‘Wonder Woman 1984’: A Full Analysis

So, I watched Wonder Woman 1984 two days ago and I came away from the film so baffled by its underwhelming/terrible storyline that I was forced to digest it over the course of two days so that I could collect my thoughts and write something cohesive to say. Well, I finally have gathered my thoughts on the conundrum that is Wonder Woman 1984 and I’m here to share what I feel is a satisfying analysis of a movie that surprised me in all of the wrong ways. So, with that being said, let’s get into the meat of this thing.

(This will be a long read.)

SPOILERS AHEAD!

So, just to let you know what type of DCEU fan I am, I’m one of those DCEU watchers who loved the Marvel Studios-esque levity of Shazam!, surprisingly really enjoys the Extended Edition of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and thinks that Wonder Woman is a decent movie.

I’ve seen Wonder Woman all the way through a total of three times and every time I’ve come away from the film giving it 7 out of 10 stars. The story is solid and features one of the best superhero action sequences of all time, the No Man’s Land sequence, but it ruins its own brilliance by prioritizing Steve Trevor’s influence over Diana Prince to the point that she becomes her most powerful when he dies. It’s the classic stereotype determining that it is a man who makes a woman powerful playing out in an origin story that is supposed to be lifting little girls and women up, not reminding them that they’re nothing in this world without a man helping them along the way.

So, there’s my main pet peeve about the film, and that pet peeve drags along into the sequel that released in the US two days ago, Wonder Woman 1984.

Diana, thanks to some mysterious artifact called the Dreamstone that grants people a single wish (with an unfortunate side effect to add drama to the story), wishes to have the man she knew and loved for four days, Steve Trevor, back and she actually gets her wish granted, via a super weird way.

Turns out, he doesn’t come back out of thin air. He’s actually in the body of a guy dubbed the “Handsome Guy” on the internet like some sort of Ghost/Shallow Hal ripoff that just feels really weird when you think about it. Suddenly, our Diana Prince seems insane as she hangs around with a dude choosing to believe he looks like her boyfriend that she met in the 20s’ when in actually, as someone pointed out on Twitter, she was essentially sexually assaulting the poor fellow for a few days. Oh, and she did this knowing she was with a regular guy who was not Steve Trevor.

Suddenly Diana’s plight for love seems absolutely ridiculous to the point where even Steve Trevor is telling her to quit the dramatics.

In a scene that is written to be the emotional peak of the film, Diana must choose between truth or a lie. Will she live a lie and be with her boyfriend who’s practically a parasitic host in another man’s unknowing body while the world around her falls into chaose or will she accept the truth that he’s gone, regain her powers, and save the world?

What transpires is a long drawn out part not aided by Gadot’s mediocre acting where she must say goodbye to her Steve Trevor. She says cheesy lines like “I will never love again” and Steve Trevor is basically like, “Girl, I’m not that great. You get the chance to enjoy your life, enjoy love, enjoy the world to the fullest. I did not sacrifice myself in that plane so that you could go on for the rest of your days wallowing in your misery. Please, let me go.”

And she does, and it’s supposed to be yet another turning point for her evolution as the Wonder Woman, and she finally figures out how to fly thanks to Steve Trevor unlocking another power within her (remember, that was my pet peeve from the first movie) even though she had sixty years to discover her flying ability on her own. It just…doesn’t make sense.

A great example of a moment in a superhero movie where a character must lose the one they love in order to save the world is when Wanda Maximoff has to kill Vision to stop Thanos. It’s a super emotional scene that could’ve been the nth degree of corny but it wasn’t. It works because the pain of that loss for Wanda feels more warranted than Diana and Steve’s “emotional” scene because Wanda has known Vision for roughly three years, not a week in total if we’re combining Diana/Steve’s time together in Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984.

Next, on the list of why this is undoubtedly my least favorite DCEU movie, is its lack of decent action.

I understand that moviemakers are trying to break the mold of what a superhero movie can be but at the end of the day, us casual movie-loving peasants love a good blockbuster that’s filled with explosions, jaw-dropping action sequences, and a chance to see a superhero kicking some serious butt.

Patty Jenkins lost the heart of what makes a great superhero movie a great superhero movie and swapped action for exposition and storytelling, a tactic that if done wrong leaves viewers feeling underwhelmed. And that’s exactly what happened to Wonder Woman 1984.

Marvel Studios has managed to find a way to fuse action and great storytelling together without ever detracting from the other. That’s why the franchise’s ensemble films like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame managed to make over $2 billion dollars each. Thanks to years of storytelling and burgeoning character development, these two ensemble superhero flicks were able to deliver not only great action scenes but some truly heartfelt moments that made the movies that much more memorable.

But what do we get with Wonder Woman 1984? Wonder Woman having to talk to her foe to defeat him, which could’ve been really heartfelt and emotionally rewarding if the fight between her and Barbara which had been hyped up for over a year had been longer. Max Lord wishes for a bunch of things but he doesn’t think to have a super army protecting him outside? A super army led by Cheetah herself, allowing viewers an epic climax that would’ve allowed us to see Wonder Woman at her most powerful yet. No, Patty Jenkins and her fellow writers weren’t thinking to give us something that cool. They wanted us to witness a scene so cheesy (her final confrontation with Max Lord) my sister and I watch it just for laughs.

And just to make things worse, the film’s desperate attempt to speak a message.

I’m all for a film with a profound message weaved into its storytelling but Patty Jenkins went so far into the liberal attack at the world through a big-time Hollywood movie thing that it was just annoying. The only thing she managed to miss in the sprinkled service announcements and jabs at the Trumpism that has taken over America was something directed toward the Black Lives Matter movement. And I wouldn’t put it past her to have put something along those lines in the actual film if she hadn’t written the movie before George Floyd’s tragic murder this summer.

The whole point of watching movies is escapism. We don’t want to be reminded of our everyday troubles that we have to continuously hear in the news by being forced to look at a villain who highly resembles Trump in both appearance and mannerisms, or how the selfishness of humanity will be our downfall, a fact remembered every day as the number of victims to COVID-19 rises just because some people don’t want to wear a mask, or social distance, or stop partying.

Plus, the heavy-handed dashes of these messages only ruined the movie. There was no subtlety to it, producing so many moments that left me rolling my eyes.

A great example of speaking a profound message in a comic book movie is Joker.

The Oscar-nominated comic book film found a way to tell a profound story of a man fighting against the system that was designed to break people like him without ever feeling like a fancy infomercial of wokeness.

The movie, of course, isn’t your typical comic book movie but it too could’ve been a disaster like Wonder Woman 1984. Instead, it was considered by many to be one of the best films last year, hence its eleven! Oscar nominations including Best Picture.

And honestly, the pet peeves don’t even stop there. Cheetah is a less likable ripoff of Michelle Pfeiffer’s believably sexy Catwoman from Batman Returns. The 80s’ theme is so on the nose it’s at times repulsing. Oh, and did I mention that this movie is simply boring. So boring in fact that I almost fell asleep about an hour and twenty minutes into the film.

The only thing I can give praise to is the film’s opening sequence which only amounted to nothing other than proving that we need a movie focused on the Amazons, the mall action sequence which was delightfully fun and managed to put a huge smile on my face, Pedro Pascal’s unwavering commitment to the corny script and his ability to salvage what he could which culminated into an inspired performance, and that post-credits scene which was legitimately delightful.

Besides that, I have no intention to ever watch this movie again.

I thank you for reading my long analysis of the film and I hope you have a lovely day.

5 thoughts on “‘Wonder Woman 1984’: A Full Analysis”

  1. I actually thought Wanda’s wangst was the most drawn out and tortured part of Infinity War. It’s really quite striking how many different times Thanos’ efforts would’ve been dashed if various of his enemies hadn’t simply helped him. Loki hands him the Tessaract and ultimately trades Thor’s life for his own. Strange gives him the Time Stone in a tell that Iron Man is the one who ultimately beats Thanos, although it’s never entirely explained why he couldn’t just do to Thanos what he did to Dormammu and kept winding time back until they got the Gauntlet away from him. And then Wanda draws out way, way too much time not wanting to destroy the Mind Stone, with a lot of overacted wangst.

    I actually liked Diana’s troubles at losing Steve again. There was an actual point in her dilemma, to me. Wanda? There was no real point. It was just extra drama that ultimately just helps Thanos win, and it was perhaps the most annoying example of it out of several in the movie.

    …Although your point that Diana doesn’t know Steve more than a week or so total and that the fact that he’s using another guy’s body for sex with her is getting glossed over is not wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I finally saw it yesterday. Regal brought it back this week on ScreenX screens, which I had never tried before. I conveniently had just not gotten around to seeing this movie before, so I was glad to able to see it the first time on the big screen.

    I just read your review, and thought it was a good summation of the more negative perspective on the film. I was already “braced” with the lowered expectations that this was not as good as the original, from the very slightly “rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes (missed it by 1%, that’s gotta sting). For most of the running time, I was ready to defend the movie strongly, but I did start to feel the flaws more by the end.

    I really liked all the main characters, the two heroes and the two villains. The step-by-step transformation and evolution of Cheetah into a villain really worked well for me. Wiig’s performance, the makeup and costume changes, and the choices she makes seemed to develop her character very clearly. Wiig handled both her mousy side and “catty” side very well. She’s really become one of my favorite actresses. It would’ve been nice to see more of her in full Cheetah mode, as those effects looked good and seemed to be improved from the trailer. I will still defend Gadot’s acting. I can’t imagine someone else in this role. I think she brings her whole heart into it, and all the proper physical qualities as well. I feel like she makes the civilian Diana a strong woman and keeps her attitude wisely subdued as Wonder Woman, without seeming to enjoy the violence too much. Steve Trevor provided perhaps a bit of a repeat of the first movie’s doomed romance angle, but I still thought it was touching, and I like seeing romance in a superhero movie. It used to be a staple of the genre, but the MCU in particular has minimized it. Pascal gave a pretty entertaining performance as Max Lord I thought. His redemption at the end is maybe the most questionable part of all the character development in the movie. The lasso of truth got a LOT of airtime in this movie, maybe a bit too much. I guess the only other option would’ve been to behead him with the boomerang tiara.

    The movie didn’t need to be a 2 and a half hour would-be epic. It’s sort of the “Spectre” of DCEU movies in that it’s easy to see how another pass in the editing room could’ve tightened this up and helped the pacing. It has the “meandering” quality of Iron Man 2 and Amazing Spider-Man 2, but that actually kind of appeals to me because it’s like reading a real comic book, where multiple plotlines are always running concurrently, and some may disappear for a while or take longer to get resolved. We see an awful lot of Max Lord in this movie, and it would have been better to chop his part down so that he felt more equal to the Cheetah in weight. I think I would’ve completely cut out the meeting with the President (was that supposed to be Reagan?) and the whole nuclear weapons angle. So many movies have done the nuclear weapons scare, including the notorious failure Superman IV in 1987, that it was hopeless for this movie to think it could build up sufficient tension with that with very little screen time to work with. I think the idea that the world was descending into chaos in smaller ways was good enough. The idea that Reagan would instantly wish for nuclear weapons is definitely an anti-Reagan dig that he was criticized with at the time (Reagan as a warmonger), but seems unfair given that his policy of military buildup coupled with negotiations proved successful in the end.

    I think the idea of Diana losing her powers was one of the more suspenseful aspects of the plot. It’s a reliable superhero trope, that Superman, Spider-Man and the X-Men have all done in their sequels. In fact, Patty’s approach continues to be heavily influenced by all of the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Even the montage of heroics at the beginning of this film recalled the opening of Superman III. In fact, the idea of choosing between powers and a love interest is a big theme in some of those earlier films. But this iteration of it had enough of its own spin, and worked for me. I also like the basic fantasy premise of the whole thing. I honestly didn’t know what they were going to do to explain what was going on in the trailer, but I like the mythology-based idea they came up with.

    Plot holes are something that seemed to become a bigger annoyance in the film as it went on. How exactly did Diana get Asteria’s armor? The invisible jet trick came out of nowhere. It would’ve made it cleaner if Diana had been shown training her invisibility power earlier in the film rather than covering it in a line of dialogue. The stealing of the plane itself seemed to happen way too easily. I wasn’t sure why Cheetah lost her powers at the end since that happened before Max Lord got the artifact. Also, Max Lord recanting should’ve restored the artifact to its original state, so wouldn’t it go back to sitting in his office? It seems highly unlikely they could do all that stuff in the White House without simply being gunned down by a huge security force, especially in the Cold War era. It does seem like Max should’ve been able to simply wish Diana away at some point, but there is the limitation that the wish has to come from the other person, and what he gets also has to be possessed by the other person. And, lastly, how that broadcast technology really worked at the end was fuzzy to say the least. Their comparing it to the Star Wars defense program was a historically inaccurate head fake to the audience, as it’s been revealed that the SDI program was basically just vaporware and a (successful) bluff against the Soviets.

    I liked the action and effects for the most part. The opening Amazon training was truly wonderful. The desert car chase was very solid. The final Cheetah fight did seem to get a little dodgy. I expected a difference in style as the first film used the second unit action director Damon Caro, that works on most of Zack Snyder’s directed films, but he didn’t work on this film. He’s clearly one of the best in the biz, if that BVS warehouse fight is any judge, so it was going to be hard for this film to completely measure up.

    I think the Wonder Woman movies are more feminine than feminist. Some of Patty’s ideas may jive well with modern feminism, like being anti-gun, anti-war, anti-killing, believing that conflicts can be resolved through communication. But other ideas like a focus on romantic plots and on sexy fashions are more traditional feminine interests. I definitely like the idea that the personal voices of Patty and Gal seem to be felt in this film. I like that a female action hero, or villain, doesn’t seem interchangeable with a male counterpart, and has attitudes and motivations that may represent a woman’s point-of-view more. I think Black Widow is a better, tighter movie overall, but to have any hero, male or female, show a sensitive side is something we get far too little of, so I appreciated seeing it in WW84.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wanda Maximoff is the perfect example of having a vulnerable side as a superhero due to her relationship with Vision. And she acquired incredibly strong romantic feelings after knowing him for years! I’ve just never been able to get behind Diana and Steve’s romance because they knew each other for about a week and for some reason she never moved on for over sixty years?!

      It just feels unrealistic and totally annoying. Especially when Captain America had the exact same romantic storyline. But you see, he got to fall in love with Peggy over the span of two years before losing her. And he actually did TRY to move on with Sharon (yeah, thay’s still an icky romance to think about) but that didn’t work out.

      At the end, when he goes back in time to live his life with her it’s a beautiful and fitting conclusion to his story.

      But I’m glad you enjoyed the movie more than I did. 👍🏾

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like Cap and Peggy’s romance a lot, and the way it finally ended. I guess I just think of both of these romances as taking 2 hours to develop. I don’t really member how much real life time Cap 1 took place over. Wonder Woman is Titanic-logic…a weeklong romance that makes a lifetime impact. I think it would’ve been fine if she had other romances in between WW and WW84. On the other hand, she’s on Amazon time, not aging like the rest of us, so she doesn’t need to be in any hurry. And she seemed to do some kind of “walking away from the world” after the first movie, so maybe that time was devoting to studying all that stuff she became an expert on like languages and history.

        Liked by 1 person

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