Wonder Woman 1984 was released on Christmas Day and I saw it last night. I wasn’t sure what to expect here. Patty Jenkins had a thin resume when she took the reins on Wonder Woman. She clearly hit a 9th inning walk-off homerun with that picture. So it is certainly no surprise that Warner Brothers brought her back for another go. But was that first film lucky? Was it all producers along with Gal Gadot beauty and the badassery? Or was Patty working the magic to make that first effort so very delicious. It is safe to say, Ms. Jenkins is for real.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers at all but I will assume you have at least seen the trailers and I am also assuming you saw Wonder Woman back in 2017. If you have not seen Patty Jenkins first take on the Amazon Demi-God then what the ‘F’ is wrong with you? That film is currently ranked #5 on my list of more than 100 super hero genre films.
In the trailers we see the young and dashing Steve Trevor which seemingly is impossible since Steve played the hero to the death in World War I some 67 years earlier at the conclusion of Wonder Woman. This film is set in 1984 nearly seven decades after the events of Wonder Woman (2017) but also about 33 years earlier than the current DC Extended Universe, since that Wonder Woman film was tied into to the Justice League movie. This film could have been a disaster, but Jenkins holds it together and DC has another winner, which they desperately need at this point.
The story here is rather interesting and in fact I quite like it. Our villain is easy to spot early on yet is not what we think; actually he is exactly what we think, but how he becomes strong enough to challenge a Demi-God is rather clever. Actor Pedro Pascal, think Mandalorian, delivers a believable villain character here. We even have a bit of a secondary villain. I will not go into how a Steve Trevor ends up in 1984 but it is a very specific plot element and his very existence in 1984 is a plot mover.
The movie is not without its faults, and some rather sizable plot holes, but all are forgivable and many will go unnoticed as they are more technology based. Air Force and Navy pilots will pull their hair out 😉 For the record a fighter jet cannot make it from Washington DC to Cairo without refueling (multiple times) and the Smithsonian doesn’t keep flight ready fighter jets in the back… just sayin’ Anyhow plot holes aside, this is a good story and in the lore of Wonder Woman some of the seemingly impossible things are not impossible at all. That more mystical-mythos part actually is cohesive and even believable with in the context of the story.
The effects in this movie particularly with Wonder Woman seem less spectacular and in a few scenes even a bit B grade. In general the effects are fine, but this time round Patty J decides against using that awesome dramatic Wonder Woman badass music and perhaps that means I focus a bit more on the technicalities of the effects. I don’t know, this go round just seemed a tad off the mark of the first one.
Wonder Woman 1984 is still a fantastic film that in my opinion after the first screening is not quite as wonderful as the first one, but not too far off the mark either. If the first one was a walk-off homer this one is more akin to a late inning two run double in a tight game. The fans seem to be a bit less enthusiastic about this one than the last one and the press didn’t like it much at all. But the press sucks, they don’t do anything right anyway.
The writers and the director managed to make a two and a half hour movie move along at a well timed but brisk pace and thankfully, they avoided peppering us with politics and woke-ology. My only complaint as a guy who read Ronald Reagan’s Memoirs and biographies was the scene where “The President”, whom we must presume is Reagan, is queried about what he might wish for, he wishes for more nukes, and that is simply NOT something Reagan would have wished for. He absolutely would have wished for all nukes to be gone in that particular context in the film.
When I watch the movie again I will likely find additional ‘isms’ that bug me, but overall it was a rather fun film, that had a good amount of super hero kick ass action, tells a great story, and is rather heartwarming in the method that Diana uses to resolve the potential world ending problem at climax of the plot.
Bravo to Patty Jenkins who now has a pair of Super Hero Movie Super Bowl rings. At this pace, she is well on her way to becoming the Tom Brady of Super Hero Movie Directors.
NOTE: Do watch the credit roll there is a fun cameo scene that could have future implications or could just be a wonderful nod to a legendary pop culture figure.