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(Movie Review) Wonder Woman 1984

Let's talk expectations:

We were late to the party for the the 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman movie and didn't catch it until it came out on Netflix.  That was a mistake.  Everything about that movie was meant to be seen in a theater.  It was a big adventure, and the visuals were stunning, including star Gal Godot.  However, the key part was that Godot  played a bad-ass warrior who took care of business, no matter what challenges were thrown her way.  Her  performance of this larger-than-life superhero would have been done the most justice on a large screen. 

That's why we were determined not to repeat our mistake when the sequel arrived.  Of course, that was back in "the good old days," when movie theaters were still open and not considered hazardous to your health.  Once the pandemic arrived, it seemed we would once again have to wait for Netflix.  However, there were multiple pandemic-related release delays, and the studio eventually settled on December 25 for both the handful of open studios, as well as a concurrent stream for the next month on HBO Max.  Even though it was a little disappointing to once again have to watch at home, it was still something to look forward to in what has been a challenging holiday season.  Now that we've finally watched the movie, we have one question:

What the hell happened?

Everything gets off to a good start.  The opening 10 minutes are exciting and filled with hope and optimism, aided by Han Zimmer's sweeping music score.  Shortly after, we transition to the United States in, you guessed it, 1984, and things are still fine.  We have a personal fondness for the 80's, so it's a kick to see the fashion, shopping malls, and video game arcades.  Gal Godot once again looks timeless as Diana Prince, and she clearly still misses Chris Pine's Steve Trevor, some roughly 40 years after Trevor's death.  Things seem promising, but it all starts slowing down from here.

The movie is 2.5 hours long, and the next 60 minutes could have been almost entirely cut without missing a beat.  The plot grinds down to a snail's pace, and the music slows down as well.  All of the energy from the beginning is lost as the plot plods along, and jokes about adjusting to life in the 80's fall flat.  There are eventually two more "big" scenes, which are fun, but they're jarring after the last quiet hour, and they both feel like they should be near the end of the movie.  Instead, they're closer to the midpoint, and there's still another hour left.  That final hour also mostly meanders along, until one finds themselves repeatedly looking at the clock to see how much time is left.

Gal  Godot still owns the Wonder Woman role, and she's great when given worthy material.  Pine is okay as Steve Trevor.  He and Godot still have nice chemistry, but he largely seems to be sleepwalking through his entire story arc.  We've got Kristen Wiig playing mousy gemologist Barbara Minerva and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord, the head of an apparently thriving oil company, but of course they're not happy with their lives.  We find out about an ancient artifact which has the power to grant wishes, and both of the characters (as well as Diana) make their wishes, but they all come at a cost.

Wiig has the initial version of Barbara Minerva down pat, but when she changes, the reaction is largely to shrug.  It's not an offensive portrayal, but it's not memorable either.  Pascal has a little more to work with as Maxwell Lord.  However, he never really feels like much of a real threat.  Again, it's hard to remember much about him after the movie is over.

The theme of the movie is about the power of truth and the danger of greed, but it feels pretty superficial, and the whole story was formulaic.   Don't know what happened here, but something significant was lost between the first movie and the sequel.  It once again probably would have been better on a big screen, but at the end of the day, you won't feel guilty if you don't make it all the way through, and at least it didn't cost you a fortune for the tickets, popcorn, and soda. 

Not recommended.

 

Wonder Woman 1984A disappointing return to action for Wonder Woman.  (pic via cnn.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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