Wonder Woman 1984 (2020): Total Cringe-Fest (Guest Review By Ben Shane)
WW84 which is the pretty lazy title that this film presents the audience with that apparently doesn't stand for anything, is the sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman, also directed by Patty Jenkins, starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and the addition of Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal... and follows Diana Prince on her next adventure... in the 80s...
I hated the first Wonder Woman film. The DCEU has been very hit or miss for me, but I much rather the overly ambitious films that *try* to do something different for the superhero genre like Batman v Superman, or ones that ended off really working out like Joker and Birds of Prey... rather than the lifeless, bare minimal effort entries like Wonder Woman, Justice League, Shazam, and now this.
WW84 simply sucks. It easily has one of the worst, safe, uninteresting superhero screenplays I've ever seen put to film in the 20+ year rise of this genre. It's genuinely appalling how boring and LONG this 152 minute film is.
We open up with a flashback sequence of Diana's childhood in which she competes in an Olympics-type sporting event at her home realm of Themiscyra. This overlong action sequence has ZERO impact on the following film, and is one of two IMAX-shot sequences, neither of which involve and fighting, nor leave a lasting impact on the experience of the film. A waste of use for the best camera in the world.
The film that follows is safe, by the numbers family adventure film. The dialogue between our characters is the most kid-friendly, uninteresting, cringeworthy writing I've seen in a film all year. Characters are cardboard cutouts of what real characters should look and feel like. I'd like to be corrected if I'm wrong, but in my opinion, while Kristen Wiig's villainous role exists to tell an empowering, female story, I actually think the portrayal of her as a woman is quite disrespectful. I found the development of her character to portray her as weak in a completely unintentional way. Then around the midway point as she transforms herself into comic book villain Cheetah when the screenplay "redeems" this aspect of her character, it does so in the most on-the-nose manner possible (I'm specifically thinking about a scene in which she confronts a stereotypical drunk man on the street she encountered earlier in the film). The Wonder Woman character herself also just has zero depth to her, and any quality she does have to her is almost always linked to the man she is in love with (Chris Pine's character), who's arc himself makes simply no sense. The explanation as to how his character can exist in the world of the film, 60+ years after he has died in the previous film is utter bullshit, and the way he is introduced and left off in the film is absolutely forced and unsatisfying. Pedro Pascal's villain is silly and over the top as hell. The character himself sucks, but thankfully Pascal is charismatic enough to make it barely passable.
The story is bad, the characters are bad, at least it's a superhero film... it must have good action, right? No!!! Another thing the film somehow manages to screw up is miraculously not having nearly enough action setpieces, and when it does, have them to be quick, uninspired, and ugly as all hell. The green screen work throughout this entire film is ATROCIOUS. I'd like to know how much of this 200 million dollar budget was poured into our four main actors' pockets.
The 80s backdrop here also is utterly underutilized. There are far too little references to the time period other than costumes. There is a complete waste of potential here, with I believe only ONE SONG that's used from the time! This was the aspect of the film I was most excited for! I feel cheated here, as if it were a simple marketing tactic existing in hopes to capitalize off the success of something like Stranger Things.
Hans Zimmer's score is good! Easily the best aspect of the film! It's technically undeserved in my eyes!
Patty Jenkins could be doing SO MANY MORE interesting things with this massive female superhero franchise on her hands, but it comes off to me that she is either being controlled by the studio to make something vanilla and passable at the bare minimum amount of effort, or she is simply unfit to be behind the camera in what loses all potential to be a good, Hollywood blockbuster. Two Wonder Woman movies in the can now, and both of them are unfortunately shamefully made pieces of trash compared to so many other good films in this same genre.
Wonder Woman 1984 gets a 1/5
Special thanks to Ben Shane for the review. Be sure to check out his page at www.whatshouldwesee.blogspot.com