Wonder Woman 1984
Stars: 5.5 (out of 5.0 stars)
Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lilly Aspell, Ravi Patel, and Pedro Pascal
Direced by Patty Jenkins
Written by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham
Rated: PG for coarse language and violence
Runtime: 151 minutes
Available for rental via Premium Video On Demand for $29.99 beginning on Friday, December 25 (on participating digital platforms).
In a better world, everyone would get to see Wonder Woman 1984 and have a good general discussion afterward – film club, anyone? – about the many ways more movies should be like it. It's not only fun and has some scenes that would have been marvellously cinematic moments on the big screen, but certainly its message might have been more impactful on the world, to be honest. Still, it leaves the world a better place, and who could say the same thing about Batman v. Superman?
If only things could have been different – but then again, be careful what you wish for. Cheaters never prosper, 'tis true, and in fact, they do more damage than the gains they sought.
That exact sentiment is at the heart of this sequel as Diana Prince (AKA Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot) discovers a wish-granting talisman called the Dreamstone. The artifact comes into the possession of Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a billionaire oil tycoon whose TV presence in infomercials purports that people should invest with his company Black Gold Cooperative to become rich themselves and get anything that they want. Any wish made upon the strange rock comes true, though with a steep, unspoken price: the wisher also will lose the thing that is most precious to them. Good parents will probably recognize the importance of instilling in their children the value of attaining success through actual work than simple hope.
There are probably several good reasons why this movie was set in 1984, that Golden Age of Greed, insincerity, Ponzi schemes and atrocious men's clothing such as parachute pants and fanny packs. All style, no substance. Again with that theme of the damage that can be done by superficiality and laziness. It's even in the wardrobe, man ...
Lord may be cast as the villain here but the story here is deeper than just good guys and bad guys, not to mention good women and bad women. Kristen Wiig brings her best version of her nebbish character to Barbara Minerva, who first enters the movie spilling the contents of her briefcase at the museum during her first week of work. She has a good heart, even regularly sharing her food and a laugh with a homeless man stationed on a nearby park bench, but still she wishes for more. When she meets the graceful, handsome Diana, her envy gets the better of her, and a new villain comes out of it.
As these grandiose movies go, it's way better than most and more redeeming than you might think. WW84 matches up to its 2017 predecessor's generous and glorious depiction of victory through non-violent means while furthering the cause that 'the truth will set you free' to all those who watch it. Many will ascribe Wonder Woman's actions to a feminist cause but I felt empowered immediately afterward, and I'm not female. This is a movie that speaks to the world, and it speaks directly.
There are more than a few reasons why it would have been much better if Wonder Woman 1984 found its way into moviehouses according to its June release date. Yes, it's a tentpole superhero blockbuster that might have brought a lot of economic relief to theatres and theaterworkers. I can't help but think that there was a larger purpose intended – a message of humanity that might have helped more people to stop listening to the shams of scammers, those smiling faces speaking with forked tongues, and all those with empty promises. Nothing gained comes without losing something else, whether you work for it, beg for it or skip to the front of the line for it.