Wonder Woman 84: An Imperfect, Feel- Good Movie for the Holidays
This movie means a lot to me for many reasons other than being a huge Wonder Woman fan.
Being born in 1984, this movie just hits close to home! To be true to the 1980’s theme and feel, I admired how Gadot and Jenkins consulted with Lynda Carter about a lot of aspects of the original Wonder Woman series to incorporate into the movie. Being born in exactly 1984 - the movie really brought me back to a lot of the brands and fashion of the era.
Although I did enjoy the movie, there were a few things I wish they put more emphasis on, or have given better writing on.
With the help of my copy of The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes vol. 2 by Michael Fleisher - I was able to get more stories behind the characters in the 2nd Wonder Woman movie.
***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***
You are now entering the spoiler section of this review
The whole point of the opening scene
The opening scene takes us to Themyscira back to Diana’s younger years as she goes through her first Amazon Games - their equivalent of an Iron Man Triathlon challenge. This is held in honor of Asteria - one of the great Amazon Warriors that was given the title of The Golden Warrior. Asteria is played by Lynda Carter in the movie.
In the event, Diana ends up cheating and getting caught by Antiope - the general of the Amazons. Antiope stops Diana from finishing the race and teaches her a very important lesson. She reminds Diana that there are no shortcuts to success and that there is no honor in cheating your way or going the easy way to win or succeed in something. This of course foreshadowed what was to come when they moved the scene to 1984.
Where did the golden armor come from?
In the comic book version, the Golder Armor was created by Pallas- a skilled Amazonian artisan. There was no mention of Pallas in the movie. But did you know that Pallas was also used as a name for Athena?
The comic version also suggests that Diana sought after Asteria for decades, and was only able to find her golden armor. Once found, she hid the armor in her home in Washington, DC.
How the heck did she lasso that lightning bolt?
Short answer is this- let’s keep in mind that Diana is no ordinary Amazon. In the first Wonder Woman movie, it was revealed Zeus gave some of his power to create Diana and this was the reason why she was able to lasso herself into the lightning bolts. We can also see Diana wielding the “lightning bolt power” in the first movie.
How did Diana turn the plane invisible?
Once again with Zeus’ power bestowed upon Diana - she used the same power of how Zeus hid Themyscira from the world to make the jet invisible. In the movie, she briefly explains she tried doing this years ago with a coffee cup, and she never found the cup ever again.
More introduction of Gods meddling with humans
In the first Wonder Woman movie, our hero fights Ares - God of War. In the second movie, they introduce the God of Lies, Treachery and Mischief known as Dolos. So he’s pretty much DC’s version of Loki. Dolos created the Dreamstone - a citrine stone which he imbued with the power to grant one wish to anyone who makes a wish while holding it. What they didn’t know was that each wish granted pays a price- you will have your most valued possession taken away from you.
Gone but not forgotten
Some of the scenes in Diana’s DC home showed pictures of her brothers-at-arms from the first movie, Etta Candy in her older years, and Steve Trevor and his watch that he left Diana in the first movie. I love the nod they did for these characters. But seeing Etta Candy in the photos made me wish they would do a spinoff and have Etta Candy in a movie someday. She was, after all, Diana’s partner in the Wonder Woman comic book series in it’s earlier years.
“My boyfriend’s back”
Due to Diana wishing Steve to be back and alive again, the Dreamstone grants her wish by possessing a man’s body with Steve’s spirit. This does somehow confuse me throughout the movie. But then again, it was a lot more acceptable for the plot as opposed to just willing him out of thin air or having a zombie Steve Trevor. (Although zombie Steve Trevor would have been cool. LOL!). I liked Steve relearning all the “modern” technologies because it really makes it feel like he’s back from the dead. As much as everyone else hated Steve’s little fashion show with Diana, I did find it humorous - fanny pack, Michael Jackson “Thriller” pants and all.
A different take on Cheetah
In an earlier, 1940’s comic book version of Cheetah/ The Cheetah, her name was Priscilla Rich. Her personality in the earlier version was a far cry from her screen adaptation played by Kristen Wiig. In the comic books, Cheetah was scorned by jealousy over a man named Courtley Darling. She lured Wonder Woman and Courtley into a trap and was later on saved by Steve Trevor and Etta Candy.
In the movie version, we can see the same jealousy that Cheetah (named Barbara Minerva) has for Diana/Wonder Woman. Her jealousy of ‘how cool, perfect and popular’ Diana is causes her to wish to be “just like Diana” to the Dream Stone. I will have to admit that I loved the fight scene they had in the mountains.
And can we talk about the overkill of the foreshadowing in this movie on Cheetah’s transformation? From Diana’s shoes, to Steve’s shirt, the museum taxidermy and Maxwell Lord’s office decor - it surely was cheetah print overkill.
More on Maxwell Lord
In The Invasion, Lord possesses his powers of mind control and persuasion from when the Gene Bomb exploded and made humans into metahumans. The comic book version also considers Lord as the person who forms the Justice League.
In the movie version, he obtains his wish-granting power by using his one wish to the Dreamstone- to gain the stone’s power to grant wishes. He pays the price and realizes that the repercussions of his wish is losing his health and slowly dying. It wasn’t really explained what these “vitamins” that Lord was taking throughout the movie. Was it for hypertension? High blood pressure? He seemed to need to take them even before wishing to become the Dreamstone. So I’m not sure if this was an editing or writing mishap.
He goes to the President of the US to use his live broadcast equipment to grant wishes from around the world simultaneously, and taking away people’s health and power to sustain himself. I like that TheWrap.com’s review of the movie pointed out the Macguffin in the movie - The blue beam that Lord stands on towards the end was quite unusual. Due to the fact that we don’t really have that type of technology in the 80’s, but apparently that was the “particle beam” the president has possession of to help spread his broadcast.
The problem with the writing
Although I did enjoy how events in the movie played out, I believe DC has crammed too much information from Crisis of Infinity Earth, the Lynda Carter version of Wonder Woman and the present time. I can see them trying to make everything relatable to all possible genres of the Wonder Woman fandom, but in the end I think this just sort of made the storyline a bit muddied out.
And once again in true DC movie fashion - although they have provided explanations or small snippets here and there to explain what’s happening and the goings on in the movie, it just feels so rushed and a weird shift in the storyline.
Is it worth the watch
My short answer to this is yes. Although the writing is a bit all over the place, I still truly enjoyed the movie in the comfort of my own home. I would still love to invite a few of my friends to go see this in theatres for a girls night out dressed up as different Wonder Woman personas - as we normally did before COVID hit.