By Dave B.
Princess Diana has spent the decades that have passed since the WWI helping people as she can, but while doing so, she’s closed herself off from the world, emotionally. When a magical wish-granting stone is discovered, Diana must choose between saving the world from those who would abuse the stone’s power, or holding on to the only thing she’s ever truly wished for.
I intentionally passed on reviewing the first Wonder Woman movie, not because I didn’t like it, but because, despite liking it, I felt that it wasn’t as good as most people thought it was and I didn’t feel strongly enough about it to bother defending my opinion. With Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84), I may be in the minority opinion again, but in the other direction. That’s because WW84 is better than its predecessor in some important ways.
Most importantly, a smaller cast of significant characters makes WW84 more approachable in that it allows viewers to develop attachments to characters without overly spreading their emotional energy. I cared more about what happened to our heroes an hour into this movie than I did throughout the entirety of the first film. The performances in WW84 are also better. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are solid, as expected, and Pedro Pascal is good. But Kristen Wiig’s performance stands out. She makes Barbara Minerva even more of a relatable and sympathetic character than she was already written to be. WW84 also contains a sense of awe and joy that is infectious. Some of the most wonderous parts of the movie are watching Steve (Pine) walking around learning about a seemingly miraculous future.
That said, there are some flaws with WW84. For starters, it’s long. Specifically, it’s about 20 minutes too long. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to watch this movie at home, because if I had seen it in a theater, I would have started getting antsy at the two hour mark. That’s not because the movie is bad, but it’s occasionally unevenly paced and, more than occasionally, a bit absurd. For example, I’m pretty sure that flying an airplane through fireworks is such an obviously bad idea, that no one in their right mind would actually do it. I’m also not a fan of the 1980s. Seeing it glamorized always sets my teeth on edge considering how awful it was for a lot of people. Many who watch this movie will be too young to remember the 1980s, but I’m not, and outside of some of the music, the decade generally sucked in every conceivable manner. And perhaps most annoyingly of all, WW84 doesn’t feel complete, despite its lengthy runtime. There are loose threads, especially involving what happens to the “villains”, that make the film feel less than satisfying. There’s no cathartic payoff and that’s a problem considering the time investment required to watch this movie and the emotional investment that this movie seeks to garner.
All in all, WW84 is good. It’s better than the original. But it’s definitely not great. I wouldn’t have felt as if I had wasted my money if I had seen it in a theater, but I’m glad that I had the option not to do so. Is this movie worth spending a few hours of your day in front of a screen? Sure, why not. You’ll likely enjoy most of it. But you’re also unlikely to be blown away by any part of it.
Service: HBO Max
Runtime: 151 Minutes
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