Wonder Woman 1984 – PG-13 – 2 hr 31 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched on HBO Max Friday December 25, 2020
HBO Max – Tacoma, Washington
A long-awaited Christmas 2020 present has arrived allowing HBO Max viewers, especially those of us who can’t see this in an open theater, to see this tentpole film.
Before getting to the plot, we would have both rather seen this in a theater, but didn’t want to wait. Is that what happened with you, too? Or are you waiting for theaters to open and plan to see it there?
Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is working in the 80s as a geologist when she meets shy, goofy Barbara Minerva. They analyze this artifact that Diana decodes the wording as being a dream granter, thinking of what her wish would be, sort of like a superhero version of the monkey’s paw. Meanwhile, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) attempts to be an oil tycoon are failing, so he steals the artifact and wishes to become the artifact, so he can grant wishes to the world.
First, we need to talk about the excess runtime. My goodness, this movie wasn’t complex enough plot-wise to require over 2 1/2 hours. Apparently, director Patty Jenkins pared back some of the scenes, but I’d argue some scenes were completely unnecessary. The opening Amazonian sequence was cool, but not very necessary. Steve Trevor’s involvement and love story seemed to be living more off a dream sequence than reality.
Where were the 80s? Yes, I recognized the mall backdrop from Commando which has been in a lot of movies, but with a movie set in the 80s, it needed more 80s references and nostalgia. Then again, maybe Wonder Woman stories belong in a World War II setting. The Nazis make such great villains.
Strengths? Maxwell Lord was more than just a cardboard villain, which was appreciated. The scenes with Cheetah vs. Wonder Woman were excellent and those alone make this film worth watching. Beyond Cheetah and Wonder Woman’s awesome gold armor, the movie was a bit flat and even draggy in spots.
The scale of the movie is grand. It was clearly made to be seen on the biggest screen possible. The sound effects and score are good. Watching Wonder Woman fling that golden lasso around flying from here to there — riding the lightning as seen in the previews! — or roping antagonists is exciting and fulfilling. Viewers will look forward to seeing these parts.
As the credits rolled, we felt like the story wasn’t as rewarding as some of the individual scenes. Was this the amazing movie I’ve waited over a year to see? Sometimes yes, mostly no. Scenes with Wonder Woman and Cheetah are great, but the rest is just kind of there. Like we’re being forced to wait for the good parts. At one dramatic arc in the movie, I wasn’t engaged or interested, I wanted to get to a different part of the movie. Not a good sign.
Unlike the first movie where Diana taking care of Steve while fighting evil kept viewers constantly engaged, this one just checked out at times. It’s still recommended, but the first movie, like all too many sequels, was significantly better. Not a lot of rewatch value here, except battle scenes which, again, were excellent.
Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Kara)