After several release-date changes, the sequel to the 2017 hit Wonder Woman is here. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine make their return as Diana Prince and Steve Trevor, with Patty Jenkins back at the helm. Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig join the cast as Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva.
In 84, We find Diana working as an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute where she befriends Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig). Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), an aspiring politician, is looking to hit big within his oil company as his back is against the ropes. Maxwell gains possession of a magic “wishing” stone that has the ability to grant wishes but at a cost.
In case you haven’t figured it out by the title alone, this time we find our Amazonian princess in the year 1984. The first half of the film feels like this could have very well been a film from the ’80s. If the title wasn’t apparent enough, after a flashback scene, the first 5 minutes of the film will definitely remind you this is a film set in the 1980s with its vibrant colors, styles, campiness, and jokes. Jenkins does a great job of this.
As usual, Gadot and Pine are both great in their roles. It’s no doubt that the second we saw her in Batman V Superman that Gadot was destined to take on the role of Diana Prince. The chemistry between the two that carried the first film is back and their relationship is one of the highlights of the film. Steve, who is a man out of time, is astonished by how far the world has come in the time he’s been gone. Meanwhile, Diana has been lonely and has continued to mourn the death of Steve in the 60+ years he’s been gone. Diana is forced to face the toughest decision, the return of the love of her life or what’s best for the world.
Pedro Pascal plays the over-the-top villain, Maxwell Lord, and in-fact steals the scene in several moments throughout the film, with his exaggerated hand gestures and descend into madness. Kristen Wiig embodies an awkward and clumsy Barbara rather well actually. It’s the second half of the film where her character is simply reduced to the angry muscle.
The film takes a 180 tonal shift about midway into the film, almost as if it was two different movies in one. As previously mentioned the film begins relying on this 1980’s campy vibe, even coming off as a romantiic comedy at times, whereas the second half of the film does a hard stop and shifts with an entirely dramatic tone.
The visual effects at times felt a bit clunky. The way Diana would swing with her lasso felt a bit stiff and honestly felt like these scenes could have used a bit more work in the editing process. The fight scenes were heavily CGI based and a bit underwhelming as far as the action goes. The two battles between Diana and Barbara felt a bit short.
I was left with several questions after watching the film, with that said, let’s talk about the plot for a moment and the focus on this mythical wishing stone. Throughout the film, several of our primary characters are granted wishes, however, it isn’t quite clear how or what goes into deciding what the stone takes away, specifically with Barbara. It just seemed like her sacrifice was much compared to Maxwell’s and Diana’s, not until *spoilers* her second wish.
Diana also receives a few new set of powers that seemed to have been thrown into the film for the sake of convenience. Convenience seems to be common throughout the film, especially the placement of these characters. Later in the film as Diana and Steve hunt down Maxwell, Barbara appears at the White House as well, with no explanation as to how she knew where he would be. Another example of this is early on in the film, where Diana happens to be in the same mall as this stone that is going to be the center of the film.
By the end of the film, everything seems suddenly to be nicely wrapped up without truly dealing with the consequences of the film. Wishes seem to be undone but the consequences of them still exist. This is apparently as Maxwell arrives to see his point and everything around him is clearly still destroyed from the rioting. What happens to him at this point or the fact that a second ago everyone was going to launch missiles at each other, that knowledge still exists, despite renouncing wishes. Instead, we forward to Christmas time, where we see Diana smiling and running into the body that Steve Trevor had taken over when she made a wish of her own.
Even with all this said, I will say I did find it entertaining nonetheless. It was nice seeing comic book movies returning to the big screen. But with its plot holes and awkward pacing, by no means does it live up to the potential and glory of the first film. I am glad to see Gal back as the iconic character and I hope, despite this film’s flaws, that we’ll see her version of Diana for years to come.
In case you were wondering, there is a post credit scene. Let’s call it an ode.