Sunday, December 27, 2020

review: WONDER WOMAN 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is campy, corny, cheesy, and bloated, a major down grade from the 2017 film.  The script is weak, on the level of a CW network TV show. The acting doesn't fare much better. Some characters, like Diana Prince, Steve Trevor and most of the minor characters, are wooden and under-acted, while characters like Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva are over-acted. The CGI at times looks cartoonish, and Kristin Wiig's fully realized Cheetah is Cats laughable. About 30 to 35 minutes could have been (should have been) cut out, as the movie has too many slow paced moments that quicker editing could have helped eliminate.   Something else dragging this movie down is that it is set in 1984 for no apparent reason other than to showcase the '80s styles and trends in a fit of cheesy campiness. In the third act, the tone suddenly and abruptly switches to over-baked ham-fisted melodrama. 

It is the cinematography that elevates this movie slightly above a CW level of quality. There are some individual bits that are great, such as the creation of the invisible jet, and Wonder Woman swinging from lightning bolt to lightning bolt, but other things are real head scratchers, such as Wonder Woman dressing like Hawkgirl in the climax, or that Maxwell Lord as the main villain is essentially Impractical Joker's Joe Gatto from the genie punishment. 

The chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, which really drove the first movie, is still there, but it's not enough to salvage this sequel.  For anyone who has seen the abysmal William Dozier Wonder Woman test reel from 1967, you will notice that a main aspect of it has been tweaked for the Steve Trevor character in this movie.  All in all, it is easy to see why Warners did not release this movie on its original date pre-pandemic, and once the pandemic started, decided not to ride it out for a Summer 2021 date, and rather dumped it on the HBO Max streaming service. Apparently Warners has already put Wonder Woman 3 on a fast track despite the mixed reviews for this movie. But these days, things change fast, so we'll see in time.

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