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Wonder Woman 1984 provides a solid sequel hurt by a bloated runtime

by D.J. Rivera 4 months ago in movie / review

Wonder Woman 1984 proves to be the DCEU's first good sequel and despite being a bit too long, offers fans an exceptional superhero movie experience. 

Image from Wonder Woman 1984, Gal Gadot

The following is a spoiler free review of the film Wonder Woman 1984.

The ninth DCEU film has been delayed so many times it seems like the highly anticipated title was announced ages ago. Now that Wonder Woman 1984 has finally arrived, fans have the option of viewing the movie in theaters or in the comfort of their own home compliments of HBO Max.

The first Wonder Woman flick came at a troubling time for the struggling cinematic universe after extremely disappointing showings from Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. After her debut in Dawn of Justice, which felt somewhat tacked on, things weren't looking great for the infamous DC heroine.

Most people would have assumed the DCEU days were numbered, but then Patty Jenkins defied the odds. The Gal Gadot starrer was a critically acclaimed box office gem and what many consider to be one of the best films of 2017.

Image from Wonder Woman 1984, Gal Gadot

Unfortunately, her next appearance in Justice League wasn't an ideal endeavor as the film turned out to be all kinds of terrible, and many of us wish we could erase it from our memories. That travesty of cinema was the last time Diana appeared on screen, which was both a blessing and a curse as no one had any idea what to expect when the long-awaited Wonder Woman 1984 would finally make its debut.

The opening sequence takes fans back to one of the highlights of the first film with a flashback to Diana's youth, complete with Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen's return in their respective Amazon roles. Then from there, audiences are taken back to the glorious and vibrant time period known as the '80s.

There can be many things said about the film, but no one can deny the incredibly impressive attention to detail when it comes to the costume and production design. All the locations are well dressed for the decade, and everyone is appropriately dressed in some nostalgia-inspiring attire, which allows the film to somewhat stand on its own while still existing within the DCEU.

There are plenty of moments that question how no one except for Lex Luthor had ever heard of her before Dawn of Justice's events, but there is an ample effort to preserve that point of the story, which is nice to see from the writers. There aren't many other hints to a bigger superhero world, which makes sense given none of the other heroes are around.

There is a Black Adam Easter egg that only savvy DC fans will pick up on first glance that could be a bigger deal in the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson adaptation coming sometime down the line or just a nice nod to the comics. Only time will tell.

The fact that the story is very self-contained and focuses solely on Diana is really the way to go for the DCEU and makes the experience of Wonder Woman 1984, whether at home or in the theater, a pleasant, worthwhile ordeal. But there some downsides that don’t necessarily hurt the movie, but it certainly doesn’t help it either.

Image from Wonder Woman 1984, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine

The means in which Chris Pine returns as well as the rest of the moving force behind the movie's plot is a bit odd and at times can feel a bit out of place with the rest of the universe created. Thankfully, the rest of what is going on in the motion picture makes up for the "magical" aspect of the cinematic affair.

If you can get past the strange Harry Potter-esque means as to which the movie's central conflict presents itself, then there shouldn't be any issues. If that's too tough a pill to swallow, then this will be a rough outing.

The chemistry between Steve Trevor and Diana is still magnetic, but it doesn't churn out the romantic comedy laughs that are obviously intended by some of their interactions. To be fair, nobody bought tickets to this show for the jokes, so the ones that don't land don't deter the rest of the flick in any way.

Image from Wonder Woman 1984, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine

One of the story's villains, Max Lord, feels more like a Batman villain at times, like someone kids would watch the caped crusader takedown after school on an episode of Batman: The Animated series. His nefarious doings are kept in check thanks to the actions of Barbara Minerva, aka Cheetah.

While it's not great how long it takes her to become Cheetah when it does happen, it is a rewarding thing to see. Both Kristen Wiig's performance and the look chosen for the infamous DC villain's live-action debut are much better than expected.

The final boss battle in the first Wonder Woman wasn't anything to write home about, and thankfully the sequel does not make the same mistake. Wonder Woman and Cheetah's exchange is outstanding, and for the first time, it feels like the legendary Amazon's abilities, powers, and strength were finally tested.

Another great thing about Wonder Woman 1984 is that a lot more elements from the comics the Amazonian is notoriously associated with are very well-executed in the film and her action sequences are spectacular. Her new armor seen first in the previews is amazing and contains a genuinely fascinating origin story adding significant value to the entire story.

Image from Wonder Woman 1984, Gal Gadot

As far as the cast goes, Gal Gadot once again proves she was the perfect choice to play Wonder Woman in her first run on the big screen, and the dedication she has put into the part really shows on screen. Gadot adds a lot more depth to Diana this time around and offers a flat out brilliant turn from start to finish.

Chris Pines’ return as the fallen Steve Trevor is a much-welcomed addition to the throwback vibes the sequel continually puts out, and he plays the quirky, fish put of water sidekick like a pro. His charms and charisma make the odd circumstances of his appearance much more comfortable to absorb.

Maxwell Lord offers The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal the opportunity to showcase a character the likes of which fans have never seen him endure. While his take was brilliantly portrayed, it was nice that it was regulated to a supporting role as it was somewhat repetitive and felt a bit silly.

At times he seems like a compelling character, and in others, his antics come off like a bit from the special features on the Deadpool blu ray. Less than ideal writing aside, Pascal makes it work and does a stellar job as the bad guy promising to grant everyone's wishes.

Image from Wonder Woman 1984, Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal

Kristen Wiig deserves a lot more credit for her range as an actress than she gets. After witnessing her turn in Wonder Woman 1984, it becomes apparently clear that the SNL alum definitely has a lot more to offer than just comedy. Her run as Cheetah is exceptional, and she should be revered as an excellent DC villain.

Without spoiling the post-credit scene, all that can be said is definitely stick around as it is unbelievably worth it and a remarkably satisfying moment for longtime fans of the DCEU and the character.

The only thing that really hurts the film is the runtime. The film is entirely too long, and to be honest, unless it’s an Avengers: Endgame level of an event, no superhero cinematic endeavor should be over two hours. They have blatantly showcased their lack of desire to utilize complex storytelling like in The Dark Knight trilogy in this new era of comic-book adaptation movies, so there is no need for a bloated, almost three-hour experience.

Whether fans decide to go see the movie in theaters or on HBO Max, they will not be disappointed when they check out Wonder Woman 1984. This will only heighten fans' eagerness for the Snyder Cut as well as knowledge regarding the future of Wonder Woman, who should honestly be the leader of the Justice League after being the only member of the trinity to shell out two successful films in the entire cinematic universe.

Wonder Woman 1984 is in theaters now and will be available for 31 days after the theatrical release date on HBO Max.

For more stories, articles and great content make sure to check out WrittenByDJR.com and ProducedByDJR.com. Also make sure to check out my work on Vimeo, Amazon Prime, and on Twitter @WritttenByDJR.

moviereview
D.J. Rivera
D.J. Rivera
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D.J. Rivera

For more stories, articles and great content make sure to check out WrittenByDJR.com and ProducedByDJR.com. Also make sure to check out my work on Vimeo, Amazon Prime, and on Twitter @WritttenByDJR.

See all posts by D.J. Rivera

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