Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Maxwell Lord and The Cheetah.
Reviewing big budget blockbusters is always more difficult than your standard films. For one, your initial reaction (especially if this was your first movie seen in theaters since real-life super villain COVID-19 struck) tends to be filled with adrenaline and excitement, making you feel like the film was perfection. Once that wears off and you’ve had some time to think things over, it might just change your views (or not) a bit. I came out of the cinema thinking Wonder Woman 1984 gets a 9 out of 10. So did my score change after having a whole weekend to break it down scene by scene? Well let me wrap myself up in the Lasso of Truth and give you my honest review of DC’s leading lady second solo outing in five punches!
Punch 1: Visuals
Director Patty Jenkins is without a doubt a fan of this character and her world. From the beautiful opening scene of Themyscira and the Amazons doing their badass thing, to the bright, beautiful and very fitting colour choices for the coolest era so far (the 80s ruled!) WW84 doesn’t miss a beat.
Wonder Woman’s costumes, the 80’s fashion, the awesome battle scenes (my favourite was most definitely the one set in the Middle East) and a certain “magical” jet flown by Steve Trevor at night during the 4th of July, there’s just so much to appreciate here, and I will definitely have to see this movie again and again to truly appreciate how gorgeous every scene looked. But after just one viewing, I have to say the cinematography gets a 10 out of 10.
Punch 2: Score
Hans Zimmer is a man who needs no introduction, and even if you have no idea what he looks like, you’ve most definitely heard and appreciated his musical scores. Zimmer’s work on iconic films like The Lion King, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Inception (the list goes on and on and on) has made him one of the very best in the industry, and he delivers once again with Wonder Woman 1984.
There is just something magical that happens when that superhero theme kicks in, and WW has one of the very best of the modern era. Every note chosen worked perfectly to pluck on your emotional strings, yet never overwhelming the scene. And for me, that’s exactly what a perfect movie score is supposed to do. 10 out of 10.
Punch 3: Acting
When an actor/actress can take a character and completely make them their own, making it near impossible for you to picture anyone else in that role, you know they’ve nailed it. Like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Gal Gadot is Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. Bold, Underlined and Full Stop! Her ability to take a character who is essentially a demi-god and make her relatable to us mere mortals is no easy feat. And while Jenkins and the writers behind this screenplay also deserve praise, it’s Gadot’s acting ability that has turned what most thought would be impossible — a female superhero who doesn’t need an ensemble cast to prop her up and make that character stand head and shoulders with the best there are.
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor is just so perfect as her leading man, it’s almost ridiculous. He’s a hero in his own right, yet he never feels the need to outshine his lady love (that’s called confidence gentlemen). There’s also a bit of role reversal here, as Steve is now the one planted in a world he doesn’t know or understand, and Pine nailed both the comedic and dramatic aspects in these moments. Pedro Pascal as Max Lord and Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva aka The Cheetah also manage to take characters who, on paper, could’ve been very bland and generic, and imbue them with life and personality. All of these actors brought their A-game and I honestly don’t fault them for any of the stumbles this movie may have made. 10 out of 10.
Speaking of stumbles…
Punch 4: Story
So here’s the thing — as a whole, and more specifically, as a sequel to DC’s biggest hit so far, Wonder Woman 1984 is a great movie. The first film has so much going for it, with the only real glaring flaw being their choice of villains. You could tell Jenkins and her team were very aware of that and did their best to course correct with their sequel.
Alas, while I think Max Lord made for a much more grounded and impactful foe, the fact remains, he IS human and there’s only so much that could be done with that. There was never gonna be a fist fight between these two and the way the finale unfolded between them felt a bit anti-climactic. The message the movie delivers is well executed and fits with Wonder Woman’s persona, but still, there were so many plot threads left hanging here I didn’t know what to do with them all.
As for The Cheetah, well, like I said before, Wiig handled the material well, but her motivations for her choices just didn’t sit well with me. It had me thinking back to Electro in The Amazing Spiderman Pt. 2 and that is NEVER a good thing! Maybe the reason for these issues comes down to the fact that Wonder Woman doesn’t have a great villain roster. It’s either she’s fighting Greek gods or megalomaniacs, and when she does have to battle some truly epic baddie, he/she is not one of her villains but that of Superman or Batman or the like.
Another issue I had here was the tone of this film. Now let me be clear, overall I think this was a seriously good movie and a solid sequel…but…and it’s kind of a big but (heh), WW84, unlike its predecessor, felt more like a drama than an action-based, fantasy superhero movie. I wanted more bombastic battles, more of Wonder Woman doing her “wonderful” thing and instead, I got a lot of talking, more akin to a big epic drama. It’s not that there isn’t action, comedy and fantastical beats, it’s just there weren’t enough of them. And in the end, I felt a bit letdown by this.
Punch 5: Conclusion
This is most definitely another check in the win column for DCU. Wonder Woman 1984 is good, it’s really, really good, with striking visuals, a great score, solid acting, and I never felt bored at any point in time. The character growth given to Diana (including a newly discovered ability) was beautiful to behold, and I am still very much a fan of this character and the people behind her wondrous creation. That said, I wanted more. More action, more fun energy, more superheroine shenanigans.
This is a solid sequel and a fantastic choice for movie-going fans returning to the theatres. But if the Lasso of Truth was firmly wrapped around me, I would have to be brutally honest and say…
Wonder Woman 1984 gets a 7.5 out of 10.
For more of my thoughts on the film you can check out my video review here:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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