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George At 

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Wonder Woman 1984

WONDER WOMAN 1984 opens with a rousing ten-minute sequence showing Diana Prince as a child, competing in an Olympic like series of feats. You don’t have to understand the rules to be immediately pulled into the action. It’s one of a few terrific set pieces that are massive in scale and incredibly well executed. But by the end of the film, it might be the quiet moments you remember most.

It’s the neon tinted, parachute pants adorned mid 80’s years, with a Blockbuster on every corner and a yuppie on every sidewalk. Diana is ageless and enjoying her days protecting citizens with the same “flash and she’s gone” speed that Superman often displayed in Richard Donner’s original film. Wonder Woman (the stunning Gal Gadot) foiling a jewelry store robbery in a mega mall is as much fun as the film offers and its damn near perfect.

If the film stalls in its bulky middle, its due to the introduction of at least one too many villains.

Kristin Wiig seems to be recycling some old SNL characters as meek lab assistant Barbara Minerva. Desperate for attention, she’s thrilled to meet Diana and work with her to discover more about a mysterious ancient artifact that seems to have been buried on purpose to hide its hypnotic powers. As she evolves, Wiig just seems uncomfortable and very miscast in the role.

Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) is smarmy 80’s TV pitchman Maxwell Lord, promising riches and wishes to anyone gullible enough to send him money. He feels a lot like Lex Luthor in Donner’s Superman to me….

Lord seems very focused on Barbara’s artifact, which emerges as an ancient spin on the old “Monkey’s Paw” story in which you can have anything you wish for, but it won’t come without a price.

That fairly simple premise is blown up into a global tale of greed and power with planet ending implications.

I’ll say no more about where it leads.

Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor, a fact which had me very mystified since he died in the last film, many years before this one takes place. Pine and Gadot have terrific chemistry together and they build nicely off the events of the last Wonder Woman film.

Robin Wright is excellent as Antiope and the entire massive cast delivers, as do the special effects and sound design teams.

A throwback to some of the earliest elements of the Wonder Woman story, Max Lord and The Cheetah are interesting, but the last half feels overstuffed with villains to foil.

I LOVED the entire “Raiders” throwback armored vehicle chase/battle through the desert of Egypt. LOVED Trevor and Diana’s jet fighter rides through Washington DC on July 4th, 1984 and the terrific mid-credits sequence. And how about the first appearance of WW’s famous mode of transportation…….excellent.

Hans Zimmer’s score is terrific, getting me excited for what he’ll bring to next year’s OO7 film when it finally comes out.

The film was made before 2020, pre-Covid, but somehow delivers the perfectly delivered message of hope in its final scenes. Perhaps because it wasn’t written in 2020, it’s never heavy handed or preachy, it’s just SO damned hopeful.

We really enjoyed finally getting to see WW84 after so many release date delays this year. The 4K, Dolby Atmos mix on HBO MAX was excellent.

When you finish watching it, consider the opening scene and the final mid-credit scene. Damn fine bookends for the WW legacy.

Gal Gadot is the closest thing we have to a classic movie star right now, throwing the whole movie on her gold-winged back and soaring off with it.

It's just too bad that the film never quite rises up as a whole to meet her.

WW84 flies to an enjoyable, but bloated C+.

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