Wonder Woman 1984 is probably one of the most anticipated movies of 2020. In a year where practically all block busters have been postponed multiple times and eventually pushed to 2021, WW84 stood firm with its decision to be released in December. It opened in cinemas where available for a week before being available through HBOMax. Having this streamed to the homes of millions through the HBOMax streaming service meant many fans in towns where cinemas have remained closed are able to catch this.
One cannot be blamed for having very high expectations for this sequel to the mega hit that was the original which already set the bar high. In addition, we have been bombarded by exciting trailers for this since the pre-pandemic days. For me my expectations were sadly not met. I had issues with the film’s pacing especially in its second half. Not a surprised given its running time of two and a half hours. Director Patty Jenkins seems to have a problem editing the movie to a tighter length at the film’s expense.
Take the opening act(s) as an example. The film seem to have not one but two lengthy opening acts. The beautifully filmed flash back sequence of a young Wonder Woman learning about accepting defeat the hard way, was arguably the best bits of the movie. Child actress Lilly Aspell playing the young Diana Prince (aka WW) was perfection and manages to win over the hearts of everyone within the opening minutes. This was then followed by what felt like another introduction of WW all grown up as she is seen doing the super heroine thing while introducing the time period of 1984. I am not complaining (yet) as I also liked this sequence which was fun and fast paced.
It were the acts that followed involving the key villain Maxwell Lord played Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal which took up lengthy screen time to build up the threat. In fact at times I felt Pedro Pascal had as much screen time as Gal Gadot as WW. Pedro is a brilliant actor but here he is seems to be required to overact a lot which is not something I am used to seeing him do. Fortunately he redeemed himself to some extent in the final act that manages to come across as quite touching.
Gal Gadot is as usual super confident and super beautiful as she is the embodiment of the modern age Wonder Woman. My gripe is that we don’t get enough of seeing her in action as WW. Chris Pines returns as her one and only true love through some mambo jambo plot device about a magical ancient stone that grants people’s wishes. I guess most people would not complain too much as he and Gadot do have screen chemistry. Finally there is Kristen Wiig as the other villain. Her Barbara is a mousy museum assistant who turns nasty and somehow into the Cheetah at the end to battle it out with WW. Her character I felt was over written and yet also underwritten for certain aspects. For example, her loser personalities were being highlighted too many times and yet her transformation to Cheetah wasn’t really explained. Some editing may have helped.
All in all, WW84 was a disappointment to me. It has its moments and when that happens, it felt like magic. However, I thought it was too long, and there was simply too much going on and on, and a really messy chaotic final act. It is not a total washout but I just wished it was better …