Wonder Woman 1984 (Movie Review)
About the Film
I am a big fan of the first Wonder Woman film, so naturally I’ve been looking forward to this release (which has been pushed back several times thanks to the pandemic). I found the previous movie to be a hopeful, classic, yet also refreshing take on the superhero genre. Its historical setting gave it sense of grounding, while Diana’s powers and background gave it a fantastical quality. Those things considered though, its greatest attribute was its two stars, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. The movie had good action, but excelled most at being an emotional love story.
Those positive attributes all remain in Wonder Woman 1984. The ageless Diana has moved past World War I, and is now living in the D.C. during the later stages of the Cold War. Gadot and Pine shine once again. Their chemistry drives this movie forward. That being said, the plot of this movie does not feel as polished as its predecessor. It’s long, overly complicated, and left a few too many plot points and character motivations unexplained. I think all of its flaws could have been fixed with a some script rewriting.
Often sequels try to be “bigger and badder” than the original, but this time director Patty Jenkins opts for a quieter character piece. WW84 has surprisingly little action. At times it feels more like a romantic comedy or even a morality play than it does a comic book movie. At other times it even acts like a cheesy Hallmark movie (though the ending scene shows that the film is self aware of this fact). The’s genre-bending choices mostly work for the movie, but not always.
On the Surface-(profanity, sexual content, violence, etc.)
Profanity: Mild language. One S-word used for comedic purposes.
Sexuality: Some passionate kissing. A couple is scene lying in bed together. Some people might consider Wonder Woman’s outfit too revealing.
Violence: No gore. Minimal blood. Action and violence, but less than most superhero movies.
Beneath the Surface
Don’t Cheat, and Be Careful What You Wish For: From the flashback epilogue of this movie through the rest of the runtime, we are given some moral quandaries to consider. Young Diana has to learn that there is a right way to do things, and taking the easy way out doesn’t work. She has a similar lesson to learn 1984. She’s been missing Steve Trevor (Pine) for decades, and through convenient plot devices, he returns. It’s a dream come true for Diana. She is happy, but it comes at a cost. There are side effects to getting what she long desired. She painfully has to learn to accept reality, and move on. Other characters go through similar experiences. Getting what their hearts’ desired came at great costs. Discontentment and idolatry are seen as the joy killers that they truly are.
A Wonderful Woman: Wonder Woman is never called Wonder Woman. She is only known by her name, Diana, and I think that’s important. Even though she’s the child of a mythical Greek god and has tremendous power, her greatest attribute is her character as a person. She is caring, gentle, and kind. But she’s not perfect either. She struggles with her conflicting desires in this movie. She wants to do good, but she needs Steve to push her to make the necessary sacrifices. She must give up what she wants for the good of all, and eventually challenges others to do the same. One of the most intriguing things about this WW84 is how she wins in the end. She doesn’t do it via some epic fight like in the first movie. She wins with her morals and with reasoning. She is kind, even to the villains. Diana may still be a little naive, but that’s not a fault for her. Her optimism is an encouragement to see.
Does Wonder Woman 1984 live up to its predecessor? Not quite. I think it’s a good movie, not a great one. But it is good, and I’m not merely talking about it’s quality of filmmaking. I think this movie has good values. Diana is a good person, and in the end, she wins with her values more than her fists. And for that reason I would recommend this movie, especially for kids. It’s content is pretty mild for a PG-13 rating. I would say children 8+ could watch and enjoy it.