After half a year of delays and the decision to premiere simultaneously on HBO Max, it finally premieres in Wonder Woman 1984 theaters, the return of Wonder Woman performed by Gal Gadot. Already the first Wonder Woman, also directed by Patty Jenkins, had been the best of that patchy DC Cinematic Universe programmed to drift into the Justice League. And this sequel, at the very least, is able to match it in general and overcome it in many moments.
Wonder Woman 1984 learns from her past mistakes and calmly builds the characters she presents in this sequel, evolves those who return, and makes her two and a half hours rarely feel artificial, but necessary for the story they have written between Patty Jenkins he and Geoff Johns, freely adapting some of DC's villains, such as Cheetah and Maxwell Lord.
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The period change also suits the sequel. As its title suggests, we moved to 1984 and in the style of Stranger Things, it is about maximizing the whole eighty aesthetic, reaching limits sometimes too exaggerated and horrendous. This allows for a somewhat lighter context to present to the characters, without all that war background that made it less of a place for moments of comic relief.
Gal Gadot remains the owner and lady of the film, but the lead is split with Pedro Pascal, who on this occasion is not a Hero in the style of The Mandalorian, but plays the villain Maxwell Lord. It's not his best role, for the most part. It reminded me too much of Kingsman's: The Golden Circle... and I don't know if it's good. However, the way the character has been reinterpreted seems to me to be a success. It's very easy to connect with the film's main bad guy, accept his villainy, and understand the motivations in a way he didn't feel in a superhero movie... perhaps from Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
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The same goes for Kristen Wiig as Cheetah. It's a new story of origins and, while its transformation from human to beast happens somewhat hasty, it's really easy to get into your skin and live the evolution of the character. The actress, in this case, is perfect from the beginning as Barbara Minerva, a gemologist whom no one pays attention to and who needs her dose of recognition. It is in that first stretch of disastrous and pitiful character that he brings out his comic skills the most and gives his best. Then... because the CGI is imposed, as you can expect. I consider Wiig super talented and even loved it in Ghostbusters.
Obviously, we have to stop at Gal Gadot. There was little criticism at the time of the Israeli's election as the new Wonder Woman. That if she was only a pretty face, that if she did not have enough body to be a credible Wonder Woman, that if as action-woman ok, but lacked interpretive skills... Etc. If the first film did not silence enough mouths, I am sure that this sequel will. Diana Prince is much more prominent than Wonder Woman in 1984. It's a very emotional tape in which Gadot does well humanizing the character.
And of course, in Wonder Woman's action sequences, you think heroin is too much. Not only because I felt that Gal Gadot could break my face without the slightest effort, but the team of combat choreographies has been able to present spectacular, yet credible sequences within the laws of physics that govern this fiction. Physical language is very well used for all Wonder Woman moves, ensuring that every swipe, whip, and stroke is totally unique to the character. Many moments of the action sequences can be frozen and turned into a perfect comic book cover, largely thanks to the clarity and color provided by the daytime lighting and light angles chosen by cinematographer Matthew Jensen.
Perhaps on the downside, there are not too many of these action sequences for which I could intuit counting on the length of the tape... and that all of them without exception had been anticipated in the trailers, which has eliminated the surprise factor from the film. On the other hand, there are many more of those emotional moments that deal with topics necessary for the type of Wonder Woman that in the DC Universe has presented itself, with morality and consequences of being a metahuman that is present at all times, and with which Diana Prince has to deal.
Similarly, both Wiig's and Pascal's characters are tremendously surrounded by a humanity that is not usually as focal to the villains. It doesn't get to the point of Joker, because they are obviously not the protagonists of the story, but there are traces of everyday problems that every man and woman can have today, no matter how much it is a period tape. Barbara Minerva has to deal with misogyny, abuse of women, the need to prove her merits and values twice as much as her male colleagues, etc. On Maxwell Lord's side, we find traces of racism, inequality of opportunities to progress, family abuses, the need to achieve economic solvency to be considered truly successful in life, etc.
There is even a time for the look of the Amazons and the beauty of Temiscira, perhaps in anticipation of that film project that would also be directed by Patty Jenkins.
Gal Gadot's best performance in the entire DC Universe.
A film very focused on the humanity of Diana Prince, being more important than an omnipotent Wonder Woman.
Kristen Wiig is also great even if her character doesn't have that much screen time.
Good rewrite of the story of the origins of the villains.
Steve Trevor performs his plot function, but he's very wasted.
It's not Pedro Pascal's best performance even though his character is pretty well written.
Maybe it's too long even if it doesn't get heavy.
Wonder Woman 1984 is all we could hope for a continuation of the original tape: to reinforce its strengths and not make the same mistakes. Patty Jenkins has learned her lesson and presents a story that has a lot of impact on the heroine's most vulnerable face, focusing on Diana Prince much more than Wonder Woman to better build the character in a new ribbon of origins to which the ochre aesthetic feels phenomenal.