Saturday, December 26, 2020

Wonder Woman 84

I have been waiting a long time to see this film. It was a cultural victim of a pandemic that closed theatres in May of this year which effectively halted distribution of a movie that was suppose to close out the summer movie blockbuster season. In a normal year it would have and been a HUGE hit to the cheers of many. That of course did not happen and I had to wait until today, Christmas Day to finally see the film.

As it is often with such things, the moment was worth the wait. I loved this movie. It was a better, stronger, more confident sequel that I could hoped for. It was inventive and took a chance with someone like Kristen Wigg (who is more known for her comedy) to hold up her end in the all woman battle between the Cheetah and Wonder Woman, one of the few such combinations in the the comic books.

The movie begins in 1984, where an eternally young, Diana is working at a museum in DC and doing her superhero thing on the side.Diana spends the beginning acting like a pretty girl who is dismissive of other women and still pining away for a boy who has been dead for 60 years. It's hard to believe that someone who looks that good would ever be alone for very long. 

But of course no one is good enough for a goddess super hero but her one true love, Steve Trevor so she is sad and in a selfish moment does the worst mistake she ever made. It was annoying to see Diana like that that is only the beginning of the story and the story is fantastic and exciting and has a strong emotional heart for even the bad guys. It's one of those 'teachable moment' kind of movies.

I loved the scene that shows a younger Diana competing against other adult Amazons in an Olympic style competition. She is so spunky and determined that I could watch a whole series about Young Diana and her adventures on Themyscira. Even a little animated series maybe? Huh? maybe? Her and her horse? And her hot Aunt? And her hot Moms? Maybe?

Pedro Pascal is unrecognizable as Maxwell Lord, a shady TV pitchman who is after a powerful wishing stone that gives the holder of it anything they want but, of course, there is a price. Soon all the wishing and it's consequences spin out of control. It's the selfish desires that always hurt people in the end and this film is all about accepting who you are and taking your time being 'great' because everything comes in it's own time if it comes at all. 

His scheme spins out of control like every evil villains scheme should but almost never does and our Pedro has a fun character to play which he does to great relish. He is quickly becoming one of my favorites since this role and of course his role in the Mandalorian. He was also in The Great Wall with Matt Damon early in his career which was something I just was reminded of. I liked him in that movie too.

It's a nice message and gives the film a direction to follow that never wavers or stumbles. The film was two and a half hours long but never dragged like so many other of the live action DC films of late have dragged. I also enjoyed all the 1984 references from the music, to the clothing, the hairstyles and especially the vibe that a whole new future was just around the corner.

Diana of course wishes for Steve to return in a moment of self pity and he does just that. His reactions to the 'future' are funny because they are so true. The 80s were extreme in many ways. And he does love his fanny pack a bit too much. It's nice to see Chris Pine playing Chris Pine but at this point he can only play that character. And I also give him credit for resisting riding a motorcycle in another film when there were ample good opportunities for him to do so. In fact, had they introduced a motorcycle gag into the film I would have laughed big time.

Watching Gal Gadot in action as Wonder Woman is as thrilling as ever. She has become the life action version of my beloved Diana. Sometimes an role finds it's perfect actress and that is Gal Gadot. She is a force of nature. Like Wonder Woman, every part of her is attractive and that is why I love the character so much and her portrayal of her. She credits her skills as a dancer and soldier is the Israeli army for allowing her to perform her stunts at such a high level especially after being injured several times on set. 

People don't give her enough credit for being a very good actress which is not always easy for a woman a beautiful as she is. Her star status is unquestioned and for me, my admiration for her has only grown since seeing this film. Her emotional apex was very moving to me in that way that a great comic book can move me. It was a remarkable feeling that only another Wonder Woman freak can understand. You will all know the moment I am talking about once you see the film. No spoilers here.

The story itself is a clever little fable about making sure you know what you are wishing for because you might just get it. There is always a price to pay for using something evil like a Monkey's Paw which takes from you as much as it gives. 

I really wondered how they were going to resolve the third act and I was not let down. This is what happens when you make sure you have a good STORY to tell if you are going to put all this effort into making the film in the first place. It's a sequel as great as the original if not greater because pulling off the same sense of awe as the first movie gave us was a difficult path to begin with. I was thrilled with how this one turned out. It was worth the wait to see it.

Oh and that final credit scene gave me the goosebumps. Well done all round ladies. Patty Jenkin, the Director deserves to take a lot of praise for the film which left me feeling good to be a girl, even though I am not one. I can only imagine how many little girls will see themselves as being a little more powerful after experiencing the movie. 

Representation matters.

Kristen Wiig is fantastic as Barbara Minerva/ The Cheetah, probably Wonder Woman's oldest villain from the comic books. 

Her transformation into a human/cheetah hybrid is a nice piece of CGI and stunt work. For the first time Diana is deprived of her powers which turn her into a punching bag for the Cheetah whose power is growing by the second. When they get to battling in the movie final fight scene it's truly a dynamic bit of business as both are the match for the other, especially when Diana shows up in her magical golden armor, another fantastic idea and the best action figure I have bought in a long time. Thrilling would be the word for it. So well filmed and animated.

In the final analysis I rethought my review because many I know online, hated the film and felt let down. I am happy to say my experience was totally different. I don't think I could stand it if I hated this movie after thinking about it and waiting for it for so long. If anything my anticipation should have made me more prone to a huge let down.

I loved it. Go figure.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I'll watch it in due course when it makes it to the streaming services "for free" in a few months.

Chase March said...

My wife and I saw it last night and loved it too. Then I saw the hate online this morning and didn't understand where it was coming from. So I ran over to the Cave of Cool to see your thoughts. Glad we align on this. You always have the best reviews!