An Overhyped Mess That Brought the DCU Back to the Bottom
Barrett Lathrop '21
The first time I watched the trailer to Wonder Woman 1984 I felt like DC had finally started to turn it around with movies after the likes of Shazam, and the first Wonder Woman film. The trailer was colorful, fun, mysterious, and entertaining as it really gave me that comic book vibe of Wonder Woman battling crime in the 1980s. But, the movie is nothing like the trailer other than being colorful which I thought made the movie look like a comic book came to life (a cool idea for a nerd like me).
It starts off strong with a pretty awesome mall battle which actually takes place in an abandoned mall (Landmark Mall) right on Duke and Van Dorn street in Virginia, not far from SSSAS. The battle reminded me of the Wonder Woman that empowers younger girls to be different and strong in today's world. It was a great way to start off the film for me, but unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.
There are two main baddies in the film and the first one is Maxwell Lord along with the famous Cheetah. As a big DC fan, I’ve seen Cheetah in action many times through comic books and animated DC series on television. I was excited to see what she would look like in the movie, and how she would be used in the movie. Well, I was extremely disappointed with how she is used and her CGI is horrible. She looks like a big orange pillow fighting Gal Gaddot and I just couldn’t take Kristen Wig seriously as Cheetah (please stick to comedy Kristen).
Now I’ll come back to Cheetah in a bit, but I first have to discuss Maxwell Lord and his power of granting wishes throughout the movie. Maxwell Lord, an unfamiliar character to some ordinary fans of the DC universe, is the other main villain in the movie who uses his emotions of greed and lust to drive him throughout the movie. My main issue with him is the lack of emotional connection between him and his kid as the movie’s script is very below average. I never felt like Lord’s child had any impact on his character as I forgot he actually had a kid until the end of the movie.
I really enjoy Pedro Pascal as an actor as he shines in Narcos, and has been noteworthy lately due to his performance in The Mandalorian. But, the script ruins him in this movie, and by the time he actually retrieves the power of granting everyone’s wishes I could have cared less about him and his quest.
I will say this though, the one great thing about the amulet that granted wishes is that it brings back Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. In my opinion, he is considered to be the bright spot of the film as the love connection between Diana and Steve transitions beautifully between the two Wonder Woman movies. You could feel the powerful love between the two of them whenever they share the screen together, and I found it extremely sad to see Steve Trevor go when Wonder Woman has to give up her wish of having Steve alive. Pine truly carries himself throughout the film as the rest of the actors and actresses seemed to take a back seat to his supporting role.
I will now clarify what the wish power is as Lord gains the power to grant any wish that anyone ever wanted. All he had to do is touch the person making the wish and have them say, “I wish...”. Lord travels the world granting wish after wish that put him in a powerful spot which eventually leads to him becoming president of the US. But as he grants more and more wishes, the world starts to crumble around him as anarchy breaks out amongst civilians. Soon, he garners the power to plug himself into every screen in the world as billions of people start to have wishes granted.
Now to loop back to Cheetah, she wishes earlier in the film to be an apex predator, a dominant force that leads to her transformation as Cheetah. One, as a DC fan, this is not her origin story and I have no idea why DC decided that a wish-granting amulet would be an interesting or good way to change Cheetah’s backstory. Two, her CGI is ridiculous as she looks like a big yellow fluff ball attacking Wonder Woman (Cheetah also isn’t completely naked in the comics). Then her fight with Wonder Woman is horribly choreographed as it’s very boring and short (only about 5 minutes).
Then at the conclusion of the movie we see Lord’s forgotten son enter the picture as he searches for his dad in a destroyed Washington DC. Lord eventually reverses all the wishes which leads to the Cheetah losing her powers. SHE HAS NO MORE POWERS!!!! Remember this is 1984 and I would think she’s about 25-30 in the movie which means that in the present day she’s 61-66!!! So, I guess she won’t be returning to the DCU anytime soon or ever again even though she’s Wonder Woman’s best villain! And as much as I hated Kristen Wig in the movie, I don’t hate the actual character Cheetah who is an integral piece to the Wonder Woman universe. Gosh, this left me outraged and confused as I thought the DCU was building up to creating a team to rival the Justice League. Well, they just lost Wonder Woman’s best villain, so great job.
Back to the film and its message, I found the message very fortune cookie-like as the story of the movie is that you can’t get everything you want without consequences. Every granted wish came with a price to pay as Wonder Woman’s are her powers, and Lords is his connection with his child. It is an idea that would bode well for a cartoon movie, not a live-action movie that had enough time and hype to be a top 5 movie of the year.
This movie is one of the most unforgettable of the entire year as I give this a 1.5 out of 5. You won’t find much joy in it as a comic book fan and even less so as an average moviegoer. Stay clear from this movie and the poor acting from Gal Gadot and Kristen Wig (Chris Pine as I said is perfect).