REVIEW: “Wonder Woman 1984” is a mixed-bag

“While the new DC film is flawed, it’s still wildly entertaining in parts,” writes Staff Writer Zachary Weinberger.


Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Zachary Weinberger , Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This review is an extended version of the review originally in the Jan. 11 “Catching You UP” newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

When searching up the title “Wonder Woman 1984” on Twitter, you’ll find an array of differing opinions on the film. While going on social media will always provide various viewpoints on any sort of media, it felt like I was seeing alternating tweets of people either saying the film was great or it was the worst piece of cinema ever made.

I’ll provide a take on the newest DC film that people rarely hear anymore: the movie was ok.

The sequel to director Patty Jenkins’ ultra-successful predecessor is a mixed-bag and while there are some apparent flaws, the film still has its shining moments.

However, the flick has a major identity crisis. It didn’t feel like a film set in the 80s in parts, as a lot of scenes looked like they took place in the present day. This movie suffers from what films in the 80’s go through, such as cheesy and silly plot elements. The “McGuffin” in the film could possibly be hard to get behind for viewers if they’re looking for the same tone as the first movie. The movie heavily shows off the message of hope and honesty, but to a fault, as it lacks attention to the plot which hampers it.

While there was a good opportunity to have a soundtrack with the music of the time, the film relied more on its score composed by Hans Zimmer. The score is great and one of Zimmers best works in the last couple of years, but in its two and a half hour runtime, they could’ve added to the feel of the setting with a balance of the epic score and vibrant feel of the decade.

The tone of the 2017 film never leaned on any side of the spectrum. It had its inspiring moments but also infused the presence of a dark tone as it relates to the first World War. At the end of the day, while her first journey to the new world was bleak, the uplifting message of hope and persistence was present.

A highlight of the movie is the acting performances. Gal Gadot knocks the role out of the park as she has since she debuted in 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wigg, who play villains Maxwell Lord and Cheetah respectively, are great, especially Pascal who brings a lot of energy to the movie despite the character’s lack of motivation. The same can be said with Wigg as she starts in the movie as being a shy, hermit crab that wants to embody Diana Prince.

The best part of the movie is how vulnerable Wonder Woman gets because of her actions. An always important part of a superhero movie, that a lot lack nowadays, is seeing the character grounded, leveled, and down to Earth. We see Prince needing to make sacrifices even if that means her happiness has to be traded to save the world.

It’s really compelling content, but the film doesn’t focus on that self-conflict.

Yes, the movie suffers from a lack of creative plot with weak character motivations, but it’s still an entertaining movie with energetic performances from its lead characters. The special effects aren’t next level but they’re good enough to create exciting action sequences especially in a strong third act that involves the best use of the film’s major themes of hope and compassion and brings the best out of the characters.

If you’re a fan of most movies involved in the superhero realm, this flick carries a lot of the same criticisms, especially in the villain department. However, the themes in “Wonder Woman 1984” are possibly what the world needs right now in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the political atmosphere. I can understand why some people are attached to this DC project, and in some retrospects, I share the same sentiment,

“Wonder Woman 1984” is directed by Patty Jenkins and can be seen in a movie theater near you and available on the streaming service HBO Max until Jan. 24.

Zachary Weinberger is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.