If Wonder Woman had me under her lasso of truth, I would have to say this movie was subpar at best; between a clunky plot, a lengthy runtime, and many other problems, Wonder Woman 1984 hindered what could have been some great acting performances from the star studded cast. (Warning spoilers ahead)
Any sequel movie is a difficult project. Especially when the first movie was a major success at the box office. Considering the first installment of the films grossed over $800 million dollars in 2017, it’s safe to say that Wonder Woman 1984 had some big shoes – or in this case: boots – to fill. Unfortunately, I personally didn’t think it really lived up to the expectations that I had for it, since I very much enjoyed the first movie.
For starters, the plot took some fairly unrealistic turns throughout. Granted, it is a superhero movie, but I found myself almost chuckling due to the randomness of the far fetched story arcs throughout. Sticking with the mythology undertones we’ve come to expect from a Wonder Woman movie, most of the film centers around a magical crystal that was formed by an ancient god from long ago. This same crystal has the power to grant a wish to anyone who uses it, but each wish comes with the hefty price of something they value. Trouble arises when this artifact is recovered from a bank heist and it falls into the hands of the sinister scamming business man Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). Since Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is one of the only people with enough knowledge about the stone, she is the one that must stop him. From here, Lord wishes that he can become the crystal, therefore giving him the ability to grant wishes to others. Since becoming the crystal, he is also able to receive all of the things that the wishers give up when they use him. By simply manipulating someone and convincing them to make a seemingly random wish, he then receives what they value most. What threw me off was the rather strange things that Lord would receive due to his scams. In one particular instance, Lord manages to obtain almost all the oil in the world by convincing the owner of Saudi Arabian oil fields to wish that he had his homeland back. In a similar scene, he convinces a low level worker at his company to wish for something out of the blue in exchange for his health. Unfortunately this is only one of the many times throughout the film where I had to sit back and say, “wait, what?”
One problem led to another, and the overly sloppy plot caused the runtime of the movie to go well over what it should have. With the movie lasting a whopping 2 hours and 35 minutes, it’s possible to lose interest in the story fairly quickly while watching. It almost seems painful to sit through the entirety of it, and I can only describe the buildup to the climax as the exact opposite of an edge-of-your-seat movie.
In addition to the clunky plot and length of the film, there were a number of technical issues as well. Most superhero movies today are known for including some of the best computer generated technology and special effects available in the action scenes. In fact, some superhero movies are even characterized by their great special effects that make the supernatural feel real to the audience. After all, who wouldn’t want to see someone flip over a car, run super fast, or fly through the air at incredible speeds? Unfortunately, Wonder Woman 1984 failed to showcase all of Wonder Woman’s awesome super powers in a realistic manner. In fact, I almost found myself laughing at the scenes where Wonder Woman would run using super speed, simply because the effects were just so cheesy. The poor use of slow motion effects in some of the fight scenes only added to the unintended campiness of the film.
Despite all of the mistakes that went into the making of the film, I always try to look for the positive in any movie that I watch. Thankfully I managed to pull a valuable life lesson from the intertwined cobwebs of the messy script, that made me reflect on my own life. As I watched almost all of the characters in the movie make their wishes, I thought about what I myself would wish for? I also thought of what I “valued most” and what I would have to give up in order to get what I wished for due to the crystal’s sinister rules. Overall, I became a little more appreciative of what I have, and I realized, just like all of the characters in the movie, that I didn’t really need some magical wish.
Additionally, there were some powerful underlying themes represented in the movie that speak volumes in today’s society. For example, the movie made sure to hit home on the way that the world views greed, power, and social status. This value of power causes an obsession within far too many people, resulting in a loss of the truth, and the things that they value most.
Another upside to this movie is that it is a perfectly appropriate film for the whole family— including my 12 year old sister— or anyone who is just really hungry for a new superhero movie following the shutdown of movie theatres. However, I must say, as a superhero geek myself, that you have to be downright starving for a superhero film if you plan to enjoy this one.
Overall, I believe that the movie’s cons greatly outweigh the pros, resulting in more of a meaningful movie with underlying themes than an action packed superhero addition to the DC Cinematic Universe. Yet, this is simply my opinion, so go check out Wonder Woman 1984 in theatres or on HBO Max with a subscription to see what you think of the movie!