Spoilers will bounce off this one.
I really enjoyed the first Wonder Woman film. I think Patty Jenkins did an amazing job. I loved Gal Gadot’s performance. I was looking forward to this sequel, although I was a bit wary of the first reviews coming out. You will identify Diana in this movie. It does feature her. However, I have a lot of reservations about a diverse number of things in this feature. It does seem to try to use the 80’s aesthetics to bring some campy fun, but I found myself very tempted to skip forward.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) was directed by Patty Jenkins who wrote the screenplay with Geoff Johns and Dave Callahan. Time has gone by and Diana Prince (Gal Godot) seems to live a solitary life, working at the museum and fighting crime. She still misses Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). After foiling a robbery at a jewelry the mall, a scene which is used to hammer down that it’s all happening in the 80’s, a thingamajig is found that claims it can grant wishes. Socially awkward gemology doctor Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) is tasked with analyzing it. Diana befriends Barbara, who idolizes her. Meanwhile, failed oil businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) is frantically searching for the same thing.
Here’s the thing. I like all these characters: Diana, Barbara, Maxwell and Steve – I won’t tell you how he appears, just know he does (and it’s problematic). I just wish (pun intended) that I would be watching them on a movie with a more streamlined story line. Watching this film takes a lot of effort. It has many dull moments where you know basically what emotion the movie is trying to inspire, but instead most of the time it comes out as forced. You can tell Barbara is just hero-worshiping Diana and that’s going to turn bad. You can tell Maxwell Lord is just playing with fire and wants power over all and his only redemption is his child which he keeps neglecting.
The problem is that the plot is convoluted and stunted. It’s not complex, but it makes for a very boring watch. It’s that thing that I always hate where we have the characters travel to one location for one action scene only to have them return to where they were because now the action happens over here. It’s a very jarred way to progress the story. There are also several political entanglements that are simplified in the film but would become extremely problematic in the real world. Politics and power are treated in a very cartoonish way.
My other issue here is that this film is barely about Diana. We do get some moments between her and Steve that are incidental. Their chemistry gets some precious screen time which I was thankful for but feels brief. Soon enough they’re put back into the overarching plot that I found impossible to care about. In other words, the moments where the film is about Wonder Woman are few and far between. Our main plot mostly follows Barbara’s descent and Maxwell Lord’s designs. Even Barbara’s story takes a backseat and is left unresolved. I don’t have a problem with any of their performances, but the story is dull and their character development is unoriginal.
Lightly recommended only if you already want to watch it with lots of reservations. If you’ve seen the first film, you already want to see this one and I can’t stop you. Casual viewers should really watch the original. This sequel drags a lot and the focus of the story drifts away from Diana way too often. The stakes are raised but since the plot is less personal, we’re not invested. It’s like you’re watching an 80’s TV show and it’s a filler episode (to its credit, it does feel like one made in the 80’s). You might disagree regarding entertainment value and that’s fair. I guess you can selectively tune out (or fast forward…) some of the more dull scenes since there are a few good moments in this film. The characters are likeable and seem like they could have some depth. I just wish they were in a better film. That’s one wish that isn’t granted.
That will do for now.