‘Wonder Woman: 1984’ Movie Review

Julianna Rosenthal, Photography Editor and Webmaster

After the audience success of the first “Wonder Woman” movie in 2017, “Wonder Woman: 1984” was a highly anticipated release from Warner Bros Co. It was also the first major superhero movie to be released since the outbreak of COVID-19, so fans were elated when it was revealed that the movie, along with future Warner Bros. projects, would be released to HBOmax streaming service, allowing viewers to enjoy the film from the comfort and safety of their homes. Following the success of the first film, expectations for “Wonder Woman: 1984” were high; however, the film was met with mostly moderate reviews. With so many mixed and non-polarizing reviews, it is difficult to determine whether or not the film is worth watching. Here are my thoughts:

“Wonder Woman: 1984” had many fantastic qualities; one of the film’s biggest strengths is its stunning visuals. The film begins with gorgeous shots of Diana’s origin island of Themyscira that are filled with vibrant foliage, intricate architectural designs, and brilliant costuming that create a beautiful image of the island. The film is scattered with multiple stunning landscapes from enormous cities to grand deserts, and everything in between. The general costuming perfectly reflects the period and largely contributes to the characterization of some of the new characters, but one of the most striking visual design elements comes quite late in the film. Viewers will be mesmerized by the glowing beauty of Wonder Woman’s new Golden Eagle Armor, made possible through computer generated imaging. A second memorable moment of the film in terms of visuals was the reveal of Cheetah, one of Wonder Woman’s main adversaries, who was first introduced in 1943. I personally enjoyed Cheetah’s design in the film and thought it was well executed, based on the concept of the character created in the comics. However, it is difficult to ignore the clear resemblance between the cat-human design of Cheetah and the characters in the movie/musical “CATS.” I doubt this is what they were going for, but the resemblance does add a bit of a humorous aspect to the villain. Overall, the visual design of the film was incredible, and definitely added a lot to the overall viewing experience.
For the majority of viewers, the most important aspect in determining a movie’s value is the plot. Generally, the storyline was investing with many complex connections and exciting details that made for an intriguing conflict. This was due largely to character development and the detail behind the conflicts. The newly introduced characters, such as Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva, add a layer of depth that contributes largely to plot development. We also get to see a more vulnerable and emotional side of Diana that we haven’t seen before. Additionally, viewers are provided with much detail surrounding the dreamstone and how it develops into the movie’s main conflict. These plot details and characters are great for making the viewers better understand the story and become more invested in the characters, however there is a downside to this.
The biggest flaw of “Wonder Woman: 1984” was the fact that it didn’t really feel like a superhero movie. The plot was interesting and the experience was overall entertaining, but for the majority of the film, there isn’t much of a superhero quality. I think a big part of this was the slow pacing of the movie caused by the amount of time spent on developing the characters and the backstory. It takes around an hour before Wonder Woman is even aware of the fact that there is a threat, and even longer before she does anything about it. The film definitely lacked the extravagance, power, and excitement that is expected from a superhero movie, which was quite disappointing, especially following the first “Wonder Woman” film. Although the movie lacked that “heroic” element, it was still an enjoyable watch. Some critics have found the storyline unoriginal due to the quite common “backfiring wishes” story, but there were more than enough additions and alterations to the traditional trope, that it felt completely inventive and not at all unoriginal. The story also made a lot of sense with the characters, and the ways the characters interacted with each other and their stories intertwined felt very natural. I really enjoyed seeing Diana struggle with balancing her duties as Wonder Woman with her own personal desires. It was also very interesting to see Wonder Woman go up against an enemy of equal strength. In general, the film was very entertaining, and it was nice to see something different that explored the less action-packed side of superhero life, although I would have preferred if it had more of that superhero quality.
I recommend watching this film because it is entertaining and visually pleasing. I think many people would enjoy watching, just as long as they are not expecting an extremely action packed, adventurous, on the edge of your seat type of superhero movie. If you’re looking for an easy, but fun watch, “Wonder Woman: 1984” is a great choice.