Wonder Woman 1984 review - movie poster

Wonder Woman 1984 Review: Wins & Missed Opportunities

Like many, I was excited to hear that Warner Bros. would be releasing “Wonder Woman 1984” via HBO Max as well as in theaters, and we fired up our subscription during opening weekend. After watching it, I was torn. The film had some winning moments, but I was also struck by some pretty obvious missed opportunities. And I will address both in this Wonder Woman 1984 review.

Win: Gal Gadot

I mean, look at her. She embodies the strength, beauty, fierceness, grace, and determination that is Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot offers the same strong performance as the first movie, along with a sense of the character development that has taken place in the time in-between. No complaints with her acting or portrayal of the iconic character.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, her last name is pronounced Guh-dot.

Win: Amazons

Source: Warner Bros. photo gallery

The opening scene of the warrior tribe’s annual endurance and dexterity race was awesome. According to Collider, associate producer Anna Obropta described it as, “Cirque du Soleil meets ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ meets extreme sports,” which seems pretty apt to me. The whole race was exciting and engaging, and Lily Aspell as young Diana wowed me again.

Bonus trivia via Collider: Aspell was 10 when she filmed the race and does most of her own stunts!

Missed opportunity: More Amazons

Like the first Wonder Woman movie, we only see Themyscira at the beginning of the movie. Fifteen minutes (give or take) is not nearly enough. Fans loved the Amazon battle scenes in the first movie and praised the use of professional female athletes. They are completely badass and the race opening sequence only whet my appetite. I would have liked to have seen more of them, perhaps with more about the armored suit through the years, or some Amazonian context for the artifact at the center of the storyline.

Fortunately, there has been talk (per Geek Magazine via Reddit and Deadline) of an Amazon spin-off movie, so fingers crossed that actually comes to screens.

Missed opportunity: 1980s music

Outside a small handful of songs, including one Duran Duran song and one Frankie Goes to Hollywood song, where was the iconic 1980s music? How about “Take On Me”? Culture Club? Van Halen? Journey? “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” has a very Max Lord vibe. There was a scene in a mall where they easily could have piped in 80s classics playing in the background. For a movie soundtrack set in the 80s that better hits the mark, check out “Atomic Blonde.”

As for the score, I understand the move to choosing Hans Zimmer as the composer, as he was responsible for many 80s movie soundtracks such as “Rain Man,” “Twister,” and “Driving Miss Daisy.” Zimmer also previously composed the Wonder Woman theme in 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

But I missed the feel and aesthetic of the original WW soundtrack scored by Rupert Gregson-Williams, which was more gritty and at times even mystical. And the epic guitar riffs in “Wonder Woman’s Wrath” was absolutely it for me. I would have liked to have heard more tie-ins to that in this soundtrack.

Missed opportunity: Surprises

The trailers showed several scenes that would have been nice to been surprised by while watching the film. In particular, the scene where Wonder Woman lassos the lightning was almost anticlimatic during the movie because we had seen it in the previews.

We also knew ahead of time that Steve Trevor was coming back, though not how, exactly. The how turned out to be a little off-putting, actually—controversial, even— if you thought about it too much. I think they could have handled it better.

Overall…

Beyond a few spectacular moments, I was not wowed by the film. Even though I grew up in the 80s myself, I wasn’t really invested in this film being based in the 80s, and didn’t feel any sense of nostalgia for that decade while watching the film, like I do with “Stranger Things.” Director Patty Jenkins has talked about the setting as portraying a time of excess and greed, and made comparisons to modern issues, but honestly…I don’t see superhero movies for political commentary. I want to see people doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, heroic battles, and good winning over evil. Those elements were there, but lacking for me in this case.

And you? What did you think of Wonder Woman 1984? I’d love to hear your take in the comments below.

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1 thought on “Wonder Woman 1984 Review: Wins & Missed Opportunities”

  1. Fantastic review…..leagues beyond the normal, disappointing fare on TV…..great insights and references…..I feel I have a much better handle on the movie….only wish it had completely lived up to your expectations, knowing the WW fan you are……

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