Wonder Woman 1984 Review

Imagine all the people… not being able to go and see Wonder Woman 1984 at the cinema this year.

It’s easy if you try, at least it is in 2020.

First, let’s go back to the eighties — Miami Vice and Olivia Newton John are leading fashion trends, Donald Trump still has his own hair, and climate change is an undiscovered country to everyone except the entire fossil fuel industry, who already knew this was happening due to their extensive scientific research into how they were — and still are — poisoning our planet.

There’s also this wonderful woman who goes around Washington DC thwarting comically one dimensional bad guys as they try to hold up jewellery stores and dangle little kids over balconies in a manner Michael Jackson would approve of.

It’s all in a day’s work for Diana Prince – immortal superhero by day, glamorous supermodel by night… but lonely as a locked down widower at christmas since her one true love died at the end of the first Wonder Woman film.

Not that Ms Prince doesn’t have offers for company… in fact, every time she walks down the street guys are literally queuing up to be her friend.

I guess it was acceptable in the eighties.

When she’s not secretly saving the world, Diana moonlights as an antiquities specialist at Washington’s Smithsonian museum – and it’s here that she happens upon an ancient relic from a long forgotten time that has the power to make your dreams come true.

2020’s been a challenging year for everyone, and that goes double for the film industry.

Bucking the trend of most studios, Warner Bros haven’t held back all of their blockbusters — releasing Christopher Nolan’s Tenet last summer, and now Wonder Woman 1984 just in time for the holidays.

Whether any cinemas will be open this christmas is another question.

The film itself is a little uneven… so let’s start with the good points.

Gal Gadot simply is Wonder Woman. It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing her these days, and though it hardly seems fair that someone who looks like Gadot also happens to be a talented actor, thems the breaks.

Chris Pine returns as Diana Prince’s love interest Steve Trevor, and the scenes between these two are easily the best and most believable thing about Wonder Woman 1984.

Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal add humour and colour to their supporting roles, in particular Pascal’s antagonist Max Lourd — a proto Donald Trump type who has well and truly graduated from the ‘greed is good’ school of thought.

Everything about WW84 looks great, especially on the Imax screen I saw it on, but then there’s the plot and… well, director and co-writer Patty Jenkins has pretty much lost it.

There’s something about a dreamstone that grants people whatever they wish for… highly tenuous stuff, but they have fun with this at the start — things swiftly unravel after an hour or so as increasingly far fetched actions and leaps of faith drive our heroine ever on in her super journey.

Without spoiling anything, the heavy handed, feel good message crowbarred into the ending is so preposterous when compared to this ruinous capitalist civilisation people actively choose and vote for us to live in, that my one wish would be for Jenkins to go back to the drawing board with this plot and come up with something a whole lot better.

And the less said about the one dimensional caricatures of predatory minor male characters peppered throughout Wonder Woman 1984, the better – particularly when we’re introduced to modern day Wonder Woman, a sequence every bit as hackneyed as anything in Batman and Robin.

My real problem with Wonder Woman 1984 though is Joker — unfortunately, Todd Phillips’ film has changed the idea of what comic book movies can be… forever.

The jokey tone of the marvel cinematic universe, which Wonder Woman 1984 mimics, feels dated and tired — give me something stripped down and real, something grounded in reality that reveals the mental wellness or lack there of in a ‘superhero’ who can seemingly live forever… and all the madness that inevitably brings.

Or you can just have Gal Gadot flying through the air in an invisible airplane.

Imagine that.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

December 2020