“Get that “gritty realism” out of my larger-than-life superheroes. “Gritty realism” is for people who are too insecure to admit they like superheroes.
Or for people who don’t actually like superheroes,
they like power fantasies.”
Let me get this out of the way. Wonder Woman 1984 is not a perfect film. And there is nothing wrong with legitimate concerns about pacing, plot holes or narrative leaps.
Enjoying this film is only going to be possible if you embrace the fact that Wonder Woman is a very unique kind of hero. One that isn’t like the majority of heroes you may be accustomed to.
The aspect of who Diana is in WW84 in particular goes against the current grain. The first Wonder Woman film showcased Diana as Warrior, which is natural for a martial culture like the Amazons and thus more palatable for fanboy power fantasies.
WW84 conversely, is Diana as protector, pacifist as she’s allowed to be, ambassador to the world, symbol of feminine power, champion of love.
Not as “punchy facey”.
The mythology of Wonder Woman in WW84 was full on embraced and it was ludicrous. But the filmmakers Patty Jenkins and Gal Godot primarily, made me not care.
It was a bright, fun, escapist ride like movies were once in my 80’s childhood. They entertained me as Donner & Reeve or Burton & Keaton before them.
Lighten up Francis. it’s ALL nonsense. A comic book movie, as it’s source material, is fantastic, preposterous on its face, but, how does it make you feel? What does the story trigger in you? Do you want the next issue or not?
Stories about a solar-powered indestructible, flying baby from outer space growing up on a farm in the middle of Kansas. Or, a super-rich survivor of violent crime who trains as a ninja his entire life to fight crime dressed like a bat? Will rarely produce “The Godfather Part II”
Here’s an unpopular opinion:
If Disney/Marvel can invest ten years and 20 + films telling the story of a purple scrotum-chined man who sought six magic rocks to kill off half the universe to create… “balance”?
I can live with invisible jets, lassoing lightning and magic rocks traded behind a Waldenbooks that grant wishes for two hours.
Being a Wonder Woman fan my entire life I enjoy what makes her different. Strangely, I like heroes to be heroic sometimes.
Missteps aside, WW84 was in some ways, better than the first Wonder Woman film. I wrote several times about the lack of a Superhero tentpole featuring Wonder Woman.
In my article “The Fierce Urgency of Wonder Woman “ I talked about the “Superhero Glass Ceiling” of female lead Comic Book Movies and reviewed Wonder Woman after seeing it with my then 8 year old daughter to praise the offering and share our mutual delight and amazing cinematic experience.
However, WW84 as cheery and ultimately stake-free as it played out, is also much more subversive than it’s being given credit for.
The filmmakers seemed prophetic about our reactions to current events in the grip of a rampant Global Pandemic and near comic-book villain levels of Political shenanigans.
“Be the hero you are waiting for.”
Haters: “#WW84 is so Richard Donner / Christopher Reeve Superman the Movie”!
Me: “I KNOW RIGHT”!
The cinematography and score were breathtaking. I loved the opening we’ve all seen in the trailers, but I had no idea the Olympic games following a plucky lil’ Diana all over Paradise Island would be so wonderfully shot.
It also sets up the central premise of the entire film, taught by her auntie General Antiope (Robin Wright) who snatched her up preventing her from completing the race. –
Lil’ Diana: “NO! That’s not fair! I would have won!”
General Antiope: “You took the short path. You cheated Diana. THAT is the truth. The only truth and truth is all there is.”
Lil’ Diana: But I would have won if you didn’t…
Antiope: “But you didn’t. You cannot be the winner because you are not ready to win, and there is no shame in that. Only knowing the truth in your heart and not accepting it.
No true hero is born from lies.”
Patty Jenkins to her credit, was able to create the best of 80’s style “Speilbergian” long camera sweeps. Indiana Jones-level truck convoy chase scenes and also sprinkle Richard Donner Superman The Movie feel good tones throughout WW84, which as a child of the 80’s? I was so there for!
Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun WONDER WOMAAAAAN!
Gal Godot is Wonder Woman.
Not realizing the extent of the object’s destructive power, she offhandedly wishes that she could see dead boyfriend Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) again.
Later, realizing her own shortcomings in “cheating” by wishing to see Steve again, relinquishes her wish and embraces the truth. – That she’s already lost him. And in letting go, learned to fly.
Gadot’s vulnerability in that moment and the graceful movement of the camera around her as Hans Zimmer’s thunderous score crescendoes is powerful both metaphorically and visually as she takes flight. Brava!
STEVE TREVOR RETURNS.. KINDA.
Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is fantastic! In fact, he might be “Flashpointed” back to life rumor has it.
He’s a great partner for Diana in that he isn’t emasculated by her, is happy to stay in his lane and support her.
You can have a strong woman and a strong man be in love and his “manhood” never be called into question.
Pine plays Steve as the ”fish out of water” perfectly! He looked at the future charmingly with wonder and appreciated advancements, but also critiqued what he experienced reasonably.
Terrific scene where he finds a flight confirmation in Maxwells office and marvels a plane could fly from D.C. to Cairo non-stop.
Diana muses about a passport for him (the snatched body probably had one in his apartment) but his WW I pilot swagger shines through “I don’t want to ride in it, I want to fly it!”
Pine owns this role.
Consent is key
I had a slightly awkward sidebar trying to explain who this man was that Diana clearly spent the night with that was and wasn’t Steve Trevor to my daughter.
She astutely, like only a precocious 11 year old girl can, war-gamed all the red flags she saw, consent primarily among them, as well as other considerations.—
“So she just borrows his body and has sex with him? Ewww! What if he was married or has a girlfriend? What if he was gay? Did he lose his job? And he’s her neighbor! She’s gonna see him at the supermarket! That’s just weird!”
“DON’T YOU WANT MORE!!?”
Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord was a perfectly Trumpian villain.
A pathological liar and classic toxic narcissist. A con man who was only famous for being famous without any real accomplishments other than his QVC like TV commercials running Ponzi schemes to overcompensate for a crippling inferiority complex?
Who does that sound like to you?
His one wish is to become the dream stone, so he can manipulate others into wishing and gain whatever he wants in exchange at the cost of his rapidly deteriorating health.
I enjoyed the shift from the mind control powers he had in the comics.
Pascal as Maxwell Lord is charming and ultimately a tragic figure that you may not pity, but the show stopping ending allows us to understand the damage that made him so toxic.
Why The 80’s? Why not? It exemplified the American obsession with “more” at the height of her power.
Remember ACT UP Silence = Death during the AIDS epidemic?
Denial isn’t a river in Egypt.
Why? It was the “Me” decade. Crackpots who were silent about a deadly epidemic and refusing to use common sense measures to protect others and halt the spread of disease is totes on brand
— Alexander Yarde (@thatalexyarde) December 29, 2020
The sheer arrogance, and focus on acquisition of material wealth, while in total denial of the cost of unchecked greed and self-deception to our planet and our society?
Unfortunately, the “Me” decade of excess is clearly having a renaissance, when you can’t get average people to simply wear a mask to save lives and scream at Walmart employees for it?
This “Me” instead of “We” thinking will finish us in the end, if we don’t change our ways.
General Antiope was right, “That is the truth, the only truth, and truth is all there is.”
“Wishing to be like you Diana had some surprises…”
Her demure co-worker Barbara (Kristen Wiig) asks the stone if she could become more like Diana. Unbeknownst to her is Diana’s secret identity. Wiig’s Dr.Barbara Minerva / Cheetah was a pleasant surprise.
I knew she could play the “awkward” comedic stage (every supervillain seems to have glasses and no fashion sense until they gain powers) desperate for attention and lonely she wants to “Single White female” Diana.
Wiig shows considerable range after she syphons off Wonder Woman’s power. Particularly sinister in confronting a drunken creep who once assaulted her.
The set piece at the White House where Diana & Steve try to stop Max and Minerva shows up to defend her benefactor was very well done and showcased Barbs power level up by tossing secret service agents around like throw pillows and smacking down her former de-powered bestie.
Diana pleads with her to look at what she’s become. The cost of gaining her power is loss of her goodness and humanity. Minerva fires right back at her. “What have YOU lost Diana”?! The sudden realization hits Diana harder than any punch she’s just taken from her and Gadot sells it.
The inevitable boss fight with Cheetah gone full “apex predator” I dug. The scene was shot at night perhaps because the CGI was a bit cringeworthy, but Cheetah’s wet fur looked a lot better than dry.
I loved the ending. So on brand for Diana. It choked me up.
I won’t spoil because if you haven’t seen it, the impact will be lessened. And if you have? You know of what I speak.
An entirely unexpected outcome for anyone knowing how comic book Wonder Woman despatched Maxwell Lord.
Timely and hopeful resolution, but not sure how nobody remembers the world nearly ended that one time in 1984. Unless she got Superman to do that turning back the planet time thing.
More Diversity please.
There were Black people back in 1984. I was one of them. The franchise sadly remains very white. (Yes Barbara has a black homeless friend in the park but that only underscores the problem) There are so many opportunities to build out the world with Black Amazon lead characters that are canonical from the source material. And not just window dressing. Primarily Nubia or Philippus.
Wonder Woman and her supporting characters were re-imagined during Crisis. I’m also looking forward to the Wonder Girl show in development. The CW is developing a Wonder Girl series based on Yara Flor, the Brazilian Amazonto take center stage as part of DC Future State as the new Wonder Woman.
Also military liaisons like Trevors character in the New 52 continuity could easily be included. So there are many opportunities to beef up a more diverse featured character roster for Wonder Woman 3.
HOW ABOUT A WOMAN VILLAN?
I particularly would love to see a female villain. Circe is the perfect canonical villain for the trilogy’s end. Circe is a fictional supervillain appearing in DC Comics publications and related media. Based upon the Greek mythological figure of the same name who imprisoned Odysseus in Homer‘s Odyssey, she is a wicked sorceressand recurring foe of Wonder Woman. (Citation Wiki)
Nubia & Diana after some initial beef could take on Circe & a mystically enhanced Cheetah? Circes whole thing is animal transformation and Cheetah’s fate is unknown by the end that would totally work for me!
BUT I HEARD…
Some critics just don’t get it or are out for DC blood for whatever reason. Lack of action & cartoonish tone are often cited for the hate.
Because there aren’t explosions or action set pieces every 10 minutes and she goes out of her way not to kill anyone it’s trash?
Having compassion for everyone, even her enemies, is Diana of Themyscira.
I’m old enough to remember both Superman & Batman using non-lethal alternatives to outsmart, capture and not kill bad guys as well, and in my opinion, they were better for it.
That’s heroic. Or am I missing something?
In a reality where people think Donald Trump is Abraham Lincoln and a legitimate election was somehow stolen with a mountain of evidence to the contrary?
I can absolutely believe people think #WW84 was a total failure.
Tastes aside, this isn’t a “perfect” film. It’s art, in art you make choices. But I agree with 85% of the filmmakers choices here. As good as it gets, cbm wise. However, the only way you can “shit” on #WW1984 imho, you see yourself reflected, & are unhappy with what you see.
— Alexander Yarde (@thatalexyarde) December 26, 2020
Tale of the Tape
Warner Bros. isn’t reporting any official box office results for Wonder Woman 1984 on its opening Christmas Day — which various sources declare was record-worthy for the pandemic stateside, disastrous by normal marketplace conditions — but various HBO Max users are taking to social media, in particular the @HBOMaxHelp Twitter handle, to voice their grievances over either streaming glitches or problems logging on to the app.
Par for the course whenever a popular title hits streaming (i.e. Netflix’s two-hour outage back in 2016 when Marvel series Luke Cage dropped). In a Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak report, WW1984 received an 82% positive audience exit score and a 65% recommend.
Kids under 12 loved WW84 at 91% positive. Pic leaned 52% female, with 56% over 25, with 32% over 35%. Diversity breakdown was 41% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, 22% African American, & 12% Asian/other.
Keep in mind with those exits, we have a fractured exhibition marketplace, where several DMAs like Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York are shuttered.
Wonder Woman 1984 saw its Rotten Tomatoes certified rating stripped, and fell to a current rating of 68% fresh from 89% on Dec. 16 and 80% on Dec. 22, as opposed to the 2017 edition’s 93% certified fresh.
This may have prompted Warner to answer the question nobody asked regarding Wonder Woman 3 being fast tracked into production to combat negative reviews.
Jenkins is helming both Cleopatra (also controversially starring Gadot) and Rouge Squadron for Disney. (Everyone wants a Star War) that puts WW3 at least 2023-24 hardly “right around the corner”.
But Joker had similar drops and grossed a billon dollars. (Pre-pandemic) I think most of the industry is waiting to see if Warner’s Same Day / Streaming model is working.
The numbers I’ve seen for HBO Max have risen considerably. And their next releases are cleverly spaced out so even if you subscribed to HBO MAX for just a $15 WW84 ticket.
Odds are you’re going to stick around to see other Warner Bros. offerings as they become available next year.
”No true hero is born from lies.”
Like most Greek mythology this film is at times wacky & uneven, but fun memorable performances from all the principles involved, Cracker Jack production value, brilliant direction and earnest messages it attempts to deliver, won me over.
Frankly, I’m grateful for the pleasant diversion of WW84, 2020 was fucking exhausting:
A President can lose the election and claim victory? Is selfish enough to threaten the integrity of our vote to dupe half the country into sending him money? Either having tantrums or playing golf while a pandemic he lied about for months rages among it’s citizens.
What country is this now anyway?
I’ve never experienced this in America before. Even in the worst of the 80’s.
WW84 as goofy as it maybe on the surface, it’s a pallet cleanse and teaches lessons about the value of truth for children to take to heart, when traditional adult role models lie as easily as breathe.
Cheating is wrong.
Victory built on a lie is no victory and an honest loss is no defeat.
What you want has a cost. Nothing comes for free.
The entire world will never be enough if you don’t do the work to plug the hole in your soul first.
“We” thinking instead of “me” thinking is the only way to overcome a crisis.
Despite issues I cited, I found WW84 one of the most slyly intelligent, relevant and hopeful comic book movies I’ve ever seen.
I can’t imagine a better distillation of the different facets of both who a comic book hero is and can be on screen than Jenkins & Gadot’s take on Diana so far.
The first Wonder Woman film was a love letter to all the little and not-so-little girls and women who longed to see what a live action Wonder Woman offered them from the past.
In my opinion, it’s sequel WW84 is the Wonder Woman the entire world needs right now to heal our future.
Art Credit – Author / DC comics / YouTube