Review: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984 is a high energy, fast paced emotional ride and a cinematic improvement on the first movie.

PLOT AND STORY

We fast forward (or rewind depending on which timeline you’re coming from) to 1984 and Diana Prince is living in DC, working at the Natural History Museum while keeping her alter ego Wonder Woman as much a secret as she can. After discovering an ancient artifact Diana and her new friend Barbara Minerva come into trouble with power hungry Maxwell Lord.

That’s about as much as I can really say about the story without giving away any spoilers. Most of this was evident in the trailer and the movie played out very closely to the latest trailer we got back at DC Fandome. Also shown in the trailer was the return of Steve Trevor and this was the part of the movie I was most sceptical about. I’m pleased to say the way in which this was delivered was really well done. It was layered heavily into many plot points of the movie and not just a cash grab getting actor Chris Pine back on screen.

Diana, Barbara, Steve and Maxwell all have their own journeys and are incredibly well entwined to make one combined, compelling story. Credit to Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham who wrote another great Wonder Woman movie. Something that was again shown in the trailer was Steve Trevor adapting to the jump in time and these were the only humorous moments in quite a serious movie. This leads me to one of my biggest issues with WW84. As I have mentioned about the trailer a few times, I found all the best moments and all the best action scenes were in the trailer. I know that’s what sells a movie but I thought the industry had moved away from this ‘pack all the best bits into a 2 minute trailer’ but unfortunately not here. If you take away all the moments from the trailer you are left with quite a boring movie.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any WOW moments because there are two of those stand out moments. Both are true Wonder Woman moments and both were completely expected if you have been reading any of the pre-press hype. As expected as they were there is one scene in particular which is aided beautifully by Hans Zimmer score which genuinely made my eyes water.

As with most movies, especially superhero hero movies, there are a few unrealistic cheesy moments which made me think ‘oh come on’. For example, both Diana and Barbara have moments when they randomly bump into specific people which are essential moments for certain plot points but in a city with a population of over half a million I found it hard to believe.

The ending felt a little anticlimactic. The movie explores the selfish nature of man and how destructive it can be and after lots of build up it ends pretty quickly without any real consequences. I would have liked to have seen the end fleshed out a little more but at least we do get a conclusive ending so I shouldn’t complain too much.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

I don’t use the word flawless very often but this is a movie I think I will use it on. Being sat on a shelf or in post production for around 18 months I wonder how much extra time was spent tweaking and perfecting things. Not that it matters now because the final product I just watched was amazing. 

I’m someone who looks for bad CGI or poor cuts on fight sequences but I came up short with WW84. A huge congratulations to director Patty Jenkins and the whole team behind the camera for creating a wonderful movie.

There is an opening sequence to the movie set in Themyscira which we get a glimpse of in the trailer(again). This looks just like the last time we were here in the first movie and displays some beautiful sequences with some expertly choreographed Amazonian contests. As good as this was and as adorable young Diana was played by Lilly Aspell I did leave the movie wondering what the point was. It seemed to have no real relevance to the rest of the story and felt like it was just added in for the sake of it.

Hans Zimmer makes this movie hit every emotional key moment. There are a couple of really key Wonder Woman moments in this movie and both would not have had the impact without his absolutely brilliant music which makes you hang on every note.

CAST

In the grand scheme of things WW84 has a very small cast with only four characters who have any screen time worth noting. First and foremost our leading lady Gal Gadot who now after four appearances as Wonder Woman I can honestly say I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role. She is absolutely mesmerising and lights up the screen every time we see her displaying everything you want from Wonder Woman, strength, beauty, heart and morality. 

Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor and much like the first movie offers the light hearted comedy relief whilst managing to be a rock at the side of Diana. 

Kristen Wiig makes her DC Universe debut as Barbara Minerva who becomes the villain Cheetah. The only part I didn’t buy about her performance was when she is portraying an unattractive nobody at the start of the movie. Little attempt was made to hide her natural beauty and messing up her hair simply wasn’t enough. When she starts to turn and come out of her shell more, then I loved every second she was onscreen. Kristen brought beauty and warmth to the character and was a compelling villain when that moment came.

Last but by no means least is Pedro Pascal who plays Maxwell Lord. Pascal is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood right now following his role as the Manderlorian and it’s funny to think he actually filmed WW84 before moving to Star Wars. Pascal gives everything you expect from such a talented actor and makes Maxwell Lord a character you love to hate. Lord is a villain very much like Lex Luthor who in his own head is doing everything for the right reasons but goes about it all the wrong way. Pascal takes the audience on a real journey with some steep emotional highs and lows and makes you want to see more from him in the future. 

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Wonder Woman 1984 feels like a second origin movie rather than a sequel but delivers an incredibly entertaining movie. The release could have been delayed even further so credit to Warner Bros for pushing this out when it did. It was a very welcome treat for fans at a time when people needed a glimmer of hope more now than ever and as such deserves an extra star on my score. This is an emotional movie with a huge heart, high tempo and a big wow factor.

I watched this at Vue Cinema and received no incentive to review this movie.

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