Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 follows Diana/Wonder Woman in the 80s as she stumbles upon an ancient relic with powers capable of global transformations. She soon realizes saving the world this time might require something much more than sheer strength.
Let me preface this review by saying Wonder Woman is probably my favorite DCEU film yet. Gal Gadot is by far the best DCEU casting choice yet. She fit into the character effortlessly despite having her debut in Dawn of Justice. A sense of earnestness is what drove Wonder Woman (2017). Showcasing a true sense of “wonder” when someone witnesses the human world for the first time. The third act did suffer from excessive CGI and a villain that sort of pops out of nowhere. However, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor made the film grounded and the stakes felt real.
Too many detours
Wonder Woman 1984, unfortunately, doesn’t really learn from its predecessor’s mistakes. The CGI is still not immersive enough, the action feels wonky, the characters lack a strong purpose, and the main plot feels illogical. Let’s start with Chris Pine’s return as Steve Trevor. His return feels justified within the logic the movie implies. We get to see Steve do exactly what Diana did in the previous film and Chris Pine does a great job.
His efforts to fit in the 80s feel as genuine as Diana’s did and their chemistry still holds up. Sounds like a smart idea and is well executed barring one major problem. Steve isn’t the narrator of the story, Diana is. The movie spends a good half hour trying to acclimatize Steve to this world. Yes, it’s entertaining but also pointless. The rest of his presence makes the film a buddy cop movie, with Steve assisting Diana in her mission.
One too many
Kristen Wiig does everything she can with what she is given, which again seems unnecessary in the overall plot. Most of her “cheetah” screen time is in the trailer which makes me wonder why she was even in the movie. She does a wonderful job as Barbara but her entire arc seems the same as Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord. Pedro Pascal also embraces his maniacal character and goes to lengths that would usually seem comical, but makes it work.
Barbara ultimately feels nothing more than a henchman for Maxwell Lord, having no distinct motivations of her own. There really is no reason to have two identical villains in this story and it would’ve been a far tighter script with just Maxwell Lord at the center of it all.
The story around the ancient relic is full of plot holes and inconsistencies, making the entire climax feel unearned. Despite the stakes being much higher than the first movie, Wonder Woman 1984 never earns the tension, making the entire final act feeling dull. There is indeed a very strong moral lesson in the movie, but the elongated runtime and unnecessary sub-plots lose any impact the story could have potentially had.
Wonder Woman 1984 can’t save the day solely on great performances from the cast and is otherwise an unimpressive sequel stuffed with weak character work, wonky action, poor CGI, and an illogical plot.