One Christmas present this year was the premiere of Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max.
After years of waiting, the iconic Wonder Woman character from DC Comics was finally brought to life in 2017, and now, we are gifted its sequel. The new film is only available on the streaming service for 31 days, through Jan. 19, so if you’re interested in watching a female superhero flick that mirrors a theater experience, act quickly.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the first film’s storyline, Wonder Woman is born on a mystical island called Themyscira and decides to travel to the outer world to protect its people during World War I. This sequel, which takes place in 1984, follows Diana — better known as Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot — after she and her colleagues discover an ancient stone in their museum that is believed to grant wishes. Things go south when a businessman in the oil industry named Maxwell Lord, played by Pedro Pascal, takes advantage of the stone’s powers. His evil intentions cause global disasters, and Wonder Woman must, of course, save the day.
The film starts exceptionally well. It has a nice ’80s vibe with retro arcades, neon leotards and accessorized fanny packs. It also does a great job of introducing new characters — I especially enjoyed Cheetah, a kind of eccentric and dorky character, played by Kristen Wiig, and the return of Steve Trevor, Diana’s significant other, played by Chris Pine. There’s solid rising action in the plot — arguably a highlight of the film — and even some witty humor sprinkled in.
Unfortunately, the seeming success of the film was short-lived. I was disappointed in the movie’s approach to developing new characters in later scenes and its overuse of computer-generated imagery. The plot was also pretty messy. Overall, this follow up to Wonder Woman was a bit of a letdown, and I’d say there were more cons than pros.
The plot was poorly executed and felt all over the place. For example, the character of Maxwell Lord, the villain of the film, was unclear. He was presented as a businessman who wanted a lot of power and the ability to provide a good life for his child, but toward the end, he was causing a lot of destruction in the world around him. After the movie, I started wondering why he wanted to create this chaotic turn of events, and how this tied back to Wonder Woman.
Of course, we all know DC Comics is notorious for its excessive use of CGI — movies like Aquaman and Man of Steel are prime examples. The first Wonder Woman was thankfully a bit more modest with its use of CGI, but the film crew sadly could not hold back in the sequel. Wonder Woman 1984 includes ridiculous scenes with Wonder Woman swinging her lasso around lightning and swinging from the bolts like a monkey. Quite pointless, if you ask me.
Another part that upset me was that the interesting and entertaining Cheetah was simply thrown out as a character at the end of the movie. All of the success in creating Cheetah was overshadowed by the film’s failure to fully develop her later on and give the character closure.
While there were some production errors that interfered with getting the message across effectively, the movie still teaches an important lesson about being careful about what you wish for and being thankful for what you have.
No, Wonder Woman 1984 wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped it would be, but I was still glad to have the chance to watch a movie at home that I definitely would have seen in theaters. If you’re into superhero flicks and are willing to lower your expectations, the film is worth checking out.