A few quibbles aside, the first Wonder Woman movie was a triumph. Beautifully realized and brilliantly told, it was everything you want out of a super-hero comic book movie. And that scene where Princess Diana of Themyscira crawls out of the trenches and becomes Wonder Woman is one of the best scenes of any movie ever made. I enjoyed it a lot, and feel it sits with The Dark Knight and Superman: The Movie as the pinnacle of of what DC Comic movies could be but often are not.
So obviously I was eagerly anticipating the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984...
The short non-spoiler version... I absolutely HATED this film. Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's garbage from start to finish and trying to find something good to say about it boils down to Gal Godot looking as amazing as ever as Wonder Woman. That's it. That's all I got.
My thoughts are in an extended entry, which will include spoilers...
The entirety of Wonder Woman 1984 was foolishly built around a single problem... How do we bring Steve Trevor back after killing him off at the end of World War I in the first movie?
And while there are dozens... possibly hundreds... of comic-booky ways to accomplish this task, they decided to go with a wishing stone. Diana wishes Steve Trevor back from the grave. And he doesn't really come back. Instead he inhabits the body of a guy already living in 1984. His mind is all Steve Trevor (who is somewhat confused and amazed with the future) but the body is somebody else. And of all the fucked-up bullshit in this film, that's the biggest. "Steve" and Diana end up sleeping together almost immediately. And while you see Chris Pine because that's supposed to be what Diana is wanting to see... it is, in fact, another guy entirely (which is verified when Steve looks in a mirror). Using another person's body for sex without consent sounds an awful lot like rape, and I cannot fucking believe that this is the route that Patty Jenkins signed off on. If it had been a male writer/director creating a movie with a woman in this scenario, the internet would have lost their collective fucking minds. But because it's a guy and the writer/director is a woman, I guess we're just supposed to look the other way.
I wish my problems with the film ended there. But I haven't even got started...
- As I said above, this is one boring snore-fest of a movie. It's TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOURS LONG! Which would be fine... EXCEPT NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE HAPPENS! Instead of even attempting to use the time to fill in any information, clarify story points, or do interesting shit... they just spend ten minutes drifiting through fireworks or other idiotic filler moments.
- Most of the time Wonder Woman is in action, she's using her magic lasso to swing through the city like Batman and even propel herself into flight. It was clever once, but eventually this is her entirety of her powers. She uses the lasso for everything and it's just so lazy and tired. It also looks silly a lot of the time (lassoing lightning? WTF?!?), which makes the fact that it's a crutch for the writers all the more embarrassing. This along with the totally fucking random and inconsistent use of powers that either exist, don't exist, or are weakened from minute-to-minute is utterly idiotic.
- Taking a cue from X-Men: Days of Future Past, they randomly invent a new super-power for Diana that allows her to turn a jet invisible, creating a modern day "invisible jet" in an effort to be clever, but just ends up being stupid and unnecessary. It's also one (of many) gaping plot holes... if Diana can turn things (including herself) invisible, why doesn't she do that all the time in order to give her a tactical advantage in a fight? Or even be used to fucking explain how come she is supposed to have been absent from "Man's World" for a hundred years... yet is jumping around a mall in full costume in 1984.
- Speaking of 1984... why? Why bother to set the film in that time period? NOTHING in this pile of shit benefits from it and, in fact, the period is merely used as a story distraction and an excuse for funny clothes and fads of the day.
- Eventually Diana figures out how to drift on air currents giving her (mostly) the power of flight... just like the comics. But then she subsequently forgets this (going back to the lasso and wearing winged armor) until the very end of the movie when she remembers again. How fucking lazy do you have to be to randomly have powers when it's convenient then randomly don't have them when it's convenient?
- The villains were The Cheetah and Maxwell Lord. Both of them were used badly and were total failures, leaving the movie without any actual villain.
- They cast Kristen Wiig as The Cheetah because they wanted somebody who could play her awkward/nerdy alter-ego Barbara Minerva... and that's fine, even though that whole phase was absurd. But then they went and gave her the most superficial, ugly, PATHETIC motivation to become evil, and it was a total waste of the character. After she went all "apex predator" at the end and transformed The Cheetah into a CGI crapfest, it just got worse. The mishandling of the character is unforgivable.
- I like seeing Pedro Pascal in anything he's done... so I'm not blaming the mind-numblingly shitty Maxwell Lord on him. It's the material. Max is a failed oil salesman who wet the bed when he was a kid, and that's apparently his motivation for defrauding all his investors. He "absorbs the power of the wishing stone to become the wishing stone" and becomes obsessed with granting wishes to everybody... even though those wishes are pushing the entire world to destroy itself. Eventually he just ends up yelling uncontrollably and being stupid. But don't worry... he comes to his senses when he remembers that he has a young son. Or something. To be honest, I have no fucking clue how his motivation works or what his "powers" are or even what the hell he was doing most of the time.
- In a blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo, Simon Stagg... aka Metamorpho's evil father-in-law pops up for absolutely no reason at all... just extending runtime for no good reason.
- Whenever your wish is granted, there's a price to be paid. They explain that by using the "monkey's paw" metaphor. Which doesn't make sense because the price paid is not based on the person or any logic, but instead on whatever random bullshit the writers need to move the plot along.
- The fact that there are massive plot-holes would be forgivable if they served a practical purpose or were an excuse to do something cool. One of my favorites? "Steve" and Diana fly to Cairo to chase Maxwell Lord. Once they get there, they get into a boring battle with a convoy of trucks. Later that day they make a call and promise to meet somebody back in the States the next morning. The movie cuts to the next morning and there they are. Never mind they would have to make their way back to Cairo, fight Cairo traffic, make it whatever airfield their plane was stashed at, gas up the plane, then spend 10-1/2 hours minimum flying back... all without explanation or even any time for sleep. Did they even bother to address this with a single line of dialogue? Of course not. That's how the whole movie works. Or doesn't work. And don't get me started as to how a World War I prop-plane pilot knows how to fly a modern-day jet-plane... or why they leave jet-planes gassed up and ready to go at a frickin' museum.
- The commercials were promoted with New Order's hit 80's song Blue Monday... leading you to believe that the film would be steeped in loads of awesome 80's tracks. But, alas, you get Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Welcome to the Pleasuredome and that's about it. Unforgivable. When you see how Atomic Blonde so brilliantly entrenched itself in the period with a phenomenal 80's soundtrack, it just makes WW84 look all the worse by comparison.
- But worse than being boring, redundant, annoying, incomprehensible, no fun, and never giving Diana anything interesting to do? It was just a bad movie.
What a huge, crushing disappointment.
Time to update my "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard...
Ant-Man and The Wasp... A-
The Avengers... A+
Avengers: Age of Ultron... A
Avengers: Infinity War... A
Avengers: Endgame... A+
Batman Begins... A
Batman Dark Knight... A+
Batman Dark Knight Rises... A
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice... D
Big Hero Six... A+
Black Panther... A+
Blade 2... B
Blade Trinity... B-
Captain America... A+
Captain America: The Winter Soldier... A+
Captain America: Civil War... A+
Captain Marvel... B+
Daredevil (Director's Cut)... B+
Deadpool 2... A
Doctor Strange... A
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl... B-
Fantastic Four (2005)... C
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... D
Fantastic Four (2015)... D+
Guardians of the Galaxy... A+
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2... A
Ghost Rider... C
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance... D
Green Hornet... D
Green Lantern... C+
Hellboy 2: Golden Army... A
Incredible Hulk... B
The Incredibles... A+
Iron Man... A+
Iron Man 2... A-
Iron Man 3... A+
Jonah Hex... F
Justice League... F
Kick-Ass 2... B-
Man of Steel... F-
Punisher War Zone... C
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World... C
Spider-Man 2... A
Spider-Man 3... D-
Amazing Spider-Man... D
Amazing Spider-Man 2... D-
Spider-Man: Homecoming... A+
Spider-Man: Far From Home... A
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse... A
Suicide Squad... D
Superman Returns... C+
Thor: The Dark World... B
Thor: Ragnarok... A+
The Wolverine... B
Wonder Woman... A
Wonder Woman 1984... D-
X-Men 2: United... D
X-Men 3: Last Stand... F-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine... D
X-Men: First Class... B
X-Men: Days of Future Past... B-
X-Men: Apocalypse... D+