Wonder Woman 1984 Movie Review

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman running in Washington DC

Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) falls short of its potential and its predecessor, but it still serves up the bright and unabashedly cheesy feeling of hope we desperately need during this pandemic.

"How far are you willing to go to get what you want?" is the line WW84 toes, from Diana's wish to have her dead boyfriend Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) save her from loneliness, to her co-worker Barbara Minerva 's (Kristen Wiig) need to be validated, to businessman Max Lord's (Pedro Pascal) desperate attempt to make a name for himself to make is son proud. Soon a mysterious and ancient "wishing stone" grants them all, but old adages are adages for a reason; what you want isn't often what you need, and the fallout of their choices make for a not-so cookie-cutter superhero movie

Because while WW84 is most definitely a comic book movie, it's also about consequences. Director Patty Jenkins handles the subject matter well enough, as the best parts of the movie are the ones where the main characters deal with gaining the things they've wished for and how it changes them, for better or worse. Gal Gadot in particular shines here, showing more range than she's ever had before. It helps that Gal Gadot is inspired casting, exuding an ethereal, otherworldly grace about her that makes her stand out in every scene she's in. 

I couldn't say the same for Kristen Wiig, who spends most of the movie trying to sell us the idea of Barbara Minerva's rise from pratfalling loser to apex predator and eventual Wonder Woman nemesis but fails, especially when faced with Gadot's effortless charm. Remove her from WW84 and the plot doesn't change at all save for not having the required superpowered villain to fight. Pedro Pascal's hammy acting aside, his Max Lord is one of the more fleshed-out "villains" of the DCEU and even of comic book movies in general.

While the movie feels plot light and, at 2 hours and 30 minutes, overlong, WW84 is a fun watch. The hopeful tone is pretty much a Wonder Woman standard now, and I feel fans of the Zack Snyder dreariness won't find much to love here. Diana is unabashedly good and sees the best in people, even if they're megalomaniacs or weird women wanting to be cheetahs. The climax of the film, when Diana confronts Max Lord and his schemes not with closed fists but with an open heart, is where WW84 truly shines.

Missteps and miscasts aside, Wonder Woman 1984 is more fun than it had any right to be. If you're up for watching a goddess like Gal Gadot defeat evil by the power of hope and love, make room for 2 hours and 30 minutes of your day for this.

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