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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Cannoli Send a noteboard - 30/12/2020 03:23:57 AM

Meh.

It was okay. It wasn't bad when you watch it, but it does not stand up well upon reflection. It's a bit more societal-commenty than the last one, but not in an over-the-top "Captain Marvel" or worse sort of thing. The villain is Max Lord, who was a villain in the first season of Supergirl, so you can't not think of that show when watching this, and it was nowhere near as bad as that. The movie does fairly well by its male lead and even the villain is given some humanity.

On the other hand, it's not well executed. The big action sequence in the beginning is fast, fluid and entertaining, except it's like a gymnastics competition, instead of the battle it ostensibly is, and when you think about it, it's sort of obnoxious, given the stakes, the sheer lack of any sort of tension or peril given Diana's established powers and skill and the portrayal of her adversaries' ineptitude. Furthermore, it's basically a gang of criminals ripping off an illegal operation and Diana does massive & superfluous property damage to the law-abiding sector of society, including the police, not least in service to concealing her role, because, as you might recall from "Batman v Superman DoJ" she's been lying low since World War One with no one having any clue she exists before Bruce finds her squad picture in Luthor's files.

In fact, before the fight scene, we are treated to a montage of what a certain segment of the entertainment industry and commentariat thinks of as the worst of the 80s. Guess what kids, it wasn't all Gremlins and ET and Ghostbusters and MTV and hair bands. It was also rife with greed and douchebaggery and selfishness and toxic behavior. The 80s were just AWFUL (and yet, the PotUS doesn't come off all that badly, so it's not like they're manufacturing excuses to take political cheap shots), interspersed with the end of a golden lasso or a distinctive red boot poking into the shot from off-camera as Diana unobtrusively saves many of the inhabitants of 1984 Washington DC from themselves.

The big thing in the movie is that Steve Trevor comes back somehow, and the whole story is bent around the gimmick that caused it, and the involvement of Lord, played by Pedro Pascal, once he takes control of said gimmick for his own agenda. But it's not very well thought out and comes across as more of an in-joke and unless you share the filmmakers' historical sensibilities and perspective, it does not land.

I had my doubts about the other major adversary in the film, Barbara Minerva, played by Kristen Wiig, but she makes it work, doing her Kristen Wiig thing, where she's all awkward and self-deprecating and relatable to the women in the audience, but then becomes sexy and confident and powerful by the same means that brought Steve back to life. And she and Diana start off friends, although the friendship is as hastily rammed into place as a romantic relationship in a Robert Jordan book, with Barbara slipping easily into the role of Diana's "guy on the phone" sidekick, before she makes a rather understandable heel turn. And you can't even say she's really being all that evil in doing so, because Diana is only paying lip service to the notion that Barbara rejects. But because the friendship is so unnecessarily abrupt, we don't get the emotional stakes they want us to have. Lord also runs rather hastily down the road to ruin with the consequences spilling over with no apparent rhyme or reason, so we can spend more time with Diana and Steve interacting and having chemistry together.

Despite being up against an awkward woman played by an actress fifteen years older than Gal Godot and one of Pascal's least intimidating or imposing roles (closer to his guest spot on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" than Din Djarin or the Red Viper), Diana is actually challenged, in part by the gimmick of the story and by the problem being not so much of a punching thing. But because of the flashback nature of the story, we know that Diana's role can't be too public or else the whole thing has to be brushed under the rug, so there won't be any lasting consequences, which pretty much limits where the story can go, and they don't really make you feel like it got there organically. In fact, you have to work your brain a little to come up with explanations why Diana has managed to disappear off the world's radar until she tags in against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Cave Troll Doomsday in Metropolis, and also why the world isn't freaking out about what happened.

There's also an initial sequence to open the film, set on Themyscira, when juvenile Diana is competing in their Olympics against grownups, and it's weird and again, you have to rationalize it with something like "I guess she had superhuman abilities as a kid" but then you wonder why she's allowed to compete at all and how much would it suck if one of the adults won and she finished second and now that champion is the asshole who beat a spunky kid. But the message of the scene turned out to be a pleasant surprise, albeit one that Diana managed to not learn until 1984, apparently, so it was a lot of fuss that didn't much pay off, and even to the extent that it did, you, again, have to do the work yourself, because there is no connection directly drawn between the moral of the opening scene and the major plot conflict.

And there's a kind of gross aspect to the unnecessary mechanism of Steve's reincarnation, that is not imagined or made up by me, it's explicitly stated when Steve reappears and then he & Diana seem to forget about it, but I CAN'T and they even reaffirm it at the very end and I'm like, "So, it WAS like I thought, and no one in the crew stopped to consider the implication here?!"

Overall, we have a decent spectacle and while your mileage may vary on whether or not it's got plot holes, the movie doesn't really stick with its theme or make much effort to solidify its plot or tie in the characterization. You have to have a very forgiving turn of mind or be so dazzled by the motion on screen or excited about the couple of Easter eggs thrown in the direction of fans of the old TV show that you don't notice.

They've got some nice stuff on the screen, but they could have done a much better job of putting it all together. It's like "Aquaman," but without the frenetic pace that made "Aquaman" work in spite of its own plotting or characterization or "spoilers just by having knowledge of actors or other films" issues.

Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) - 30/12/2020 03:23:57 AM 116 Views
To say that it was *meh* would be generous (spoilers) - 04/01/2021 04:44:03 PM 22 Views

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