6 Thoughts on Wonder Woman 1984
Welp, Wonder Woman 1984 has arrived and it has landed with a big, dull thud. Reviewers and superhero movie fans across this great internet are ripping the sequel to shreds, and I don’t necessarily think they’re wrong. I watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max and…it was fine. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t think it was terrible, but I can’t say I particularly cared much for it.
Movie Rating: 5/10 – Alright
I enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie well enough. And I’ve liked most of DC’s movie output since then, especially Aquaman and Shazam. But Wonder Woman 1984 is a real callback to the age of cheesy or bad superhero movies. I’ve seen a lot of people compare it to the Christopher Reeves Superman movies, or the original Wonder Woman TV show, but I don’t know enough about either to make that comparison. For me, this is more along the lines of Spider-Man 3, too full of stuff that just comes along and doesn’t work well together.
Join me after the jump for my thoughts and full review of Wonder Woman 1984. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the movie!
6. I liked it well enough
I don’t have any great take on Wonder Woman 1984. I don’t have any special insight or criticism, certainly nothing particularly witty. It was a movie, I watched it, and I’m largely fine with it. I don’t think it accomplished anything very interesting. I don’t think it had any really great, memorable scenes or performances. I don’t think it measured anywhere close to the entertainment value of your average Marvel movie. But it was watchable. It had some entertaining bits and pieces somewhere, though I don’t know if I can name them. Gal Gadot was fine as Wonder Woman. Other empty platitudes.
Wonder Woman 1984 was a perfectly watchable superhero movie. My opinion will probably degrade over time. And I don’t really have any interest in watching again. But I didn’t actively dislike the movie, so at least there’s that. It’s just a competently made superhero action movie.
5. The 1980s setting was wasted
Where were my ’80s jams?! You’re gonna make a period piece movie set in the 1980s but you don’t license any hit ’80s music? Surely Warner Bros. hasn’t forgotten the magic of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. People love music! People love catching, awesome music populating their superhero movies! Why even set the film in the 1980s? There was nothing very ’80s about the movie, in my opinion. Yeah, there were some set dressing bits, like the mall, aerobics and some ’80s fashions…but that’s about it. The Cold War conflict between Russia and the US at the end of the film could still take place today. An old, white male president could still take place today. The visit to Egypt and everything about the third act could still take place today. Heck, there are still, technically, malls in this day and age, so even that opening scene could take place today.
The only real 1980s thing in this movie was the fanny pack jokes…but I’m pretty sure those are coming back in style too! There was no reason for the Wonder Woman sequel to be specifically set in 1984.
4. Cheetah was wasted
I think Cheetah fell victim to that classic moviemaking blunder: sequels need more villains. It happened back in the 90s, it happened in the 2000s, and most superhero movies had gotten over it…but Wonder Woman 1984 is a throwback to bad superhero movies. So they had two villains in the sequel. And they went with Unbreakable rules for villains: one brain (Maxwell Lord) and one brawn (Cheetah). But Cheetah is supposed to be Wonder Woman’s arch nemesis in the comics. She’s got a great look, has a couple great origins to choose from, and is played by Kristen Wiig, who is pretty great! But all they do with her is a brief “friendship” with Diana at work, and then they just make her super envious of Diana throughout. And then they tack on this desire to be an “alpha predator” out of nowhere to justify her turning into a cat-lady…a bad-looking cat-lady, whose fight scene takes place entirely in the dark so that they can hide the bad CGI.
And then, heck, they have her renounced her wish in the end! Why?! Why not have Barbara remain selfish and slink away with her new Cheetah-ness at the end? Keep her in play! She’s a bad guy, and the movie already sort of redeems Maxwell Lord. Let one of the bad guys stay a bad guy!
They should have built the whole movie around Cheetah and one of her classic origins. Instead they went with the wishing stone…and I think we all know why…
3. Steve Trevor was unnecessary
I think the wishing stone plotline started with trying to figure out how to bring Christopher Pine back for the sequel. He’s a popular, handsome actor and they already have him on contract…but how do you bring him back for the sequel after he valiantly died in the first movie? How about if Wonder Woman…wishes he was back! Great! Now write the rest of the movie around that wish, because that actor is more important than anything else. And he ends up just causing more problems. Now Wonder Woman is the ultimate spinster. She fell in love with the first man she ever saw, knew him for about a month, and then spent upwards of 70 years pining for him! What a pathetic loser! And then his return added that weird wrinkle where he stole another man’s body. Why not just bring him back in his own body? You’re already using magic to bring him back! And then he adds nothing to the film but more of Diana pining for him. Why not give her a fresh new love interest? Surely there are other handsome, charming actors in Hollywood, right?
Why not make Barbara Minerva the love interest?
2. The golden armor was unnecessary
Ugh. Speaking of bad ways to make a movie. It’s a sequel, so Wonder Woman needs a new costume, right? And we need new action figures and new things to put on the poster. How about that golden eagle armor she wore in, I think, Kingdom Come? That sure looks fancy! Great, throw it in the movie! Where does it come from? Just make something up, and find ways to awkward shoe-horn mentions of it into the first half of the film.
The whole storyline with Asteria is so awkward. Her statue comes out of nowhere in that opening scene. Then Steve is just so excited about a package of brown paper in Diana’s office. And she’s got a whole storyline and flashback to tell him. And then Wonder Woman finds time to swing by her apartment and grab the armor when she’s supposed to be rushing to stop Maxwell Lord in the end. And by that point, she’s got her full powers back, so she doesn’t need a suit of armor to take on Maxwell Lord. She doesn’t even know that Cheetah is Cheetah until she gets there. The armor, and Asteria, are completely unnecessary and awkward additions tot he film, even if people loved seeing that wink and nod to Lynda Carter.
1. Ignore the rest of the DCEU
I could go on. The invisible jet was definitely unnecessary. But that bit is over and this is my final sticking point: the Wonder Woman threequels and fourquels should just ignore the rest of the DCEU. We can all agree that the DC Expanded Universe is a mess right now, right? And yet, surely, this was the reason why this movie was set in 1984, right? And why she destroyed those cameras? Because they were trying, unnecessarily, to fit a sequel into the period of time before she shows up in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? But those were handicaps this movie didn’t need.
What even is the DCEU? Are people still holding onto that? Is Warner Bros. still determined to hold onto it? I much prefer the idea that these DC movies are all standalone, with their own thing going on. As such, any future Wonder Woman movies should cast off any such shackles and just tell their own dang story! I’m not saying Wonder Woman, the character, should exist in a vacuum. Shazam got a lot of mileage over the idea that other superheroes were out there. Wonder Woman should follow that example…because I still like the idea of Wonder Woman and Aquaman teaming up. Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa could make a good superhero team, I bet. But that’s it!
Wonder Woman standalone sequels!