Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

It’s been some 70 years since Amazonian Princess and demigod, Diana (Gal Gadot), left the island of Themyscira to aid Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) fighting in World War 1. Spoiler alert, the pilot did not survive that movie, and it seems our Wonder Woman has been pining for all that time. Urm, yeah? Girl power, huh? Eye roll the first, quite frankly.

But now it’s 1984 and while still neck-deep in misery (I mean, really?), Diana is splitting her time between museum work and getting a bit overdressed for the incredibly low-scale acts of heroics. I mean, I’m sure the jogger who gets saved from a joyrider is thoroughly grateful, but it just seemed like a literal demigod could be doing a bit more for the world than hanging about shopping malls. All low key, bar the outfit. And acrobatics. And… look, I get that it looked cool, and very Stranger Things setting for capturing the decade, but – really??

I must confess, I massively over-rated the first Wonder Woman (2017) movie. It was just such a pleasant shock to have this female-led superhero movie, which was fairly run of the mill otherwise, but hit a chord. However, attempts to replicate the magic with this sequel are a crushing disappointment.

First we have a weak McGuffin – a stone that grants wishes. Wishes? Far, far too flaky a device, imo. And if you are going to do something like this, then consistency is critical – and not there, in this movie. Only one wish – unless it suits the plot. Hmm. Then we have our pair of baddies. I was expecting more from ‘Cheetah’, the alter ego of mild-mannered Barbara Minerva (Kristin Wiig). She does really well with the character, but alas the whole ‘frumpy geek to confidently strutting in high heels’ thing is super tired, and quite demeaning. There is one scene where I think we’re supposed to be all ‘shock horror’ as she beats up an abusive cat-caller, but – well, sorry, he sort of deserved it? Are we supposed to be appalled by (okay, she takes it a bit far) violence, when every superhero beats up baddies, constantly? Or is it just that women aren’t supposed to? Hmm.

Disappointingly, still, she’s pushed aside to allow our other bad guy to drive most of the plot, anyway. Pedro Pascal – what on earth were you thinking taking this role? It’s cringy. I do appreciate the ‘greed is good’ loser character so echoing modern politics, right enough, but still – bleh.

Ah… rant rant rant. Thing is, I’m actually pretty good at switching off and just enjoying a movie for what it is – and I did manage to enjoy the hokum of WW84. But it doesn’t take long to just think ‘wow, they messed that up’ – in almost every way imaginable. The ‘period’ setting is either subtle or pointless, depending on your view – oh, but for a few clothing jokes. There’s a ‘nice’ flashback scene – that makes Diana look like a brat, then all that cool Amazon element (and lovely Robin Wright!) is ignored. And there are one or two choices that just do not sit well at all – and are baffling as to why they needed to be included at all. Steve’s return is literally a wish, so what’s with the body possession element? A moment’s thought shows how creepy that concept is, as said body is put into danger and ‘used’ in ways that are just not okay, actually.

So. Yes, you can watch this film and have fun with it if you switch your brain off. But the problem for me is that you would need to keep your brain switched off to not start feeling it’s all just a bit off. And so, so disappointing.

Well done, DC. You just cannot help shooting yourself in the foot, it seems. Sigh.

Released: 16th December 2020
Viewed: 14th January 2021
Running time: 151 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 5/10

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