Wonder Woman 1984

[2.5 stars]

I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Wonder Woman. Outside of its message and positive example, it was a middling movie. This sequel makes that original film look like a timeless classic. How it got greenlit with such a sub-standard script astounds me. It isn’t just that the mechanics and dialogue that director Patty Jenkins co-wrote, are awful, and that the rules of the magic involved aren’t explained for far too long, it’s that Jenkins couldn’t even get credible and sympathetic performances out of her very talented cast.

Pedro Pascal (Prospect) and Kristin Wiig (Ghostbusters) are presented as just fools, not misled or flawed people. While each clearly has a backstory that might have tugged at our hearts or allowed us to understand them, Jenkins pushed them both to be clich├ęs as regular people, and absurd as super-villains. Without that initial grounding, we can’t even feel any triumph or joy at their final endings.

Even the core love story falls flat. Our main couple, Gal Gadot (Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Chris Pine (A Wrinkle in Time), don’t really connect and their second chance doesn’t feel like either a win or a loss. In fact, their final scene together is practically a throw-away. Worse, the climax of the movie, while guided by Gadot’s Wonder Woman (and somewhat flimsily related back to the opening of the movie) is really up to Pascal’s actions. The whole thing just sort of happens without a lot of satisfaction for the viewer and without a real sense of it being Wonder Woman’s effort. For that matter, we don’t even get a complete resolution for Wiig, who’s core to the challenges.

Even the simple mechanics of the movie were weak with time confusions as the story found itself poorly anchored with clues and guidance. Honestly, this could be a franchise killer. The movie had nothing new to say, no interesting way to say what it wanted to say, and no emotional connection to make us care either way. The only true gift was the extra scene about a minute into the final credits.

But DC, in its mainstream superhero films, has never really had great scripts as compared to Marvel. The oversight and vision just aren’t there. But even my low expectations were crushed by the result of this movie. View it if you must, but go in with low expectations.

Sidenote: This was not the triumphant film with which HBO Max had hoped to launch it’s theatrical co-releases. And then there was the issue that their servers were overloaded and their streams had massive problems. How that bodes for the service and the resurrection of the theaters, I don’t know. If this had been released, it would have likely made a bunch of cash, but it wouldn’t have fared well critically nor had the legs of the original. So, perhaps, they made the best decision by pulling it and using it as bait to lure folks into subscriptions. We’ll see how the next 6 months go…

Wonder Woman 1984 Poster

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