In Wonder Woman 1984 – Diana Prince is back, navigating through the mid-80s as she tries to maintain a low profile while fighting off threats from both Maxwell Lord and Cheetah. Directed by Patty Jenkins, this sequel brings the thrills, the heart and the action, despite the story sometimes feeling like a lot.
Coming off the success of Wonder Woman, this story introduces two new villains for Diana to overcome, testing her abilities in some new and intriguing ways. It also sends her on a journey of discovery and acceptance that injects a dose of heart to the narrative. For the most part, the story follows some relatively familiar beats, as seen across a variety of comic book films, but there are moments that lend themselves to this feeling like an original experience. Overall, it’s a very fast paced film, constantly moving from one plot point to the next and jumping between characters to fit everything in. This really works in moving things along, upping the tension and also means that almost any element of the film that doesn’t quite hit is over before it even begins. However, this is both a plus and a minus as there are times where it feels like a lot is being crammed in – not to the point of being hard to follow and never to the point of being unenjoyable, just to where it feels very busy.
At 2 hours and 30 minutes, the film sits at a good length, especially when it needs to spend time delving into the arcs of its villains, but it still feels like there’s too much they’ve tried to cover. Don’t get me wrong, I love the amount of focus they put into fleshing out the villains, as most comic book film villains end up being evil for the sake of being evil, but it just feels like less could have been more here. At times it seems to get wrapped up in trying to balance the arcs of the main hero and two villains, and make sure they’re all progressing at the same rate, where it could have felt more focused if there was less to do. Again, no villain feels like they’re just thrown in, each one has a dedicated arc that gives them purpose and reason in this story – but it’s all a little busy. Perhaps if some of the focus was taken off developing Maxwell Lord and a little more was given to Cheetah, I could see it having a bit more of an impact in the long run, but it’s fine nonetheless.
When it comes to the action, this is an element I was very excited for as the action in the last film was quite awesome. Much of that action lent itself to the time period, being set during WWI, so it’s interesting to see how it all plays out when in a 1980s setting. The action in here is intense and thrilling, and there’s quite a lot of it. There’s also a good mix of action, incorporating a number of Diana’s skills and displaying how she fights against villains of different abilities. Much like the first film, Matthew Jensen’s cinematography of these action scenes, combined with the cinematography as a whole, is vibrant and beautiful to look at. He captures the feel of 1984 and the intensity of the action really well. There are a few too many slow-mo scenes that I don’t think were needed. Certainly, some are very cool and they enhance the moment, but some would have been cooler had they played out in real-time.
As a complement to the cinematography and the action, Hans Zimmer’s score is once again spellbinding. He’s just brilliant in bringing out the tone of every moment – making the action scenes that much more brutal and the emotional moments all the more touching. When the hints of familiar pieces of music pop in, it elevates the scene even more. He really is a masterclass who knows how to get the most out of any scene. Speaking of masterclasses, it’s clear that Patty Jenkins knows the character of Wonder Woman inside and out, with how she orchestrates the core themes of the film around her character. Truth is a big one that plays a core role in the story and Patty implements it really well.
In regards to the performances, there’s no surprise that Gal Gadot is exceptional in the role of Diana Prince. She embodies the character from head to toe, showing off her unbreakable heart, her morals and the conflict she experiences over the course of the film. Without the strength of her performance, none of this works. Not only does she bring the heart and the charm, but she brings a touch of humour as well, constantly flaunting the charismatic edge to her character. Her chemistry with Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva is one of the strongest elements early in the film – we get introduced to, and get to know, Kristen’s character through her early interactions with Gal. From there, the character grows into her own with Kristen really delivering a solid performance, one that’s certainly very different for her. Pedro Pascal plays the villainous Maxwell Lord and he does an amazing job at honing in on that obnoxiously evil character. It’s that blend of charisma and being a douchebag that he pulls off quite well. I can’t say i cared about his character too much, but his performance is one of note. Oh, Chris Pine also has a presence and he’s great – a very nice and necessary addition, both for the story, comedy and heart.
In the end, Wonder Woman 1984 is a good, enjoyable sequel that benefits from some thrilling action, well fleshed out villains, awesome cinematography, heart, humour and another top score from Hans Zimmer. There’s nothing about it that I hated, it’s just that it felt a little too busy and if the focus had been honed in a tad more on one villain it could have been more impactful. Nonetheless, the performances are great and it’s a really fun time the whole way through. It oozes colourful 80s nostalgia inside and out, and Patty Jenkins has crafted another winner here. Fans of Wonder Woman and the wider DCEU will definitely get a kick out of this superhero film as there’s a lot to love and admire.