Greetings My Movie Geeks
The DC movie Universe (whatever it’s called now) has had its ups and downs since Man of Steel back in 2013. But one consistently good and entertaining part of the DCEU was the inclusion of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Then in 2017, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman hit theatres becoming a massive success which garnered a sequel. Wonder Woman 1984 has finally been released after several months of postponement and it is as entertaining as the first.
Due to Wonder Woman 1984 release schedule this will have very minor spoilers!
Billed as a ‘natural continuation of Diana Prince’s story’ it does just that, linking what we saw in Wonder Woman to where she was in BvS quite seamlessly. It’s 60 years since the death of Steve Trevor and she hasn’t totally moved past it. Diana is working at the Smithsonian and it becomes clear that she hasn’t made any personal relationships since then. There’s a nice nod to Etta Candy in a blink and you’ll miss it shot. But from the outset, Diana is alone!
The set pieces are all extremely well done, with some brilliantly choreographed fight sequences. It’s also nice to see a DC superhero actually saving bystanders for once!
Villains be Villains
A new co-worker Barbara Ann Minerva played by Kristin Wiig, has all the hallmarks of a villain. She appears to be downtrodden and ignored by everyone. We’re also introduced to Maxwell Lord played by Pedro Pascal, a tv personality and oil baron who epitomizes the greed and excess of the 80’s.
Pascal plays the antagonist well, giving a great and fun performance that could outshine most villains in the DCEU as actually being more that just a grey shouty bad guy! The way Lord is written and acted makes us feel for him, and at points want him to succeed. He’s funny, and a compelling character, but his reasons are a little thin on the ground. There are a few flashbacks, but these again don’t fully explain his reasons for doing what he does.
Wiig’s Cheetah goes the tried and tested friend to enemy route that has been done before. Her motivations are clear from the outset, and shown on screen. She is ignored by everyone and feels jealousy towards what she perceives Diana has. As a villain, she is relatable as everyone will have at least one memory of feeling invisible. The way in which Minerva becomes Cheetah is very well done, keeping the pace slow and not just throwing the reveal away. It shows restraint on the film makers and gives us a change from what we’ve seen before in comic book movies!
But saying all that, if the characterization of the villains needed anything it is a little more time to grow.
Wonder Woman 1984
Gal Gadot is so damn good as Wonder Woman, again she’s a breath of fresh air in the male dominated superhero genre. Diana is secretly saving people without bringing real harm to the bad guys. The arc in this story is like that of the first, but this time it’s Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) as the fish out of water. But it’s not done to the effect as the first, having the funniest moments appear in the trailer.
The 1980’s aesthetic although highlighted in Lord’s demeanor and focused on in the first act, seems to disappear. They highlight the clothing and some aspects of 1980’s culture, but strangely it isn’t as in your face as other films and tv series.
The emotional heart is the love story between Diana and Steve, that is executed brilliantly, again tying into what we saw in BvS and JL (is that still canon?). Wonder Woman 1984 brings more comic book aspects to the screen and does it in a way that stops them from being silly. We see Wonder Woman brandish her tiara that works like a boomerang, or batarang!
The final act begins with the usual DCEU dark grey/Blue colour scheme, but quickly changes when we see what Lord is doing. The final emotional punch is done well, if a little on the nose, and e realize why Wonder Woman is one of the best superhero’s around.
The Wider DCEU
It’s clear that Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at the forefront of the DCEU. Batman having been skewed off into his own universe. And Superman nowhere to be seen! But this film raises some questions as to where the DCEU is going. There are several scenes that link back to the previous films in the larger DCEU. There’s a nice nod to Superman in Man of Steel, which I absolutely loved. There’s also another musical cue to Batman V Superman in the third act, which again works well. And strangely, what stuck out to me was a scene (which I loved) that uses a sample from Sunshine!
Hans Zimmer returns to the DCEU with a more lowkey soundtrack that his previous instalments, and sadly, I feel the additions of the music mentioned above are the stand outs. But as always, I am listening to the soundtrack as I write!
Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. What I do know is we’ll be seeing Wonder Woman for a third instalment. I for one will be front of line to watch it.
Watch in Cinemas (If you can)
I was lucky enough to be able to see the movie in a cinema. I know that there is a lot who can’t for numerous reasons. If you can, and protect yourself from COVID, I would urge everyone to see this in the cinema. It was great to be back in the cinema. But at a prime time of 7.30pm, we were sadly only 2 of 6 viewers. This was also in the biggest screen in our town, which unfortunately is extremely low.
Watching the movie, I kept thinking how good the experience is, and that how unmemorable it would have been to watch on a tv! But wherever you watch it, I reckon you’ll have fun with it. There is a Mid-Credit Scene so stick around!
Wonder Woman 1984 is a great follow up for the character. The villains are good but could have used some more identifiable motivation. I enjoyed this and look forward to Patty Jenkins take on Rogue Squadron.