In the sequel to the 2017 blockbuster hit ‘Wonder Woman.’ Director Patty Jenkins, actress Gal Godot and actor Chris Pine, reunite to continue the story of Diana in the highly anticipated, ‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen also return to reprise their roles as Antiope and Queen Hippolyta, and are joined by newcomers Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig.
To refer to it as a highly anticipated film; is not an exaggeration. Originally scheduled for a 2020 summer release, the film had been rescheduled for a later release date nearly four times. Until Warner Bros. Studios decided that enough was enough and opted for a duel release, both in theaters and for a limited time on HBO Max.
Now if you are not a subscriber to the WarnerMedia subscription platform, and are wondering if this film is worth paying the $15 monthly free rather than paying the one-time fee for standard viewing at a theater: then the answer is yes!
Unlike its predecessor, which took place during WWI – hence the cold and dark tones. This film is bright, radiant, vibrant and takes place during the a year that brought to life amazing tv & film classics such as: “Knight Rider,” “Terminator,” “Ghostbusters” (which was remade with an all female cast starring Kristen Wiig), “Sixteen Candles,” “Footloose,” “The Karate Kid,” “Cheers” (which starred Robert Pine, father of Chris Pine) and so many more.
And who can forget the music; Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry,” “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Jump” by Van Halen, and “Eyes Without a Face” by Heuy Lewis & The News just to name a few. This film brings back such nostalgia, you will forget that you are in 2020. And it even – possibly unintentionally – has a touch of George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
In ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Diana is living in the radical 80’s, working as a Cultural Anthropologist and Archaeologist for the Smithsonian and finds herself facing off against two new foes – Max Lord and “Cheetah”.
If you are hoping that this is an action packed film with non-stop fight scenes, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. Yes, there are climactic scenes and the final showdown between Wonder Woman and Cheetah is one for the books, with its beautifully choreographed fight scene. But this story is about Dina, the woman behind the suit of armor, who has given so much of herself to the world and never asked for anything in return.
When the film begins, back in Themyscira, Diana is a child once again. A little older than in the first film, but no more wiser. When Antiope yankes her (literally!) From a competition for cheating. Diana learns a lesson about the power of truth; for the truth is all that matters. It is a lesson that foreshadows events to come when Diana faces off against Max Lord and Cheetah.
Director Patty Jenkins does a great job of keeping the continuity of Diana’s story, given that this character was first briefly introduced by director Zack Snyder in 2016s “Batman vs Superman” and has been shown in separate timelines than the one Jenkins helms. Following the release of “Wonder Woman,” in the summer of 2017; Josh Whedon’s film “Justice League,” the superhero team up, was released later that fall and left much to wonder about where Diana has been, what she has endured or how she got to where she is.
Going back to 1984; we see Diana is living a rather lonely life in Washington DC, now that Etta Candy, Sameer, Charlie and the Chief are now all dead. She has closed herself off from socializing, goes to work, fights crime, keeps her identity a secret and does it all again the next day. It’s only until she meets Barbara Minerva a.k.a “Cheetah”, a gemologist at the Smithsonian, that she allows herself to open up for the first time in nearly 60 years.
Barbara strikes Diana as a friendly, personable and free person. However unlike Diana, Barbara is not alone by choice. She confesses to Diana that people find her “weird” and therefore avoid her. She is overlooked, ignored and was even forgotten by her boss – who had just recently hired her.
Max Lord presents himself as an all knowing successful businessman. But in reality, he more resembles a charismatic salesman who is failing in business. His one goal is to be the next “oil tycoon” and featured on the cover of magazines. But with dry lands and no new investors, his only success is in ponzi schemes.
What makes these two villains, unique and unconventional is the pathos that Kristin Wiig and Pedro Pascal bring to their characters. What they want did not originate from malice, but from loneliness and desperation that turned to greed and personal corruption. It is what makes them relatable to audiences who have ever wished for something that they felt was unattainable, no matter how much hard work and strive was given.
The contrasting actions between the hero and villains is what makes the film engaging, especially when Diana finds herself in a similar predicament – enter Steve Rodgers.
There is a change of roles between Steve and Diana. In “Wonder Woman” Steve is the one essentially guiding Diana and telling her the ways of this world outside Themyscira. In WW 84’ it is Diana who is guiding Steve through the advancements made and achieved since 1918. Chris Pine’s portrayal of 1984 Rodger is light-hearted, charming and quite refreshing when compared to the roguish man who has seen the worst in humanity.
For a character that was introduced in an untraditional way – normally we see a standalone that establishes the story before a team up. Patty Jenkins has done an amazing job at establishing Diana the person rather than just focusing just on Wonder Woman. In this sequel you get a sense of the struggles Diana has endured and the loneliness she battles inside.
It is a shame that prestigious award institutions are selective when it comes to nominations and honorees. The fact that cast and crew Wonder Woman has been able to achieve what previous attempts at superhero movies have failed to do at Warner Bros. Studios in recent years deserve more recognition than just the praises of fans.