Wonder Woman 84 (2020)
Director: Patty Jenkins Screenwriters: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Studio: Warner Bro. Runtime: 2 hr 31 min Rating: PG-13
Wonder Woman 84 was released on Christmas Day to the anticipation of many, myself included. It starts with a young Diana on Themyscria, with Lilly Aspell reprising her role with the same energy and dedication she had in the first Wonder Woman film. Viewers will get another look into a section of Paradise Island with visually stunning scene settings. The Amazons impress again with their abilities that make the Olympics look like a high school state gymnastics event.
The opening scene has more to it than action, and while I won’t say what, it is the thread of rationale that Wonder Woman 84 is built around.
Shifting from Themyscaria, the movie takes you to Washington, D.C., in 1984.
Diana is out being Wonder Woman in an era where she can still show up, do her thing, and vanish. Why it had to be in the 1980s, I have no idea. Malls were huge then, and one of the scenes is shot at one, but it could have been elsewhere. Aside from that, the clothes and technology, there isn’t anything that cements a rational justification for choosing 1984. It’s in the title, but it has little relevance. Perhaps because cellphones (as we know them today) weren’t around to capture everything? The internet wasn’t even available publicly yet, so anonymity is her friend.
Despite her 66-years of relative isolation, who she does befriend is Dr. Barbra Minerva, otherwise known as Cheetah. This iteration of the character sets her up as a cliche of films. She is fashionably stunted (a sharp contrast to the always put together Diana), clumsy, socially awkward, smart, and ignored by everyone she meets. Many of us can relate to that list, hell on most days, it describes me. The difference is that we don’t get to have a wish that gives us a glamor and personality makeover.
Throughout cinema, animated or otherwise, we have been told that you only get one wish. Maybe three. That magic always comes with a price. Well, Maxwell Lord, played by Pedro Pascal, begs to differ. He’s the embodiment of a character in a magic lamp scenario where you want to trick him into the bottle; he’s so sleazy. In WW84, he is after the Dreamstone and will do anything to get it and everything else.
After the stone comes to Diana’s attention, with the help of Barbra, they find out more about it. Like most people, Barbra can’t help but think about what she’d wish for. Diana, on the other hand, understands there is more at work than just a simple wish.
The pace and set-up of this film are slow. Arguably the typical trap of a second film when you know there will be a third, but this wasn’t set up under that pretense. There are so many plot questions, holes, continuity errors that made me lose interest early on. This was not the movie I was excitedly waiting to see. There is little ‘wonder’ to be found in this film.
While Gal Gadot reprised her role as Wonder Woman and certainly looked the part fantastically again, I wasn’t excited. Pedro Pascal pulls off a 1980s suit to accurately depict the scam artist, Max Lord. However, nothing in this universe will make me believe, magic or otherwise, that Kristen Wiig is as attractive as Gal Godot. Or Barbra to Diana. The Cheetah “costume” is okay until you get to her face. Her face makeup looks like it was stolen from Floki, the character on the History channels Vikings. Rebel Wilson and Taylor Swift’s heads as felines from the movie Cats looked more believable.
For a movie whose pretense is that “…the truth is all there is,” there couldn’t be a bigger lie than the one the filmmakers ignore in how they bring Chris Pine’s character, Steve Trevor, back. It’s absolutely disgusting, really. It goes against everything Wonder Woman is. That, along with the other issues I won’t go into, (spoilers) are reason enough to avoid this film. This movie should not be on anyone’s watch list.
-a pen lady