THE MOVIE GUY — Not quite as Wonderful, “Wonder Woman”
“Wonder Woman 1984”
Warner Brothers/HBO Max
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Starring Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Chris Pine, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen
2 ½ Stars
According to my nieces, there was no 2020 film more anticipated than “Wonder Woman 1984.” They assure me that they have their finger on what’s important, so I’ll take their word about how excited people are to see this film.
I must admit that I loved the first “Wonder Woman” movie, so I was also excited to see the sequel. That being said, I got the sense from the trailer that this film might be a bit of a letdown.
Sure enough, “Wonder Woman 1984” is still pretty good, but nowhere near as good as the original film. Gal Gadot continues to be captivating in the title role, and Chris Pine adds some nice emotional moments to the story, but the convoluted plot and less-than-terrifying villains make this into a lesser adventure.
The main story has moved forward 60 years so we get to see Wonder Woman’s alter ego, Diana Prince wearing some fabulous fashions from the 1980s. It turns out that her museum has acquired a magical stone that will grant your deepest wish, but it will also extract a terrible price from you.
Diana wished that her old boyfriend was back, which is how Chris Pine gets back into the story. A nerdy fellow scientist played by Kristen Wiig wishes she was as cool and strong as Diana, which is how she is transformed into the supervillain, Cheetah. Filling out the roster is a shady businessman who not only wants to become the biggest oil tycoon on the planet, but he also wants to take over the world.
The problem is neither of these villains pose much of a problem. They meander through the story without any real purpose, and their powers are never defined so it’s difficult to tell if they pose any real threat. If your hero is measured by the villains she beats, then this Wonder Woman is unimpressive.
Gal Gadot is not unimpressive.
She is still in top form here. In addition to her obvious physical charms, she does very well with the action sequences, giving them a believable mix of power and grace. She also uses her magic lasso (more of a golden whip here), which gives the fights another distinctive touch.
My only problem with her character is she is still obsessed over her boyfriend 60 years after his death. It’s a real problem if a heroine as strong as Wonder Woman can’t pass the Bechdel test.
Still, the special effects are top notch. Patty Jenkins’ direction makes the story flow smoothly while allowing for a few funny or emotional moments as well. Not all of the special effects are top notch, but we only have to see Wiig in full Cheetah form for one quick battle, so it’s not too jarring in the overall scope of the movie.
I also enjoyed the musical score and the cinematography — basically, I liked everything here other than the milquetoast bad guys and the unfocused story. Those are two huge problems that keep “Wonder Woman 1984” from living up to the pressure of being the most anticipated movie of 2020.
Although I probably need to wait to hear back from my teenage nieces before anything is official.
Movie reviews by Sean “The Movie Guy” McBride are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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