Gretchen Lee– Staff Writer
After about a six-month delay, the greatly anticipated sequel to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman finally arrived in theaters and on HBO Max just before the end of the year. Despite Wonder Woman 1984’s efforts to stick to the theme and atmosphere of the first movie, it has been met with mixed reviews.
Following the end of WWI and the death of Steve Trevor, Diana Prince has started working in the Smithsonian and has settled into a seemingly normal life. She uses her powers to stop crime, but has otherwise been laying relatively low. After a mysterious artifact is taken into museum custody and Steve Trevor somehow returns from the dead, however, Diana comes back into the public eye in order to stop Maxwell Lord from assisting humanity in destroying itself with his new, dangerous powers.
Overall, this film was a delight to watch. The cast of characters were compelling, and each served an appropriate and realistic purpose in the overall plot while still having interesting development arcs individually. Barbra Minerva and Maxwell Lord were incredibly well-written; while you did not agree with their actions and recognized them as villains, the audience could still empathize with them and recognize them as human beings. The acting in this film was also fantastic, with a particularly memorable performance coming from Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord. As jarring as it was to see him go from playing such a soft-spoken, physically capable character in The Mandalorian to playing a strangely mustache-less, brash character in WW84, once the initial shock wore off Pascal’s descent into power-hungry madness was incredible to witness.
The plotline of this movie was written and executed well, feels original, and fits neatly into the themes of Diana’s character. The concept of wishes and the consequences of getting everything we want was such an interesting topic to dive into, particularly in a superhero movie. Often, we have been warned in folklore and fairytales that getting what we want can have dire results, but seeing those dire results in a modern context hit harder than one might expect.
The defeat of Maxwell Lord was also well done. Although some people did not like the fact that Diana didn’t actually fight Lord and just talked to him in order to get him to back down, I thought it made sense that this was how their conflict was resolved. Maxwell Lord is not a physical menace; he tears the world apart with words, so he needed to be defeated with words. Cheetah, on the other hand, is a physical villain, so having Diana fight her was appropriate. I do wish that the fight between Cheetah and Diana had been a bit longer since it was such a climactic moment of the movie, but if the longer fight scene was sacrificed to make room in the movie for more character development and plot, I would say it was a fine trade-off. There were plenty of smaller plot points that were also satisfying. For example, the parallelism between Steve showing Diana the modern world in the first film and Diana showing Steve the modern world in its sequel were a bit heavy-handed, but fun to watch nonetheless.
The special effects and score were also very good. Hans Zimmer once again delivers an experience-enhancing soundtrack that pairs well with brilliantly shot scenes and a well-crafted plot. The translation of Cheetah’s comic appearance to the screen was well done and Diana’s new armor, while a bit confusing in terms of relevance and reason, looked absolutely incredible. All around this film was visually and auditorily pleasing, rounding out Wonder Woman 1984 to be an excellent movie despite what other reviewers might say.