We all have wishes we want to become fulfilled, but they always come with a price. Many wished Wonder Woman 1984 would be great, but it sadly lost momentum once the production gears started spinning.
Wonder Woman 1984 is the sequel to its beloved 2017 predecessor and the ninth installment of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), and it packs quite a lot. And by a lot, it is so much that one wonders why it could not have become split into two films. Or better yet, why it could not have become polished to be a much shorter and consistent product.
In the 1980s, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) has moved on from the days of the Great War and is still struggling to move on after the death of former lover Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). She comes across the bumbling, awkward Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) and dangerous businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). The latter covets the “Dreamstone,” a device that grants anyone’s deepest wishes (while taking their strength as a cost) and looks like a prop from a Harry Potter film. Both Diana and Barbara gain their desires with Diana meeting with Steve once again as he inhabits another’s body while Barbara gains superhuman abilities and undeniable beauty (similar to Diana). Lord goes overboard, fulfilling his wishes of those and millions of others that it produces disorder and war in a heartbeat, and Diana must fight for what either matters most to her or what matters most to the world.
The movie reminds one of a lot from the original Superman series. The title sequence is reminiscent of Superman 3, and one of the villains stays modeled after Lex Luthor in Superman 2. Director Patty Jenkins got inspiration from these works and explored the 1980s-setting with flair, but it overall did not lead to a great product.
The film is long (bordering two and a half hours) and does not do enough to evoke a desire to keep watching within the first hour. The viewers must indulge in a beautifully shot flashback dealing with young Diana learning about truth and then move into the primary setting with a genuine lack of stakes and direction. Captain America: The Winter Soldier wowed us when Captain America jumped onto a ship stealth mode and took out combatants in splendid fashion. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 had Baby Groot dancing to “Mr. Blue Sky” hilariously while fellow teammates battled a CGI-octopus. It is way too slow here in the Wonder Woman sequel, with Diana and Co. limping along until the plot decides to start taking the initiative to roll.
Steve reuniting with Diana, is both pleasing and preposterous. Gadot and Pine have great chemistry to show off here as they did in the predecessor, but the emotional weight is lacking. It strips away the 2017 film of the beautiful moments both protagonists share. The villains are also poorly utilized. Wiig’s villainess persona falls flat in the third act, and Pascal’s character never goes further other than a megalomaniac who has a young son. Combined with a long runtime, lack of action, and a sense of weariness, and this sequel was brimming with the potential to become a catastrophe.
The only salvaging aspect from this movie is it keeps in mind how powerful of an object truth can be. It understands that no matter what, lies and cheats will never get one nowhere. Gal Gadot sparkles here as the titular character like in her predecessor and in the mediocre Justice League, proving she is more than eye-candy. This sequel barely manages to stay afloat as it lacks that charm and vibrance the first film contained (recall the incredible moment she single-handedly walked into No Man’s Land armored up).
Wonder Woman 1984 is a stretched-out story dealing with illusions and truth, and it must take over half the movie to decide which is the right answer. It does leap over a bunch of other weak DCEU works like Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman but does not come close to the sensation and awesomeness of its predecessor. Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and the rest will need to strategize their game plan for Wonder Woman 3 thoroughly.