Film review: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), directed by Patty Jenkins
tl;dr: A bit slow in parts.
In 1984 Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is working at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, where she befriends the shy and awkward newcomer Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig), who seems to be invisible to most people. After a robbery that Wonder Woman helped thwart, some artefacts are taken to the Smithsonian for identification. One of the artifacts has an inscription saying it will grant someone one wish, but that’s just a lot of old nonsense, right? What harm could it possibly do to innocently wish Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) was back, or that you want to be just like Diana?
Turns out the perpetually bad entrepreneur wannabe Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) has heard about the artifact in question, only he knows it to be real, and wants to use it for his own purposes. One day he’ll impress his son Alistair (Lucian Perez), and at the same time show the world that he isn’t just some pie-in-the-sky loser.
There are also some flashbacks to young Diana (Lilly Aspell) on Themyscira, where she is disqualified from a race by Antiope (Robin Wright) and learns the value of patience and such by queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), which perhaps doesn’t feel like best use of runtime, but it does set up the back story for the shiny gold armour on the poster.
It’s a film that says “be careful what you wish for” and that no wish is entirely without consequences. Wanting to be like Diana, i.e. confident, pretty and well-liked, is all well and good, but when you also get Wonder Woman’s powers and decide to on a revenge spree? Or wanting your dead lover back, and he comes back inhabiting the body of another man (Kristoffer Polaha), there is a whole lot to unpack.
I enjoyed Wonder Woman, and WW 1984 has a lot going for it, but it should have been cut for pace. Bits of it drag on unnecessarily. Is it fun to revisit the mid-1980s with the music (good) and clothes (bad) and hairstyles (worse)? Sure, feed on that nostalgia, but you need a bit more than that to make a good film. In the end it just ended up feeling a bit empty and soul-less, despite excellent performances by Gadot and Wiig in particular. It’s like it takes a very long time for it to say very little, because the plot is simple enough but somehow it doesn’t seem to fully gel. Which is a shame, because I love Wonder Woman as a character. Let’s hope the third instalment, whenever it comes out, brings back some of the magic from the first one that was sadly lacking in this one.
3 out of 5 children who just want their father to love and spend time with them.