The golden lasso is back. Gestating through almost a year of movie release hell, Wonder Woman 1984, the much anticipated follow up to that 2017 DC Comic adaptation smash hit with Gal Gadot embodying Diana Prince with style, presence and accomplished sincerity is now in limited cinemas and some countries available to stream.
For the record I watched on a massive V-Max theatre experience in Sydney.
Pandemic delays aside, recreating the magic of the first film was always ambitious during a time of potential superhero film burnout.
Opening on Themyscira, the female occupied home tropical island of Amazonian gladiators, we are engulfed in an Olympics style endurance contest focussing on young Diana equally matching her elder competitors through the various physical obstacles, only to falter mentally before abruptly learning a lesson of life in the midst of finishing the contest.
This moment comes back later as a significant pot point.
An empowering message for little girls and the perfect way to start a blockbuster film.
Jumping to the wonderful year of 1984, sadly there is very little to embrace other than a few fashion observations and a trip to the mall (of the future) when Diana swings around the food court chasing Jewellery thieves and saving children.
It’s not good enough when all of the colourful advertisements pushed the retro aspect.
The wash-up of the heist is the discovery of an artefact dreamstone that grant wishes to those who touch it including Diana who misses her true love, late WW1 fighter pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
His return is explained reflectively after passing away in the first film, the opportunity for his fish out of water retro scenes are mildly comedic.
Smart resurrection move, Pine has fantastic chemistry with Gadot.
A shared moment of absolute enchantment involves flying through fireworks. A true comic book origin inspired colour pastiche.
The gem is wanted by a maniacal Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) a juiced up faux villain who seduces Diana’s clumsy new colleague Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) to obtain the relic, in an attempt to rule the world.
Barbara envy’s Diana and wishes to be more like her thus beginning her transformation throwing off the glasses and flicking her hair transforming to sleek authoritive apex predator, Cheetah.
Action sequences are sparse in the 2.5 hour running time, best in show a convoy truck chase reminding me of, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
An explanation to the much-loved invisible plane a welcomed highlight.
Impactful finale with Wonder Woman wearing ancient armour in a battle with Cheetah dazzles to a point, in darkness didn’t help excitement levels.
WW84 is definitely worth watching, I was certainly entertained putting reality aside, smiling through this forgettable superhero mashup.
Such a high bar set in the original, characters and story needed more pizazz.
Gadot; faultless, made for the role.
Pascal; annoyingly fine.
Wiig; presents strong acting, real charismatic development until transforming to cirque du soleil inspired computer-generated keyboard cat.
A vivid Gabriella Wilde, although underused brilliant in a minor role and the great Robin Wright as Aunty Antiope, remains a timeless screen presence.
Pounding orchestral Hans Zimmer score as you may expect, truly exasperating.
Considering the cool reimagined ‘Blue Monday‘ beats in the trailer, almost unacceptable for a movie set in 1984, there was only one retro song featured in the entire duration (Welcome to the Pleasuredome – Frankie Goes to Hollywood) played in the background of a party scene most notable for the spectacular elongated white dress worn by Diana.
In fact, costume design from Lindy Hemming substantially detailed, so Oscar worthy.
Stick around for a mid-end-credits scene with a welcomed link to early era Wonder Woman.
Fantasy, Adventure | USA, 2019 | 12A | Cinema, Digital HD | 16th December 2020 (UK) | Warner Bros Pictures | |Dir. Patty Jenkins | Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Kirsten Wiig, Robin Wright, Connie Nielson.