WW84 (2020) – My rating: 4.5/10

Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) is a superhero film based on the DC Comics character Wonder Woman. It is the sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman and the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Patty Jenkins from a script she wrote with Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham, based on a story by Johns and Jenkins. I just had to see WW84 since it was free for anyone who subscribes to HBO MAX, which I do. I am also a fan of Wonder Woman but was sorry I bothered to waste my time with this sequel, it stunk.

In her youth, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) participated in athletic competitions on Themyscira against older Amazons. The event is overseen by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). After falling from her horse, Diana takes a shortcut to catch up. Since her actions were considered cheating, Diana’s Aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) removed her from the competition. Diana expressed her disdain and thought she should have remained the winner. This was a lesson in truth.

Now, all grown up, it’s 1984 and Diana works at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She also surreptitiously rescues people and stops crime. While at work, Diana meets Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), a new archaeologist, and zoologist with the museum. Barbara appears to suffer from self-esteem, despite having several degrees and an impressive title in her field.  Her appearance leaves a lot to be desired, which results in a lack of suitors and friends. She forms a fast friendship with Diana, whom she immediately comes to admire and envy. Barbara is confronted by the FBI to identify stolen antiquities from a robbery Diana had earlier foiled. Barbara and Diana notice one artifact, later revealed to be the “Dreamstone”, which contains a Latin inscription claiming that anyone holding it will be able to have one wish granted.

**** SPOILERS BELOW ****

Diana uses the stone to wish her deceased boyfriend Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) back to life; though his soul returns and inhabits another man’s body, Diana sees Steve but Steve sees his reflection as the other man. Kristoffer Polaha appears as the man whose body Steve inhabits (credited as “Handsome Man”). Barbara wishes to become like Diana, attaining Diana’s superpowers. A failing businessman named Maxwell “Max Lord” Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) visits the Smithsonian under the guise of a wealthy donor, secretly coveting the “Dreamstone” in hopes of saving his oil company.

WW84 has one of the most confusing plots I’ve encountered in a long time.  Just to reiterate: first, we get to see Diana as a child cheating to make up the time she lost during an athletic event when she fell from her horse.  Then the film jumps to the present (1984) with Diana working as an employee at the Smithsonian Institution.  There she meets Barbara, another employee of the Smithsonian who is homely and in awe of Diana.  As their relationship grows closer, enters Max, a failing oil businessman who has a plan to steal an artifact called the “Dreamstone”, which grants a one-time wish to anyone who uses it.  Up until now, things are pretty normal until the three of them request their wishes.  Diana asks for the resurrection of her dead boyfriend of 40 years,  Barbara asks to be Diana as well as an apex predator while Max asks to actually be the stone and later sees his son, Alistair (Lucian Perez), wandering the streets crying for his father.  As the story heats up, their wishes prove to be dangerous and chaotic as there’s a price for each wish.  What ensues at this point is just plain crazy.  There is mayhem everywhere while the president of the US gets involved and every person is granted whatever one-time wish they want.  Somewhere along the way, Diana learns she can fly however, the flying sequences are so corny, as she does backflips and somersaults during flight, that you just won’t take it seriously.  Max Lord and the president’s performance were so over the top that the story became hard to follow.  I absolutely hated this version of Wonder Woman.  I don’t even think children would find this interesting.  For me, WW84 turned Wonder Woman into an unbelievable laughing stock. She appeared as more of a show-off than a superhero.  Even her rescues and vigilante occurrences were over the top.

BTW:  Lynda Carter, who played the titular heroine in the 1970s television series, makes a cameo appearance as Asteria, a legendary Amazon warrior who anciently possessed the powerful winged suit of armor.  Wonder Woman 1984 was theatrically released in the United States on December 25, 2020, and was also made available to be streamed digitally on HBO Max for a month before it will go to premium video on demand. As of January 3, 2021, Wonder Woman 1984 has grossed $28.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $90 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $118.5 million. The movie was praised for its “escapist qualities” and Jenkins’ take on the 1980s, but many commentators found it “overindulgent or cliché”. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 60% of 358 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6.10/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Wonder Woman 1984 struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character.”  In her review for RogerEbert.com, Christy Lemire wrote, “The quality that made the original film such a delight has been squashed almost entirely.”  I don’t recommend WW84 but if you have 2-1/2 hours to kill while it’s free, Check It Out!

 

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