Sunday, December 27, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984

Movie Name:
Wonder Woman 1984
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lilly Aspel, Amr Waked, Lucian Perez, Gabriella Wilde, Oliver Cotton, Natasha Rothwell, Kristopher Polaha, Ravi Patel, Kelvin Yu
Genre: Action, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Following the immense success of the first "Wonder Woman", director Patty Jenkins and her team started working on its follow up. The character of course made another appearance in the lackluster "Justice League", also released in 2017. This sequel has a slightly different creative team behind the script, and the overall tone and final product of the film is noticeably different. The film follows the events which helped shaped Wonder Woman/Diana Prince's assimilation into the contemporary world, but nearly 70 years have gone by since the events from the first feature. This new chapter takes place in 1984, and finds Diana residing in Washington DC where she works as a senior Anthropologist for the Smithsonian Institute. While there she meets the slightly awkward but quite accomplished Barbara Minerva, with whom she forms a quick friendship. They both bond over the uncovering of a slew of stolen artifacts, particular one, which they find out to be a "Dreamstone", which according to its inscription, makes any wishes a person has, a reality. Both Diana and Barbara unknowingly use the stone, with Diana getting a chance to once again see and interact with Steve Trevor (who takes over another man's body), while Barbara gains the same powers and abilities as Diana. Another key player comes into play in the shape of Max Lord, a businessman whose venture is going down the drain, who comes to the Smithsonian under the guise of being a benefactor, but in actuality wants to use that same stone to accomplish his sinister purposes. As Max gets his wish, reality starts cracking, the same going for Barbara who becomes quite different, whereas Diana struggles to remain herself, as the wishes have a darker side none of them could have envisioned.
Whereas the previous "Wonder Woman" fell under the mantle of a certain aesthetic and tone which was being influenced at the time by the heavy hand of Zack Snyder, it's definitely a relief to see that's not the case anymore in this film. While the previous film provided a somewhat brief character development and context building section (at least for its lead characters), until it eventually became a cacophony of digital effects for its action set pieces, this film goes in a slightly different direction. While we get to learn a bit more about the characters which populate this universe, in particular some of Diana's ethical pathos, the action set pieces are almost set aside, or for that matter, have very little relevance for the progression of the storyline. The film equally lacks a more established definition of its villainous characters, particularly Barbara, whose path goes from adorable awkward academic professional, to master unscrupulous villainess in seemingly no time at all (and for no reason, aside from the fact that she likes the powers she has). This lack of dimension to its villains is an issue which seems to haunt most of the DC film adaptations of late, with most of them being digital constructs without much dimension, motivation or even consequence (and that includes Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor in the mediocre "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"). As it is, this film tries to be a lot of things, and fails to find its footing, not being a romantic comedy, not quite being an action film, and not quite being a relationship driven film. It has some really great supporting actors, in particular the trifecta of Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal and Chris Pine, however most of the times they feel a bit underused. It's not a terrible film, but sadly it's not a great one either.