Film And Movies

What Went Wrong With… Wonder Woman 1984 aka WW84?

A review of WW84 by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

WW84 is yet another disappointing sequel that makes the first film look like a masterpiece by comparison. Wonder Woman 1984, like its predecessor, is a movie that’s too long and paced far too steadily to be a satisfying comic-book action blockbuster. There’s numerous dips in interest which means as an audience member, you sit waiting for some action to kick-in, but when it does it’s invariably swift and filled with fake-looking CGI. Similar to 2017’s Wonder Woman, there are enjoyable moments and it’s these same ingredients that work here: Gal Gadot’s formidable fighting skills and sweep-kicking of evil-doers’ butts, Lilly Aspell as an adorable young Diana Prince, and Chris Pine bringing his subtly comedic delivery. These elements all work well. In terms of plot, once again, it’s the fish-out-of-water moments, this time Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor (including a humourous take on modern art and confusion over the exercise bike) that impresses the most. I still don’t know why Steve is bemused by fireworks (since they were around back in the early twentieth-century) but it’s these alien-in-the-modern-world scenes that clearly stand out. Unfortunately, this flick isn’t a non-stop ’80s comedy or for that matter, an ’80s action movie despite WW84 wishing it was both. The 1984 setting, is not a reference to George Orwell or the Eurythmics song, it instead seems to have been picked at random to represent the peak of 1980’s excess and greed and the contrived story goes from there.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The plot of WW84 involves a “Dream Stone” that can grant people’s wishes and of course this leads the world to destruction and makes certain people power-mad (yawn). Pedro Pascal plays Maxwell Lord, a failed businessman who grew up poor, and he becomes an evil genie by merging with the ancient gem. Diana wishes for her deceased boyfriend back and he magically reappears but like The Monkey’s Paw which the screenplay mentions by name, there’s of course a catch. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman 2 is less like The Monkey’s Paw or “Wish You Were Here” from 1972’s Tales From The Crypt and more closer to Four Kids And It; a bright, tacky, almost soap-opera-esque film. Everyone seems to be channelling their inner-Days Of Our Lives or Power Rangers (the actor who plays the President is particularly bad). There’s people in the street calling for Wonder Woman in a ’60s TV show kind of way, which didn’t even occur in the piss-poor 1970s Wonder Woman TV series. If you disliked Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, you’ll most likely dislike this. That is unless, you find contemporary examples of filmic trash as some kind of ironic pastiches of the past instead of the piles of crap they truly are.

It’s quite obvious that most of the content has been lifted from better creations of yesteryear. The movie opens with what looks like a Themyscira Quidditch tournament and the film continually ventures into familiar territory from there. Remember the origin story of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman? Recall the origin story of Jim Carrey’s Riddler or Jamie Foxx‘ Electro? Well, Kristen Wiig‘s Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah is all of them mushed together and wrapped in a trite bow. There’s also a very Quantum Leap-esque body-swap mirror scene and while I’m at it, Southfields Mall looks very much like Stranger Things season 3 meets Jingle All The Way.

The film, after its Hogwarts-slash-Gladiator-lite opener, begins with Wonder Woman seemingly thwarting petty crimes; things that surely the police, a gun permit or even some pepper spray can cope with. It takes far too long for some genuine peril to occur, but when it does, it spirals into a B-movie or even a TV-movie. The film is set in an idealised and even caricatured 1980s where absolutely everyone is dressed in the most exaggerated ’80s outfits. Bearing in mind that middle-aged people always dress like the previous decade, this is just plain lazy, especially coming from writer-director Patty Jenkins who should remember the auld yins first hand.

Given that this film was penned by Jenkins, prejudicial ideas raise their ugly head once more:

  • Wonder Woman is still wearing her high-heel wedges because they serve some sort of mystery superhero purpose (maybe to arouse William Marston’s ghost). There is of course, a comment about scientists wearing heals “sometimes”, possibly because of the slight backlash the first film received, but WW84 is yet another stereotype-reinforcing movie courtesy of a woman, which according to mainstream critics is an impossibility.

  • Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Ann Minerva starts off as timid and weak, and she wants men to pick up her dropped paperwork as well as wanting their sexual attention. But in order to attain her desires, she transforms into the most cliched “sexy woman” character – high heels, short skirt, leggy – which even first-wave feminists would have a problem with. Almost like a scene from Not Another Teen Movie, after removing her glasses (don’t you know, spectacles make women look ugly? 🙄) everyone is in awe of Minerva’s beauty despite her still being, err… Kristen Wiig.

  • Either because this is a caricatured depiction of the past or because Hollywood would like you to think the last century was so backward that you’d be satisfied with contemporary society, almost all the men are continually pestering and sexually harassing the women who walk past them. Okay, the ’80s contained whistling builders and butch arseholes but not every fucker with an XY chromosome was clutching a tube of KY with their pants down, harassing anyone with ovaries. Conversely however, when a two-time, attempted rapist gets his arse repeatedly kicked, we the audience are supposed to think of this as going too far and the inflict-er of said ass-whooping as becoming a “baddie”. The morals of this piece are very dodgy indeed, kinda like the overall message (more on that in a bit).

  • We also have Independence Day-style country-by-country scenes with foreign nations, north African sheiks, and Arab terrorists wishing for more land and nuclear weapons (not to mention the main antagonist is a possible immigrant). And when the wished-for Egyptian wall disappears at the end of the movie, the world rejoices because only certain walls are evil (this one and the U.S./Mexico border wall) never the one in Israel (cough, cough).

  • There’s a nod to Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman in a post-credit scene but the writers ignore the original TV show and change her to someone called “Asteria” (from whom Gal Gadot gets her golden armour) rather than make her Diana’s grandmother or Wonder Woman Sr. This inclusion just feels crow-barred and pointless, as much as 2019’s Charlie’s Angels. Bottom line: a reboot or remake is for profit, not to honour the past. You honour the past by refusing to do a remake.

When I first saw the original trailer, I was intrigued as to how Steve Trevor makes it to the 1980s since he died in a plane in World War 1. I was ready to do a “Misery” (he didn’t get out of the cock-a-doodie car!”) but the plot isn’t cheating us, it’s just reuniting two actors who had chemistry via a very familiar children’s story narrative: a wish. This is perhaps where the non-serious aesthetic came from; the heightened visuals, the hackneyed villains and plot, the lack of morning breath, everything would sit fine in a kid’s TV show but on the big screen, this comes across as second-rate and even cheap. Not only is there crappy CGI for Cheetah and some of the vehicles but every performer is acting as though Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t serious at all (which goes against the feel of the first movie). I know it’s Panto season but not at the frigging multiplex! I’ll also say that the original New Order “Blue Monday” trailer evoked not only the 1980s but also the summer, so there’s something lost during the time we’ve waited for a release date, especially now that it’s almost Christmas. There is a fleeting Xmas scene at the very end, which may have already been there or was re-shot to evoke the season we’re in, but it instead introduces a dubious concept involving sexual assault whilst someone was “asleep” and unable to consent. #MeToo

Wonder Woman 1984 currently holds an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes which is a little less than the undeserved 93% of the original 2017 film but still far too generous. Remember that the modern classic Joker (that at least subverted the subgenre) is at 68% proving that sites like this continually under and overrate flicks for clicks. Superhero movies aside, 99% of sequels are inferior and this is yet another. It’s not embarrassingly bad but there’s so many problems that I cannot fathom why a critic would tell you WW84 is worth chucking your hard-earned cash at. Maybe the overrating has something to do with the overriding message: that there can never be a utopia. If everyone on the planet got what they wanted, the world would be ruined! (But surely a hippy’s peaceful wish would countermand a far-right bigot’s wish?). The utterly horrid message that if there was total freedom, humans would create havoc and we therefore require not only leadership and hierarchy but control, is an odious thing to put across. But I guess that’s what mainstream Hollywood is for: to tell you that our shite life is brilliant the way it is and to never wish or strive for better.

With its simultaneous release on HBO Max in the US, WW84 may work, especially because most of it looks like a TV movie to begin with. Here in the UK, watching this film at the cinema, all its problems whether writing, directing, acting, or effects, were amplified. With most of the UK in “Tier 3” and many cinemas closed, it’s unlikely that it’ll be the massive hit Warner hoped it would be. What I dread is that if this watch-at-home model works, we’ll be inundated with more TV-looking movies (think Netflix and Amazon originals) made purposely cheaply for our relatively small televisions. As a cinema release, this movie will probably flop as much as the overrated summer non-blockbuster Tenet, but hopefully this potential financial failure will be attributed to the extreme circumstance that we’re in, and not as a model for all future film releases. Good, bad, or average, without cinema, there is…

No Wonderment.

Writing: 4/10

Directing: 4/10

Acting: 3/10

Overall: 4/10

35 replies »

  1. Kind of what I expected from Hollywood to be honest. Well I’m glad we’re on Tier 3, that’s another reason for missing this one.
    2020 and your reviews this year are definitely helping me save my hard earned money 😂😂

    • It’s not the first time a 200+ million budget movie disappoints but WW84 is belongs in that category

    • I agree.

      BTW Rotten Tomatoes are so out of touch with the public, they now have their rating at 88%. At the viewing I attended, no one laughed at the jokes, nobody was in awe of the action. The screen was full (with staggered seating) but I looked around and nobody seemed like they were having “fun”. A definite disappointment for most people.

    • Good god… what a god awful disappointment. Just finished this horrifically horrible waste of time and even though it was part of my HBOMAX subscription I feel I deserve monetary compensation for having to sit through this utter waste of time.

      For me I DESPISE movies or tv that use the “he doesn’t look like himself” tropes. I almost quit right there.

      Another issue… did they actually go back in time to find really really really REALLYT bad 1980s television actors? This really looked like a badly made 1980s movie. Some “bad” movies from the 80s are good because they are bad. This is a bad 1980s movie that has ZERO redeeming qualities. I hated this movie with a passion.

  2. I agree, saw it with my teenage daughter last night in Guernsey and the only reason we stayed was because we had a Chinese takeaway to pick up afterwards.

    I liked the performances but the script was ludicrous. First scene the terrible CGI took me out of the film straight away. And although Gal looks great in slow mo if you cannot make it work at normal speed then it doesn’t actually work.

  3. When I initially saw the opening scene that Warner Bros. officially released on YouTube, one of the first things that stood out was the crappy CGI that was apparent even on a TV screen (soo much for this turd even making it as a TV movie). Of course remarking on that immediately got the expected avalanche of unhinged comments, rebuttals, and other assortments of weird replies. One of the most repeated instructions was “well you have to see this on the big screen” (even though in my case it’s impossible since where I live we’ve been in a complete lockdown since October and HBO Max is not available).

    This review confirms what I suspected all along after seeing that underwhelming opening. I had a feeling that the CGI would be just as crummy on the big screen. I am saying that because the first “Wonder Woman” movie had the exact same problems when it came to the special effects and CGI. That and the completely lackluster screen non-presence from the plank of wood that is Gal Gadot, (who is about as effective as Diana Prince as sticking a firecracker up one’s arse in order to have more light for reading), seems to be plaguing both movies.

    Watching the first “Wonder Woman” movie was a decision I still regret to this very day…

  4. Agree with every word. Just watched it and flabbergasted at how bad this is. The writing is absolutely atrocious! The action is static. The movie is cringeworthy in places. I would love to see Kathryn Bigelow have a crack at a film like this and show Patty how its done. 200+ million is such a waste when a competent director could do so much more with so much less.

  5. So very disappointed in WW84. Wish I would have read this article prior to subscribing to HBOMax, hoping The Flight Attendant will justify my purchase. 🤞🏼

  6. That’s 2.5 hours of my life I will never get back. Pretty sure warner bro’s had to bail out party Jenkins on WW1 but failed to do same on this one. She needs to be canned not endorsed. Boring movie. At least an hour too long.

  7. So, I watched this mess on HBOmax rather than in the theater, so I’m happy that I didn’t pay for a cinema ticket to see this. That said, I wish I had 2.5 hrs of my life back. I won’t rehash what the above comments say as well as the article, but I agree with most of the criticism about the film.

    I will say this though, I was a junior in an Ohio high school in ’84 and none of this film made me feel transported back to that time. There were bits here and there, but most were cliches of what people think the 80s were like rather than what it really was like…this was a cartoon of what the 80s was. Stranger Things does a MUCH better job of recalling early/mid 80s style and culture than this film. As well, the 80s setting in WW does nothing for the story. I know what they were trying to achieve with that, but it didn’t sell at all. The ONLY thing I’d say that setting this film in the 80s does is put WW by herself. If set now, why wouldn’t SM, BM, & AM stop by to help save the day when the problem with this stupid “wish” problem goes global. But being set when those characters would have been 0 to 10 years old at the time makes it her problem alone. BUT, I think it would have been more compelling and less cartoonish had it been set sometime between the 40s and the 60s. Just my opinion… I’m no big-time movie director, so what do I know.

    Patty did well on the first WW and Monster, but I have to say that I’m worried about the upcoming SW film she’s going to create… there is just not enough track record to make me think that WW84 was just a bump in the road. Someone like Spielberg, Bigelow, Nolan, etc., though they occasionally have a clunker, generally one would think that whatever they put out has a good chance at being enjoyable. Jenkins is 2 out of 3 (full-length feature films, not incl shorts or TV shows)… so who knows! But, I am rooting for her to turn the ship (no pun intended) around and make a good SW film since the last 3 were so disappointing.

  8. I too lived through the 80s as a teenager and nothing about this movie made me nostalgic for 1984.

    The movie was awful. Chris Pine was the only character I actually liked but it was odd that he was back in someone else’s body which WW had no trouble sleeping with. Is it ok to take over someone’s body and use them like that? It made me feel uncomfortable.

    The plot made no sense, it was too long, too many plot holes, CGI was very sub par and I couldn’t wait for it to end. If it had been in a theatre, I would have walked out.

  9. I wanted to like this and I liked the 3 minute opening scene with the kid in the Olympics like competition. I’d watch a movie about that. Good acting there and fun action. The rest of the almost 3 hours was terrible. Acting was bad. WW is really bouncy. It felt like John Carter. Her running was just as weird. And her flying sequence is her trying out different model positions. And enough with the lasso. Spiderman doesn’t swing as much as WW. Cats CGI somehow looked better than Kristin Wig’s villain. It was like a Halloween costume. Story was a little below average for a superhero movie. Terrible for any other movie. The 80s setting was just a running “joke” with no purpose. I didn’t see plot holes so much as extreme use of artistic license. Like how the main villain somehow knows he could do certain specific things with an ancient artifact that have never been done before and could not be known. Maybe a God told him?? We are left to wonder. I hate the trope with Chris Pine. If they wanted to bring him back in another man’s body then we should have watch the other man acting in that role – not Pine. And the love story completely relied on the first movie. I get that it’s a sequel but it shouldn’t be required reading to understand why they work. Men could be shitty in the 80s and this movie really plays it up and it feels like WW tends to only save women and children. And I think the fundamental story – that WW has to give up her powers if she wants to be with a man is a bad message. Women can have (superhero) careers and love. No need to force WW to choose.

    • Methinks WW having to give up her powers for love was one of several homages to Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies. Kristen Wiig’s character had flashes of Richard Pryor’s from Superman III, and the main villain was somewhat of a Gene Hackman knockoff. And the opening “mall scene” harkened back to Reeve’s initial arrival in Metropolis to stop all manner of street crime. But yeah, WW84 sucked…

  10. ******************************************************SPOILERS******************
    Well I hated just about this entire movie from start to finish. I thought the opening scene was unnecessary, it added nothing to the movie. The bank robbery & mall scene was pretty bad & forced. Wonder Woman supposedly wasn’t seen since the 1920’s but here she is in a mall with cameras all around, not to mention witnesses. Why would it be so hard for Batman to find info on her in BvsS? Most of the men in the movie are sexual creeps, one guy twice tries to rape Barbara (Cheetah). I didn’t mention Cheetah before because she is completely wasted in this movie, despite being WW’s main rival in the comics. The main villain in the movie is Maxwell Lord, an infomercial scam artist, who gets something called a dreamstone from Barbara (pre-Cheetah) at her job. The dreamstone grants wishes but like the monkey’s paw story, takes something back from the wisher. Chris Pine appears after Diana jokingly wishes for Steve Trevor to be alive again. Barbara also wishes to be like Diana (strong & confident). Steve Trevor,for some unknown reason, comes back in someone’s else’s body. So of course, Diana & Steve use this stranger’s body for some hard core sex with complete disregard whatsoever. This is a movie titled WW 84, as in Wonder Woman 1984, and WW doesn’t appear in costume for over an hour straight.
    There is a scene where Diana uses her id to steal an airplane, so that Steve & her could travel to the Middle East to find Maxwell Lord. The movies really spins out of control from there with convoluted wish sequences. Oh & WW without knowing anything, just renounces her wish & it works just because that is how the entire movie is, one convenience after another without any explanation. The end battles are pretty terrible also. Overall, bad from start to finish. Avoid this movie like poison.

  11. I just saw it and uhhhh I enjoyed it? I would watch it again! Maybe you guess just need a more positive outlook and to just stop and find joy in the little thing… it’s fine to have such high expectations but that will almost always leave you disappointed.

    • To be fair, my expectations weren’t overly high since the first movie is just above average rather than an outright classic that mainstream critics say it is. To be disappointed from “fair” rather than “high” shows what kind of film this is.

  12. After seeing the rating on RT, I watched the movie, also with low expectations. After seeing he movie, I went back on RT and made a mental note of who gave this movie a positive review. I would never believe anything they write again. I thought Rise of Skywalker was the worst written blockbuster of all time, but this film is close. The plot is beyond ridiculous, the plot holes are uncountable. What exec at WB, saw this and thought “oh yeah, that’s great!”. Just so unbelievably bad in so many ways.

    At some point I would have watched the movie regardless, but I am glad I paid nothing to see it. All involved should be embarrassed. Hopefully Lucasfilm can rescind the Jenkins director contract for Rogue Squadron. Just awful.

    • The word is this – the original Wonder Woman was a mess as well. Execs came in and forced Patty Jenkins to do extensive reshoots and edits to fix the worst problems.

      This time around she got to do exactly what she wanted -writer, director and prodder. It’s all her work on the screen, soup to nuts. She called all the shots.

      Lesson learned – the more freedom Patty Jenkins gets to make what she wants, the worse the product is. I strongly suspect she is a no-talent hack who has been protected and supported by far more talented people.

  13. The way l see it, you critics are always up to no good. Just one example,Vertigo was panned when first released in the 50’s, and now, today, it’s being lauded as the “best film of all time” etc. So what the hack do you know about a film whether it’s good or bad, you just don’t.

    • It’s an opinion numb nuts, not the unequivocal truth. You’re free to disagree with my assessment since criticism is subjective, but you’re not correct in saying whether it’s “good or bad” either, so your comment is redundant. Judging by the spike I’ve had in hits to this review, coupled with the comments, not to mention the ever-declining and corrupt Rotten Tomato score (currently down to 60%) I’d say my original opinion was correct and aligns with most of the public. One thing’s for frigging certain: In 50 years time, you’ll never catch me saying WW84 is the best film of all time.

  14. I too am so disappointed with WW84. I loved watching Wonder Woman starring Linda Carter. This was so disappointing in all levels. I really don’t understand how with the opening sequence we never see her go back to her childhood island for guidance and help. 2 1/2 hours too long. The editing was atrocious because of the lengthy cheesy 80’s trendy neons, big hair, clothes, breakdancing, etc……

  15. How does Diana fall in love with a man she has only known for 5 days especially when she has never seen a man before? Her curiosity in the first movie was endearing but their relationship was complicated right up to his “blaze of glory” moment, but we are supposed to believe that after decades she, excuse the pun “pines” for him???

    This story robs Steve Trevor of his “hero” moment when he did save the day and made his life count for something during the war. Bringing him back was just stupid and of course so is the rest of this movie. As for Gal Gadot, I loved her as Giselle in the Fast and Furious stuff but lets be honest, she is terribly miscast to be a Super Hero that belongs at the side of Superman. The comic book character is compelling but if you are going to be faithful to the story you need a female lead that looks the part and Gadot simply does not. She is far too beautiful and fragile, and simply does not possess the physicality or physique to convince anyone that she is a demi-god created by Zeus himself. I love this stuff but if you are going to tell these stories follow the comic books and try to faithful to the stories. Find a female lead that is 6′ 2″ and well muscled like the comic book character, and lets try this again.

    • A superhero like Wonder Woman is nothing more than a mythological figure marketed towards children; why bother with superpowers, just re-tell the old legends. Further, these heroes’ character development is flawed because unlike the mythological gods they’re based upon, they don’t actually have any vulnerabilities. Even in Greek mythology, the God’s had their flaws and tragedies.

      You had just described nearly every single comic book hero or heroine in existence. Nearly every single one. Why on earth did you decide that only Wonder Woman was guilty of this? Gender back lashing?

      How does Diana fall in love with a man she has only known for 5 days especially when she has never seen a man before?

      Is there a time limit on when two people fall in love? Is there a schedule or somehting?

      Don’t get me wrong. I did not like “Wonder Woman 1984”. But some of these complaints . . . I simply find them rather shallow.

  16. I didn’t see the movie but the whole premise is terrible enough. A superhero like Wonder Woman is nothing more than a mythological figure marketed towards children; why bother with superpowers, just re-tell the old legends. Further, these heroes’ character development is flawed because unlike the mythological gods they’re based upon, they don’t actually have any vulnerabilities. Even in Greek mythology, the God’s had their flaws and tragedies.
    There’s also something to be said about the whole gender dynamic. Would any producer portray Wonder Women as being any way subservient, underpowered, or even vulnerable towards anyone? Also, would Wonder Women ever be tempted by any of her darker impulses? And one more thing; what if Wonder Woman has a climatic love scene where it’s revealed that she’s not actually a woman but in fact, a transgendered person? How would millions of young fans react to that outcome?

  17. Don’t forget one of the most absurd and unbelievable endings in history where literally everyone on the planet all unanimously decide to renounce their wishes. As if. The entire world can’t even agree on whether the earth is round or flat. Or whether to wear masks or not. Or…or…

  18. Anna Smith said on BBC News FIlm Review: “there’s feminist messages if you choose to look for them”. Really? I was looking and I found zero!

  19. Remember that super cheesy part of the Christopher Reeves superman movie? You know, the street with way too many people on it selling balloons and fruit? The wackiness that was supposed to be amusing but is just banal? Yeah, this is that. And it is excruciating to watch.

    This was terrible. Dicey special effects, a confusing plot, gross overacting (Pedro Pascal, I know you can do better). Poor direction. bad music. Hideous costumes. It fails spectacularly in every way you can fail.

    It’s the little things. Like Egypt doesn’t HAVE any oil reserves. So why would Maxwell Lord fly there to steal them? I know they are A-rabs, and to dummies in Hollywood, all them A-rabs have oil, but good gravy. And the invisible jet? woof. And oil company with headquarters in Washington DC? Say, where exactly is that broadcast facility? Is it close or far away? When WW was swinging from the clouds with her lasso of truth (yes this happens) did she first swing back to get the flying armor…why didn’t she just swing to the broadcast center? Say, instead on convincing Lord to rescind his wish, why not first, knock down the broadcast tower? Or cut the power? When Cheetah gets electrocuted …why doesn’t wonder woman?

    These are not nit picks – they are fundamentally confusing story elements. Things you see, and can’t make any sense of. You just stare, slack jawed. What is happening? Why is this guy so angry? Why would he wish for that? What is up with all the men seeming so rapey?

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