Wonder Woman graces us with its sequel (finally!) — Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine reprising their characters as the titular heroine Diana Prince and handsome pilot Steve Trevor respectively. Directed by Patty Jenkins, fans and cinephiles alike are treated to an extravagant superhero film that includes ritzy costumes, (bittersweet) romance, and wonderful action sequences.
Read on for the review but beware of spoilers!
The youth of Princess Diana
“No true hero is born from lies” – Antiope
The film begins with the young Diana competing in Themyscira with the older Amazons. While Diana was able to hold her forte in the athletic competition brilliantly, a mishap happened as she fell off her horse. The quick-witted princess decided to take a shortcut to resume her place as the first. However, she was interrupted by her aunt, Antiope, who reprimanded her for cheating and promptly disqualified her. Queen Hippolyta assured her, in gentle reproach, that her place would come one day. This meaningful experience would come to greatly impact her later in life.
Welcome to 1984
Fast forward to today, in 1984, Diana is seen working in the Smithsonian Institution as a senior anthropologist. Saving people as Wonder Woman, Diana juggles two roles as she keeps her identities separate. However, her life has been spent pining for her deceased love, Steve Trevor, who has sacrificed himself in the prequel. Interestingly, this aspect of the film allows us to delve into the vulnerable side of the seemingly invincible Diana. Experiencing love, the pain of loss, and living with the choices she has made, it’s all very human-like in the demigoddess.
Viewers are promptly introduced to the key object of the film – the Dreamstone. The plain, ill-boding rock is actually blessed by the God of Lies and Deception, Dolos, unlike Diana’s Lasso of Truth by the Goddess Hestia. While the ancient artefact has the power to grant wishes, it also takes something of equal importance from the wishmaker. It is indeed a double-edged and deadly rock.
Before the villain is born, Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig) is a shy and reserved woman who idolises Diana. As her new co-worker, Barbara envies Diana’s grace, strength, and her beauty (honestly, who doesn’t?). Using the Dreamstone, Barbara envisions to become like Diana, thus attaining her powers and godliness unknowingly. At the same time, her humanity fades away as the price for her wish.
Welcome back, pilot
Diana laughs at the Dreamstone, unaware of its power initially, innocently making a wish for Steve to return to her side. The Dreamstone grants her wish, bringing Steve Trevor’s soul back into another man’s body. The reunion between the two, while befuddling both, is heartwarming as the two lock in an embrace after a long, long time.
Greed and desperation
Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) is introduced as a desperate businessman who has both financial and ego issues. Coveting the Dreamstone, he wishes to become the personification of the rock. Having absorbed the Dreamstone and thus saving his failing business, Maxwell seemingly has all he needs. However, his desires do not end there. As a false act of kindness, Maxwell now goes around to grant other people’s wishes. At the same time, he also takes from them. Causing chaos and conflict everywhere he goes, Maxwell is absorbed by greed and yearns for more power, almost triggering an apocalypse.
The romance and the end
“Why, for once, can’t I just have this one thing, Steve? This one thing?” – Diana Prince
The happiness of Diana and Steve is short lived. It is indeed heart-wrenching when Steve realises his existence is causing Diana to lose her divinity. When the world is plunged into chaos, Steve begs Diana to renounce her wish and to protect the world instead. Ultimately, Diana’s selflessness triumphs and she bids goodbye to the love of her life — again.
Maxwell must be stopped but he is now protected by Barbara. Refusing to destroy the stone, Barbara hopes to retain her new strength, confidence, and power. Turning into an apex predator, Barbara mutates into a cheetah-like creature to face Diana.
Donning the winged-armour of Asteria, the legendary Amazon warrior, Diana is forced to attack her former friend. The action sequence is brilliantly done, the two women battling with all their might. Wonder Woman with her divine powers against the nimble creature who has become strong enough to tear through Diana’s metallic armour.
Eventually, Diana manages to defeat Cheetah and communicates with Maxwell using her Lasso of Truth. The demented man realises all he has ever wanted is to be a proud father for his child. Ultimately, renouncing all the wishes in the world, good has triumphed evil and the balance is restored.
The film is wonderfully done, although it is a little long with a running time of 151 minutes. A stellar performance by the entire cast, the return of Chris Pine adds cherry on top of the ice-cream. Furthermore, viewers are treated to an immersive and almost thrilling experience with the accompaniment of Hans Zimmer’s tracks. However, it is to be noted that avid action fans will find lesser fighting sequences as compared to the first film. The physical prowess of Wonder Woman is not largely displayed with the power of words in play instead.
The costumes donned by Gal Gadot in the film, other than the iconic Wonder Woman’s outfits, are very much stylish and timeless — complementing the tall and queenly actress. The scene where Diana, dressed in a breathtaking white gown, dancing with Steve is beautifully shot with endearment evident in their eyes. Kristen has also provided a seamless performance as both Barbara and the Cheetah although the character’s backstory could be fleshed out better.
“I’ll always love you Diana, no matter where I am.” – Steve Trevor
For one, I have looked forward to Chris Pine’s return. His character has added depth to the film, exalting Diana’s character growth and plot development. Furthermore, his return has accentuated the effect of Monkey’s Paw — all wishes, that interfere with fate, come with a hefty price tag.
I have enjoyed the romance immensely, the cheeky pilot and the imposing princess. When Steve Trevor leaves, yet again, their final parting is bittersweet and has inadvertently brought tears to my eyes. My favourite scene in the film will always be Steve and Diana’s flight through the fireworks, and like their love, the scene is magical, fleeting yet bright and brilliant.
All in all, Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot have brought Wonder Woman to life on the big screen, leaving me waiting for more.
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