Concessions Confession: Wonder Woman 84 feels like an attempt to recreate an 80s hero flick, but with 30 years of genre evolution why would you want that?
Logline: Wonder Woman is sidelined in her own standalone movie, as a de facto Trump insert takes advantage of a magic wishing stone. All involved learn some vague lesson on truth and greed.
Wonder Woman 84 has a lot going for it on paper; 80s nostalgia meets the strong girl power hero of the over-saturated superhero market. But the approach is strange, and the effort comes across rather limp. I’ve seen some people complaining about how shoddy the effects look in this film, but I choose to believe that it is somewhat intentional.
In sort of a unspoken homage, WW 84 sort of recants the old superhero films of the 80s. It’s just sort of awkward that it full sends on the idea, given that it gives the feel of some of the old rudimentary or practical effects, but doesn’t have the charm of the old school effects. You can argue that this film is a hodge-podge of superhero flicks we’ve seen before, but it almost begs me to ask, “If you could make any superhero movie today, why you would make essentially Superman IV: The Quest for Peace?
Flying in the 80s
It’s strange to me, because the plots of these 80s superhero movies, were definitely grounded by their limitations, but technical limitations we don’t have to play by anymore. Part of me respects this in theory, the monumental end of the world sky beam is done to death so maybe scaling back and softening the tone isn’t inherently a misstep, but it is if you don’t replace it with anything. If the plan is to ground the film with less action-oriented stuff, than at least make it an interesting character arc.
It is rather odd, that I honestly feel that Diana ( Wonder Woman) is a tertiary character in her own movie, and is instead sideline for such generic, cliché villains. Don’t get me wrong, both Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig are entertaining in their roles, but like why so much screen time to get the message across that the “oil man” is bad. Wiig is just literally Michelle Pfeiffer’s Cat Woman with no added nuance or meta commentary.
These are two of these most troupe inspired characterization that you’d think you could use that to take a shortcut in storytelling. You understand who these characters are from the first 5 minutes they are on screen, but Wonder Woman doesn’t believe in shortcuts, so they actually spend half of the movie developing these two cardboard cutouts.
Perplexing Plotlines w/ Spoilers
Alright I can’t avoid spoilers any longer, lets get into some nitty gritty stuff. Steve Trevor, I’m fine with his return but oh boy did they chose literally the weirdest way to bring Chris Pine back. Diana wishes for him to come back with the magic wishing stone, and despite the wishing stone having no limitations in what it can do… it can only bring him back with strings attached. So Steve possesses some random guy, and one second he’s this weird man and the next he’s Chris Pine. What?
You would think that there would be a purpose to that decision: Maybe there would be guilt that this guys life is being stolen, or maybe there would be some humor with the “new Steve”. There is no reason why they do this, it’s overly complicated for nothing. Maybe so Hallmark McHotstuff can be hinted as a future love interest, but if that’s the case….maybe they should have introduced him in the beginning of the movie. He’s the guy who nice and friendly with Diana but she won’t reciprocate because she’s still hung up on Steve. That way you get a nice message of seeing glimpses of your old flame in a new relationship but eventually accepting them as their own person. Could have been nice and you really could have taken out the 87th seen of “OMG Kristen Wiig is such a klutz”.
There’s other missed opportunity, like no matter how you slice it the opening sequence is boring and has nothing to do with the movie. The message of “truth” is really stretching having any relevance on the anti-max consumption angle of the film. Also, I’m sorry but Diana looks like an idiot for just not shooting an arrow in one of the rings and thinking she’d get away with it. Even if she threw her Javelin wouldn’t they have DQ’d her for not finishing a leg of the race?
Hitting the Climax
I guess that 10 minute intro was all to get across that there’s some super gold warrior and that plays into the final fight which is really bad. First, Wiig’s Cheetah would have looked better as one of the cats from Cats. Her design is so atrocious, just looks totally wrong. Then Wonder Woman gets the Golden Suit, which I though was going to be an upgrade, but apparently the only benefit it gives is looking good for the poster.
It’s mind boggling, I couldn’t imagine any character getting an upgrade and looking so lame afterward. Imagine if Thor when he got Strombreaker in Infinity War had the choreography of this fight. To recall the choreography was: block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block, block. Not really shying away from the Captain America comparisons when you essentially give her a big metal shield. Then the wings of the armor gets torn to shreds, like it was made out of paper…it’s somehow weaker than her previous armor. Then the conclusion of this battle is mind numbingly stupid.
They do the whole, last chance of redemption turns into a betrayal moment…you know, the high ground advantage. But Wonder Woman notices that an electrical power wire is going to fall in the water and shock Barbara unless they get back onto land. Instead of flying out or pushing her into it…Wonder Woman swims into the electric current and submerges both herself and Barbara into the water. It’s a good think that everyone knows that gold doesn’t conduct electricity, so Wonder Woman is perfectly fine doing this.
Movie of the Year?
Then the power of love or truth or some corny stuff like that prevail. Isn’t that nice. So, I don’t know I shockingly seem to be in the majority here of people who found the film watchable, but nothing to to rave about. I don’t think it was a complete waste of time, or something that won’t have it’s fans but it does not encourage me to have more faith in the DCEU. But hey, maybe 5 years from now we can obsess over the Jenkins Cut which will totally fix all the problems with this film. It’s like they teach you in film school, “We’ll just fix it in post!”.
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