Wonder Woman 84

Spoiler- This is a discussion about a movie. If you want to see that move, maybe wait to read this “review.”

Full-Disclosure- I’m a Marvel guy. I prefer Marvel characters to DC characters and Marvel movies to DC movies. However, the first Wonder Woman movie was amazing and the best DC movie by far and as good as any Marvel movie. My goal is to tell you what I thought and perhaps have a discussion about super-heroes. If you liked it, that’s great. I’m happy you enjoyed it. I was very excited about seeing the Wonder Woman sequel. So excited that I subscribed to HBO Max. I suspect many will be dumping that subscription. Not me. At least not until I finish Friends.

Scene One- A young Diana participates and wins a tournament that looks like American Ninja Warrior on steroids. But she took a shortcut and was disqualified even though she was about to win. What’s the point of this scene except that, even at a young age, she’s physically superior to the best of the best on the island? She should have been disqualified for being a creation of Zeus (see the first movie). The missed opportunity was the chance to feature a lesson or even a test of morality. Maybe she spares an enemy and suffers because of it. We see Diana is a just and merciful superhero later in the movie, and it would have been an essential scene if we saw those early lessons first-hand. Or better yet, the opening scene could have shown us the origin of the wish-stone that drives the movie’s story later on.

Love Story- It’s been forty years since Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) died saving lives. Wonder Woman (Gadot) still loves him, but this seems a tad overdone. She didn’t know him for very long in the war, and she’s been pining (no pun intended) over him for four decades? 

The Antagonists- I won’t say they’re bad-guys or villains. The movie goes out of its way to show the two primary opponents as people with backstories and hopes and dreams and not just people to fight. However, we don’t see Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) become the full-Cheetah until the movie’s last few minutes. Maxwell Lord is a failed businessman played by Pedro Pascal. Instead of wishing for infinite wishes, he wishes to become the wishing stone, which I guess is a surprise and somewhat clever assuming he knows what kind of power he’s dealing with.

The Eighties- I grew up in the eighties. Like every decade, it has its plusses and minuses.  When this decade is depicted in the movies and television, it’s done to exaggerate the fashion and culture until the show is even more eighties than the actual eighties. Everyone didn’t wear parachute pants and have Flock of Seagulls’ haircuts. The missed opportunity here was not having a fantastic 80s soundtrack. 

Superpowers- Wonder Woman is as strong as Superman and has a magic lasso and bullet-deflecting bracelets, she’s the best combatant in the Justice League, and she can fly! The final scene in the first movie implies that she is flying away and not jumping. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps she didn’t fly. But in forty years, she doesn’t figure out how to fly? Because she does in the movie, but not until the end. Up until then, she jumps around and uses her lasso to swing like Spider-Man. Also, there’s a cute joke involves a reference to the original invisible jet from the show. They need to avoid detection in a stolen jet, and Diana busts out this new ability to make stuff invisible, i.e., the plane. Isn’t that funny and clever?

Humanity and Heroism- WW84 does something other superhero movies fail to do. Diana shows mercy and restraint to her enemies, specifically the non-powered ones. Hulk must have killed hundreds or thousands of people with his rage, but we don’t see people dying onscreen. Batman blows up cop cars, and it looks cool, but I say to myself, “Best case scenario, that cop in that car flying into a brick wall never walks again.” Hellboy punches a cab and flips it into the air onto its roof. Captain America beats the hell out of people doing their job. No one talks about not hurting the people who are shooting at them, but Diana does. Even when she’s at half-power, she’s a real hero.

I didn’t like this movie. I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t enjoy it. Maybe you did. I’m not trying to convince you to dislike it. I wanted it to be as good as the first, but it wasn’t even close. I’ll see the next movie, but I hope it takes place in the modern world and features villains worthy of a super-heroine of Wonder Woman’s power and star level. 

Some other stuff I couldn’t fit in:

An impenetrable suit of armor is mentioned, and of course, later, Diana must wear it. 

Maxwell Lord is using his wish power on the President while there’s a presentation about a new satellite that he can use to broadcast his wish power to the whole world. This will be used as an example of lazy writing that in future Screenwriting 101 classes.  

The end credits appearance was misplaced. If they wanted to use Linda Carter, they could have used her earlier to set up the whole wish stone thingee.

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