Judging “Wonder Woman 1984” compared to the first film is difficult. They both have very distinct flaws of their own while I’d rate them both on a similar scale and in similar quality. Keep in mind I thought the first film was great but flawed and that absolutely applies to this one. This was a film worth waiting on though before doing my Top 5 for the year though as both it and “Soul” would certainly be in my Top 10. From that I’d say if you enjoyed the first film you should watch this one. Gal Gadot continues to inhabit this character and the villains are more compelling in this film. So definitely check it out.
The film was directed by Patty Jenkins who co-wrote the film with Geoff Johns and David Callaham.
The film follows Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) as she deals with events surrounding the Dreamstone as her life is transformed forever as other forces vie for it.
The Soundtrack – Hans Zimmer continues to give “Wonder Woman” a distinct and heroic sound that stands out as much as Nolan’s Batman, Burton’s Batman and Reeves’s Superman. She has her epic riffs in battle sequences and we also get the more godlike themes intermixed with personal notes. I really enjoyed this soundtrack.
The Action – The action for the most part works (except for a Mall Fight I’ll get into later) with an Amazon Trial at the start that young Diana faces off in. We get Cheetah versus Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor against a convoy of soldiers. It is all really well done even though I’d say the first film’s action is better.
Steve Trevor – Chris Pine is back and his chemistry with Gal Gadot continues to drive scenes with weaker writing. In this he is the “Fish out of water” as he adapts to new technology in the 80s and being back in the world and inhabiting the body of someone else. He is the first to realize the cost of the Dreamstone and thanks Diana for their time together before asking her to let him go. It is really well done and I loved seeing the duo back together but it not being permanent.
Barbara Minverva / Cheetah – Kristen Wiig’s Minerva initially comes off like Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Jamie Foxx’s Electro but unlike them she gets nuance and development and you can understand her rage. Her friendship with Diana is also built up over time so when she discovers Diana is a demigod she feels betrayed and wants to hold onto the power she finally has. Diana saves her a few times and she resents it so finally being able to revenge against the sexist creeps is rewarding when the Dreamstone grants her the strength to get what she wants. This leads to her becoming Maxwell Lord’s defender and her eventual transformation into Cheetah. A transformation that might still be in her as even though the curse is reversed we never see her recant her wish.
Maxwell Lord – Pedro Pascal gives us a man who came from nothing and in his drive for power forgot his family along the way, to the point that he only has his son left. This leads to a different dynamic too as he chooses to become the Dreamstone and use people’s wishes to take power to give himself greater strength. He is only stopped by seeing the chaos he is causing will lead to the death of his son, which finally leads to him recanting his wish. He could have just been a greedy businessman type but he was made to be more complex. Seriously, both these villains are greater than any in the first film.
Diana Prince / Wonder Woman – Gal Gadot’s arc in this film is facing her selfishness and learning to let go. It begins with her cheating to win a competition as a child and after her holding onto that same want when she has Steve, even though a man has been kicked out of his body and is dead because of it. The cost also came at her losing her power but she holds on that much. In this way the slow arc of realizing she can only win as Wonder Woman and respecting Steve’s choice that she becomes the demigod once more and saves the world with the Lasso of Truth, which reveals the cost to people and them recanting their wishes and Maxwell’s truth of himself to his son. It is powerfully done and a much better final act than the first film.
The Wish / Monkey’s Paw Concept and Cost – The basic concept of the Monkey’s paw is so cool. We learn the Dreamstone was crafted by The Duke of Deception a demigod who has been causing chaos throughout history. We never see him but his legacy does last through the film given the amount of damage the Dreamstone does. I wish we’d seen the demigod but the you can see why people made the wishes they did and the cost for the wishes made sense.
First Act Writing – The first act has weak writing. It is trying to setup a lot but it does it a little too slowly and we don’t really get to know Diana and Minerva that much as people beyond what is told us. This act could have been cut in half and we wouldn’t have lost anything.
The Mall Fight – The mall fight is cheesy bad. It looks like something you’d see on early CW and it winks a little too much at the camera. The thieves are also jokes and if they are connected to an organization it never comes up again. This scene took me out especially after the Amazon Trials which were great action and developed character and the story.
The Flying Sequences – There are times Diana is flying with her lasso or not using her lasso at all and flying and it looks very green screen bad. I don’t know why it does as there are a lot of good looking fight sequences in this film but these sequences just feel fake.
In the end this film worked in regards to the core characters, emotional base and the message of the film against selfishness with the Dreamstone. The action, cinematography and writing aren’t as strong as the first film but this is still one that I’d highly recommend. In the end I would rate it on par, it doesn’t rise above the first film but it is just as great and I can’t wait to see what next story we get. This world is rich and there is so much still to explore.
Final Score: 9.4 / 10