana’s lived a long life before the events of ‘Batman v Superman’, but quite frankly, you could’ve set the film anywhere in anytime rather than in 1984. 😐

With the ‘Captain America’ films in the ‘MCU’, the first one was set in the 1940s whilst the other two were set in the present day. I think it would’ve been better to feel the jeopardy of Diana’s relationship with Steve in the present day than during the 1980s. Though better to stay out of 2020. 😀

Oh, Stuart Milligan appears in the film, playing the President of the United States. I assume that’s Ronald Reagan in 1984 as opposed to Richard Nixon in 1969 during the ‘Doctor Who’ episodes he did. I wonder if Stuart Milligan has a talent for playing American presidents in movies and TV shows.

Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s ‘Wonder Woman’ TV series and Principal Powers in the 2005 film ‘Sky High’, makes a cameo at the film’s end, playing legendary Amazon warrior Asteria. I wish Lynda Carter had a more prominent role for this film rather than just a cameo.

So, did I enjoy ‘Wonder Woman 1984’? Yes, I did in a strange way! Do I think it’s as good as the first ‘Wonder Woman’ film? No! The film ended up being a fascinating mess. It ended up quite differently compared to how I made my initial predictions of the film based on my viewings of the trailers I saw. 😐

The romance elements of the film are messed up, especially with how Steve Trevor’s return was handled; and the development of the villains Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and Maxwell Lord are rather dodgy in terms of the writing and acting. I’m surprised not more effort was put into those elements.

It’s a shame as I really wanted ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to be as excellent as the first film. And I really like Gal Gadot as Diana/Wonder Woman who gives her all into her performance in the film. I don’t know what the future lies for Wonder Woman next, but I wouldn’t like it to end up being disastrous.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Movie Review – ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

  1. Timelord 007

    Fantastic review Tim, you have summed up this film word perfect, you covered the films flaws in great detail & i 100% agree with your review.

    I loathed this the tone has a Superman 3 comedic feel which i don’t like, Steves return was terribly written, Cheetahs cgi is terrible, Pedros channelling Jim Carreys Riddler….Urgh, Patty Jenkins dropped the ball with this sequel, very very poor movie & dare i say dull.

    Steve Trevor a WW 1pilot but can fly a jet, Diana is losing her powers but turns jet invisible wtf????

    Typically Hollywood greenlit third movie over giving us Man Of Steel 2 with the awesomeness that is Henry Cavill.

    DC need pick up the ball let’s hope The Batman turns it around.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Wonder Woman 1984’. Very pleased you agree with my points about the film in my review. It’s such a shame as I was really hoping for ‘WW84’ to be a great film and a good top up on the first ‘Wonder Woman’ film.

      I don’t think ‘WW84’ is as bad a ‘Superman III’. I feel ‘Superman III’ is worst than that. Yeah, I was very disappointed with Steve’s return as well as how Cheetah was handled as a villainess. Pedro Pascal’s performance is quite a contrast to his performances in ‘The Mandalorian’ series, isn’t it? I would’ve done things differently had I written and directed this film.

      I think with Diana losing her powers it was done gradually whilst she had Steve back as her wish. Hence why she was able to turn the jet invisible at first before she was losing her powers. Yeah, Steve piloting a jet despite being from World War I was a bit lame.

      I don’t mind seeing a third ‘Wonder Woman’ movie, but yeah we do need to have a second ‘Man of Steel’ film with Henry Cavill back as Superman.

      I’m looking forward to ‘The Batman’ when it comes out.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed the review.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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