WONDER WOMAN 1984 – Review by Carol Cling
Anyone who thinks 2020 has been a fiasco — and that’s everyone — should be grateful to escape to Wonder Woman 1984’s Orwellian year.
Despite its “Me Decade” setting, the long-delayed sequel to the character’s 2017 introduction proves strikingly timely.
WW84 may take place in the greed-is-good Reagan era, but its central villain — a con-artist TV personality turned megalomaniac — may remind you of a certain contemporary figure. (Any similarities are, we’re sure, hardly coincidental.)
And Wonder Woman herself, with her dedication to truth and self-sacrifice, seems an ideal role model for our pandemic-plagued planet.
Not that you have to ponder any of that, of course. True to its comic-book blockbuster roots, WW84 provides plenty of big, loud distraction from such sobering thoughts.
Both begin at the beginning of the movie, when little Diana of Themyscira (Lilly Aspell) learns a painful lesson from Amazon mentor Antiope (Robin Wright): “No true hero is born from lies.”
Flash forward to 1984 Washington, D.C., where Diana (once again embodied by the luminous Gal Gadot) is working at the Smithsonian Institution — when she’s not foiling evildoers in her Wonder Woman guise.
Both identities come into play as she takes on two adversaries: diffident new Smithsonian colleague Dr. Barbara Minerva (the nimble Kristen Wiig) and TV pitchman/self-proclaimed oil magnate Maxwell Lord (an appropriately smarmy Pedro Pascal).
But she won’t have to do it alone. Not when her soulmate — ace aviator Steve Trevor (gallant Chris Pine) — mysteriously reappears. (Never mind his demise in the previous movie.)
His return provides Diana able assistance in her latest quest to save the world — and, more importantly, to provide fish-out-of-water comedy relief as he encounters such totally ’80s phenomena as break-dancing and space travel. (Not to mention parachute pants and fanny packs.)
Writer-director Patty Jenkins and co-writers Geoff Johns and Dave Callahan punctuate the proceedings with a host of overlong, overdone action sequences that echo the heroics of such all-time favorites as James Bond, Indiana Jones and, inevitably, Superman.
But it’s WW84’s more character-driven moments focusing on down-to-earth desires — whether Barbara’s understandable envy of the seemingly perfect Diana or demigoddess Diana’s longing for all-too-human connections — that give it a welcome emotional resonance.
Now, if only we could transport Wonder Woman to 2020 to deploy her golden Lasso of Truth …