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.)
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.