WW84 Review (Minor Spoilers!)
There's usually a big expectation for a sequel to surpass its first film, especially when it's a critical and commercial success. And fir the most part, the expectations pay off.
For every Star Wars, there's an Empire Strikes Back. Captain America The First Avenger? Winter Soldier! As for Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84 for short.) Unfortunately, it falls within the category of Superman 3, Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Rise of Skywalker to be exact.
When the first Wonder Woman film made its debut three years ago, I was a bit skeptical of Gal Gadot's casting as the titular Superheroine. My opinions soon changed after the movie that served as a great bookend to the Man of Steel Trilogy. Not counting Justice League as if was sort of a misfire. The first film set during WW 1 had clever fish out of water, trappings with Diana Prince adapting to the ways of global civilization and of course, fighting alongside American allies against ze Germans.
The ending had my wife and I cheering as Diana flies to aid Superman and Batman (See Dawn of Justice Director's Cut.) with her signature theme playing during the end credits.
Regardless of the mediocre reception from Justice League, DCEU was on the right track with succeeding films like Aquaman, Shazam and especially Wonder Woman.
Now that said, let's get to the review! The film starts off with a prologue of sorts with young Diana competing against her older fellow Amazonians in some obstacle race course that looks like it came straight from American Ninja Warrior!
Diana tries her best to win by taking shortcuts only to be scolded and given a civics lesson about truth and that "no hero is born from lies."I couldn't find the relevancy between that proverb and the film's narrative 🙄. But I digress.
Fast forward to the Year 1984 of course, where Diana is now an anthropologist, independent and after all these decades, still single as its evident when we see her dining alone. You would think after sometime, she would've found a mate or a husband even if she's immortal.
Instead, she's still pining over poor deceased Steve Trevor and can't move on with her life.
In between her working and sulking, Diana fights crime as Wonder Woman who makes her reappearance in a slapstick silly Mall robbery scene of artifacts which plays a major part of the sequel’s subplot. The artifact called the "Dreamstone'' serves as the macguffin in this movie, where the bearer is granted his or her wishes fulfilled. It's basically like the cosmic cube.
Diana's exploits not only have young girls idolizing her, but even the new coworker, Barbara Ann Minerva who plays into the common Superhero tropes as seen from Batman Forever, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Superman 3 and Iron Man 3.Y'know, the insecure dweeb who idolizes the protagonist but feels scorned as the affections aren't returned in favor, plots to destroy our hero. Yawn!
With the stolen Dreamstone back at the Smithsonian possession,Diana reads the Mediterranean encryption engraved on the artifact that leads to something or rather "someone" she longed for. Should it fall into the wrong hands, which we all know it eventually will, how can Wonder Woman save a world in peril?While WW84 does a decent job at displaying Diana's vulnerability and innermost romantic feelings, the movie as a whole falls flat and is an unworthy successor to the first film.
There are a number of faults that I find very problematic. Kristen Wiig is convincing as the shy Barbara Minerva, but as the antagonist-Cheetah, there is much needed room for improvement.
The story feels as if its running on autopilot, here you see a drunken loser make a threatening pass at Babs, not just once, but twice! I am aware of the "Me Too" metaphors, but those scenes felt forced in order to fill an already rushed storyline.
Pedro El Mandolorian Pascal is very disappointing as villain Maxwell Lord, who I remember from the Justice League International comics. Instead of having a shrewd businessman who run a privatized Superhero corporation compared to Blackwater, he comes off like a silly salesman using "life is good'' catchphrases..Personally, I would have added Booster Gold and Blue Beetle as Max’s pawns in order to retrieve the dreamstone. Instead, we have some simp with a weak
attempt at humanizing him, within the third act. Pascal was great in Kingsman 2 but he couldn't hold a candle to Lex Luthor, even Jesse Eisenberg's version for that matter.
The Steve Trevor arc is very lackluster to say in the least. Chris Pine is utilized as a plot device with no clever dialogue except during his last appearance in the film while Gadot is phoning it in like AT&T.And is she speaking with an heavier accent, or is it just me? When it comes to the artifact being this plot device, it reveals how selfish our major protagonists are; Maxwell Lord uses it to obtain unlimited freedom and power, Barbera envies and wants Wonder Woman’s powers and beauty, while Diana wishes to reunite with Steve. And how she got her wish, was morally questionable but I wont delve any further as I am avoiding spoilers as much as possible.
What's also missing from WW84 is that there were not enough clever 80's pop culture references . However, there's one convoy chase scene ripped straight from 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, so there's that I guess.
I couldn't believe that Patty Jenkins reused CGI scenes with Wonder Woman in the air that was shown an hour earlier! And what's even more cringe inducing, how Diana gives a long drawn out speech as in the first movie but 5 minutes longer!
Sure, we get to see the Invisible plane, but swinging from clouds and lightning bolts like Spider-Man is not what I would have added.The anticlimactic fight scenes did not impress me, even with Diana donning this Amazonian armor that looks more Thanagarian than from Themyscira . Not to mention how it;s possbly used as a catalyst to sell more action figures.As for the finale, there was no big payoff at the end, that's unless you enjoyed the fan service mid credits scene.
WW84 overall,is a boring clichéd mess of a sequel. However, your mileage may vary, as in being very forgiving of flawed films or accepting bribes from Warner Brothers/DC.
My definition of "WW" 84 really stands for "Wait, What?!?"
Watch Wonder Woman Bloodlines instead. A far superior film even if it's animated!