Ya know what, here’s my biggest critique – can Hollywood stop with the weirdo ‘hip’ names for their movies, like using a number for a letter, or initials, or just…this. It’s Wonder Woman 1984. OK? Let the fans call it WW84 but you just call it what it is.
There’s my big fan rant
And there’s where we are with this film and this era – fan rants.
You can like a film without it being the greatest film ever and you can dislike a film without it being the worst ever. If a movie is the worst you have ever seen then friends, see more movies. As for best, that’s solely based on how it moves you. Yes, if you are CRITIQUING it then you gotta take the good, the bad, and there you have the facts…wait…there you have the whole thing.
I know that my fave movies are not the BEST movies, but they are the ones that mean something to me, and which touched me. I can objectively look at them and say, oh, yeah, that’s not a great movie, but it can be great TO ME!
We forget that a lot.
That other people can love what we hate.
Which takes us to WW84, a film I didn’t love, but certainly didn’t hate.
The film picks up decades after the events of the first film with Diana working in a museum and still nursing the loss of her true love Steve Rogers. She befriends a lonely co-worker but when a mystical stone with the power to grant wishes comes into the hands of the museum, and thus the co-worker, the seduction of being what you are not, and having what you have not corrupts not just the co-worker but begins to take over the world.
This is a long film that feels every inch of its length. The movie starts fast with a memory from Diana’s youth but slows as we get to know all the players involved. Since this is a story of corruption and loss, we need to get to know who everyone is and what they have on the line. Godot really was perfect for this role. She brings a steady, confident hand to the role and keeps her accessible yet above the mere mortals around her. Kristen Wiig as Minerva throws herself into the role and, while it’s an old character type and played and drawn broadly – the lovable loser – she really is good in the role and takes a pretty shallow character and brings her to life. As Lord, the ‘villain’ of the piece, Pascal is good as well, playing more of a desperate, pathetic character who will do anything to get what he wants. Pine is fine as Trevor and has some good moments with Diana and his return plays into the story and her own seduction by the stone, but its one of the many elements that feels like a little too much.
That’s the thing about the film, it’s beautifully shot, well made, exciting, and fun, but it feels so big and muddled that by the time we get to the end it feels like too little too late. To get to where we need to be there’s just SO much story and SO much time spent on what feels like it should have been a breezier tale. The use of the ‘80s feels more like a gimmick than a reason. It COULD have been a reason, but it just doesn’t really feel like more than a gimmick. I get why the 1980s made sense as the setting but outside of window dressing it doesn’t FEEL like more than set dressing.
Don’t get me wrong though, this is a fun, throwback film that reminds us that superhero movies don’t have to be dark and dour. They don’t have to be about endless pain and loss. They can find joy and happiness in there, and hope. There’s a lot of cheese here but darn it, again, this is a superhero film. It’s not meant to be grounded in reality. She’s a demi-god for the love of Pete! I feel like the fact that we waited for this film for an additional year and a half after it was finished, that it was released for home first, and that we’re all a little hyper because of the pandemic people are just more apt to go from love to hate over things. I have seen SO many people saying the film is bad, and it ISN’T. Is it great, NO. It’s good.
I wish it was more focused, wish it was cleaner cut, and wish the finale meant more and felt like what we deserved, but it is what it is and that’s fine. How will we feel about the movie in a year, in five years, in ten years? It won’t be a classic but for me I will look back and say it was a fun movie with some great moments.
If you can drag something about WW84 it’s that it wants to do too much, with the character and the film. Were this a slimmer film with less meandering I think we’d have less angst. I like it, I do, but no, I didn’t love it. Part of the love for the first too, was that it had taken SO long to see this beloved character on the screen that even if that film had been a dud it would have still gotten some love for bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen FINALLY. That novelty is gone now, and people wanted a better film. I can’t hate on that. I just wish people would chill out with their loathing of a movie that they didn’t even pay to see in a theater.
I hope we see more of Cheetah as a character. I hope we see a film that captures the fun but also gives a story with more weight and better characters. There’s good stuff here, it’s just not particularly memorable.
3 out of 5