Wonder Woman 1984, 2020

HBO Max | Rated PG-13 | 2 hours 31 minutes | REVIEW

Originally published 12/28/2020

I want to say nice things.  We’ve had a tough year and highlights related to movie releases have been few and far between.  The studios have kept us waiting on most of the big blockbusters, so we collectively celebrated the release of WW84.  And then on Christmas Day we began streaming with the same excitement and anticipation we had for the gifts under the tree!  And then we unwrapped the fanciest looking gift to find socks. 

The individual scenes were terrific, and the action is riveting.  Gal Gadot is still the BEST cast DC superhero and will be the hardest to replace if she ever decides to move on.  Everything she does is convincing as if she could do it in real life.  Kristen Wiig progressed through her transition from introvert to villain masterfully, although sluggishly.  Chris Pine, as a re-incarnated Steve Trevor, was adequate.  Pine and Wiig did the best they could with what was written.  And that brings up the WORST part of the film…the story.

I can forgive a lot if a film has many strengths.  The right combination of music, filming, location, casting, chemistry, etc., can still create an enormously satisfying experience, but in WW84 the story needs work, or even replaced.  I’d like to use the Dream stone to wish for a better story.  The Dream stone has survived the centuries and appears at the Smithsonian where Diana Prince and Wiig’s character, Barbara Minerva, both work.  Contact with the stone makes wishes come true.  Naturally Barbara Minerva wants to be like Diana and Diana wishes to be with her lost love.  Great so far? Yes, but then there’s this fellow Max Lord who wants the Dream stone for himself.  More than that he wants to be the stone and be the unlimited genie in the lamp.  But Max is a swindler and too much of a good thing can only lead to ruin.  And everything wished for must be undone.

The story doesn’t feel CONVINCING at all.  Sadly, the best moments of the movie are given away by the previews.  When will studios stop doing this?  They had already won their audience with other films in the DC Extended Universe. Why, why, why give away the coolest parts of the film? Unless of course those scenes are the only real substance in the film.  Like the character Max Lord tries to swindle the investors in his company, the Director and writers, Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham, have swindled the audience.  By the end I had dozed off when the big scene between WW and Cheetah happened.  Without the previews I wouldn’t even know it happened.  Don’t feel bad DC, I dozed off toward the end of Tenet too.  But I was in a modified theater for that one.  It was just so confusing I lost consciousness.

Anyway, WW84 had one other highlight besides Gadot herself.  And that was the use of the year 1984.  What a great year and what a great backdrop for a movie!  Final SCORE: 6.  In this case I’m giving extra points because I LOVE movies that are long.  I feel like I get my money’s worth.  Otherwise probably a 5.

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