If you have not seen Wonder Woman 1984, this review will completely spoil the movie (though that’s honestly no great loss). You have been warned.
I have allowed Wonder Woman 1984 to swim around my brain for a couple of days before writing down my thoughts.
It’s been a really long time since we’ve seen a really great superhero movie. Black Widow and the other Marvel movies this year were postponed due to covid. Wonder Woman 1984 reminded me just how desperate I have been for a really great superhero movie, mainly because I am still desperate for one. Wonder Woman 1984 made me think back to the days when a superhero movie meant David Hasselhoff playing Nick Fury or when I thought Howard the Duck was a really great film. I am shuttering in revulsion at the memory. I LOVED the first Wonder Woman movie. I didn’t think it was quite up with the best of Marvel (Endgame, Infinity War, Avengers, Winter Soldier, Deadpool, Logan, etc.) but it was pretty darn great, certainly the best of the recent DC movies. I can’t think of another sequel that was this bad after such an amazing first movie.
Let’s start with the bad guy. Max Lord makes Thor: The Dark World’s Dark Elves feel way more interesting than they did before, and he’s right about on par with Fantastic Four (2015) Victor Von Doom. How many stories are there with a genie in a magic lamp that has to point out to the person who finds it that your wish can’t be to have as many wishes as you want? That is essentially the plot of this movie, except the lamp is a weird stone, the stone is also the genie, and it says, “Eh, fuck it, have all the wishes you want.” I kept thinking that if he just wished that he were the Mandalorian it would have been a better movie and might have made more sense. (I’m assuming he will soon jump ship and go to Marvel like other DC actors have.) Pedro Pascal is so good in The Mandalorian (and as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones before that) that I can’t believe he took this part. He must not have read the script, and just assumed it would be competent. If so, he assumed wrong.
This movie has maybe the worst ending in movie history. The bad guy literally realizes the error of his ways and it puts everything right again. Somehow Wonder Woman’s magic rope can reach him, when she can’t get near him. It must be immune to his power. (Eye roll.) I thought it had to be a joke. They just hit control-z and the movie was over. I kept waiting for Wonder Woman to snap his neck, which she did in the comics. And you’re going to tell me that every single person in the world renounced their wish? No freaking chance. If I’d gotten my wish (no, I won’t tell you what it is) I’d rather let the world end than renounce it.
Of course, Wonder Woman could have just run Max through with a sword if the neck snap was too gruesome, but she wasn’t allowed to have one. Director Patty Jenkins announced a while back that Wonder Woman wouldn’t have weapons because then she would need to use them. Really? No shit. A hero would use their weapons to stop the bad guy? What a revolutionary idea said absolutely nobody ever. She has now signed on to direct Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. I half expect her to take the lasers off the X-Wings and have them settle their differences with a race. If this was some political anti-weapon statement, then not only is it moronic, but I would never allow her to direct a movie that should have a weapon of any kind in it again.
The nuclear launch by the Russians made no sense. They are saying that it is because the USA suddenly had a lot more nukes, and Reagan (who looked like they left the actor playing Reagan next to an oven and he melted) had lost his power and respect so the Russians just decided to end the world. I’m not buying it. The Russians have never been the bumbling stupid idiots we like to see them as in 80s movies. (Sometimes they probably are, but we just had Trump as president, so we’re hardly ones to talk.) There is no logic to them just deciding to launch without actual provocation. It’s like Jenkins suddenly realized they didn’t actually have a villain in this movie whose evil plans was going to destroy the world and needed to come up with a contrived way to make his actions actually threatening.
As to Cheetah, I guess that technically a cheetah is an apex predator, but when you talk about apex predators, I think of a lion, a tiger, a polar bear, or a great white shark. Cheetahs are just really fast cats. Sure, if I ran into one I’d be scared shitless, but I freaked out when a wild turkey was outside my car one day. They just did a piss poor job making her wish make sense with the result.
The gold armor made Wonder Woman look like a refugee from a 1970’s B movie set in a disco club, or perhaps a far more gaudy Pussy Galore form Goldfinger. The whole point of the armor having wings seems to be for them to take damage until they were too damaged to be of any use, and it’s totally useless after that. They certainly didn’t seem to do any damage to Cheetah. God forbid it actually have any offensive weapons, because then she’d have to use them against the villain trying to take over the world, and we wouldn’t want that. (That was sarcasm, to be clear, of course that’s what we wanted.) That would have made it make sense, and that didn’t seem to be a priority for this movie.
I didn’t hate the Steve Trevor stuff. I actually loved him learning about the modernish era (do we consider 1984 modern anymore?). It would have been less messy if he had just appeared alive after her wish rather than taking over someone else’s body. I wasn’t buying that. We see him, but it’s not what he actually looks like to everyone else, but she sees him. Seems silly. It was unnecessarily complicated, and I kept expecting it to cause problems, which it didn’t. No one in this guy’s life came looking for him? No one came to find out why he didn’t go to work? He didn’t miss any appointments? No family got concerned when they didn’t hear from him? I hope it wasn’t all so they could do the stupid thing with the clothes the guy is wearing at the end, because that was lame.
This is a little nitpicky, but Wonder Woman has gone through a movie and a half doing acrobatics, beating the crap out of people, and flying around (literally) and her hair was perfect the entire time. She gets one beating and it’s all frazzled. Are we to believe that perfect hair is one of the superpowers she lost?
The race on Themawhatevertitscalled seemed pretty pointless. She ended World War I. I really don’t think she has anything else to prove. It was just so no one forgets where she came from. I think what they were going for is that she had to have the strength to give up Steve to be worthy of winning, but frankly, all she had to do was break Max Lord’s neck. It could have been a forty-minute movie and she and Trevor could have lived happily ever after until that guy’s family came looking for him.
Her destroying the video cameras in the mall seemed stupid. She was seen by hundreds of people. That many people saying they saw something in broad daylight is pretty hard to reply with “video or it didn’t happen.” It’s not like Batman sneaking around in the dark and destroying the only camera for miles. It just didn’t make sense. She’s running around in a red and gold bustier with a glowing magic rope, gold tiara, and sooooo much skin showing. If she got within a hundred feet of anyone, she made a lasting impression. Justice League led us to believe no one knew who she was until Lex Luthor found out about her. I find that really hard to believe. I could buy that with World War I, but not in 1984. Bruce Wayne has too many resources to not know about her.
I did like how they brought in Linda Carter to be whatever her name was in the next movie.
More than once in the movie, Wonder Woman threw her lasso in the air and launched herself upward, when there was nothing obvious for the lasso to grab onto. She used the jet once, but sometimes, I just don’t know what she was grabbing onto. While it seems scientifically dubious, I did love the swinging from the lightning bolts. It looked cool if nothing else.
I can’t say I went into this movie completely open minded. When it was announced they weren’t going to give her weapons, I expected that I wouldn’t like it, but I never expected it would be this atrociously bad. It’s barely above Batman v. Superman levels of bad. I was half expecting to meet her aunt Martha. I now understand why Warner Brothers decided to drop it on HBO Max the same day as the theater. It made 16.7 million dollars its opening weekend, which is, of course, heavily influenced by covid, but I think they get to pretend it would have been a big opening, when in reality, I believe it would have tanked hard.
I am so glad I didn’t have to pay to see this movie. (Thank you HBO Max.) I’m sure when I watch it again, which I probably will, I’ll find lots of other problems with it, but those were all the big ones I can remember. If you want to see a good new superhero movie, watch The New Mutants. It isn’t a masterpiece, but it was a good movie that didn’t leave me screaming at the screen in disgust.
Five months to Black Widow! It can’t come soon enough.
Thanks for reading!