Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Review
Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman 1984 at times feels like a comic book came to life but in all the wrong ways. With a focus on ensuring the viewer knows what decade we’re in, WW1984 has a lot of good sequences with great performances and character development but focuses more on fixing it’s mistakes from the first film rather than developing a compelling story for the sequel.
For a 150-minute film, it’s almost shocking how little we needed two villains in this film. Great performances from both Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig with enough screen time for the viewer to relate and understand their intentions, but then the ending happens. The movie’s biggest problem, ironically, has the year it takes place in the title yet the film’s not able to tell the story while also informing the viewer what year it’s taking place in.
The film has two beginnings, one in Themyscara and then afterwards we see what Wonder Woman has been doing in DC for the past 70 years existing off her island. The flashback we see first should’ve been saved for later in the film, which could have possibly given us a better overall pace, but instead we get it in the beginning with an awkward exit-stage-left Robyn Wright cameo.
If you’re a type of viewer that likes to “turn their brain off and watch a movie” or have big suspension of disbelief for magic, then you’ll enjoy this film.
My Rating: 7.2/10
Plot – This is the film’s biggest fault. Do you like magic and how infinite it’s rule breaking can go? Then you’ll love this. Now a war veteran after being off Themyscira for seventy years and longing for her days of love and wonderment with first love, Steve Trevor. But the real plot of the story revolves around a monkey’s paw and greed.
A big issue with the movie is that there’s two antagonists when we could’ve easily merged both characters into one. Both Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva have good story arcs but their resolutions are so cheesy they deserve to be in a 1980s movie, not in a film impersonating a 1980s film.
That’s another issue. The first twenty minutes and last ten minutes feels like a different movie and that’s because the movie is focusing on it’s story and not trying to throw 80s nostalgia in the viewer’s face. At times I felt this would work better in the Christopher Reeve’s Superman Universe.
Cinematography – The cinematography is decent, but besides some great shots that no doubt deserve to be on a big screen, there’s nothing that really stands out besides one very well done action sequence in the middle of the film.
Pace – The pace is really bad. It starts out slow and barely picks up speed until finally something interesting happens, and that isn’t until Steve Trevor makes it onto screen. The pace is pretty decent for another hour but then we get into the third act and while everything is followable, it feels choppy getting to the end.
Music – Great score and a good soundtrack.
Script – If this movie read like a comic book story without pictures, you’re not alone in thinking that. DC head editor/creator/writer Geoff Johns penned this script with director Patty Jenkins and I can’t tell if she tried to dumb down the script while shooting or the simplest story they could think of, but the story barely holds itself and the viewer’s attention.
One of the biggest and confusing parts from this script is the ending. Did everyone win a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card or did all major world leaders just decide to forgive and forget the nuclear war Maxwell Lord initiated. Are we supposed to believe everything is now like when Rocky single handedly ended the Cold War? We may never know.
Performance – If it wasn’t for all four main actors, this movie could have easily been a pile of garbage. Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal bring their A-game while Chris Pine and Gal Gadot have some of the best one screen chemistry I’ve seen in a couple of years. Pascal and Wiig know what kind of movie they’re in and they ham it up every chance they’re on screen.
CGI/Special Effects – Honestly, the CGI and effects are leagues better than it’s predecessor. While we still get a third act battle in the dark with a video-game style villain, there’s more at stake because we have built up a relationship with Minerva, something we missed entirely with the first film.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend paying a theater ticket unless you’re a huge fan of superhero films or the Wonder Woman brand. Otherwise, I’d wait to stream. Luckily, this has already been released on HBOMax for a short period of time before going on PVOD.