Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Review

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Wonder Woman 1984

Time: 151 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah
Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lorenzano/Maxwell Lord
Robin Wright as Antiope
Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta
Director: Patty Jenkins

Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s — an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she’s come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile by curating ancient artifacts, and only performing heroic acts incognito. But soon, Diana will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom and courage as she finds herself squaring off against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and the Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.

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Wonder Woman 1984 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020. I liked the Wonder Woman movie released back in 2017 and I was interested in the follow up movie, set in the 80s, and once again directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot in the lead role. After some delays, it actually ended up being released right at the end of 2020, and I got to see it in the cinemas. Despite some mixed to positive reactions, I really liked it.

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Wonder Woman 1984 is a very different movie from its predecessor. Whereas that was a gritty war movie, 1984 is a very bright, occasionally goofy but nonetheless heartfelt movie. Some might call it cheesy but I find it earnest and endearing and joyful. As someone who does prefer darker tones, I liked the approach for this movie. It is very reminiscent of the blockbusters of the era it is set in. The story has a surprising amount of depth and is entirely based on characters and the decisions they made. I particularly liked the character journey that Diana went on. There are plenty of plot devices and MacGuffins, and can definitely feel a bit silly and clichéd at times. The writing itself can be a little messy. It is long at 2 hours and 30 minutes in length, very long, but I appreciate it being this long rather than 10-20 minutes shorter. The first half and definitely the first act is quite slow. Not that I wasn’t interested during those parts, but you do feel the slow pacing. By the time it reaches the halfway point however, it really picks up. I’m one of the people who actually quite liked the final act of the first Wonder Woman, even though I do see issues with it. The final act of 1984 does work a lot better however, and by the end is emotionally satisfying. Make sure to stay in cinemas for like a couple minutes after the movie ends for a mid credits scene, it’s worth it.

MAGIC HOUR

The acting is generally good, but it really comes down to the 4 major actors and characters. Gal Gadot once again is Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, and playing a Diana who has spent many decades on Earth since the first movie ended. I know some people are mixed about her acting, but I think Gadot improves with every appearance as Wonder Woman, making this her best performance as the character yet. She embodies the character really well and definitely sells her emotional moments really well, especially in the second half. Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor after his character’s death in the first Wonder Woman. In 1984, Trevor really is more of a supporting role compared to his part in the first movie. There are some complaints that some aspects about his return especially with regards to his relationship to Diana is rather ethically questionable (to say the least) and I can’t really argue with any of them. That aside, his line delivery and humour is great, and Gadot and Pine once again share great chemistry together. I particularly like how Diana was the fish out of water when she first comes across mankind and Steve was the one guiding her through, and now the roles have sort of reversed as Steve finds himself in the 80s. The villains in Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord and Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah are definitely a step above the villains in the first Wonder Woman. Pedro Pascal performs his role incredibly well. His performance is hammy and over the top for sure, but he’s very entertaining and stands out among the main 4 actors. There’s also a lot more to his character that’s not shown in the trailer, in fact I was surprised at the amount of screentime he got. There are some parts of his character which do feel familiar and a bit undercooked, but Pascal’s performance made him great and firmly one of the best villains in the DCEU. Kristen Wiig also plays her role very well, even though her character goes on a very familiar arc. Nonetheless it was handled a bit better than I thought it would. I am uncertain about some parts of her role in this movie, and without getting into it, it’s strange seeing her essentially work as a secondary antagonist considering that Cheetah is known as being one of Wonder Woman’s most known villains. Hoping to see more of her in a sequel or something.

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Patty Jenkins returns to direct the sequel, and once again she does a good job. Losing the dark and grittiness from the first movie, 1984 embraces the 80s to great effect, with bright and vibrant colours. There’s actually not a huge amount of action, at least when compared to the previous movie, it’s definitely more story focused. When there is action, I did like those scenes generally. From what I remember, my biggest issue with the action in the first Wonder Woman was the use of slow motion, which got quite distracting. I didn’t notice a huge amount of slow motion in 1984, but I will say that the wirework sometimes made characters feel very floaty. The CGI at times is a little iffy but on the whole I think it was good. Hans Zimmer composes the score, and as you’d expect it’s really good and fits the movie quite well, even if it’s not one of his best work. There are actually two moments that work quite effectively. One is “Beautiful Lie” which was taken from Batman v Superman’s score, and the other wasn’t composed by Zimmer and is instantly recognisable. Both are used in key moments, and their respective tracks elevated those scenes to whole other levels.

MAGIC HOUR

Wonder Woman 1984 is entertaining, joyful, heartfelt and I had a great time with it. It’s certainly a bit messy, more so than the previous movie, but it’s also more ambitious and I got more out of it. The directing, acting and story just all generally worked well for me. It’s among my favourite movies in the DCEU, I’m definitely up for the third Wonder Woman movie whenever that does come out.

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