You know the thing where if you wait for a thing to happen for too long, you end up hyping it in your mind and raising the level of your expectations. Wonder Woman 1984, unfortunately, got the same treatment after it went through a gazillion delays. During the delays, in order to ensure that people don’t lose interest in the film, director Patty Jenkins and the cast gave countless interviews, dropping not-so-subtle hints as to what the story was going to be in order to keep the hype up. But call our heightened expectations the reason, WW 1984 just doesn’t work.
When Wonder Woman released back in 2017, it was an instant hit amidst the dozen failed DCEU projects. What made it work? While Gal Gadot as the Amazonian Princess was definitely a deciding factor, it was how the story was woven together with just the right elements that it made the first successful and fan-favourite DC film in a long time. We felt Diana’s passion to save innocents, the fact that the stakes were high wasn’t just verbalized- it was in the air, it had just the right amount of witty humour, and well, a dashing Chris Pine. All Wonder Woman 1984 manages to get is Pine and even he is all kinds of wrong.
So, to summarize, Wonder Woman 1984 is set in 1984 (well, duh!) and follows Diana who has shifted from defeating Gods to stopping small-time, rather goofy criminals, who carry out a botched-from-the-beginning heist in a jewellery store in a mall. And no, unlike Superman, Diana doesn’t alter her looks to appear different- she relies on quietly whispering to those she saves that her presence is a secret between them and her, just expecting that the dozens of others watching her will just turn a blind eye. And that’s not the only liberty the story takes.
We are soon introduced to Barbara Minerva, played by Kristen Wiig who has a PhD of sorts in playing initially unattractive women who progressively attain the title of being “hot” and confident. Given the dozen or so interviews about her character and the trailers, we already know what she is going to end up being in Wonder Woman 1984.
One of the early attractions of the film was Pedro Pascal’s casting as the villain Maxwell Lord. And he delivers on that, to an extent. Maxwell Lord is famous for his TV infomercials and is an ambitious but charismatic man who can win over people with his words. But he has his eyes on a certain artefact, which ends up being the source of trouble for the world and also for the plot of Wonder Woman 1984.
If the story before this was too disjointed, it becomes downright dozzy now. Jenkins has literally thrown caution to the wind and made countless assumptions which we can’t verbalize without robbing the film of what little charm it has. But what we can tell is that while Wonder Woman preferred to tell a story, Wonder Woman 1984 is more interested in being melodramatic and oh so cheesy.
To make matters worse, while the first Wonder Woman didn’t earn many brownie points for its CGI action scenes, Wonder Woman 1984 is just bad with its visual effects and only ends up making Gadot look really uncomfortable. The action is fuzzy, the characters are badly written- even Diana who is the star of the story which literally jumps from one point to another without anything connecting the narrative. Looks like we need to get our hands on that Lasso of Truth and use it on Jenkins to know what on Earth she was thinking while making this disjointed, cliched bore of a film.