Wonder Woman 1984 Review

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Photo by HBO

The poster for Wonder Woman 1984

Mimi Osborne, Managing Editor of Arts and Entertainment

 For anyone who grew up escaping into the realm of DC comic books, the storyline of Wonder Woman is one of great familiarity. The Amazonian warrior first came to light as a side story in December 1941, then earned her own series of comics the subsequent year. In 2001, Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth was the number one seller amongst all comic books. With her ability to fly, talk to animals, and superior strength, speed, and agility, she is one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC universe. Furthermore, she is seen as a feminist icon; the creator of the character, William Moulton Marston, describes her as someone who, “encourages women to stand up for themselves, to learn to fight, and be strong, so they don’t have to be scared, or depend on men”. With all these great accomplishments and achievements, it is shocking to see how her new movie Wonder Woman: 1984, WW84, was disliked by a majority of the DC fanverse.

 Oftentimes, films capitalize upon the feeling of nostalgia: a popped collar on a polo shirt, a Pac-Man game at the arcade, a teenager break dancing on a street. However, WW84 feels as if it actually came out in the ‘80s; an apparent ‘oldie’ title that blends in Zapped! and Ghostbusters. Films that all should have simply stayed in their time period. 

 The opening sequence, a flashback to young Diana Prince, is by far the most intriguing aspect of the movie. The entirety of this scene works- the camera angles and editing sets the viewer directly in the middle of the action; however, this is also the film’s high point. Nothing else, in the last 148 minutes of the film, is as coherent or well crafted as the first seven minutes. 

 The majority of WW84 is devoted to the chaos that ensues when wish-fulfillment turns sour. The script bounces awkwardly back and forth between the three main characters as they explore their newfound powers granted from their wishes. In the midst of incoherent character stories, Diana reaches her peak running through the Egyptian desert in a heart-pounding chase. In this sequence, the viewer sees Wonder Woman’s true empathy and resourcefulness; however, this is the only scene where character development is truly apparent. 

 Gal Gadot, the actress who portrayed Wonder Woman in WW84 has won three smaller awards throughout her career, however her most recent film will not bring another. At times, it felt she was just reading lines off paper, staring into a camera, or standing in front of a greenscreen; in other words, the viewer is never truly immersed in her acting. The acting itself, though not terrible, hardly compares to that of other DC movie star Joaquin Phoenix. In Phoenix’s Joker, the outstanding portrayal of a tragically psychotic jester is what allowed the film to become so widely renowned. Grossing over 1.1 billion dollars and shattering box office charts, it is hard to believe that the near cinematically perfect movie Joker and the flawed film Wonder Woman 1984, which cost more to produce than the revenue gained, are supposed to be comparable. 

 A let down to many DC fans, WW84 is a movie with little character development and a mediocre plotline. However, this film should not be considered awful. It’s fine. Sometimes, even okay. But it had the potential to be wondrous.