WONDER WOMAN 1984 Review; "A Powerful, Emotional Sequel To 2017's WONDER WOMAN"

Wonder Woman 1984 arrives in UK cinemas tomorrow, and hits HBO Max on Christmas Day in the U.S., but does this sequel manage to live up to its 2017 predecessor? Find our spoiler-free verdict right here...

Wonder Woman 1984 is 2020's second, and final, superhero movie in a year that was once set to be dominated by the genre. However, regardless of whether you watch Patty Jenkins' action-packed sequel on a big or small screen this Christmas, rest assured that it serves as the perfect way to wrap up what's been an undeniably tumultuous year. Tonally, the movie is a far cry from 2017's Wonder Woman, and the way it embraces the cheesiness of the 1980s makes for fun viewing and ensures it feels unlike anything else we've seen from the DC Extended Universe in recent years. It's a little jarring at first, especially given the grim and gritty nature of its predecessor, but you'll soon find yourself getting lost in the colourful world that's been created around Diana Prince here.

At two-and-a-half hours long, Wonder Woman 1984 drags a little during its first act, but once the story gets going, it's a thrilling ride which never lets up. There's an awful lot going on between Diana's reunion with Steve Trevor, Dr. Barbara Minerva's transformation into Cheetah, and the machinations of Maxwell Lord, but the plot is a strong one, even if the MacGuffin at the heart of it is not. Visually, the sequel is a joyous sight to behold, and it's easy to see why Jenkins is keen for fans to see this adventure play out on an IMAX screen. In one of the movie's most thrilling sequences, Wonder Woman races into action against Lord's private army as her theme from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays over the action. It's a pulse-pounding, exciting viewing experience, and the same can be said for almost all of Wonder Woman 1984's action scenes. If it's safe, seeing Wonder Woman 1984 on the biggest screen possible is a must.

Perhaps the only real disappointment is the Wonder Woman vs. Cheetah battle teased in the trailers; more Cirque du Soleil than the epic battle many fans will have hoped for, it's an excellent piece of filmmaking, but one that might not resonate with a lot of comic book readers. In terms of the CGI used to bring Cheetah to life, it's another mixed bag from DC which proves just how key ILM is in creating characters like Thanos and The Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
 


Gal Gadot is again superb as the Amazon Warrior, and delivers a touching, compelling performance which proves just how perfect she is for this role. Chris Pine, meanwhile, is an entertaining presence playing the fish out of water as his soldier comes to grips with 1984, and the relationship between those two is right at the heart of the movie. Kristen Wiig proves all the doubters wrong by avoiding the familiar trappings of a character like Dr. Barbara Minerva and making her a complicated, genuinely fascinating addition to the sequel. To her credit, her performance makes it incredibly easy to understand why she heads down such a dark path. Even when the CGI lets her down, her work as an actor does not.

However, it's Pedro Pascal who steals the show with his wonderfully over the top and magnetic take on Maxwell Lord. Making every scene he's in a joy to watch, he's so much more than a moustache twirling baddie. Lord is another complicated character who proves to be a great choice of villain to present Diana with a new set of challenges. 

Some minor flaws aside, Wonder Woman 1984 definitely doesn't disappoint. It's a fine addition to the growing stable of DCEU movies, and Jenkins continues to be the perfect filmmaker to bring Diana's story to the big screen. With some real emotional stakes at its core, the sequel feels like a very different superhero movie, and that's no bad thing. This will really tug at your heartstrings, and the fact Jenkins so easily gets us invested in Diana and Steve's romance (all while Lord is trying to take over the world and Barbara is transforming into a monster) is a testament to what an incredible storyteller she is.

A powerful, emotional sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984 makes wonder-ful use of its 1980s setting, and sees Pedro Pascal deliver another phenomenal performance as the delightfully maniacal Maxwell Lord.

IF

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