By Allison Skornick-Rose

Dec 21, 2020 10:29 PM EST

Wonder Woman 1984 Theatrical Review

In this second installment [Gadot] once again combines intelligence, humor, and athleticism which draws the viewer into her world.

If you were born in the ‘70's you certainly remember Lynda Carter (Sky High) as Wonder Woman on television.  You will also (hopefully) remember the mid-1980's.  If so, Wonder Woman 1984 will be a stroll down memory lane for you with shoulder pads, tracksuits, and large, curly hairstyles.  The highly anticipated sequel once again stars Gal Gadot (Ralph Breaks The Internet) as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman – a superhero with godlike powers who helps thwart evil and saves the world. Originally expected to be in theaters in time for the holiday season, thanks to COVID-19, there will be a limited theatrical release coinciding with the streaming platform release.

As a young girl being raised on Themyscira, Diana not only learns combat skills and history but also the attribute of truth.  Being honest is one of the most important things a person can be.  Fast forward to the year 1984 and an adult Diana lives in the Washington DC area and works for the Smithsonian Institute as an anthropologist.   A new coworker, Barbara Ann (Kristen Wiig; Bridesmaids), is mostly ignored by everyone besides Diana and a new investor named Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal; The Mandolorian).

Diana and Barbara Ann work on a project of black-market antiquities for the FBI including a mysterious "dreamstone" that grants a wish to the holder.  Barbara wishes to be more like Diana and suddenly she is more popular and stylish.  Diana wishes for her one true love, Steve (Chris Pine; Star Trek: Beyond) to be alive and suddenly he is.  Maxwell, who was using Barbara to obtain the "dreamstone", wishes to BECOME the "dreamstone" and manipulates people to make his wishes for him so he becomes rich.  Unfortunately, of course, the "dreamstone" wishes have consequences that will have catastrophic results all over the globe so Diana and Steve must figure out how to stop Maxwell before it is too late.

As I previously stated in regard to the Wonder Woman movie that was released in 2017, Gadot was perfectly cast as the title character.  She has the strength, agility, and an air of the exotic and mysterious that blend beautifully to form the Amazonian Goddess.  In this second installment, she once again combines intelligence, humor, and athleticism which draws the viewer into her world.  It was great that the plot brought Pine back, but it is that plot that is also a little cheesy and cringeworthy.  Pascal blended an underdog persona with power-driven madness that makes you almost pity him.  Wiig was an interesting choice to play the geeky nerd turned popular, dangerous antagonist in this story.

Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) offers some interesting camera angles, especially in the action sequences.  However, the film is too long, especially the opening sequence on Thermyscira, so the pacing seems slow at points.  There are also some inconsistencies such as when Diana shows Steve the escalator and he struggles to get on it.  The escalator was invented in 1892 and was an attraction in Coney Island in 1896 and Paris in 1900 so surely Steve had seen one before.  There also doesn't seem to be much ‘80's music in a movie with 1984 in the title and the credits list a Duran Duran song but, as a fan of the group for 30 plus years, I didn't hear it.

Wonder Woman 1984 is a mixed bag of great action sequences showcasing female characters, sentimentality for lost love, some supernatural moments, and a bunch of cheesy scenes with equally as cheesy dialogue.  While it isn't as good as the first one from 2017, it is better than many other movies I have seen, some also coming out of the DC Universe.

Grade: B-


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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 151 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.

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