WONDER WOMAN 1984 Review by Ryan Lower
Fans can finally rejoice. After multiple pushbacks and a controversial release plan, WONDER WOMAN 1984 is finally out.
And it is good.
Years after leaving Themyscira and making a dent in WWI, Diana Prince is living a quiet, lonely existence in Washington, DC. Working at the Smithsonian by day, she secretly moves around the globe saving innocents and righting the wrongs of man. She works alone and feels alone. There’s only one person she wishes was still around, but knows it’s impossible (or is it?). Someone who is around is a new colleague, Dr. Barbara Minerva. Smart, corky, and ignored, she strikes up a friendship with Diana and innocently envies the glow of her co-worker for being everything she can’t be (or can she?). Both women desire one thing more than anything in the world, which is where businessman Maxwell Lord comes in.
To elaborate any further would creep into spoiler territory, and it’s always better to know less when viewing something for the first time. The movie unfolds with surprises, clichés, great action, and emotion. The action is done on a somewhat smaller scale, and I found that quite refreshing.
The anchor of the film is in the performances. Gal Gadot simply shines (again) in the title role. She was born to play Wonder Woman and is simply magnetic. Whether it’s action or drama, all eyes are on her when she’s on-screen.
Chris Pine returns in a fitting way as Steve Trevor. He complements Gadot well, and the two have great chemistry. He has a great ability to seem genuine and excels in delivering small, comedic bits.
The role of Barbara Minerva is saved by Kristen Wiig, who I have always been a massive fan of. She’s hilarious, but also just a really good actress. I felt like Minerva could have had a few more scenes to help flesh out her evolving friendship with Diana, to make her “turn” a bigger gut punch for us viewers. Luckily, for the amount of screen time she has, Wiig’s claws really come out.
On the flip side, Pedro Pascal hams it up quite well as the businessman Maxwell Lord. I’ll admit, I don’t have much knowledge of the character in the comics, so I had no expectations coming into the film. Pascal delivered a mostly one-sided character, but the emotional beats were hit with aplomb.
Behind the scenes, hats off to director Patty Jenkins. She landed every action bit on-point and really got us invested in the characters. I’ll admit, there’s a little bit of a lull there in the middle, but it didn’t really bother me. We spent time with the characters and got invested in each of their motivations. The seeds were planted and definitely flourished in the second half.
So what’s the major lesson of WW1984?
Jenkins and company put a mirror in front of humanity and have us question our desires, actions, and character. Choices have consequences. If we could have anything we wanted, could we control ourselves? Would we be honest? How would we treat each other?
The truth isn’t always easy and sometimes isn’t pretty.
That’s where heroes excel. Always ready to give us an ugly truth instead of a beautiful lie (*wink*), but ready to help us recover regardless.
Those are the heroes we need and deserve. And that’s the hero we got in WW1984. – Ryan Lower