Wonder Woman 1984 was one of the major titles that got affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Slated to come out on June 5, 2020 – after being pushed back from November 2019 – the highly anticipated sequel was victim of the movie theaters shutting down in March. After going back-and-forth in deciding whether to even release the film this year, Warner Bros. made the decision to release the film in theaters – whichever ones are open – as well as release the film simultaneously on HBOMax, a controversial decision, but one that would bring Wonder Woman’s latest adventure safely in the comfort of everyone’s home. Or those with an HBOMax account.
Watching Wonder Woman 1984 I got very sad. My sadness had nothing to do with the quality of the film, but rather the opposite. I watched the film at home on a good-sized T.V. with excellent sound, but this is a movie that begs to be seen in a theater on the biggest, loudest screen possible. This is a movie I wanted to see in the middle of the summer with a tub of pop corn and an obnoxious colored slushy. It’s a big, exciting, silly, colorful, awesome superhero sequel and a movie that really made me miss seeing movies in a theater.
Wonder Woman 1984 takes place in, well, 1984. We find Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) living in Washington D.C. working at the Smithsonian by day and stopping burglars and saving lives whenever needed, though nobody knows who she really is. She is lonely and sad living in Washington, still missing the love of her life, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), but finds a friend in Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a socially awkward, insecure woman who just started working at the Smithsonian.
After Wonder Woman stops a group of men from stealing some black market artifacts, the artifacts are brought to the Smithsonian to be studied by Barbara. One of the artifacts, a mysterious Dreamstone that seemingly grants wishes to anyone who touches, has the attention of business tycoon Maxwell Lorde (Pedro Pascal), who has been searching for this stone for a long time. After Diana and Barbara unknowingly cast their wishes upon the stone, it is soon taken by Maxwell who wants to use it for greed and power. But Diana quickly realizes the stone’s actual powers and must destroy it before it’s too late even if it means losing what she loves most.
Yes, this movie is about a magical rock that can grant you wishes, which I’ll admit sounds rather silly. But we’re talking about a superhero who comes from an Amazonian island, doesn’t age, and has a rope that makes you tell the truth, so let’s not split hairs here. But director Patty Jenkins, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Geoff Johns and David Callaham, understands the silliness and weirdness of this sequel and puts that in her filmmaking. This movie is glowing with fun and goes all-in on the 80’s vibe. Everything is vibrant and just a bit more obnoxious, much like everything in the 80’s. The costumes, the sets, the performances, particularly from Pascal, who’s coked-out Wall Street vibe steals the show, and even the action sequences are extravagant and over-the-top, but so thrilling and exciting that there were a few moments in the film, like the car chase in Cairo, that had me audibly yelling, “hell yeah!” as I smiled from ear-to-ear. Some of the visual effects in the film look a little weird, especially anytime Wonder Woman runs at lightning speed, but it only adds to the 80’s excellence that this movie is.
But through all the colorful gaudiness that comes with Wonder Woman 1984 is a really well-made superhero sequel that develops our hero while also giving us timely themes. Like we’ve seen with past superhero sequels, Wonder Woman 1984 looks at Diana struggling with her superhero identity and understanding what it truly means to be a hero. Would she be willing to give up the crown and rope if she could get the love of her life back? What would that cost her and what would it cost the world? In a time of crises and full of mayhem, the world needs a hero and Wonder Woman 1984 looks at what it means to be hero and the sacrifices heroes must make to help humanity. Jenkins also looks at toxic masculinity, as Diana and Barbara are constantly being hit on wherever they go, and the effects of greed and power in leadership, something that seems very fitting in our current state of government.
Though not as a good as the first film (not many superhero movies are, in my opinion), but Wonder Woman 1984 is an absolute blast. The 80’s nostalgia is fun, the themes resonate, Gal Gadot was born to play this role, Pascal steals the show, and Wiig does a fine job for most of the movie. The score by Hans Zimmer is stellar and the action is exciting and eye-popping. This is a movie that made me miss the theater-going experience more than ever. I wanted to see this in a packed, heavily air conditioned theater in the middle of summer where people are having a great time getting lost in the chaos and grandness of a movie like Wonder Woman 1984. Here’s hoping 2021 can bring this kind of experience back.
Follow Kevflix on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, and on Facebook by searching Kevflix.