3.8 out of 5 stars (highly above average)
The 2017 Wonder Woman was a great period superhero film that emphasized character development, plot, and themes without skimping on the action. Its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, follows in that vein while going bigger than before. Wonder Woman 1984 balances romance, comedy, fantasy, character development, and superhero action while giving a 0compelling (and suitably comic-booky) story.
It’s 1984, and the Amazonian warrior Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) has spent decades protecting mankind while mourning her long-lost love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). When she discovers a wish-granting artifact with friend and fellow anthropologist Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig in a refreshingly different role), they’re approached by oil baron Max Lord (a deliciously devious Pedro Pascal) who wants a sip of that all-powerful Kool-Aid. Both having used the artifact for personal gain, Barbara and Diana’s friendship will be tested as each wrestle over the choice to stop Max and sacrifice their greatest desires or be selfish at a far more personal cost.
Wonder Woman 1984 is one of the most ambitious superhero movies I’ve ever seen. Director and co-writer Patty Jenkins juggles romance, humor, and heroics similarly to Richard Donner’s Superman and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, but never feels like she’s copying them. The costumes are gorgeous, Hans Zimmer’s musical score rocks, and Wiig and Pascal imbue their characters with unexpected nuance. Gadot and Pine’s chemistry remains strong and the former continues to shine in the lead.
The film also excels on the action front. While noticeably spaced out, each set piece is bigger and better than the last without forgetting the people under the costumes. The superhero movies we remember are story-driven character pieces peppered with spectacular action, and Wonder Woman 1984 follows in their footsteps. The climactic speech is so cheesy it would make a Hallmark exec blush and one character should logically be capital d Dead after their final scene, but this genre has asked me to buy more ridiculous things before, so this was comparably easy to swallow.
Wonder Woman 1984 is summer escapism at its finest: Jaw-dropping set pieces buoyed by strong character work, memorable performances, and an engaging story. I couldn’t be happier with this film and feel it’s the perfect way to end the year (next to Soul) Whether in theaters or on HBOMax in the US, I absolutely recommend you See Wonder Woman 1984.
Rated PG-13 for Sequences of Violence