Where do I begin? Like many people, I was excited for the sequel ever since I left the theatre in 2017 after watching the first movie. Wonder Woman is an iconic hero, and it was wonderful not only to watch a superhero film with a female lead, but also one who is a woman of color. In many ways, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman! Patty Jenkins, director, delivered a wonderful first film. Maybe due to all the similarities from Captain America: The First Avenger and The Little Mermaid, the first DC or Marvel movie with a female lead film, or the cast was just super likable. Whatever the reasoning, it just worked. Here, Jenkins tried to capitalize on the success of the first movie and go to everyone’s favorite decade, the 80’s! However, it didn’t live up to that hype.
Written by Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham, WW84 finished principal photography at the end of 2018. Unfortunately it was plagued by having to move its release date five times! Half of those was the result of COVID-19, before Warner Bros finally decided to release it both on HBO Max and in theatres as a Christmas present for fans. With the constant shift in dates, other shows have been able to capitalize on the 80s setting, most notably American Horror Story: 1984. Not only did it have the decade, it’s set in the same year. Stranger Things, Pose, and Cobra Kai are a few other popular shows that are set in the 80s. With all the nostalgia in a short amount of time, could it have led to the audience being bored of this setting? Or are there more issues?
The script had a ton of plot holes with a lot of key information that was left out. I get not wanting to spend a ton of time on exposition, but you can’t have a successful movie with an ex machina without explaining what it even does. Unless you are really into DC Comics, the Dreamstone, and its consequences, might have been something that needed a little more explanation. The consequence aspect being revealed later on worked; however, it being used to bring back Steve Trevor, but not in his body, made little to no sense. In fact, as much I love Steve Trevor, and Chris Pine, his character didn’t add anything to the story except for adding more run time. Putting a twist on 1978’s Heaven Can Wait, Diana makes her wish to have Steve back, however, instead of coming back in the body of a dead guy, Steve comes back in someone else’s body, one who is very much alive. Only the audience can see Chris Pine, everyone else sees the body his soul is in, which brings on a ton of problems. Instead of trying to figure out who this man is, Diana and Steve rekindle their relationship, make out, and have sex. How this went through the writers’ room and the producers without anyone noticing how problematic it is, is astounding! I’m glad I’m not the only one who cringed at this whole thing. Had the roles be reversed, with Steve being the protagonist, everyone would be losing their shit. In fact, it would not have been done, so why is this okay? On top of that the character Kristoffer Polaha played, the body Steve’s soul resides in, is called “Handsome Man”. Which leads to even more issues. In a #MeToo world, writers need to stop referring to side characters with these monikers, it costs $0 to give them an actual name.
Acting wise, boy was this a mess. Genuinely, genuinely was shocked at how bad everyone was. After the mall sequence, when we meet Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minvera, the whole scene felt like one bad SNL skit. Gadot is not a comedic actress, she comes across very stiff and uncomfortable in these scenes despite having someone like Wiig as a partner. Everything about it seemed forced as if Jenkins told them to pretend like they can’t act. It got even worse when Pedro Pascal’s Max Lord came in. I love Pascal, but I did not enjoy his take on Max Lord. It felt like he was trying too hard to act like an 80’s TV personality that it felt like a cheap caricature. He succeeds in the back end of the film when he’s trying to find his son, those tender moments work. But everything else fell short. Making him the actual villain of the movie and sidelining Cheetah, was not the best move for this movie. It was very weak and a movie about wish fulfillment only makes the movie predictable, not enjoyable.
Like many others, I was very skeptical about Wiig taking on this iconic villain. The introductory was just bad but after she made her wish, she was the most exciting part of the movie. She really sunk her teeth into the character, and it was enjoyable. However, not her fault in any way, but the way they went about turning Minerva into Cheetah was not it. I would’ve preferred for them to develop a better relationship between Barbara and Diana before causing a wedge between them to where they become enemies. Friends to enemies is an overdone trope, however more often than not, is usually executed well. I would’ve rather had the final battle stay between human Barbara, with Diana’s powers, vs a newly repowered Diana. Then in a post credits scene, Barbara goes to Circe’s palace and set up her becoming Cheetah for the third movie, where Wonder Woman dons the gold winged suit.
What I would love to see for the future of the Wonder Woman franchise and DCEU? Nubia, Yara Flor, Dona Troy, a brand-new costume, and actually be connected to the universe as a whole. Nubia, a black Wonder Woman, is essentially a twin to Diana Prince, but raised by Ares until Diana rescues her. It would be amazing to see an alternate version to Wonder Woman through Nubia, while adding in that lovely representation. Maybe in a “Crisis”. DC’s upcoming Future State comics introduces us to a new Wonder Girl, Yara Flor. The CW will be introducing Yara Flor, the daughter of an Amazon warrior and a Brazilian river god, to their lineup for a future show titled Wonder Girl. We’ve already seen one version of Donna Troy in HBO Max’s Titans, but it would still be worth it to see jump to the big screen at some point. One thing DC is known for is its multiverse, with many different versions of the same character, which they are doing, more or less, with their “expanded universe” with solo movies like The Joker and The Batman.
I remember seeing the first look at Wonder Woman’s costume and I was so annoyed. The top armor piece is cute but the skirt is so short that it didn’t really make sense. So many people complained about Harley Quinn’s sexualized costume in Suicide Squad and Joss Whedon’s Amazons in Justice League, but more people praised this version of Wonder Woman’s costume. The over sexualization of female heroes’ costumes is so last century! I would love to see a more updated costume, one with pants, like the women in the above picture! You can still look sexy and kick ass in pants, and I don’t understand why Wonder Woman still hasn’t worn them consistently. Look at Marvel: Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Gamora, Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, the Dora Milaje, and Mantis are all bad ass women in pants kicking some serious ass. Kara Danvers in The CW’s Supergirl donned pants in the fourth season, but only for her anti-kryptonite suit and as Red Daughter. Season 5 finally gave her pants to her normal suit. Melissa Benoist, Kara’s actress, has spoken for several years about how tiring, cold, and absurd it was that she was only the female hero in the Arrowverse who wore a skirt. When they gave her an updated look, she was gleefully excited. For Wonder Woman’s new costume, I would say a combination of Jim Lee’s design and the New 52 costume would be amazing to see. You can still keep the armored texture and the Amazonian influence while making it modern and functional.
Hopefully the third movie will fix these mistakes, fully flesh out Diana Prince, specify what her powers are, deliver a better script, pay more attention to scenes that could be problematic, and only bring back characters if they really serve the plot and not just for fun. Overall, I give this movie a 6/10.