Movie Title: Wonder Woman 1984
Writer: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lilly Aspell, Lucian Perez, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha, Natasha Rothwell, Ravi Patel, Gabriella Wilde, Oliver Cotton, Lynda Carter
Review: 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.
I was very excited for Wonder Woman 1984 after being pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the original film, Wonder Woman. Given the track record of movies released by the DC Extended Universe, there haven't been a lot of bright spots, but Wonder Woman proved to be the exception rather than the rule. Its sequel, however, just does not live up to its predecessor. I really wanted to like this movie, and it hits the ground running with an incredible intro scene. We then get into the meat of the story where we are reminded by Gal Gadot that she is absolutely perfectly casted in the role of Diana Prince. She really does a fantastic job, and is the one saving grace in this film. The main issue I have is that this movie is too long for its own good, and the villains and threats posed pale in comparison to other films in the superhero genre. I love Pedro Pascal, but Maxwell Lord becoming the Dreamstone and granting wishes like some kind of deranged, hedonistic genie is just weird. I prefer my genies to be of the friendly, blue, animated variety a la Robin Williams in Aladdin or in the live action, crop-top-wearing, slightly-misappropriated variety a la Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie. But I digress. Back to Maxwell Lord, I'm not thrilled with the idea that he doesn't pose a physical threat like most villains, which is why they had to shoehorn Kristen Wiig into the plot as Cheetah. Again, I also love Kristen Wiig, but her character just seemed to be there because we had to have Diana Prince fight someone. The fight I'm referencing is incredibly short and anti-climactic, and basically just serves as a minor roadblock between the final showdown between Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord; a showdown which plays more like a plea to renounce our greedy desires and accepting our realities than anything resembling real danger. The overall message here that we can't always get what we want, and that our deepest desires don't always result in positive consequences is something that resonates. I just felt that this message was too hammy and forced.
I loved the setting of this film, and I think they did a really good job capturing the essence of the '80s. Everything from neon lights, crimped hair, and synthetic tunes are alive and well in this film. I enjoyed the scenes between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, who plays Diana's boyfriend Steve Trevor. They rekindled their great chemistry from the first film, and had a lot of fun moments. I also really enjoyed watching Diana grow into her powers. At the end of the day, these bright moments were few and far between, and the movie ultimately came across as boring. With a run time of two and a half hours, boring can become common if you're not careful. With a disjointed script and odd story-telling choices, this movie ultimately dragged too much, and never really found its footing.
Fun Fact: Lilly Aspell (Young Diana Prince) performed all of her own stunts at the age of 12. It was deemed that she did the job better than her own stunt doubles.