Wonder Woman 84
UK Release: 16/12/2020
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal
After a strong debut in 2017, Wonder Woman seemed unstoppable.
Gal Gadot’s take on the classic DC superhero turned heads and promised a light amongst the darkness of Zack Snyder’s increasingly gritty superhero movies.
Wonder Woman 84 sees the return of that sparkle with an 80s twist as the iconic DC heroine whips her way through the era of shoulder pads, big hair and neon dazzle.
It’s great to see Gal Gadot back as Diana Prince – it’s been a long, tough year and Wonder Woman 84 is likely going to be the only comic book movie we see for quite some time.
But is that really enough to carry the DC universe forward?
I have to admit – I’ve long been sceptical about the film’s 80s setting. It seems like a neat way to cash in on the retro fever we’ve seen in abundance since Stranger Things. But that doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
After the way 2020 has unravelled, we’re all in dire need of some light relief.
Wonder Woman 84 delivers that by the bucket load.
After a brief glimpse into Diana’s childhood, we catch up with the Amazonian princess in the 1980s where she’s decided to pick up her whip and fight crime part time.
The 80s cliches run rampant throughout, but it’s a little disappointing that we don’t hear any 80s pop hits in the film’s soundtrack. The visuals are great, really capturing what defined the decade. But we really could have done with a bit of Wham or Cyndi Lauper to liven it up.
Still, director Patty Jenkins does a stellar job of nailing the tone.
Where the plot may come off as a bit cheesy, it feels like that’s kind of the point. It’s the 80s after all.
And with themes of girl power cropping up with Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva (aka Cheetah) it starts to come together nicely.
But the real star of Wonder Woman 84, aside from Gal Gadot, is Pedro Pascal as the over-the-top villain, Maxwell Lord.
It’s obvious that everyone enjoyed making this film, but none more than Pedro Pascal. His camp villain is all about excess – embodying the worst the 80s ever had to offer.
Caught in a Faustian bind, he’ll do anything to get to the top… including granting the wishes of anyone who asks him. His story is unbelievably weird and would be hugely out of place in a Zack Snyder superhero movie.
But here, it’s perfectly fine if a little predictable.
The 80s setting has a lot to do with this. Taking Wonder Woman out of time for her own solo adventure, means it doesn’t have to sit alongside Justice League or Batman V Superman or any of the other DC movies.
Wonder Woman 84 is free to be its own thing.
And that’s a startlingly good call.
I’m even willing to overlook the weirdness surrounding the return of Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine once again.
It’s all a bit weird and wacky and has far greater moral implications if you think about it seriously for too long.
But I don’t think Wonder Woman 84 should be taken too seriously.
It’s a fun-filled romp through an age of excess and consumption and amazing hair. And it doesn’t really matter if we just want to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Wonder Woman 84 heads to cinemas on 16 December 2020.