A wonderful failure

With slow pacing and poor character writing, “Wonder Woman 1984” is anything but wonderful.

photo by Wikipedia

“Wonder Woman 1984” was released on December 25 in the US, receiving reviews of only 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, a big difference from its 2017 predecessor’s 93%.

For decades, Wonder Woman has graced the countless comic pages with her idealistic thinking and bravery, becoming an iconic hero and symbol of hope. In more recent years, Wonder Woman, or Diana Prince, has appeared frequently on the big screen with different actresses bringing her to life in both animation and live-action. Perhaps no modern adaptation of the Amazonian warrior is more famous than the 2017 adaptation. Largely adored by critics and fans alike, “Wonder Woman” was a clear hit and a sequel was no surprise. Fans were excited to get a continuation of the best DC and female-led movie of all time.  

The sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020), follows Diana (Gal Gadot) 66 years in the future, in which she has been working in the Smithsonian Institution and discovers an obscure artifact nicknamed the “Dreamstone” alongside awkward geologist Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) before it falls into the hands of the greedy businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). 

As hopeful as many were for this film, the Dec. 25 release was nothing but a disappointment. Not only is “Wonder Woman 1984” full of poor writing, but the majority of the characters’ lines are shallow, causing the relationships between characters to lack necessary depth. The first time Barbara and Diana interact outside of the Smithsonian, for instance, takes up way too much run time and tells us nearly nothing about their characters. Minerva fawns over Diana and her boundless confidence for minutes on end, making viewers eager for them to move on. Scenes full of pointless dialogue that only exist to pad the run time make the movie incredibly boring and a pain to watch. The audience should not be checking their phones every ten minutes to see if the movie is almost over. 

In the same respect, the motivations behind the main villain, Maxwell Lord, make little sense. The audience finishes the movie knowing very little about him, as most of his screen time was spent pointlessly interacting with side characters, rather than dominating the world.

To add to the film’s mediocracy, the acting was relatively subpar. While the chemistry between Gadot and Pine remained amazing, Gadot performed stiff and awkward in many of her scenes outside those she shared with her love interest. In some cases, she even seemed vaguely uninterested in her own story. Her action scenes were by far the worst, featuring cliche superhero poses and shots alongside unnatural special effects.

Meanwhile, Pedro Pascal of Mandalorian fame takes the opposite approach from Gadot – he throws himself into every scene with too much emotion. Still, this exaggerated behavior is almost the character’s saving grace, as it brings more humanity to the otherwise dull and confusing character. The fault here lies with the writers, as they wasted great talent on terrible writing.

The most redeeming part of the movie was the character development of Diana and Minerva. Minerva’s transformation from awkward, shy and clumsy geology nerd to an angry and vindictive apex predator makes her an amazing character and the most fun to watch, even if her ending was left relatively open. However, her character was poorly scripted, for the film did not stick with her long enough for her story to feel complete. Minerva would have made a great antagonist, letting the audience understand her more and leading to a satisfying conclusion.

Unfortunately, this disappointing movie ends with a whimper as one of the most underwhelming climaxes since “Martha” from “Batman v. Superman,” leaving you more questions than answers. If you are going into this movie expecting a climatic and exciting fight between the heroine and the world’s biggest threat, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

“Wonder Woman 1984” is an incredibly unfortunate follow-up to what is possibly the greatest female superhero movie of all time. It ignores the incredible legacy from the first movie and destroys the hope of DC fans to finally have a good trilogy in the modern era. Though it is possible for the writers to redeem themselves in a third movie, it is best to skip this one unless you are terribly bored, or already have HBO Max.

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