Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Sequel to: Wonder Woman
Based on: William Moulton Marston‘s comics character
Cast: Gal GadotChris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro PascalConnie NielsenRobin Wright, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 21.6.2021

Content Note: rape (dubious consent at the very least), racism, white saviorism

Plot:
Diana (Gal Gadot) has been living among the humans for decades now, occasionally making an appearance as Wonder Woman, but trying to keep those anonymous. For her day job, she works as an anthropologist in the museum where she meets her new, rather eager colleague Barbara (Kristen Wiig), as well as TV personality slash investor Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). While Diana does take a liking to Barbara, she distrusts Lord immediately. And with good reason – as an artifact that supposedly grants wishes goes missing. But not after fulfilling Diana’s biggest wish and bringing back Steve (Chris Pine).

Given it’s late cinema start, the cat was out of the bag regarding Wonder Woman 1984 and its quality, or rather lack thereof. With my expectatons approriately lowered, the film was ultimately okay, apart from the things that were categorically not okay.

The film poster showing Diana (Gal Gadot) as Wonder Woman in a golden, winged suit with the glowing lasso of truth.

Wonder Woman 1984 has issues that it refuses to engage with and that really blow the film up. And that starts with the way Steve is brought back – that is glossed over rape sold to us as romance and with the final scene somehow a victimless crime, and whoah boy, that’s not okay. The implications of the situations aren’t dealt with at all.

But that’s really something that marks the entire film. Because also not considered: the way it looks when Diana and Steve set out to save a (fictional) Arab country with the most blatant white saviorism. Or the message it sends when Diana literally has to choose between her love and her powers.

Steve (Chris Pine) and Diana (Gal Gadot) embracing each other.

But even on a more immediate level, things just don’t make much sense and the film constantly contradicts itself or just leaves us with question marks: How does Barbara get a second wish when it is made obvious that it’s not up to Maxwell to decide how many wishes somebody gets? Where does Diana get the airplane from and why does Steve know how to fly it? Why do we go from “we can’t spend the morning in bed, we don’t have time for that” to a fashion show montage and an “The 80s 101” montage (no time for fucking, but Diana can’t have it that Steve leaves the house dressed in a way she doesn’t like, I guess)? How does Diana know what Barbara did in the park? What happens when two wishes contradict each other? It’s always a bad sign when you start nitpicking a film like that because it means that it doesn’t grab you. I will admit though, I did not see Maxwell’s wish coming and I thought that it was an awesome idea (although the execution – the how and why – is also very flawed).

There were some cool action moments, I loved the post-credit moment and the beginning on Themyscira, and the soundtrack does everything it can to give things a semblance of emotional weight here. But overall, the film just doesn’t work and is way worse than the first one (and I say that as someone who wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the first one either). It’s a pity.

Diana (Gal Gadot) as Wonder Woman wielding the lasso of truth.

Summarizing: it could have been so much better.

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