Rewind to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.
After several delays and debates over how to release this film, the sequel to 2017’s ‘Wonder Woman’ arrives with a muted fanfare with a release direct to streaming (and some cinemas – not that many are open in the UK at the moment!). The first ‘Wonder Woman’ film was a rare bright light in DC’s attempts to create a rival cinematic universe to Marvel, so I was looking forward to this, not least for the 80s setting which is a great time period to pastiche. Sadly, this is a downgrade in almost every way from the first movie, from a cliched script that felt like a retread of many other superhero movies, to a two-and-a-half-hour runtime which is extremely indulgent.
That isn’t to say ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is all bad. I liked both villains in Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig, who both do their best with thin characterisations, and the film is relatively funny at times, something which DC in particular have struggled with in the post-Nolan era. The story, as the title suggests, takes place in 1984, where Diana (Gal Gadot) is now working as an anthropologist at the Smithsonian, whilst continuing to secretly fight crime as ‘Wonder Woman’. So far, so standard superhero movie. The plot kicks into gear when Diana and her colleague Barbara (Wiig) find an object known as a ‘Dreamstone’, which allows the holder to wish for anything they want. The consequences of this involve Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) being brought back to life, and in Barbara’s case, providing her with superpowers much like Diana, who she both admires and is envious off. It also brings businessman Max Lord (Pascal) into the mix, and he of course also covets the Dreamstone. This brings the central characters into conflict as Wonder Woman attempts to stop Max, initially with Barbara’s help, and the story plays out from this point.
The main issues are that it takes far too long to get going (over an hour before anything of note really happens), and then when it does, there’s nothing original or special to make the way the story plays out stand out in any way. Gal Gadot was very impressive in the first film and she embodies the ‘Wonder Woman’ persona superbly, but is less assured as Diana, and that’s a problem when we spend a lot more time with her here as Diana. ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is an average superhero movie that is sufficiently entertaining to pass some time over the festive period, but it lacks the confidence of the original and once the dust settles, I can’t imagine this is a film people will return too or look back at with fondness.
Directed By: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen