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Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) *Spoiler Free*

Wonder Woman 1984 One Sheet
After having very much enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie I was definitely looking forward to Wonder Woman 1984, and I'm glad I was able to see it in a cinema. Though I wouldn't say it's as much of an essential big screen experience as perhaps director, Patty Jenkins, seemed to imply.

I say that because the action scenes aren't nearly as epic as the first film (except maybe the opening warrior games scene which benefits from scale) and there's something a little off about all of the bigger, more fantastical action. Which I'll get into later.

Which is not to suggest this isn't a fun, watchable movie, you just don't need a big screen to showcase dialogue scenes. Bigger images doesn't add anything to them.

Going in I was expecting a lighter and brighter film than the previous movie. The trailers and posters make that pretty clear. Once past the flashback to Themyscira and into 1984, I was immediately hit with a Superman III vibe in the way Wonder Woman was being portrayed as she tackled some low level criminals in a shopping mall.

With such low stakes, she's kind of having fun with it while trying to stay as anonymous as a superhero can in a crowded mall. If this was modern day this event would've been all over social media before the fight was even over.

Thankfully it doesn't get anywhere near as silly as Superman III but I feel like that's the tone Patty Jenkins was going for in the first act. Trying to give a sense that Diana is enjoying being Wonder Woman at this point of the film.

 It's also by this point I was starting to feel that some of the wire work, to make Wonder Woman, and the Amazons leap greater distances, was deliberately made to look like it was filmed with 80's movie making technology. Even though you can't see the wires the physics of how the actors are moving gives a hint as to where they must be attached to a wire in order to jump that high/far.

Through out the whole movie the slightly obvious wire work gives the action a very cartoonish feel that was slightly distracting to me. It's not like we don't have the VFX ability to make superhuman agility look realistic. Which is why I think the slightly dodgy looking wire work was an actual design choice. In contrast Cheetah's running and jumping was entirely believable.

Anyway, plot wise, Wonder Woman 1984 picks up with Diana working at the Smithsonian where she meets, scientist/geologist, Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), and not long after, Oil Baron, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) a recent investor in the museum. 

Max is secretly attempting to recover a powerful, ancient artifact that has been brought to the museum for identification by the FBI as part of evidence recovered in a crime.

Shortly after, strange occurrences begin happening like the return of Diana's previously deceased boyfriend, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who hasn't aged a day and appears totally unscathed since we last saw him.

From there things get crazy pretty fast with all kinds of weird, over the top events coming to pass.

Overall, the cast give fine performances. Pedro Pascal delivers a very classic 'greed is good' style businessman with an over the top performance that's perfect for the era.

Kristin Wiig's Barbara is a little cliche in the beginning but it's kind of fun seeing her transform. Some people have said the movie would have been better if it had dropped either Maxwell or Cheetah and focused on just one villain but I disagree. I found it interesting to watch how Barbara and Diana's relationship changed as they learned more about what they were dealing with, and what needed to be done about Maxwell.

Both Chris Pine and Gal Godot give consistent performances to the previous film. Despite the change of setting and lighter tone you feel like these two are the same people from the first film.

There's some good expansion of the Wonder Women mythology in terms of her powers and toys which I won't go into but I enjoyed seeing.

Script wise there are plot holes that are big enough to drive trucks through if you think too hard afterward but in the moment I certainly wasn't bothered by them. (Obviously I can't talk about them here without major spoilers).

The thing that kept taking me out was the dodgy wire work. It may have been there to give the film more of an eighties feel but we're watching a movie that's supposed to be real life in the eighties, not 'a film being made in the eighties'. Wonder Woman should move like Wonder Woman no matter what decade she's fighting in.

A third Wonder Woman movie has already been green lit and, supposedly Patty Jenkins will direct. If that's the case I hope she'll move back toward a more realistic Wonder Woman, in the sense that all of her super powers are depicted in a believable fashion consistent with her previous films.

Superman III was the beginning of the end of Christopher Reeve's Superman films. I'd hate to see the third Wonder Woman film leaning into the comedy and lightness any more than they have here.

Anyway, I'm rambling. In general, it's an enjoyable movie. I actually did like the brighter, more colorful aesthetic. I wished the action was less cartoony but it's still fine. I'd definitely give this a rewatch for no other reason than Gal is so good as both Diana and Wonder Woman - and it's kind of fun to pick apart Maxwell's flawed plan and think, what would happen if he'd said ____________ instead?

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