Rating: 12A Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig and Robin Wright Directed by Patty Jenkins Written by Patty Jenkins, Dave Callaham and Geoff Johns Length: 151mins
Returning to the big screen for a limited audience around the world, the sequel to 2017’s hugely successful ‘Wonder Woman’ finds Gal Gadot’s character distancing herself further and further from those around her whilst the rest of the world delves further into Hollywood’s interpretation of the 80’s, with shopping malls, yoga pants and grandiose hairstyles around every corner. Appropriately, the villain of the story achieves his power through commercial greed, and in true superhero fashion, it’s only Wonder Woman who can stop him.
Perhaps the boldest – and most marketable element of the film – is the aesthetic. This could easily be attributed to the current nostalgia-fest which plagues Hollywood, with multi-colour tinted glasses allowing for a fond recollection of the 1980’s, and all of the eccentricities which come with it. Shows like ‘Stranger Things’ have found huge success in recent years through this choice of setting, and it’s no surprise that as a result more releases are cashing in. However, the original ‘Wonder Woman’ comics date back to 1941, and the first film takes place in 1918, so it’s not entirely unbelievable that the film might take place in this decade. Through the advertising for this film, it appears as if the viewer is promised a trip back in time, and the film certainly delivers as much in the first half an hour or so, with camp dialogue and glamorous commercialism littering the story. However, by the end of the film, we’re returned to the safety of dull aesthetics and predictable settings that many superhero films seem unable to escape. The inconsistency of the visuals is not exactly detrimental to the story, but when including the setting in the actual title of the film and basing the entire marketing campaign around cliches of the 80’s, it feels as if the creators could have had a little more fun throughout the entirety of the film, rather than just going all out in the first act, and then slowly fading back into the usual superhero story.
Although some superhero films deliver much more, it’s widely agreed that the main aim of these films is to entertain. In the case of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ this is relatively accurate. At this point in cinema’s history, when superhero films are what fills the seats most at cinemas, you would imagine that the creators would feel a responsibility to try and evolve the genre as it goes on. Despite this, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ doesn’t feel as if it has anything new to offer in terms of the entertainment that it provides. Moments of action never seem especially gripping or visually impressive, and if anything, the stakes of the film feel as if they’re even lower than the first ‘Wonder Woman.’
The saving grace of this film undeniably comes from Pedro Pascal’s performance as Maxwell Lord, the corrupt businessman who will do anything to achieve financial domination over his competition. The charisma and twisted charm that Pascal brings to his character creates the most engaging moments of the film, with each of his scenes bringing life to a story that is ultimately fairly forgettable.
Although this might not be the most complimentary of reviews, seeing ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ on the big screen brought back all of the charm that comes from going out to see a film in the cinema. Hopefully this is something we can all look forward to in the future, and if you have the chance to support your local cinema, you definitely should.