Well, 2020 turned into a stinker of a year, but Gadot, Jenkins and Pine reunite to cheer us up with Wonder Woman‘s second solo outing. Gadot is outstanding and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is magnificent. With Big Themes and women centre stage, it’s a shame the plot is a shambles and it’s far, far too long.
Firstly, can we not treat the 1980’s as an historical period piece, please. Second, can we at least have some 80’s music?
Try this: “a dark god leaves a wishing stone on Earth just to cause as much havoc as possible. For every wish, the wisher loses something precious.” That takes two hours, and still the key plot points are dropped in ropey Basil Exposition scenes not much better than my explanation.
Everything in this movie seems to take too long. The opening Amazon assault course is fun but adds nothing to the plot. The shopping mall robbery sequence is twice as long as it needs. The armoured convoy set piece is hugely overdone. The fight in the White House is complex and largely pointless. The finale is largely muddled and not the actual climax. The actual denouement is a bit like the Convicts on the Ferry in Nolan’s Batman – everyone has to come to the correct moral choice before everyone dies in a blazing inferno.
I know Wonder Woman was always the wholesome big sister in the super hero firmament, but this is like Sesame Street without the felt puppets.
Pedro Pascal proves he’s a star with a grand theatrical turn somewhere between Bill Murray’s Scrooged and P T Barnum as ‘non-villain’ Max Lord.
Which leaves Kristen Wiig (Paul) with the best plotline turning geeky Barbara Minerva into Cheetah. The best scenes in the movie her clowning at the beginning, having to compete with the effortlessly cool and gorgeous Diana Prince. But she’s another ‘non-villain,’ her behaviour is all to do with the wishes and the monkey’s paw and high heels and back-combing… or… something.
It’s the same as the Patrick Bergin Robin Hood where everyone gets to live happily-ever – actually, even that version killed Jurgen Procnow’s Guy of Gisborn. This is Jenkins’ problem in daring to make a superhero movie that’s different. Last time out Diana got to toast the God of War, Mars himself. This one breaks the Rules of Story with an unsatisfying – read ‘non-cathartic’ – ending.
And makes us wait too long for it at that.
Yes it gets a bit camp and a bit silly in places. Wonder Woman gets to look gorgeous in flying sequences, even though technically she can’t fly. She does hard things easily then makes easy things hard. There’s some good jokes at the expense of the shallow, greedy, needy 1980’s. There are some laboured jokes that don’t work and some well-realised end-of-the-world shenanigans.
Honestly I’d rather have Gadot and Jenkins optimism than anything from the mysognistic sadist Zack Snyder (who unfortunately is a producer on this). There’s a lot going on, it’ll be worth a second watch. We just all wanted it to be… better. RC
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writers: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, David Callaham
Genre: adventure, action, fantasy
Runtime: 2h 31m
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen