‘Wonder Woman 1984’ review

Sarah Wandor

Critic’s columnist

“Wonder Woman 1984,” which was released in theaters and on HBO Max on Dec. 25, has one of the most magnificent and captivating opening scenes I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. It shows young Diana in an athletic competition with several other Amazons.

Their movements are amazingly choreographed and performed with the excitement and thrill of any competition, and the soundtrack only adds to the energy and momentum, making for a spectacular opening to the movie. Unfortunately, the rest of the film does not follow this scene’s lead.

From there, the film is a mixture of chaotic, rushed plot and repetitive childish attitude. Villain Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) is meant to come off as charming and charismatic by his personality and dialogue but ends up having the reverse effect. He comes off as childish and annoying more than anything else and acts as though he is above everyone around him. Between his overly fake smile and obsession with granting wishes, he seems more like a used car salesman than the villain of a film.

Lord’s childish behavior and ambitions, or lack thereof, get old very quickly, leaving the audience exasperated whenever he appears on screen. Pascal gave an excellent performance as Lord yet that doesn’t change the fact that his character was poorly written and consequently not as good as he could have been.

Also, the film revolves too much around wishes and spends far too much time on people wishing for random things. It begins to feel as though every other scene has something to do with someone making a useless wish.

For everyone to have to say they wish for this or that is not only extremely repetitive and monotonous but obnoxious as well. If the writers of the film had allowed the characters to use words such as “I want” or I desire”, it would have been much less tiresome.

Yet using the same word over and over again so often and spending a considerable amount of time on it causes the film to drag on and seem long especially when that screen time could have been put to much better use elsewhere.

That is a major flaw of the film: wasted time and lack of explanation. As I mentioned previously, there are many scenes of people making wishes. Some of these are needed but many are not.

Too much screen time is also spent on Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) discovering the world and how it has changed. It may have been funny at first, but it wasn’t woven in naturally and didn’t flow well. These and other scenes occupied time in the film that was needed elsewhere, namely in explaining part of what was going on in the plot.

The stone, which is referenced and used throughout the movie, is never fully explained. Some hodgepodge and something about “the monkey’s paw” is said about it and what it does, but this leaves the audience with more questions than answers, as if some key dialogue was cut that the audience was expected to know.

Lord’s ambitions and plans, if he even had any to begin with, are also never touched on. It is never explained what his ultimate goal is in everything he is doing or why there are crowds of people outside his office, why Diana has a room of TVs in her apartment, etc. The film leaves too many loose ends and confuses the audience.

Yet another flaw of the film is that it’s too chaotic, which causes the movie to lose the depth of its characters and story. So much is going on at once and things escalate so quickly that the characters’ feelings are lost.

Many of the moments between Diana and Steve lack depth on the surface because they are cut off too soon and there is not enough dialogue between them to bring their emotions to light. When they are wondering what to do and when Steve is worried about her, these moments are glazed over, rushed and leave much unsaid, which results in those scenes failing to show the emotion and depth they could have.

This happens throughout the film and not just between Diana and Steve. Their emotions and feelings are rarely expressed to the extent they should have been. The film has so much feeling with people wishing they could have something because of an insecurity they have or something they lost, yet the movie fails to bring any of that to the surface.

When I went to see “Wonder Woman 1984,” I wanted to say it was an excellent film and sequel to the “Wonder Woman.” Although the film had much potential to be an exceptional movie, it has too many faults. It may have a very talented cast, whose performances were outstanding, and a talented crew –– but despite their efforts, it does not live up to expectations. “Wonder Woman 1984,” despite its faults, it’s still a movie worth seeing once because of the lessons it holds, but it lacks the quality to be a memorable film.