Reviews For The Uneasily Quarantined:
Wonder Woman 1984

Title: Wonder Woman 1984

Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote:

LISA: [takes the monkey's paw] I wish for world peace.
HOMER: Lisa, that was very selfish of you!

Brief Plot Synopsis: If wishes were horses, you couldn't make them drink. Or something.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 2 ColecoVision controllers out of 5.

Tagline: "A new era of wonder begins."

Better Tagline: [ominous Zack Snyder chuckling noises]

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: It's morning in America, but for Diana Prince (Gal Godot), life consists of working as an archaeologist for the Smithsonian, "surreptitiously" fighting crime as Wonder Woman, and reminiscing about her lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). "Lucky" for her, the arrival of a new batch of relics, including a curious stone, signals a change for Diana, awkward co-worker Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), and wannabe energy magnate Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal).

"Critical" Analysis: When Gal Godot's Wonder Woman made her debut in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the character was a breath of fresh air in the suffocatingly monochromatic Snyderverse. Her own feature film, bowing a year later (directed, as here, by Patty Jenkins) is still considered a high point of DC's recent cinematic offerings. Never mind the CGI morass of a finale.

Hopes were therefore high that Wonder Woman 1984 would be at least as appealing, if not more so, as its predecessor. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the meandering WW84 as anything other than a disappointment.

Things start out in a familiar location: Themyscira, where a young Diana competes in a kind of Amazonian triathlon that's meant to teach her (and us) the importance of fair play and honesty: "Nothing good is born of lies," she's told by Antiope (Robin Wright). Appropriately, the action then jumps to the Reagan Era, where Wonder Woman foils a jewel heist at a Washington, DC mall.

It's a fun scene, maximizing the setting and both Gadot's charisma and action chops. Then ... not much happens. Lord and Barbara are introduced, and events are set in motion by the Dreamstone that lead to some credulity-stretching developments, at least one of which has been spoiled by the trailers: the return of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

WW84 is a comic book movie, with all that entails. Things are therefore going to happen that might ordinarily make your eyes roll, but some of Wondy's new powers stretch even that credulity. It would all be fine and good if it didn't take so goddamn long to set the table.

After the mall sequence, a full hour unspools where literally the only action is the same guy getting beaten up twice. Sure, he's a creep and deserves it, but much of the movie is spent introducing the mildly intriguing antagonists and shoving Diana into a subplot that's exasperating in spite of featuring Chris Pine in a brief '80s wardrobe montage.

Part of the problem is that Wonder Woman's rogues gallery has never been that impressive. The Jenkins/Geoff Johns script also doesn't give Wiig much to work with, and oily con man Lord is a pale imitation of someone like Lex Luthor. One could almost go so far as to call him Trumpian, except Lord has the rudiments of a conscience and appears to actually care about his child.

We spend so much time on these bland characters that Diana is largely sidelined. The Steve thing is dumb, but the bigger indictment is how it undercuts Jenkins's attempts to highlight the era's misogyny and inequality. Diana is basically a goddess, but mopes around for the man she loved 60+ years prior.

A man who, by the way, has no problem piloting a jet fighter in spite of buying the farm a quarter-century before that technology was developed.

Wonder Woman 1984 burns through a lot of the original's goodwill (and the bait-and-switch trailer did it no favors, teasing a decade-specific soundtrack but failing to deliver). It's overlong, garish, and largely pointless. A lot like the decade itself.

Half a star added for the end credits cameo.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be in select theaters and streaming on HBOMax starting Christmas Day.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar