WONDER WOMAN 1984: 6 Things That Worked And 4 That Didn't - Possible SPOILERS
Wonder Woman 1984 arrives in UK cinemas and U.S. theaters/HBO Max on Christmas Day, and we're now taking a closer look at what did and didn't work (with very minor spoilers) in the DC Comics sequel...
Wonder Woman 1984 is the biggest superhero movie of 2020, and while it's only the second comic book adaptation to hit the big screen this year, it's an undeniably wonder-ful way to end a terrible 12 months.
You can find out more on why in our review for Patty Jenkins' DC Comics sequel, but we're now breaking down everything that did and didn't work to give you a better idea of what to expect this Christmas. We've kept spoilers to a minimum here, only really touching on plot points you'll have seen addressed in trailers and interviews rather than revealing any big twists or the ending!
If you don't want to know anything, though, you're best coming back to this feature later on.
However, you'll definitely have a better idea of what to expect from Wonder Woman 1984 after taking a look through this feature. While there's a lot to love about this movie, there are a few things that don't quite manage to stick the landing, and we're not shying away from looking at both.
To have a read through this feature, all you guys need to do is click the "Next" button below!
Did Work: The New "No Man's Land" Scene(s)
The "No Man's Land" scene in 2017's Wonder Woman was filmmaking at its best, and it was never going to be easy for Patty Jenkins to recapture that magic in the upcoming sequel.
Well, she manages to do so not once, but twice here. The first comes when the weakened Diana Prince (her powers are fading following Steve Trevor's return) battles Maxwell Lord's private army in the Middle East. Doing what she can to stop them, that now classic theme from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays in the background as the Amazon proves why she's a hero.
The second is when Wonder Woman's powers start returning to her, and she runs through Washington DC before taking flight for the first time. It's a breathtaking, must-see sequence.
Didn't Work: Wonder Woman Vs. Cheetah
Wonder Woman 1984 devotes a lot of time to Dr. Barbara Minerva's transformation into Cheetah, and Kristen Wiig does a phenomenal job playing this character while taking her down a dark path.
While the moment she decides to undergo one final transformation does feel earned thanks to what's come before, the battle between Diana and Cheetah majorly disappoints. The only character here capable of taking the hero on in a fight, it's a shame that this is less of an epic fight scene, and more of a technical piece of filmmaking seemingly paying homage to Cirque du Soleil.
The scene taking place at night doesn't really help matters either. Ultimately, it just doesn't work, and ends up feeling like a waste of the Golden Eagle armour as well (we'll get to that a little later).
Did Work: The 1980s Aesthetic
The 1980s have been overused to the point of it just feeling tedious in recent years (we can seemingly blame the success of Netflix's Stranger Things for that), so there will no doubt be plenty of you who aren't overly excited about Wonder Woman 1984 taking place in, well, 1984!
Patty Jenkins does something unique with that aesthetic, though, making it more than just a backdrop.
In fact, there are times when this sequel feels like a blockbuster which would have been released during that period, and that's a real credit to the filmmaker. When Wonder Woman first comes on the scene to save some hostages during a jewellery robbery in a mall, it's cheesy good fun, and the visuals are amazing. Rather than jumping to the present, we'd love to see Jenkins tackle the 90s!
Did Work: Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord
Every great superhero movie needs a strong villain and, as mentioned, Dr. Barbara Minerva fits the bill (it's only when she undergoes that animalistic transformation the character disappoints).
As for Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord...well, The Mandalorian star really can do no wrong. Lord is someone desperate to be a success and make his son proud, especially after a difficult childhood of his own. This take on the villain is far more nuanced than his comic book counterpart, and infinitely more interesting. He's well-written, but Pascal's performance is what makes Lord soar.
So much more than the cheesy bad guy the trailers have teased, Lord makes for a terrific big bad, and the actor really leans into creating a Donald Trump-like businessman from this period of time.
Didn't Work: The Sequel's MacGuffin
So, there are some great baddies in Wonder Woman 1984, but what are they after? Looking to turn his failing business around, Maxwell Lord tracks down an ancient artefact which can grant him any wish he wants. The problem is, getting your wish comes with a catch (in his case, his health).
For Diana, it's her powers, and for Barbara, her humanity and inherent goodness. That all works pretty well, but ultimately, a wish-granting rock being used as the MacGuffin is...well, kind of lame.
It's all a little too convenient, and as the movie progresses, it becomes harder to understand how it actually works. This is by no means something that "breaks" this sequel, but there were surely better ways to handle Steve Trevor's return and the good doctor's transformation into Cheetah!
Did Work: Steve Trevor's Return
Talking of Steve Trevor, while the means of his resurrection are a tad disappointing, everything else works perfectly. Chris Pine is even better here than he was in 2017, and clearly having a lot of fun portraying a Steve who is quite literally discovering a whole new world seventy years after his death.
His enthusiasm for the way things have changed is infectious, and there are a lot of great laughs to be had from watching Steve get used to his surroundings (and this decade's unique fashion).
Reminding Diana what makes her such a great hero, the character is crucial to this adventure. When it comes to a highlight, though, the duo flying above Washington D.C. as fireworks go off around them is a stunning scene and one which will leave you really rooting for them both to get a happy ending.
Did Work: The Action Scenes
Director Patty Jenkins is getting ready to start shooting Rogue Squadron for Lucasfilm, and believe us when we say that the filmmaker couldn't be a better choice to tackle a Star Wars movie.
Despite some minor pitfalls here and there, Wonder Woman 1984 never disappoints when it comes to the action scenes. Yes, that Cheetah battle won't work for everyone, but it is exciting, and a solid piece of filmmaking. Aside from that, however, every other battle and action scene is a sight to behold.
The White House fight is one that stands out, but it's probably still Wonder Woman taking flight for the first time and using the Lasso of Truth to ride the lightning which will resonate with many.
Didn't Work: The Golden Eagle Armour
This is more of a did and didn't work, but we can't help but express disappointment with the use of Diana Prince's Golden Eagle armour in Wonder Woman 1984 (even if it is ultimately a minor complaint).
Factoring into the sequel's marketing campaign since day one, it looked a lot like this eye-catching suit would have a huge role to play in the movie. Instead, it gets about as much screentime as Cheetah...which is to say, not much! It's a real shame as the suit looks amazing in action too.
Was it only included as an excuse to sell more merch and freshen up Diana's look in marketing materials? Quite possibly, but we just wish the Golden Eagle armour could have been a bigger part of the story.
Did Work: A Powerful, Emotional Storyline
When those first Wonder Woman 1984 reactions surfaced, there were people saying the sequel left them in tears. It seemed like hyperbole at its finest, but they might have actually been on to something.
This sequel delivers a powerful, emotional storyline which adds depth to its four leads in a meaningful way. Diana and Steve's romance is very much at the heart of this movie, while Maxwell Lord and Dr. Barbara Minerva are both relatable villains whose motivations aren't that hard to understand.
They're sympathetic, and that makes everything that plays out here land just a little bit harder. Needless to say, if you're a crier during movies, then prepare yourself for the way things wrap up here.
Didn't Work: CGI Cheetah
We alluded to this a little earlier, but Cheetah does not look good in Wonder Woman 1984. At all.
Warner Bros. has a real issue with CGI characters (Doomsday, Steppenwolf, and Enchantress' brother, for example), and that trend continues with this sequel. Cheetah by no means looks terrible, but it's clear the dark surroundings of this fight were being used to disguise mostly disappointing visual effects.
Looking a little too furry, and a far too human, this Cheetah doesn't exactly do the comic books justice. Her appearance there is a simple one, and it could have worked nicely had this sequel stuck a little closer to that. Instead, she proves to be every bit as underwhelming as the leaked promo art suggested.