★★★✰✰ *Spoilers included
Wonder Woman 1984's long awaited release finally came on Christmas of 2020!
Overall, I gotta say that DC did an alright job with WW84. The costume design and sets were beautiful, full of color and matching well with the time period. The writing was both witty and heroic, in DC fashion and Wonder Woman had all her trademark life lessons on morality and truth.
I really enjoyed being back on Themyscira and seeing all the bad ass women who Diana was raised around and getting a deeper look into how she was shaped into Wonder Woman. The beginning scenes with a young Diana competing in an obstacle course against grown women was super cool and laid the foundation for a crucial theme in the film: all that matters is the truth and you must be brave enough to face it.
As much as I enjoyed watching Diana come to terms with this lesson, I'm not sure why Steve was brought back to teach her the lesson. Yes, he is her one true love and losing him was the hardest thing she had to endure. Yes, superheroes having a soft spot for loved ones is a consistent trope. Yes, Chris Pine is dashing..uh I mean Steve is hilarious. But did he need to come back?
My gripe with WW84 is the oppourtunity missed. Wonder Woman comes from an island of strong, fierce women who take no shit and need no men. This film even introduced Wonder Woman's arch nemesis, The Cheetah! Even with all the strong women at their disposal, the makers of this film decided to keep the two lead women at the mercy of men. Despite being women-led, WW84 barely passes the Bechdel Test.
The Cheetah is Wonder Woman's greatest enemy and yet their fight scenes don't refelct that. There was great potential for an epic battle scene and instead it was a half-awesome fight where Wonder Woman barely used her own powers, ending the fight by electrocuding Cheetah in water with a busted electrical cable. How Barbra became The Cheetah in this version was also disappointing. She did not work to find her own powers or even knowingly become a Cheetah like in the comics, she was granted her powers by a man, by Max Lord who somehow passed on a wish to her. He was supposedly able to take something from the people after granting them a wish and that is how he made Barbra into The Cheetah....but how did he trasnfer those powers to Barbra if the rule was 1 wish per person and only Max can take something from each wish? And more importantly, how did Max take cheetah powers from someone? Did a cheetah make a wish? Did he take a pet cheetah from someone? So many questions. At the end it's implied that Barbra renounces her wish and is human again, ending the existence of The Cheetah, which was a bummer.
The film begs the question of, why was this storyline chosen? I'm struggling to see how it adds to Diana's character or the DC universe as a whole. It's not connected to any future films or current shows, like Titans, and I'm not sure that we really saw much character development in Diana other than having to give Steve up...again. It's a little annoying that the women in the film couldn't have their moments without writing their stories around men, especially given it was directed by a woman. Barbra only made her wish on the Dreamstone in the first place because men wouldn't look at her or wanted to harm her. Max Lord only came into posession of the Dreamstone because Barbra was happy a man seemed attracted to her and gave it to him. No one was really outwitted in this film and the big fight scenes weren't all that interesting. The greatest fight scene happened between Diana and Max Lord's Arabic army and they weren't even crucial characters like Barbra. Also, Wonder Woman technically didn't defeat Max Lord in the end, hard to believe there would ever be a Superman movie where Superman didn't defeat the bad guy. The saving grace of the whole film was the homage to the past with an awesome Lynda Carter cameo in the end credits, bringing her on as the golden warrior of Themyscira, Asteria.
In general, the movie was not bad. It had great shots and despite the quesitonable storyline, there was an ending that felt triumphant. I don't regret seeing WW84 but I wouldn't exactly watch it again. This film was more about hard lessons and internal battles rather than external fights and ass kicking and in that respect, I think the characters did learn valuable lessons.