Second Union

Second Union

REVIEW: Wonder Woman 84 is a Throwback

It will come as no surprise that the latest Wonder Woman movie, WW84, is a throwback to the superhero movies of the early eighties. Warner/D.C. has made it obvious over the last decade that motion pictures not only need to incorporate branding from a commercial perspective, but decisions made for the finished product are based on demographics. With nostalgia now deemed necessary for a fan base that populates the Marvel Cinematic Universe and TV productions on Netflix (i.e. Stranger Things), someone at Warners clearly wanted the latest Wonder Woman to pay homage to the generation that grew up with Christopher Reeve as Superman.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Regrettably, the film was poorly promoted. Had the advertising campaign avoided the rainbow colors and gold-plated armor that dominated the movie posters, but instead provided the slogan, “The Wonder Woman movie that would have been made in 1984,” the expectations of theatergoers would have generated positive reviews. As such, the movie is being criticized for numerous flaws (both equally and accurately justified).

The opening scene in the American mall in which Wonder Woman combats a group of zany eighties-style bumbling jewel robbers is a loving tribute to the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. Kristen Wiig’s portrayal of Barbara Minerva, a.k.a. Wonder Woman’s arch-nemesis Cheetah, starts off with her impersonation of Richard Pryor (ala Superman III), in the scene that follows. 

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

After which the film becomes too rushed, too gimmicky, a tad chaotic, and comes off like three separate film scripts chopped up and reassembled into a single two-and-one-half-hour action flick. Lots of plot holes, leaving behind unexplained questions, and a couple of WTF moments that make you wonder why they devoted a few minutes of screen time to make Wonder Woman do something (avoiding a plot spoiler) that harkens back to a Helen Slater-Supergirl moment that is pointless and unnecessary. To be fair, there are a couple of enjoyable action sequences, especially the fight sequence in the White House, which provides enough screen time to warrant some enjoyment.

Love it or leave it, my only hope is that the next Wonder Woman movie avoids this pratfall and reverts back to the initial concept utilized in her recent screen appearances. The one positive factor that I have to report is the performance of Kristen Wiig as Cheetah. When I first heard she was cast for the role, my initial thought (along with others) was how she was miscast. Boy, was I wrong. Wiig not only shines but deserves a “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar nomination for her performance.

Kristen Wiig as Cheetah

Whether you watch this movie in the theaters, or on the HBO Max streaming platform, go in with an expectation of a movie paying homage to the early 1980s superhero flicks and you will enjoy the film more than I did. And do stay through the closing credits for one post-credits sequence that every fanboy, even those who disliked WW84, will confess was their favorite part in the movie. 

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