In “Wonder Woman 1984,” the fate of the world is once more on the line, and only Wonder Woman can save it. This new chapter in the Wonder Woman story finds Diana Prince living quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s—an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she’s come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile, curating ancient artifacts and only performing her superheroic acts incognito. But now, Diana will have to step directly into the spotlight and muster all her wisdom, strength and courage in order to save mankind from a world of its own making.
The biggest plus for Wonder Woman 1984 is Gal Gadot. She absolutely owns this role without question. She’s seems both comfortable and authentic in her portrayal of the superheroine. I do believe that she was able to stretch a bit more than normal this time around given the gravity of the decisions and situations her character faces. Despite being a demi-goddess, Gal did a wonderful job of humanizing the Amazonian princess. When you combine Gal’s delivery and Patty Jenkins’ writing and directing, the character of Diana progresses in a meaningful way that really keeps audiences attached and engaged with her character.
Alongside Gadot, Kristen Wiig was pretty solid as “Cheetah”. I thought that given the plot of the film, she made a nice transition in her performance in becoming a formidable villain. I also thought that Pedro Pascal did a good job as “Maxwell Lord”. Both Wiig and Pascal benefited from the fact that their characters had just enough material to work with to keep them from feeling too linear and generic. Chris Pine gave a nice performance too, although he seemed to shine more in his humorous moments. His chemistry with Gadot picked up right where it left off from the first film.
One thing that Wonder Woman 1984 continued to excel at was establishing a number of themes that play directly into Wonder Woman’s character. Similar to the previous film, the early looks of Themyscira served a nice purpose of helping the audience learn along with Diana. This was a great way to help us connect with her character and see how she applies certain life lessons in her journey to becoming a hero.
Another highlight for Wonder Woman 1984 comes from the many comic references and callbacks. From old to new fans of Wonder Woman, I think that many will appreciate the new elements Patty Jenkins introduces for the character. A number of moments serve as a nice surprise and delight for fans as they continue to see Diana’s journey. I specifically appreciated the increased usage of the Lasso of Truth. This film gives it much more variety and significance compared to the previous movie.
I felt as though the editing in this film was lacking and that hurt the storytelling. There were moments where scenes appeared to be missing and it automatically pushed characters forward without some natural transitions. It was kind of like if you were watching a film, and accidentally hit the fast forward button, and the movie just skips to a new scene. All the while you’re wondering, “Wait…when did Cheetah transform?” or “Why is this person acting evil all of a sudden?” Despite being a film that was already 2.5 hours long, I was surprised that some of these moments fell short.
Beyond that, Patty Jenkins opted to use more practical effects than CGI special effects. In some scenes, this ends up working out nicely for the sake of the cinematography. In that very same scene, however, there are moments where Wonder Woman and her abilities come off to be a bit cartoonish. I just think that maybe a different SFX team or stunt choreographer may have worked in some spots of the film. It felt like a give and take where we’d get a really cool action sequence, and then a quick moment of something odd looking at the same time.
Finally, while it is true that the goal of addressing certain themes was accomplished in Wonder Woman 1984, I also believe that the execution was a bit cringe-worthy at times. As mentioned before, it’s cool when the themes like love or truth are used to help develop a character. However, it gets kind of corny in the way those themes are manifested, so to speak, in this film. It’s reminiscent of watching a child’s cartoon show ,and no matter the odds, the “power of friendship” will prevail. The ending of the film felt odd and way too convenient in how everything concludes. That may work if this were a Saturday morning cartoon, but not so much in this more mature film.