It’s hard to believe that the DCEU is so lost in its path to compete with Marvel… it’s quite embarrassing that so far, there are only two good films on its run (Wonder Woman and Shazam), and considering both of them “good” but not “great”, because their many flaws.
It’s even harder to believe, that they would take so many wrong choices with “Wonder Woman 1984”, coming obviously, most of them, by studio executives obsessed with following “Shazam” and the MCU line of action / comedy / poignancy…
But the hardest to believe, is that professional film critics are giving good and very good reviews to this disaster, this trainwreck of a film, that never gets to take the audience as intelligent or mature. I am afraid that it is not possible to fully analyze why this film is pure garbage, without huge spoilers – so I will leave them, to the end… mild spoilers in the outline of the plot, though.
It’s 1984 and after an admittedly exciting opening sequence in Themyscira, that would deliver the key – hypocritical – message of the movie (or at least, one of them)… that cheating, you can’t acquire real success. Sounds familiar? Look at the year… 1984, Reagan is President and Greed, for a lack of a better word, is good. So yeah, we are treated to a Donald Trump lookalike as main villain of the film, and that holds one of the many overused clichés that hit us like a sledgehammer throughout this overlong movie: he has a child that wishes that he could spend more time with his father. But that would come a bit later in the film, after an embarrassing resolution of a set piece in a mall, culminating in a callback to one of Michael Jackson’s most infamous incidents, and that honestly feels stupid, force and even out of character itself, when watching how the scene plays out. It’s also the first nod, that Wonder Woman is now Spider Woman… yes, you read right. The Mary Sueing of Diana Prince just started, and we aren’t even 15 minutes into the film.
Because new powers will come and call us back from other superhero movies… sometimes better (Dr. Strange’s cape who has its own life and intelligence, is copied to… the Lasso of Truth seems to have a life ot its own as well), sometimes worse (now Diana, has one of the abilities of Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman). It doesn’t matter that this film is set in 1984 and those powers would have been so useful in Batman vs. Superman and Justice League, but never addressed, creating a continuity plothole worthy of the worst Fox X-Men films. But let’s dive back into the film… this is the 80’s and Barbara (Kristen Wiig) is clumsy and not specially socially gifted, so she’s introduced in the most cliched slapstick and overused trope: the falling of her papers. Sigh. Of course she wears glasses and has no sense of fashion, but don’t worry, soon she would discover that it’s-oh!-so-simple! to make a wonderful, empowered woman out of herself (so easy, that you want to smash your forehead to a wall!). But she’s shown to be light-hearted, a good soul, and unaware of the loss of her inocence… One of the few things that I can praise out of Wonder Woman 1984 is how it works as a parable of the obsession with success and cruelty developing through the 80s, with the Yuppie culture, but it is so poorly written, so puerile, that becomes annoying, and ultimately hypocrital, as the very own film does exactly what it critiques (anything for success), never trusting the audience or having internal logic, or coherence.
I was really worried how they were going to bring back Chris Pine’s character and I have to say… they nailed it. However, this brings a deplorable plot point that I see no one discuss, and I will discuss on the full spoiler section… The other male character, is basically Donald Trump, but with some actual love for his son. As in the also horrible “Marriage Story”, the son is just a tool to manipulate the audience, and with no real personality beyond a basic outline (I miss dad), and that brings a couple of really embarrassing moments, specially at the end.
I don’t really want to delay it more… from here, now, SPOILERS for the whole “film”.
Without any order: Wonder Woman uses the lasso of truth as Spider-man uses his webs… but with the difference that she uses them with CLOUDS helping herself to basically fly like Superman, long distances. Yes, you read right. Wonder Woman can also turn things invisible – therefore the Invisible Plane! – something that is used once and never used again, despite the fact that it could have been useful. Chris Pine has zero problems to fly a 80s fighter, despite being a pilot in World War I. Not only that, but as they see some beautiful fireworks, they decide to fly the invisible plane THROUGH THEM, which are – remember – rockets exploding. Barbara soon developes into a powerful woman, but AGAIN, another cliché with the revenge to a drunk abuser (first time she was saved by a Deus ex Machina by Diana)… paralelly, Pascal’s character grows obsessed with accumulating power and begins losing health, but it would still take him long to understand he can requires health in exchange for the desires… pretty dumb con man, isn’t he? When Diana learns how to “fly”, it looks awesome and sounds spectacular – but unless I heard wrongly, did they use an excerpt of John Murphy’s score to “Sunshine”? – and also feels stupid and completely Mary Sue fan fiction (specially as Diana had never been shown in any movie that happens afterwards, doing so, quite on the contrary). We find out that the ultimate villain’s plan involves a technology – also “ex Machina” – that allows him to introduce himself into EVERY technological device in the planet – even if switched off, it seems – to acquire more power… if that sounds familiar to you, yes, that is an iteration of Batman Forever’s Enigma plot to take over. But of course, there is a scene in Egypt with callbacks to both X-Men Apocalypse (bad CGI disaster scene) and World War Z (Jerusalem’s wall)… and how they get to Egypt is over-the-top ridiculous… it seems that the planes in exposition in the Smithsonian – Diana conveniently works there and has full access to them – are always ready to be flew, with the tanks completely full, and that the fighter they choose, however, has a flying range that allows them to go to Cairo, from DC, no escales needed… and they even have time to enjoy themselves, invisible, going through fireworks that could seriously damage their vehicle. Wow. Cheetah and Diana’s final fight becomes first a dark revision of Venom’s climatic fight, and suddenly, they go electric and underwater, as in Ang Lee’s Hulk final comfrontation… ugh! And Pascal’s character, also, somehow, can hear his son, whatever far away he is, and is able to find him without any indication, in the epilogue… But the most important thing… the treatment of Pine’s character “host”. Yes, the spirit of Steve Trevor is possesing an alive man… while we have the mirror fashion scene with role reversal from the original film, with Trevor adjusting to the 80s fashion, this brings an issue, a moral issue, that is never addressed. Both Steve and Diana are literally raping an stranger, by having sex. Yes, he is unaware of it, but I find it disturbing that a film written, directed by a woman, would go so merrily on sexual abuse and the treatment of a human body as an object. This is how dumb this film is.
Summary: Wonder Woman 1984 is a corporate product, that does not care about its audience, and trust them to be completely oblivious of coherence, without actual care on making anything with real sense, or delivering an important message with an approach wiser than the one you would give to an 8 years old. Avoid, or just use it for a drinking game, to have a shot, anytime anything stupid, puerile, incoherent or embarrasing happens. I guess most will be drunk, 45 minutes into the film. It’s hard to say this, but Suicide Squad was actually better. And Batman & Robin looks like a masterpiece, beside (at least, B&R was Schumacher’s labor of love to Adam West’s run, but with his own personality imprinted, and thus, was a brave, fascinating wreck of a film, that I like to enjoy again and again, for maybe the wrong reasons?). I doubt I will rewatch WW84 more than once or twice in the rest of my life… it’s just overlong, puerile, subpar, and coward.