WONDER WOMAN 1984 – Review by Carol Cling

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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 …

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Carol Cling

Carol Cling served as the Las Vegas Review-Journal's film critic for more than 30 years, reviewing movies and covering movie and TV production in Las Vegas, from Casino to CSI. An honors graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, she also has studied film at the American Film Institute and the BBC