Wonder Woman 1984 was a terrific superhero blockbuster extravaganza. But it did not leave me bursting with enthusiasm the way the 2017 film did. I was so wound up by the earlier film I wrote 3 lengthy posts about how great it was. I won’t have that much to say this time.
Wonder Woman 1984 advanced the Wonder Woman mythology. It explained the invisible jet and Wonder Woman’s ability to fly. It gave the origin story for Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig). It had great fight scenes and special effects. Diana Prince and Steve Trevor were extra charming together.
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 did all the things the superhero films directed by men do. It was a solid representation of its genre. I wanted the second film to be better than the genre, as the first one was. In that sense, I was disappointed. I’ve seen many comments expressing disappointment, too.
I reemphasize my opinion that this was a solid superhero film, and as good as any such film made by a man. Don’t everyone gang up on Patty Jenkins and say women should never be given big budget blockbusters. This one is as good as all the rest – just not as good as the first Wonder Woman film. Don’t tell people it isn’t worth watching. Don’t overgeneralize your disappointment, people.
The story begins with Young Diana (Lilly Aspell) learning a hard lesson about winning. Cheating your way to the top is not a real win – not the truth – and the truth is what matters.
Thematically the story carries a custom fitted Trump-era message. Only the truth matters. Greed is destructive to everyone. Getting what you want at the expense of everyone else will cause chaos and world collapse. Sacrifice for the good of others is needed for the world to function properly.
The way those thematic elements are delivered sometimes doesn’t make clear sense in terms of storyline. Sometimes the delivery is a little heavy handed.
The two antagonists in the film are played by Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord. Barbara Minerva works at the Smithsonian, as does our hero Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). When that big rock – AKA the Dreamstone – arrives, it grants wishes.
Everyone has wishes, don’t they? Diana Prince wishes she could have Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) back. Barbara wishes she was as strong and cool as Wonder Woman. Maxwell Lord wishes he controlled ALL the wishes. People want money, fame, cars, nuclear weapons, farms, ancestral land. People want and want and want.
But when your wish is granted, something you value above all else is taken from you, as in the monkey’s paw story. Well, that creates a fine mess.
Wonder Woman is powerful enough and self-sacrificing enough to save the world one more time. She’s a role model of moral courage.
Things are fairly settled by the end, except for Barbara Minerva who is well on her way to becoming The Cheetah and will be the villain in a future Wonder Woman film, I’m sure. If you’re telling a story with a well-worn trope like the one about the mousey woman who takes off her glasses and becomes gorgeous, Kristen Wiig will do it right.
I appreciated the nod to Lynda Carter and to the creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston. I appreciated how gorgeous the costumes were. I appreciate that we have this superhero woman in the DC universe. Let’s keep nurturing her.
In case you haven’t seen the trailer 50 times already, here it is. The film is streaming on HBO Max.
What was your reaction to the film?