A Superhero in 2020? - Wonder Woman 1984 Review (spoiler free)
In a year such as this, we sure do need some spectacle and wonder, so what better time for Wonder Woman 1984 to be released, despite the sea of issues surrounding it?
While Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) may not technically be everywhere due to the continuing challenge of restrictions, lockdowns, and people's general safety concerns, this long awaited release seems almost reminiscent of a different time. A time in which blockbuster films would always roll out to different countries at various times of the year, without the fear of leaks, and spoilers. A time like 1984.
WW84 certainly is a very bold and ambitious film, as you would expect from Patty Jenkins and DC. The company is now becoming even more infamous for letting each film create its own world and feeling, something Marvel and other superhero films struggle to do, partly due to their universal aesthetic.
The tone and scale of this film make it perfect for the big screen, which is understandable why the creators pushed for so long for it to go to cinemas. The experience itself was a very jarring one. Not only did I see trailers before the film that were it not for the pandemic would have been out long ago but even out before this movie.
It brought about a feeling of "oh I haven't seen this trailer in a long time", as if these same trailers have become a religious watch at the cinema, till eventually they are all released sometime in the future (whenever that may be).
This feeling makes you cherish and bask in the theatricality of WW84 even more, which interestingly, is an element we would have not previously had. Similar to films like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, or Ready Player One, the film takes a certain level of investment and believability to fully enjoy what Patty Jenkins is setting out to do. An aspect that might be lost on audiences watching at home, as the film at many times begs for the big drinks, popcorn, and investment of the cinematic experience.
The opening alone gives two sequences that tell you much of what you need to know for the movie ahead. A sequence which I can only describe as the Themyscira Olympics is the perfect way to drop us back into the world of Wonder Woman, and the epic adventures that follow her. We are introduced to the wonderfully eclectic and sweeping score of Hans Zimmer, along with the more bright and beautiful world the film wants to portray.
After this, we find Wonder Woman in 1984 (I know, shocker right?) where we see her saving civilians on several occasions, particularly at a local shopping mall where a robbery/ hostage situation is taking place.
The sequence shows us a different Diana, one that hates guns, and only uses her lasso, along with her armour and powers, to protect herself and the people. Gone are the sword and shield, and warrior look of the first film, instead, being shown a wink at the audience type superhero, which perfectly fits the setting and overall tone Patty Jenkins goes for, wholeheartedly.
But how does this do story-wise? Superhero films are often global events because of the big storylines, and potential secrets they might hold. But while there isn't all that much to necessarily spoil, there is still a lot packed into this movie.
At 2 hours and 31 minutes, Wonder Woman 1984 certainly gives you a lot of movie for what you pay for (whether that be a cinema ticket, rental, or as part of a subscription). It shows the want for bigger and longer films, that are able to tell these big stories, as audiences get used to longer content thanks to both film and television. For me, that's fantastic. WW84 is certainly the type of project that years ago would have suffered at the hands of studio executives and horrendous re-writes.
Each character gets to be more fleshed out, have more purpose and drive than just the stereotype that could easily be given to them. The cast clearly has a lot of fun with this, with Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, and Pedro Pascal all embellishing their roles, giving us bold and larger than life performances that again work with this epic story.
While I can't say that Steve Trevor adds all that much to the film itself, bar aiding Diana's story and dilemma, it was still nice to have Pine back and give us a lot of the funny moments in the film. Bringing characters back from the dead is always tricky to do, and often robs the death and its aftermath of the drama and potential story that could follow it. While it does work for the story and gives us many of the most powerful scenes in the film, the script still lets the character down with a lack of dialogue and purpose other being a companion to Diana, something a new character could have just as easily achieved.
Our villains played by Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig both do great jobs, with Pascal standing out as the energetic, ambitious, and theatrical Maxwell Lord (he somewhat sums up the film). Pascal clearly has a lot of fun and chews up every scene he is in, with a great physical, and dramatic performance.
Kristen Wiig demonstrates her match with the role, despite the trepidation many had upon her casting, she plays on the naivety and resentment Barbara Minerva has as a character. Although she like Steve works within the confines of the story she is also let down in regards to the script's missed drama and dialogue.
The star, however, is definitely Gal Gadot. Though she proved herself in the first film, Gadot's progress and development as an actress is certainly evident in this film. Gal Gadot sells the character and her beliefs perfectly, encapsulating the beacon of hope, and truly becomes the character of Wonder Woman.
Ultimately WW84, is as it should be, a very fun, and wonderous movie. The action is exciting and gives us some very riveting (if not sometimes clunky) large scale action sequences. The entire story becomes a big adventure with the world literally on the brink of collapse, making this preferable to see on the big screen, if you can, and feel safe to do so.
While there is some dodgy wirework, and strange detours that come from the elaborate wishing stone featured in the story, WW84 is fun and elaborate enough to paper over its many, many cracks. Washington D.C. acts as a great setting for the film, and the overall visuals (including Diana's golden lasso) make for some dazzling moments.
While 2020 was set to be the big year for female leads and heroines, Wonder Woman 1984 still gives us that exciting feeling of change, and a fun throwback to the 80s, despite the troubles that have plagued 2020.
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