Review: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Review: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
09 Feb
2022
Not in Hall of Fame

Cast:

Gal Gadot                                 Diana Prince

Chris Pine                                 Steve Trevor

Kristen Wiig                              Barbara Minerva

Pedro Pascal                             Maxwell Lord

Robin Wright                            Antiope

Connie Nielsen                          Hippolyta

Lilly Aspell                                Young Diana

For this edition of “Was I Entertained” we visited a film that came out last year between the COVID lockdowns in Canada. This film is Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84). As I was born in the 60’s, the first time I remember watching Wonder Woman was on Saturday morning cartoons, if I recall correctly it was a cartoon called “Superfriends” though I may be wrong on the actual title. We then moved to the mid 1970’s when Wonder Woman appeared during prime-time television. That version starred Lynda Carter, at that time, every adolescent boy had a crush on her, and every girl wanted to be her. It was a campy show that provided enough story and action to entertain pretty much everyone. So like anything else of that time period it came to an end, as well as the general fascination by everyone with superheroes. 

When the late 80s and early 90’s came about, the whole super hero genre was reborn. We had Batman, Superman, then came Spiderman in 2002. They all provided us fans with a story of good vs evil and that in the end, everything that is good will triumph. From then on, audiences were provided a constant stream of comic book heroes that were brought to life via Hollywood and CGI. But alas, Wonder Woman was not in the first wave nor the second wave of big budget films. It was not until 2016 “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” that Wonder Woman graced the big screen again. I remember when that film came out, there was a lot of speculation on how Gadot would perform. Many said she had big shoes to fill (in a manner of speaking) to replace Lynda Carter. However, in my opinion, I think she did a great job, and I assume so did many others as she managed to have a film series of her own as well as co-starring in the 2nd Justice League film. 

Now, let us take a look at Wonder Woman 84. The film commences with a flashback sequence that has a young Diana competing against some much older Amazon warriors in a quasi Olympic, Ironman (or should is say woman) contest. Though far younger, it is clear that she is faster, stronger and much more agile than her competitors. What she lacked was experience, and maybe some maturity, (watch the scene to see what I am talking about), she made up for in athleticism. After that, we see Diana (Gadot) at the Smithsonian talking with a co-worker Minerva (Wiig) as they peruse an ancient item that was sent over for analysis. Not really giving out any spoilers as it is on the box, we find out that this artifact grants the bearer one wish, yet it must also extract a price for that wish. 

Concurrently we are introduced to a slick TV celebrity who portrays the façade that he is a very rich Oil baron and who is an awesome investor and basically for all intents and purposes a modern King Midas. The truth is that he is a bit of a hack, but he has discovered that the museum is in possession of this magical artifact and manages to steal it. But this is not before Minerva (Wiig) and Diana (Gadot) both manage to make their own wishes. The film continues we see that Minerva (Wiig) gets her wish to be more like Diana (Gadot), and Diana (Gadot) gets her only love, Steve (Pine) back from the dead. Both wishes do come with consequences. Concurrently we find the antagonist, Lord (Pascal), having figured out a hack with the device, starts granting a bevy of wishes worldwide. This results in the fact that his wishes start destroying the planet and civilization while he continues to become richer and more famous.  

Wonder Woman (Gadot), with the help of her lost love Steve (Pine) figure out the problem and together they search out Lord (Pascal) in order to retrieve the artifact and make the world right again. Naturally, this also comes with a price as Wonder Woman (Gadot) has to not only combat Lord (Pascal) and his minions, but also a fierce combatant called the “Cheetah”, who is in actual fact Minerva (Wiig). The Cheetah does not want to give up her new found strength and battles Wonder Woman in a long drawn out fight sequence before the world comes back too normal and Wonder Woman (Gadot) saves the day. Ok, this was not a spoiler guys, we knew this was going to happen, so let’s continue with our review.

What didn’t I like about WW84? Well, first of all, I found the film a little long. Some of the fight sequences were drawn out to the nth degree. Sure, these are supposed to be what is exciting about a film, but if it takes to long to get the end of the fight, it can lose me. Also, in this adaptation, Wonder Woman only uses her Golden Lasso, where is her sword and shield from the previous films. She has more in the armoury than a rope! It actually made some of the fight sequences more comical than exciting. If she would have had the other weaponry, she would have been able to fight the Cheetah far more efficiently, and I actually think would have enhanced the films action sequences. I also did not care for the invisible plane that was used in the film. As this was taken from an American airfield, I would expect an American fighter/bomber, not one that was a make believe configuration. Have spent pretty much my whole working life in the military, I can pretty much identify most aircraft in the western militaries and many of the Russian airframes as well. When I saw this plane, it looked sort of familiar, but could not put my finger on it. It was not until I did some research that I found that an F-111 Aardvark and the wings and tail of a Panavia Tornado were used. Why? Could they not use an aircraft from the era? Besides making up the plane, no fighter from that era would have enough fuel to make it from Washington to Egypt in one tank of fuel, how did they get there? PFM? (Pure F(&^%&ing Magic). But I have digressed, while these points were minor in reality, they did cause me to shake my head several times. 

What was good about the film? Hmmm…I have to say the use of the 1980’s style, music, props etc were hilarious. It really brought me back to memory lane in several scenes. Steve (Pine) was entertaining in the WW84 version of Pretty Woman’s changing montage and his constant admiration of the fanny pack made me laugh out loud. The story moved on at a good pace, and besides a few things that irritated me was enjoyable overall. Minerva (Wiig) and Lord (Pascal) were great as antagonists. CGI was well done and the script flowed well. I also admired the chemistry between all the characters, which greatly enhanced the flow of the film. 

What did I think about the main characters of WW84? Let’s see:

Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman: I have to say I am a fan of Gadot. I have pretty much liked her in almost every film that I have seen her in, even if they were only small parts. To me, she pretty much has nailed the Wonder Woman character and it would be very difficult to find a replacement for her in this role (Not like Batman, Spiderman etc who have changed actors more than some people have changed underwear). She had great chemistry with her love interest Steve (Pine), and also played off well with friend and future adversary Minerva (Wiig). I really believe that due to her athleticism, she can play that role far better than that of my childhood crush Lynda Carter. Additionally, even her accent fits the character more, sure she is Israeli, not of Grecian descent, but it works. Overall another good performance by Gadot.

Chris Pine as Steve Trevor: Pine is another actor who has done exceedingly well over the years. He has a sarcastic kind of style that I like in films. The first time I had seen him was in one of my wife’s favourite films “The Princess Diaries 2”, then shortly afterwards in a film that I liked, but my wife did not “Smokin Aces”. In both films I thought he did quite well. Then came the Star Trek reboot. I know that some people did not care for his portrayal of Captain Kirk, but I thought he did great in it (including the sequels) and also did well when he played Jack Ryan in that reboot of the famous Tom Clancy character.  He has a natural sort of arrogance about him, and just enough sarcasm to make whatever film he is in fun to watch. As Steve Trevor, the supporting hero and love interest to Gadot, Pine made the character entertaining and believable. There is great chemistry between the two main stars and it shows throughout the film. What I also found entertaining is that he can pull of the “child like innocence” as well as the action hero when needed, and both in a very entertaining fashion. While his performance is not “Oscar” worthy, it is still enjoyable. This is another role in his resume of films that he should be proud of.

Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva: Most of the time I can take Wiig in a film, but not really enjoy the character, with a few exceptions (Bridesmaid, Paul, The Martian). However, I must say that in WW84, Wiig did extremely well. She started the film with her typical mousy, insecure character that we have seen her play numerous times, and slowly transformed to a confident lady and somewhat of a diva. The final transformation to the Cheetah went over quite well and I really enjoyed the scenes that she was in. In my opinion, the only fault was that the final conflict scene lasted way too long, but that is not the error of the actress, but that of the writer and director. I also felt that her chemistry with all the key characters was spot on and it was a joy to watch. I do like the fact that they did leave the opening for a return of the Cheetah in future films, as I did really like her character. 

Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord: Pascal played an excellent TV grifter. He oozed slime and desperation in such a way that you were not sure whether you should like the character or be disgusted. The snake-oil salesman in him was present at all times, yet you could not shake that he was hiding his fear of failure and that he could disappoint his son at all times. He performed the role of Maxwell Lord to a T. He was entertaining when he had to be, slimy when required, weak on demand and desperate at all times. I am sure it is difficult to portray all those emotions in one character in one feature but he managed to play it well. I also liked his chemistry with all his principal co-stars, and I look forward to seeing him in the Mandolorian whenever that comes off of the Disney channel and becomes available on some of the other streaming services. 

Lilly Aspell as Young Diana: Having only seen Aspell in one other film (that is the original Wonder Woman), I really had no other film or tv show to see her talent in this feature compared to any other. I am only including her in this portion as I found out after watching the film that she performed all of her own stunts as she could do it better and more believably then the stunt person who was hired for it. In that light, I must give her props for abilities in the stunt department. As for acting a petulant 12-year-old in the film, well she is a child, so I am sure it was not that much of a stretch. I was just totally impressed with capability to finish all the stunts. Well done her!

So, all in all, were we entertained? Yes, we were, WW84 was a light adventure/action movie with characters whom we were already familiar with. The performance by all key actors were solid and the chemistry between all were evident. As I mentioned before, it was a little long, and I was a little surprised that she did not have the sword/shield to fight the bad guys, but that would have made the film a little darker than it was. This film was suitable for children, while some of the other superhero films would be more tuned to the tweens and up vice the younger kids like this one. I would recommend this film for anyone who is a fan of Gadot and Pine or is into the whole superhero genre. 

My score: 7/10

If you are interested in any other features starring the main cast, please consider the following recommendations:

Gal Gadot                     Fast and Furious, Fast & Furious 5-7, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Justice League,  

Chris Pine                     Smokin Aces, Star Trek (Franchise), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Finest Hours

Kristen Wiig                  Bridesmaid, The Martian, Paul

Pedro Pascal                 Narcos, Game of Thrones, Equalizer 2

Till Next Time!

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 February 2022 13:28
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