Friday, April 23, 2021

Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984

: 3 out of 5
Pros: Acting, action, effects
Cons: Pacing, predictable theme
The Bottom Line:
Wonder Woman’s back
But film could have been better
The results are mixed

Be Careful What You Wish For

Like many, I had been looking forward to Wonder Woman 1984 last year.  While I wasn’t willing to subscribe to HBO Max to see it when it finally came out this winter, I watched for its physical disc release so I could rent it.  And, like many, I found it entertaining but disappointing.

We rejoin Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), in 1984.  She’s now working for the Smithsonian Museum as an archeologist.  But she finds many subtle ways to help those in need as her secret identity.

It’s her new co-worker, Barbara (Kristen Wiig), who makes the remarkable discovery that sets off the story.  It’s a stone that legend says has power to grant wishes.  It sounds crazy – at least at first.  But as Barbara begins to grow more confident, Diana discovers her long dead love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) has come back – sort of.  Meanwhile, would be oil barren Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) has his own designs on the stone.  Will the wishes get out of hand?

I wanted to like the film, and I did enjoy parts of it.  The action scenes were spectacular, as you’d expect.  The special effects were great, as well.  The acting was all fantastic.  And yet, the film just didn’t quite work.

It started from the very beginning as we had an extended prologue set back on Paradise Island.  Again, the action was fun, but in a move that is two and a half hours long, it felt self-indulgent.  We didn’t need it to get the message of the movie.

The moral of the movie is obvious – painfully obvious – early on.  They didn’t even try to do anything different with it, either.  A twist on the moral about the danger of wishes/envy of others would have been nice.  I’m not disagreeing with the message, but it made the movie predictable.

Then there’s Diana herself.  It is clear as the movie opens that she has been mourning for Steve for 70 years.  I get it – I feel like they shouldn’t have killed him off as well.  He’s too important a character to Wonder Woman to not be around.  But that’s a rather depressing place for the character to start out.  And I feel like it cast a pallor over the film.

But maybe it’s the length.  I feel like the film could have told its story better with a shorter running time.  I wasn’t enthralled the entire two and a half hours, and for me to enjoy a movie that long, it needs to have a faster pace or more action.  Or both.

Again, that’s not to say it is a bad movie.  This is an average movie.  Nothing great, but nothing horrible.  It’s just easy to spot what could have been better.

There is an extra scene early in the credits, and I absolutely loved it!  Be sure to watch for it.

I wish I had liked Wonder Woman 1984 better.  (Great, there I go making wishes now.)  Hopefully, this isn’t the last we will see of the character in the movies, and the next outing will be a movie worthy of the character.

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