In 1984, Diana is a lonely woman. Yes, she has super strength, beauty, and many talents, but the loss of Steve has made her days lonely and has put her on autopilot. Yet, with a co-worker, Barbara Minerva discovering an artifact that grants wishes, Diana finds Steve returning to her life at a price. Mind you, not Steve as he physically was, but the same personality, mannerisms, and for this, Diana is in bliss. However, as Barbara makes her wish, and a man named Maxwell Lord decides to steal the artifact to embody its powers, all hell breaks loose globally.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
Reason(s) for Film Rating: Blood, violence, and gun use.
Jump Scares/ Laughs/ Tear-Jerking Moments: Maxwell’s relationship with his son may get you in your feelings.
After Credits Scene: Yes
Cast & Characters
Diana (Gal Gadot)
Single, with no intention to mingle, Diana spends most of her days working at the Smithsonian Institute with occasionally putting on her Wonder Woman uniform and fighting crime. However, after discovering an artifact that grants wishes, she finds herself torn between the hero she knows she is and the life she could have with Steve.
Steve (Chris Pine)
Originally killed in the first Wonder Woman movie, Steve finds himself brought back to life and having some minor struggles with the fashion and technology of 1984. However, when Diana needs a sidekick to take down Maxwell, Steve catches up quick.
Barbara (Kristen Wiig)
Barbara is new to the Smithsonian, but her qualification prove her to be a welcome addition to the team. But, unfortunately, working at the Smithsonian does push Barbara’s insecurities to flare up. Especially with a co-worker like Diana, who is noticed and talked to by everyone, male and female, while Barbara is quickly forgotten.
Hence why, when given the opportunity to use a wishing stone, she wishes to be like Diana. A wish that is the beginning of showing us how dangerous people who felt powerless all their life can be once they get a taste of power.
Maxwell (Pedro Pascal)
Maxwell grew up poor and has struggled to become the semblance of a man he is. But, as much as he is a conman, he wants to be legitimate, if just to bolster himself in front of his son. However, in the pursuit of power, Maxwell ends up going down a rabbit hole where it seems nothing is ever enough, and his hunger nearly destroys the world.
We appreciate Barbara and Maxwell because they aren’t necessarily evil for the sake of being evil. Barabara, living in the shadow of women like Diana, just wants to feel strong, be desired, and not forgotten. Never mind, when it comes to men catcalling her, having the power to stop them, especially if they try to get aggressive.
With Maxwell, being treated how he was for most of his life, mainly due to growing up poor, you get it. He’s faking it till he makes it because he believes in himself and needs to be more than he is. It is not just for his ego but also for his son who is at that age where he is aware of who his dad is and not just what Maxwell tries to convey.
And mind you, this isn’t to excuse anything either character does, for Maxwell nearly causes a nuclear war, but in terms of sympathetic villains, I don’t think you can find any better on the DC side, besides Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.
On The Fence
The Delicate Balance of Feminism
Wonder Woman, years after the first movie, remains one of the few if only, solo outings of a female superhero and with that comes the difficulty of how to handle all it means to be Diana. She is an Amazonian woman of great beauty, power, and wit, yet also longs for her long-dead boyfriend and does come off a bit mopey.
There is also multiple displays of men catcalling, even getting aggressive when rejected, and using all sorts of manners to get Diana and even Barbara’s attention. Which sometimes leads to polite declines, other times guys getting their ass beat to the point of nearly being killed.
The reason we’re placing this subject on the fence is because it’s complicated. There is a part of you that believes that it should be addressed the various complexities that Diana and others deal with due to being women. Yet I can’t say it was masterfully done, at all. It is done with good intentions, but rarely in such a way that doesn’t feel heavy-handed or maybe like a cathartic release. More so for those in the film than watching.
You May Question If This Needed To Be 2 and A Half Hours
With that said, a lot of this film feels like filler. If not what should have been made into extras or an extended edition on HBO Max. For example, the film begins with a flashback of us watching a young Diana in a tournament that feels like a cut scene from the first movie. That block of time, amongst many others, just makes the film seem like it is trying to do and be too much at once. Leaving you feeling things are too slow as Steve and Diana catch up, action-packed as Diana chases after Maxwell, and then shifting in such a way that you rarely feel like you’re watching a superhero movie.
Rather, this often feels like a mid-budget film that wanted more so to focus on character relationships, and to a point development, but rarely in such a way to compensate for what you came to see.
How The Villains Are Defeated
We’ll go into more details in the ending spoilers but, let’s just say that the ending for Barbara and Maxwell didn’t make up for them lacking any sense of being formidable. Granted, Barbara does get in some licks when she fights Diana, and Maxwell does become powerful enough where you are left to question how Diana can even compete.
However, the way they are defeated is so eye-roll inducing it makes you feel like you are watching a Marvel film for Barbara and Maxwell just come off so disposable when all is said and done.
The Special Effects Are Still Wonky
While Diana’s lasso has improved, as seen in the trailer, like in the first Wonder Woman movie, the special effects are a bit wonky. Specifically, when Diana is moving fast, and it looks awkwardly sped up. And there are many other moments that just shouldn’t be an issue considering this reportedly has a $200 million budget.
If I didn’t see this in theaters, I don’t think I would have finished Wonder Woman 1984. For while you have to applaud how it brings what it is like to be a woman into the film and how it develops its villains by showing what everyday people would do if given the opportunity to become powerful, it just doesn’t feel like a superhero movie. Rather, the way Wonder Woman 1984 is makes you wonder if in an effort to make Wonder Woman different from all the male, high octane movies out there, they went for something more subtle – without realizing they aren’t compensating for what people expect.
Hence the mixed label. Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t bad, but it does make you feel that, with Warner Brothers releasing their films on HBO Max and in theaters, maybe that’s for the best. Because Wonder Woman 1984 may need you to go to theaters, to pay attention, but it feels like something you should get to see as part of a streaming package.
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Using his wish power, Maxwell works his way to the United States president’s office in his quest for power. There he learns the president has a device that can broadcast worldwide, and it releases particles that would make it like Maxwell is touching everyone – a requirement for him to fulfill a wish. So he quickly makes his way to the device. All the while, to keep from losing her newfound powers, Barbara acts as his personal bodyguard to protect him from Diana. Someone who, with wishing Steve back to life, did so at the cost of her powers. But with the world at stake, she sacrifices Steve for the greater good.
But, in the long run, Maxwell isn’t defeated by Diana laying a finger on him. Rather, using the lasso of truth, Diana exposes Maxwell to what’s going on in the world, and with him seeing his son on the verge of being killed, Maxwell renounces his wish and so begins the domino effect of everyone else doing the same. Making it so, Diana basically was defeated, and if Maxwell didn’t have a soft spot for her son, the world would have ended.
Oh, and as for Barbara, like Maxwell, nothing comes from all she has done. Yes, she lost to Diana, but you don’t see her or Maxwell go to jail. If anything, like most of the world, they are just in the process of recovering from what happened.
Does Wonder Woman 1984 Have Sequel Potential?
Nothing is really set up for a clear sequel. Yes, we do see Lynda Carter as Asteria, but outside of her showing up and saving a kid, you aren’t given a clear idea of what’s next for the franchise. Especially considering DC is still struggling with making a connected universe similar to Marvel’s.
The Villains - 81%
The Delicate Balance of Feminism - 78%
You May Question If This Needed To Be 2 and A Half Hours - 74%
How The Villains Are Defeated - 71%
The Special Effects Are Still Wonky - 70%
Wonder Woman 1984 isn't bad, but it does make you feel that, with Warner Brothers releasing their films on HBO Max and in theaters, maybe that's for the best. Because Wonder Woman 1984 may need you to go to theaters, to pay attention, but it feels like something you should get to see as part of a streaming package.