I wasn’t a fan of the first Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot. Although it seemed like most loved it, I pretty much feel that it was a mediocre movie. And because they were bringing a lot of the same people back, I didn’t anticipate much from Wonder Woman 1984 either. In fact, I expected it to be worse.
For no specific reason, the film takes place in 1984. That alone doesn’t make sense since we were told that Wonder Woman is supposed to be living a quiet existence amongst the people. In spite of that, she’s actually still running around saving the day out in public in front of tons of people with functioning eyes and brains.
Anyway, this adventure introduces her to a couple of antagonists who are more dangerous than just your average street criminals. While she wants to live a quiet life as a curator and archeologist, she finds herself having to do battle with Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a desperate businessman who will stop at nothing to find success. To make things more difficult, she also has to face Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), a villainess with superhuman strength and agility.
Right from the beginning, I feel the need to point out that viewers won’t be able to see a ton of Wonder Woman in large sections of the first 90-100 minutes. During this time, we only actually get to see her in action once in a scene that’s ultimately pointless. Instead of seeing her take part in this kind of thing repeatedly, you’ll have to sit through what can only be described as mostly build up.
Of course, this will negatively impact the viewing experience for a lot of people. Including myself, we’re here to see that stuff more than anything. In this case, the action and the superhero activities are even more critical than usual when you take into account that Gal Gadot is the person we’re asked to follow the most. As you well know, Gadot is at her best when partaking in various action sequences.
The last thing we want her to do is put her in a position where she has to focus solely on acting. Gadot’s lack of range is one of the things that limited the first movie and prevented it from being as good as it could have been. Because of what I’ve seen from her over the years, I figured she’d be about the same here. In reality, the acting she put on display didn’t do as much damage as I had anticipated.
A big reason for that comes from Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal. During that first hour and a half or whatever, they carried the film with their personalities. It was because of them that I didn’t mind the fact that we weren’t getting as much action as I was hoping for. You take what they’re doing during this period away from the film and I probably don’t make it to the best parts.
There are also scenes surrounding Diana Prince during this period of time. They’re not awful, but they’re certainly not enough to carry a film. These scenes usually include Chris Pine as well. He’s okay when he’s on-screen, but he isn’t as memorable as he was in the first film.
As for Gadot, although she isn’t where she could be as an actress, she appeared to show improvement. She still lacks the ability to command the screen and struggles with showcasing emotion properly, but she appears to be working to get better. Hopefully, she continues to show progress at it and improves over time. If the skills ever match her appearance and prowess during fight scenes, she’ll start winning acting awards.
In terms of the character of Wonder Woman, I like that they try to humanize her a bit more than they have in the past. They attempt to give her more depth and layers while also allowing her to be vulnerable. I don’t think it always works because Gadot has trouble conveying the right amount of emotion but them trying to include this kind of thing was a good idea and much appreciated.
While the first 90 minutes or so only have a couple of action scenes (one with Wonder Woman), the second half tries to make up for it. If you stick around long enough, I think you’ll enjoy what you get here for the most part. It basically becomes a different movie as the action takes precedent over almost everything else. Of course, this is where Gadot is able to shine as she (as well as Chris Pine) showcase the skills that we already knew were there.
The only action scene that I took issue with was the final showdown. A part of this is because of Pedro Pascal. While I liked him in most of the movie, he decided to go over the top with his performance at this time. Another reason comes from the dark setting that all of this takes place in. While most of the WW84 is bright, this portion is so dark that it’s sometimes hard to see what’s going on.
This segment is also was hampered by some poor CGI during the actual fight that’s taking place. As you watch, you’ll notice that the visuals here are simply horrible. At times, it looked like something you’d probably see on a PS2. Overall, I wouldn’t say that it was as bad as the CGI in Black Panther (RIP Chadwick Boseman), but it got really, really close on more than a few occasions.
Wonder Woman 1984 has plenty of issues that will hurt it in the eyes of many, but I found it to be entertaining enough in some ways. Once it was over, I could look back on it and clearly see that they didn’t want this to be yet another sequel that simply repeats what was done in the previous film. For that alone, Patty Jenkins and company deserve some respect.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Film Length: 151 minutes
Release Date: December 25, 2020
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Score - 6/106/10