It’s certainly been a while but time to take a look at the latest comic book movie to come out. It’s the first in the new streaming age although it has a simultaneous release in theaters so it’s pretty unique. Personally I’m all for it, you get to have your custom theater meal all set, good lounge chair and at least if it’s provided on HBO Max, totally free. It’s a pretty slamming deal but we’ll see if this actually continues past COVID or if it’s a very temporary deal. This review goes fairly in depth so while I wouldn’t say there are any true spoilers, the less you know about a film the better if you want the complete experience. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you may want to before continuing.
The movie starts by showing us some more of Diana’s home in Themyscira. She participates in an event and does really well but ultimately grows overconfident and ends up throwing away her victory. It’s a fun opening and Diana showed that at a young age she was already surpassing all of the warriors there. It definitely pays to be part god. We then go to the present where Diana stops a crime and we get introduced to the main plot here. An interesting wishing stone has turned up and the FBI want her co-worker Barbara to look at it. Meanwhile a rich man by the name of Maxwell Lord needs the wishing stone to turn his life around so he’ll need to quickly manipulate her in order to get to it. Can Diana get this stone out of here before damage is done and does this explain why Steve has seemingly returned?
There’s definitely quite a bit going on here. First I’ll just say that Maxwell makes for a pretty fun villain. The idea of a wishing stone is certainly tempting to all and naturally it’s what he would need to turn his empire around. The fact that he can control the consequences of the wish is also pretty handy. He’s definitely trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he’s a great man which puts him in a lot of tough situations. The guy has a lot of charisma though and always stands out.
Barbara is one of the main focuses here though. She gets a big character arc as she starts off as the awkward scientist who gets a taste of true power and wants to keep it. I’d definitely have to say that she’s a pretty poor character for most of it but once she gets some abilities then she’s more of an interesting villain. Barbara’s able to fight now and while the power/adoration goes to her head almost immediately she finally gains some confidence. I don’t think there’s a question of who would win between her and Wonder Woman at peak strength but she is strong enough where we can get some fun action scenes there.
For a good chunk of the film Diana is in a depowered state so we don’t get a whole lot of fight scenes. Aside from humans and such the first fight we get is in the White House and that probably is the most interesting one. It’s just a shame that the fight couldn’t have been longer due to the circumstances but I like seeing super powers used in a location like that. It’s just a lot of fun to watch. I don’t think there would have been a way to stop Barbara there but at least Diana gave it a good try and Steve had a pretty good fight with the guards.
At times the physics in the film felt a bit odd though. For example in most of Wonder Woman’s fights she is sliding across the ground like it’s made of ice. I’m thinking maybe the film was trying to just use a unique way of showing super speed here. Maybe in a way where her super strength allows her to defy gravity to an extent which is how she moves so fast. I wouldn’t say the execution is great as it just doesn’t feel as natural but it’s still fun to see her beating up on the crooks as expected. We also know she would have been able to handle the guns and such a lot better if she was at full power.
Her armor also gets to appear a bit as it was used frequently in the promotional materials. You may be surprised that it really doesn’t look very good at all but I was actually a big fan of this. I’ve always maintained that heroes or villains of Wonder Woman’s caliber have no need of such armaments. If anything they slow you down. It would have to be some kind of super haxes equipment to justify its use. Whenever she takes out a sword in the animated movies for example I just wonder why do it? (Doomsday breaking the sword with a single punch in Death of Superman just reinforces that point as she did better without the sword) You can see how her fighting style gets very sloppy when she puts on the armor maybe because it limits her agility so as soon as she gets rid of it then she does well again. I don’t expect she would try using it again.
Wonder Woman’s character is always a pretty complex one. She’s definitely a hero through and through but mixes tactics from Batman and Superman while adding her own spin in. I see her as being more willing to be a vigilante like Batman which she utilizes in this film as she spies through cameras and keeps a secret identity. However, as Wonder Woman she also tries to be a symbol for humanity like Superman although interestingly between this film and the first it seems that she is trying to keep her identity hidden now. Maybe she doesn’t want people to know that she’s immortal? Honestly if I were her I’d really want to stand out then because figuring out her secret identity would be tougher. She probably needs a wig though because most characters would connect the dots pretty quickly especially with how she stands out at parties.
I don’t think she would have qualms about murdering people the way the other two would though with her more warrior like backstory. That said, I was glad the film didn’t go down a certain way here with two different scenarios as it would have certainly raised a lot of intriguing points. It would be a lot easier to defend her though than with the infamous snap or random people getting shot down during the BVS rampage with the second instance since there isn’t much of a clean out. The first one involving a water battle though would have had no real defense. Particularly as she consistently had the upper hand here. Would have reminded me of Phoenix’s big moment in Dark Phoenix where I wondered what was going on since she had the upper hand by far. This wasn’t quite that drastic with the power gap but it was there.
That said, with the film’s ending you just know that it didn’t wrap up quite so neatly. Not everyone will make a selfless move here and some may not have had a drawback big enough to actually make the move. I expect a lot of people ended up in different circumstances than they were in. It also doesn’t seem like this rolls back time in any way to things that happened as a result of your new circumstance are probably still there. It raises a lot of interesting potential plots for other films since you can introduce almost anything as a result of that.
Now for some issues with the film. As with the first one I wasn’t very impressed with the dialogue. We no longer have all of the romance dialogue with Steve and Diana as he corrupts her with the views of the world and their forced dialogue on the boat. That said, we’re shown a world that is pretty desperate here. Any scene with Diana in public has everyone throwing themselves at her. You have Barbara getting harassed by everyone outside and it’s like people can’t help but constantly make comments about her and Diana. You could get it if it was just the one drunk guy showing up twice so they could make an example out of him but almost every guy in the film? It starts to get a little overboard. It also just has a hard time making conversations interesting like any Barbara conversation pre change.
Outside of Steve (Who is with Diana anyway) and the guy whose identity is currently gone it’s hard to think of any guy who looked all that sensible here. Maxwell wasn’t authentic in his adoration as it was all part of his plan to sucker Barbara but of course he took advantage of this as well. The scenes just felt pretty forced. Then you’ve also got the whole plot of Steve returning. Lets just say there is quite the cost for this but Diana seems perfectly content with this price. Now down the road we can assume that maybe, perhaps she would try to correct this but I’m not so sure. Particularly given the amount of resistance she had to ending things at all, if there were no super villain on the loose it seems like she would have been okay with this which is morally dubious at best.
I suppose all heroes have something they can be selfish about at times but this would have been a pretty huge skeleton in her hero closet so to speak. As for Steve, he’s pretty solid. I’d say he’s better than in the first film. He does what he can to help out in the movie. He may just be a normal guy in a world that’s getting crazier and crazier but he actually contributes quite a bit like when he ended up taking down some guards and even piloting a plane. It’s definitely really handy to have a pilot on your side.
As mentioned, the film is a bit of a slow burner so you shouldn’t expect things to turn up for a while. At first we mainly get a lot of introductions with the characters and slowly exploring the world as we see Diana is perfectly content while Maxwell and Barbara are having a terrible time. This eventually leads us to their flipping things around and then we eventually get to the hype White House battle. While there are some action scenes earlier, since it’s Wonder Woman beating up on normal humans it’s not going to be particularly exciting. It’d be like seeing Superman flying in to beat up some bank robbers. That said, I’ll never say no to an action scene of course. It would have been great if we could have gotten a longer climax battle with Barbara though.
The after credits scene for the film is pretty fun. Now, I’m thinking it’s just a fun little cameo for the fans as well as closure for one character so I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it, but if something did there’s a lot of possibilities for this character. Is this character actually going down a villainous path? A future ally to help out the heroes? I think adding this character into a future movie would be an excellent move particularly if for Wonder Woman 3 we get a plot like the planet enders from Supergirl only this time it’s a few people from Themyscira coming over to cause trouble. This character could be quite valuable assistance and I’m assuming the Themyscira fighters would get buffed by some aliens or a deal with the gods to balance things out.
Naturally the soundtrack is solid here. We’ve got the classic Wonder Woman theme from BVS as well as a remixed version at the ready. It’s always a pretty grand theme that starts you off on the right track. The other themes are also pretty solid and get you ready for a good time. Music is always a pretty important factor and this film definitely didn’t disappoint. I also already spoke about the graphics but in particular I like the lasso’s glow. It always looks very strong and the fact that it can latch onto anything and extend/retract at will makes it a very versatile weapon.
Low key I’d say Wonder Woman’s best feat here is when she is able to lasso a bullet after it has already whizzed past her. Keep in mind that she noticed the bullet after it was already past her and close to hitting Steve. So in that time she threw her lasso and tossed the bullet away while it was already close to his face. Definitely a pretty great speed feat for sure and so the movies can definitely give her a big opponent for film 3. At the moment I would say from her portrayal she seems to be the 4th most powerful DC hero in the universe. I would still take Superman, Flash, and Shazam over her. Superman is obvious. For Shazam it’s close but I do think the movie showed him to have better speed and strength. For Flash it’s really just the speed difference as it would be hard to hit him. Of course I expect her abilities will keep on improving the way that Thor’s has over the years. Once she masters her god abilities it may be time for a rematch with Superman or maybe have her fight with Black Adam in one of the upcoming titles.
Of course after the first Wonder Woman film we were all wondering what happened to cause her to go from being a symbol of justice to vanishing entirely since in BVS she hadn’t been seen in years and didn’t even want to get involved. Well, this film closes the gap a bit since she does seem to want to defeat opponents without them knowing she was even there. It explains her disappearance but I think we need a little more to show why she has abandoned helping people entirely. If that’s never explained it’s not a big deal since you can maybe assume she just grew tired of it but I do think there’s still a lot you could do with that premise. Maybe have Steve return a third time but this time it’s a shape shifter or something which disillusions her with everything.
Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 is pretty good. I do consider it to be a considerable improvement over the first film. Wonder Woman is a solid lead as always and the soundtrack is pretty good. The visuals are all on point and while the fights can be a little slippery against the human fighters, I feel like the film was intentionally testing out a new style here so I’ll give them points for the experimentation. Ideally in the third film we’ll be able to see Wonder Woman be able to fight more super villains with her full abilities on display and a current setting certainly wouldn’t hurt matters either. It’s a bit of a slow burner and so there wouldn’t be a lot of replay value here but if you haven’t seen this film yet you should definitely do so. Also worth knowing that if you have Verizon Fios you may be eligible for HBO Max for free so keep that in mind. I’m ready to see what DC has in store for us next.