Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
December 25, 2020 8:05 PM - Subscribe

Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman's next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

Delayed due to the pandemic, the movie was finally released to theaters (where they exist) and on HBO Max for streaming.

A few reviews: Variety, New York Times, and Film Freak Central.
posted by jimw (137 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
My household is still mad about this movie. The trailer promised us action timed to 80s songs. That did not happen. Fine. Still, why place it in 1984? There was ZERO 80s music. There were a lot of chances for it, though! This could have been a movie that evoked the best of 84 music on multiple fronts. Not just the New Order adjacent stuff from the trailer, but, like Ride the Lightning ('84) Sweet Dreams ('83, also the lowest hanging of 80s fruits)? Why else do it in '84 beyond a Linda Carter cameo?

The FUCK IT approach to production is a signal that indicates plot issues to come. Normally, we're kind to comicbook movies in this house (we do not care that WW made an invisible jet and the learned to fly), but sweet Hera the internal logic of the movie is fucked up:
- Steve takes over the body of some dude, everyone is okay with sending him to a warzone. But don't hurt big bad's stooges.
- A warzone where a WWI pilot can fly to on a jet? And then pilot an armored vehicle?
- Everything based on wishes. Or really the Max Lord via satellite plot in its entirety. They had a shot of a woman reading a book renouncing her TV based wishes.
- No, really, the wishes thing. They never made it clear that Max could tax the wishes of others, so suddenly he was taking control of nations.
- Cheetah. Everything there. Kristen Wiig was a great choice, but they linger on her turning bad-ish (beating up wino jerk) and then just move into her with a punk rock jacket fighting in the white house? Why have her homeless buddy at all?

This entire movie feels like the Powers That Be saw the response to the first one and decided that it was based on the weird fight at the end where Professor Lupin got all muscly and started fighting and not on Diana's connection to her fellow trench-bound soldiers.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:51 PM on December 25, 2020 [17 favorites]


I enjoyed it a lot. It's not perfect and is way too long but the action scenes are fun and well choreographed and Gadot is enjoying herself.

Personally I was overjoyed at the lack of music from 1984 but I guess that opinions vary.
posted by octothorpe at 9:27 PM on December 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


It is so bad that I now doubt any good will I had towards the first Wonder Woman and am seriously dialing down any expectations I had for Rogue Squadron. And I thought that I went in with pretty low expectations.
posted by jimw at 9:31 PM on December 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


It was fine. If you're upset because this movie makes no sense or rehashes racist stereotypes to move the plot along or has bad music, your feelings are certainly valid, but you had been warned by every other superhero movie ever made.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 PM on December 25, 2020 [8 favorites]


Also 1984 did not look nearly that cool although the US president did indeed get his wish of a shitload of nuclear weapons, so I guess they got it half right.
posted by GuyZero at 10:30 PM on December 25, 2020


I would have liked to see an editor take a crack at this movie, because it is not a two and a half hours long story. One forty-five tops. The HBO Max app on Xfinity kept crashing as if under the weight, and I should have taken the hint.
posted by bixfrankonis at 10:53 PM on December 25, 2020 [12 favorites]


I didn’t think this was very good. The CGI superhero physics seemed all wrong. I know it is impossible anyways, but other superhero movies can make it look more natural. Unnatural movement makes it look cheesy and outdated. Also, did someone watch Cats and come to the conclusion that it worked? I guess they had to put in childhood flashbacks to justify Max’s change of heart because they didn’t write this into the actual plot. I would probably have more complaints about the plot, but I fell asleep for a while in the middle. Anyhow, I found it not nearly as good as the first one.
posted by snofoam at 3:09 AM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


The Themysciran games at the beginning were pretty rad. That business with shooting your color to release colored smoke and the spotter raising the flag and the colored banners is the best score keeping system I've ever seen.

I wasn't clear why Diana's coach assumed she had cheated rather than just missed one of her smoke targets. Loved watching the kid do all those acrobatics. The faces she was making were great.

Diana sure loves sliding moves.

I kinda liked the concept of Max Lord using his one wish to become a genie and wasn't clear whether he was twisting wishes like a monkey's paw or just had the power to exact a price for granting a wish. I guess the stone decided the price of Diana's wish? At first I thought Cheetah's wish was stealing Diana's power, so it was kind of a cool reveal that, no, it was the consequence of Diana's wish. (Maybe it's a Kryptonian crystal that thinks superpeople ought to have their powers turned off before they sleep together.)
posted by straight at 3:37 AM on December 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


I think they could have cut the whole reality tv prologue and not lost a thing except 20 minutes of runtime. I felt like I was watching an episode of American Ninja Warriors; I don't know why they wasted our time with that.
posted by octothorpe at 4:50 AM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


in conclusion, WW84 is a land of contrasts
posted by kokaku at 5:20 AM on December 26, 2020 [7 favorites]


It felt ponderously slow- for an action movie, it took forever to move between the set-piece battles. There's probably a good movie in there, struggling to get out with some tighter editing. I have to wonder if the change in the release strategy took some of the pressure off to deliver a movie with a shorter runtime.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:14 AM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


It felt like they chose 20 things they wanted to show and then tried to come up with a story that could include them all. Emphasis on tried.
posted by snofoam at 7:22 AM on December 26, 2020 [10 favorites]


Yes, stealing the dude's body was so weird! Steve and Diana are such conscientious characters normally, I was expecting them to be like "wow what a crazy thing, let's be selfish and enjoy this for a few days before finding out how to give this guy his life back." Instead no one mentioned it! Except to make fun of him while they rifled through his closet! Odd!
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:25 AM on December 26, 2020 [15 favorites]


Personally I was overjoyed at the lack of music from 1984 but I guess that opinions vary.

I didn't necessarily mean to pick on that year; I'm just sick of movies using gratuitous pop music needle-drops to give scenes a cheap emotional high by exploiting our nostalgia. I was glad that Jenkins resisted that.
posted by octothorpe at 7:28 AM on December 26, 2020


It was fun - could have been a lot more fun - but definitely plotting and pacing problems.

Setting in the 80s gave it the "greed is good" excuse, but failed to take advantage of the setting. Was expecting a little more 80s glamour rather than 80s cringe.

... and speaking of cringe, Wiig's pre-wish character was 80s bad. Bad in heels? Glasses? Clutz? Bullied? Wish it all away? gah.

Max Lord's wish tax felt like a paper thin lampshade on cocaine abuse.

Chris Hemsworth in 'Ghostbusters' did the trad-gender-reversal a lot better than Chris Pine.

I didn't mind the opening Games, got a couple of feels from it.

But yeah, the CG especially flying around with the lasso looked off and WW Spidermanning it in the mall felt strange.
posted by porpoise at 8:51 AM on December 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


Hey, they were playing Frankie Goes to Hollywood's, uh, third most popular song in the party scene, that's gotta count for something. So, yeah, despite being delayed by basically a year, it feels like it needed a bit more time in development. Stuff that stood out to me -

  • The superhero effects were reeeaaallly floaty, basically any time WW was swooping around on her lasso it felt like they just clicked the composite around without caring about whether it had the right physicality. Cripes, don't even bring up when she saved the stuffed mannequins from the middle of the road. Oof. I'm not sure if that was just maybe an intentional homage to Lynda Carter-era WW or what? I mean, I could see an argument being made there, I suppose. It was jarring, in any case.

  • And while the wishes were all the classic Monkey's Paw, granting your wish but taking your most valued possession, they only really showed Diana losing her powers. I kind of guess that Barbara's loss was her kindness (which was only really suggested by her reaction to the one homeless dude), but what did Max lose in becoming the genie - his health and family? He used the rest of the world's wishes to deal with the former, and it took flashback fee-fees for him to realize the latter, so I'm not clear on what he gave up. And there's the problematic Egyptian oil magnate wishing all the heathens to be evicted from his ancestral land, they showed how it affected the residents of his lands, and ... I guess he lost his social standing and had to go into hiding?

    I guess I'm saying, given the runtime, they generally did an iffy job showing what other people lost in exchange for their one wish. And yeah ok saying this now I kind of get that Max was making it explicit when he was rattling off what he was taking in exchange for people's wishes, but it was all moving so fast that almost nobody other than the big three ever actually suffered those consequences? Yeah yeah, things falling apart, sure, but not direct consequences. It just doesn't feel like they necessarily drew the line that leads from the stone's wishes to civilizational collapse barring modern technology permitting the stone to reach out to the whole world at the same time.

  • I think the Ultimate Themiscrya Ninja Warrior section probably could have made it more clear that Diana cheated or lied to still manage to finish ahead of everybody else - highlight that she missed a couple of the smoke targets, so even if she'd thrown the javelin first, she hadn't completed the course, something like that, to tie it more strongly into the cheaters never win narrative in the rest of the movie. Otherwise I think a lot of people kind of missed the point, there.

  • I mean, it's still like my second favorite DC-verse movie after the first Wonder Woman, but it feels like they were trying to make it do too much. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it more in a theater with a gigantic bucket-o-popcorn and a very large soda. Certainly there were scenes that were clearly meant to be theatrical in scope - flying through the fireworks would probably have been glorious on the big screen.
    posted by Kyol at 9:24 AM on December 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


    Attaching a lasso to a cumulus cloud or a lightning bolt? Really?

    And it's set in the 80's an there is not a single scene set in a disco?
    posted by sammyo at 9:35 AM on December 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Argh, I really didn't like this one, and I wanted to because the first one seemed like the only good DC movie to date. I did not like how Wonder Woman's lasso turned her into Spider-Man. They didn't explain the mechanic with the wishes at all. It seemed like Max Lord's kid made like three wishes and they never worked? And then WW lost her powers, but only enough that she got shot in the shoulder, but all of her other powers worked fine, and she gained the plane-invisibility power and the power of flight while supposedly slowly losing her powers? Max Lord eventually takes whatever he needs from people in response to their wishes, not that they bother explaining it, but it's not really clear what he does with Cheetah's like empathy and human decency or whatever she seems to have lost? It's not entirely clear how the one average citizen at the end is able to revoke her wish, since she's been wished dead by the other average citizen?

    I was fine with the Hunger Games bit at the start of the movie, it didn't add up to much but it was fun, but then it only barely tied in to the rest of the movie thematically. It was at least action-packed, and I would have taken more action in exchange for fewer lazy 1980's wardrobe jokes and recycled Captain America man-out-of-time bits with Chris Pine. I do like Chris Pine in this, though, and I like that his character still does classic "girl sidekick" stuff like driving a car while our hero jumps off it to beat up the bad guys. Kristen Wiig was convincing to me as an action hero, too.
    posted by whir at 10:08 AM on December 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


    the last third of the last WW movie completely made the entire movie irredeemable to me as a story (so I can enjoy the setpieces as separate bits but the whole ending disappointed me so much that all the other bits that stood out to me, like her Smurfette syndrome, felt more glaring). This one improved on that just on a coherent thematic level (even if there's quite a bit of plothole problem ESPECIALLY with Barbara, and Max's eventual regret) so it already feels like a better movie. But for all the stuff they've improved (more women friendships; more women; a genuinely better realised Diana; more Amazons; more coherent villainy so the big bad fight wasn't as ridiculously unearned as the one with Mars), they've managed to come up with fresh new problems, like Steve's body. Which is a hanging niggle (to put it as an understatement) considering the fundamental mission brief they've set out for themselves seems to be everyone's inherent decency.

    Which made these WW movies still the best Superman movies the DCEU ever made (they're definitely of a piece, warts and all, with the Donnerverse ones). The vibe was very 'if Superman had a Batman Returns-type sequel'. I actually don't mind the lack of the pop culture gloss that I think we've come to expect and MCU has ran away with (something that does feel relevant, when Patty Jenkins dropped Thor, and Taika Waititi basically made Thor 3 as a paean to 80s pop culture), but I'm going to offer the counterpoint that maybe the 80s comparison we're looking at here is soapy dramas ala Dallas? Fabulous fashion, fabulous hair, very retrograde sense of what's cool for the 80s, because you're not a young person, but an older well-off person who's not cool or hip, but glamourous, that would've inhabited an 80s mainstream narrative.

    It is too long but I have to like it more over the last because this felt more coherent and Diana a more realised person.
    posted by cendawanita at 10:20 AM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


    I realized what I really want is to watch Thor Ragnarok again.
    posted by meese at 11:25 AM on December 26, 2020 [18 favorites]


    I thought using the theme from the movie Sunshine (speaking of a great movie ruined by the last third) for the Diana learning to fly scene was a weird choice.
    posted by straight at 11:42 AM on December 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


    We watched this last night, and my wife is rewatching it for some reason as I’m typing this, and I had no idea Diana lost her powers until I read it here. Nor that Steve kept the other dude’s body.

    But yeah. I come from a place that all franchise superhero movies are inherently terrible, so I had super low hopes going into this, but even that bar was not met.

    I thought the first one was kinda mediocre, and my guess is that a lot of people saw their terrible ideas rewarded when that movie made a bunch of money, and that is just a recipe for a disaster for subsequent efforts.

    Remember that Warner Bros already shifted the release date twice, pre-COVID, to make sure it wouldn’t go up against anything else popular (Star Wars and James Bond), so my guess is they knew they were going to have to ship a faulty product.
    posted by sideshow at 11:51 AM on December 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


    Liked:

    Kristen Wiig was great, and the Cheetah storyline was good, with strong possibilities of being better if that had been the main line and Max Lord the minor B villain. The element of Barbara being jealous of Diana and thus Cheetah gaining her powers by draining Wonder Woman's is sufficient to use as a basis for the theme of "be careful what you wish for" and to get Diana to engage with the world again (because she would have to find allies and get cooperation in order to accomplish anything and thus have to learn to deal with the world as us normal mortals do.)

    Disliked:

    - Yeah, if you're gonna trailer us with Blue Monday and give us a rainbow-stripey "TV static" logo I damn well expect an over-the-top Thor:Ragnarok/Speed Racer vision of the 80's, not just a mall and some leg warmers and a blue leotard or two. (And a couple of metal & glass shelving units that are actually still pretty cool . . .)

    - Along those lines, if you're gonna set it in 1984 and show us The President it had damn well better be Ronald Goddamn Reagan in full on senile+batshit launch-the-nukes anti-Communist mode. Not 'Generic Action-Movie Non-Entity' President.

    - And if you introduce nukes at all they better be an overwhelming existential threat - LIKE THEY REALLY WERE - not a thing you kinda toss in at the end. Patty Jenkins is 49, she's old enough to know better.

    - The entire Max Lord plot was an incomprehensible muddle. All of it. None of it made a damn lick of sense. (Starting with, since when are wish-granting magic rocks part of the DC Cinematic Universe? Gods (who could be aliens or other-dimensional entities) are one thing, magic rocks are another.)

    - Like, he grants a couple of minor wishes and suddenly somehow all of civilization is on the brink of collapse and that's before he (literally, apparently? WTF?) touches people with that mass broadcast?

    - Make the guy a damn TV-famous minor oil tycoon who's gone all 80's "greed is good" and comes up with a scheme to trade nukes for oil (and recruits Cheetah to be his enforcer.) Boom! Done - perfect 80's villain and storyline.

    - Look, Chris Pine seems to be a fine actor and unlikely to kick puppies or anything, so I don't begrudge him taking the gig, but if you're gonna bring him back I expect more than a too-long bad 80's fashion montage and mistaking a garbage can for art and a sudden magic ability to fly a jet fighter.

    - And I totally get that living through 60-some years of the very sexist 20th century with a constant stream of men macking on you is not gonna make you inclined to date again but goddamn this pining for Steve is some schmaltzy Lifetime movie cheeze. Which gets resolved with a "I'll NEVAR Love anyone else!!!" wail and then she just . . . turns the corner and leaves him behind a pillar?

    - IOW, you're gonna give me "60 years pining for a lost love" as a major character trait you'd better either take it damn seriously (like, frankly, Steve Rogers (Captain America) & Peggy Carter in the MCU) or you better fucking wallow in it. The whole romance was entirely half-assed.

    - Hell, make Chris Pine the spitting-image great-grandson named-Steve-in-his-honor and he's the one who's all super into everything 80's and is introducing Diana to breakdancing and Duran Duran and Orange Julius at the mall which she doesn't know anything about because she's hidden herself away in museums for decades. Which, yes, is kind of a retread of the first movie but that's the point - now Diana's having a major deja vu attack where she has to figure out if she actually loves the real actual person who is the 80's Steve Trevor or if she's just projecting her memories of the 1918 Steve onto this guy (unfairly) and besides that he's making the same point his great-grandfather did - refusing to engage with the world, whether hiding in Themyscira or hiding in the Smithsonian, is shirking your responsibility to make the world a better place.
    posted by soundguy99 at 1:50 PM on December 26, 2020 [18 favorites]


    Also weird was Diana seeming to have an episode of naive misunderstanding of Man's World when she has them just steal a fighter jet to fly to Egypt. Why did she think that would work? Those things don't have the range to fly all the way from DC to Cairo, do they?
    posted by straight at 2:33 PM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


    I have some of the same mixed feelings as everyone else but this is how I read it. Spoilers ahoy.

    As long as I get to see Robin Wright and athletic women doing cool things on Themyscira with some representation I'm good, but on a second watch I was a bit sorry at the lack of diverse body types in the audience.

    The first movie was for me about Diana coming into her power, so origin story, but also coming into her agape for humanity - taking up the mantle as demigoddess protector. So it was a bit disappointing to find her pining for eros/pragma and only sort of half settled into her agape role. In that sense the plot felt recycled but more on this later.

    I echo some disappointment in the Barbara character and I think they should have substituted the dinner girltalk scene for Diana doing self-defence training with her and convey the same information and deepen their friendship: She rescues her from the creep, she takes her off to a corner of the Smithsonian for some self-defence, they end up friends, Diana reveals she's still grieving, Barbara wishes to be that strong. Still works. Better set up for the kindness/fight scene.

    Steve: Due to my own neuroatypicality it has taken me more than 24 hours to get the issue with the body snatching, but ok. I personally think this is a comic book issue more than anything but it stands out because the 80s creepiness is standing out too.

    I would have made radically different choices in the Egypt/Max Lord plot. I thought it was somewhat true to some aspects of the 80s but there were many more interesting choices available that wouldn't have fed into middle eastern stereotypes. I kind of fell in the camp that the war party - drunk scott, wise 'indian' etc. - in the first film was a tongue-in-cheek set of choices but with this second instalment my faith is lost and now I'm seeing "please get a broader script team."

    That said, I appreciated seeing the Steve Trevor/Diana Prince partnership -- and I do feel like that's the message, he's not a sidekick but a partner that is wickedly along for the ride of mapcap shooting of things, also like "damn, stop grieving, damn, renounce your wish" and I appreciated that set up for her choice to give him up.

    I like Chris Pine's ability to wide-eyed-wonder at the world and the air and space museum set up really got me in the heart. This is purely personal: I'm down for some joy. I didn't feel like the pacing was horrible.

    The fight scenes kind of bothered me though, some of it was CGI and some of it was that I personally would have liked more of the strong Diana fighting a bit less of the weakening Diana fighting, just length wise. I also felt like this adhered a bit too closely to Superman II with Chris Reeve.

    I wished that the story put more emphasis on her having to choose her *power* over love rather than *the world*. And I get that she only wants her power to save the world but I felt like her wanting Steve Trevor and not really being like "I love my physicality and not having that is not just painful in combat but meaningful" would have been nice.

    And that kind of comes down to...I am sorrowed, I think, that this movie does require the hero's journey of Diana that she gives up her personal life to save the world (I'm not clear exactly on how this relates to truth for her except the truth that Steve is dead? Which I guess is why he doesn't get his own body?) because what I loved in the first movie was that she was uncompromising, like, screw your endless trench warfare, I am saving this town.

    I think from a certain uncontextualized point of view, it's a good hero arc. But in the context of where we are with women and power and family and love, it bites. I wanted to see more of that strength, and in this movie - the truth shall set you free was insufficient for me.

    It also struck me that this movie is going to sit with me because...it was written and shot pre-pandemic, and humanity's choice to give up their wishes is very glorious and all but when I am watching people have parties on my block in the middle of Covid, I either over-connect to that message or I have to start arguing with it. Max Lord loving his son actually brought Don Jr. to mind for me and that was not a good thing.

    I don't blame Patty Jenkins for this but it does show that the movie didn't surpass its genre.

    I still feel like Wonder Woman as a concept and character, and her centrality and physicality is a win for me, but this time it felt more because it's water in a desert and not because it's a fine wine.
    posted by warriorqueen at 2:40 PM on December 26, 2020 [10 favorites]


    As someone who generally enjoyed the previous Wonder Woman film and loved both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, I found this quite fun at moments (the race at the beginning, the acrobatics in the mall), but ultimately really disappointing because the stakes were very murky, the characters' motivations rather unclear and the pacing really undermined any sense of exciting tension that should be the foundation of any action (especially superhero) movie.

    Compared to the previous film, I think the problems of a compelling villain are again fundamental. It's like the narrative can't decide whether Max is supposed to be sympathetic or not. Which is not to say there's anything wrong with a quasi-sympathetic villain (both Killmonger and Hela are to varying degrees), but that seems to work best when the story of what makes them sympathetic is part of their development (and ideally serves the plot). Max starts out pretty slimy-seeming, has a cute kid thrown in to signal sympathy, but then ignores that kid until nearly the end. But what really kills Max as a villain is that he's booooooring. He's not so bad that you enjoy hating him, but not nearly interesting enough to secretly root for.

    But there are character problems all around. What does Diana Prince—a literal goddesswant in this narrative? Certainly she appears to enjoy saving people from crime and random violence, as well as not going out and partying, but is her only unfulfilled desire from 1918 to 1984, getting to be with Steve Trevor? He seems lovely, but the idea that the only thing a powerful, independent woman could really want is a dude is fairly disappointing. According to the text of the film, Diana's powers are apparently her most valued possession, but the fact it was unclear she was losing them, the fact that she stood to lose something by making the wish to bring Steve back and the fact that the consequence was so unclear as to require a character saying what was happening all point to poor story development that undermined the emotional impact.

    Add to that the initially very promising relationship between Diana and Barbara which seemed to ultimately have little impact on the broader plot and then kind of petered out without any sort of meaningful growth or resolution for either character, and this film starts to not even feel terribly pro-woman. Like, you can have a likeable character brought low by their ambition and that can mark the turning point for them overcoming their flaws in the beginning of the story, but instead of her recognizing that power can mean confidence and restraint, we get Barbara beating the most unlikable character in the film so savagely that it starts to make her look unsympathetic. I know that's supposed to be her "losing" her good qualities because of the trick of the monkey's paw, but that kind of thing only has emotional weight when the early character makes that bad bargain knowingly as the result of their character flaws (jealousy, insecurity). It doesn't work when they're just tricked into becoming bad by wanting good things for themselves. Even when faced with the opportunity to face up to what she's done with the support of the main character, who is clearly still invested in being her friend and helping her, Barbara refuses and Diana has to knock her out (though at the time, it seemed to me like she killed her). To me, that would've been a much more interesting emotional core of the film. How can women overcome oppression and wield power wisely without falling prey to the toxicity of the way all the men around them use it? But instead, we got Max realizing at the last moment he was motivated by his childhood trauma and a relatively emotionless climax where Diana has a solemn emotional connection with…the whole world I guess?

    Somewhere in there is a much better, slightly shorter movie and I'm bummed we didn't get to see it.
    posted by Cogito at 2:45 PM on December 26, 2020 [12 favorites]


    Also weird was Diana seeming to have an episode of naive misunderstanding of Man's World when she has them just steal a fighter jet to fly to Egypt. Why did she think that would work? Those things don't have the range to fly all the way from DC to Cairo, do they?
    I thought about this too. Likely because Steve makes a point of mentioning how incredible it seems in this "future" to have a plane that can make such a journey. Based on an uncited wiki source, the plane depicted in the movie has a range of 3,690 mi, quite a bit less than Washington D.C. to Cairo. It's the sort of thing I would find easy to dismiss if not for the previous line making it more likely to ruin suspension of disbelief.
    posted by Cogito at 3:14 PM on December 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Barbara should have been a distant relative of 1918 Steve who pieced the clues together as to Diana's true identity then confronts the Amazon wanting to be part of her world. Diana, partially because it's not safe for a mere mortal to fight superbaddies, partially because she's reminded of Steve, rejects Barbara. Barbara then obtains the magical macguffin and gets Cheetah powers that overwhelm her. They fight as a result, harkening back to the 'no shortcuts!' moral of the opening games.
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:37 PM on December 26, 2020 [7 favorites]


    Plus then she's like 'Oh wait, radar is a thing, oh wait again, I just remembered I've been practicing rubbing my hands together to make things invisible'.

    Similarly, the learning to fly thing was jaw droppingly bad. The lasso off the jumbo jet was bad but then to learn to fly by thinking about Steve's pretty thin advice for flying planes was stunning in its weakness as a plot device. Putting the whole amazon island action sequence in simply so Diana could learn some life lesson mantra in two clumsy sentences was also pretty poor. Its a good sequence but what it leads to is such weak sauce. There's just way too much stuff where there is a problem and the script just writes in something that hasn't been introduced to solve it.

    The renounce your wish thing was unconvincing at the global level, like a cheap Dr Who payoff.

    I also thought Wiig was the best thing in this. The only real character development.
    posted by biffa at 4:40 PM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


    The President was supposed to be Reagan.
    Lots of indignant dudes on Twitter about the poor engineer guy getting his body used without consent (fair).
    Technically, Barbara made her initial wish before Lord got involved, so could she still have powers at the end? The Cheetah bit was her second wish, which Lord took as a payment from someone else, and then shared with her (that bit was pretty muddy).

    I think I just liked all the actors (especially Pascal, thanks to the Mandalorian), a whole lot, do I didn't really mind the plot holes.

    It wasn't actually very 80s, oddly enough. The mall scene, the clothes, but in general the superhero stuff ran over the 80s atmosphere.
    posted by emjaybee at 7:41 PM on December 26, 2020


    Wonder Woman (2017) : Superman (1978) :: WW84 (2020) : Superman II (1980)
    posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:44 PM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


    We stopped 45 minutes til the end. The second night. That weird egyptian car chase thing. This movie is Razzie levels of bad. We'll finish it, but dropping the movie on streaming while everyone is stuck at home is the only thing redeeming it.
    posted by Catblack at 8:02 PM on December 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


    How did they manage to make this so bad. Even the various interactions between characters felt forced and lacking, somehow simultaneously. Chris Pine was wasted. WW didn't see any character development. I mean, I saw her whishing for Steve and renouncing it. But it felt so empty and didn't feel like it changed her in any meaningful way. This is Max Lord. She should have broken his neck. It was right there.
    posted by asra at 8:22 PM on December 26, 2020


    I was disappointed that this started out cliche but also winking and fun and then the fun slowly leaked out of it until I was watching just another dumb superhero movie with an endless action climax.
    posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:29 PM on December 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


    I misread the running time. If it was ~100 minutes like I'd thought it would have been OK. And I don't mean if they edited it down--I mean if it just ended as it was starting to get ridiculous with the wall appearing in Egypt. I did love the opening Amazonian games.

    the problematic Egyptian oil magnate wishing all the heathens to be evicted from his ancestral land, they showed how it affected the residents of his lands, and ... I guess he lost his social standing and had to go into hiding?

    Anyone who did a wish to Max, lost whatever Max said he was taking. For example, his partner lost all his shares because Max said he wanted that in return for the wish. Max tried to take the Egyptians oil, but they laughed at him since he'd given it up the rights. So then he said he'd take his security forces.

    The stone always took something, supposedly your most valuable thing, but it wasn't explained plot wise until late in the movie. Which was supposed to be because the stone was about lies and deception, but just made it confusing.

    I do feel bad for the guy who wished for a cup of coffee at the start. What did he lose? Hope it was a really good coffee at least.
    posted by mark k at 10:12 PM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


    Superman 78: No superhero movie will ever have a ropier ending than this one.

    Wonder Woman 84: Hold my tiara
    posted by EatTheWeak at 11:13 PM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


    I'm struggling with some of the scenes in the latter half of the movie and the politics of having Gal Gadot as the protagonist. I don't understand it all completely, but it's put watching it fully on pause until I do some more learning.

    My heart still belongs to Chris Pine, though.
    posted by Kitchen Witch at 11:14 PM on December 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Huge missed opportunity having Chris Pine at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and not having a look at their model of the USS Enterprise.
    posted by wabbittwax at 11:28 PM on December 26, 2020 [25 favorites]


    It was a tiny detail, but I liked Chris Pine's "superhero landing" when he jumped off the armored vehicle at the end of that sequence.

    Lynda Carter is my mom's age, apparently.
    posted by emelenjr at 5:17 AM on December 27, 2020


    There are a lot of things I'll let slide in a big goofy action movie, like "why is there a plane sitting there fueled and ready and how on earth can it fly to Egypt without refueling??" but I really didn't buy the "oh god my son!" pivot that Max has - they really hadn't sold me on the idea that he loved his son that much or really much at all. I think the film would've benefited from a couple of bits making it clear that Max actually loves his son as more than just a mirror to reflect his own success.

    I'd put it at about the level of an average Marvel movie. Also, I want a studio to set Jenkins up with Gail Simone and a big budget and lots of creative freedom and see what happens.
    posted by rmd1023 at 6:11 AM on December 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Oof, that was such a mess. My main gripe is that for such a long movie, the emotional stakes were really poorly defined. At about the 2 hour mark, we checked to see how much run time was left, sighed about having to watch another 30 minutes, but gritted our teeth and finished.

    Actually really glad to have seen it at home. Watching it in the theater would have been less comfortable (and more expensive).
    posted by merriment at 7:07 AM on December 27, 2020 [5 favorites]




    I do feel bad for the guy who wished for a cup of coffee at the start. What did he lose? Hope it was a really good coffee at least.
    I also wondered whether that guy was obligated to renounce his wish and how that would've worked
    posted by Cogito at 11:43 AM on December 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


    I also wondered whether that guy was obligated to renounce his wish and how that would've worked

    I . . . missed that that's why he got the cup of coffee. My spouse did shout, "Hey, that's the coffee guy!" at some point but I forget when. Maybe with one of the homeless people? Which . . . er . . .
    posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:14 PM on December 27, 2020


    Asim Chaudhry (Chabuddy G) is the coffee guy if anyone wants to look out for where he ends up later in the film. I think he might just have been in a montage of people who had made wishes.
    posted by biffa at 2:09 PM on December 27, 2020


    yea I joked that he'd have to barf up his coffee. what a dreadful film
    posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:15 PM on December 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


    But what if he wanted the coffee to loosen him up ahead of his morning constitutional (so to speak)?
    posted by biffa at 2:32 PM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I can’t express how lazy this whole “wishing stone” premise was. I’m beyond disappointed. What a waste of an excellent cast. The redemption arc for Max Lord was the worst.
    posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:42 PM on December 27, 2020 [5 favorites]


    I loved this movie. It was fun, gentle, positive. No one died. People thought about the results of their “selfish” wishes and chose to be pro-social instead of doubling down. Superhero movies are already internally inconsistent by being superhero movies. I like Wonder Woman 1984 a lot more than the last never-ending Avengers film. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman lights up the screen and is fun to watch, “plot holes” be damned.
    posted by apex_ at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


    More power to anyone who enjoyed the film, but I'm pretty sure people died. Like, the drunken harasser guy Cheetah kicked into the air who landed motionless ~30ft away didn't appear to be doing to well. And in that, I think I'm similarly-minded: that kind of gruesome violence seemed out-of-place and didn't add to the story for me.
    posted by Cogito at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


    My problem with Wonder Woman is that she has no defined set of powers. It seems like they are just changing things whenever they feel like it. It's too convenient when she can suddenly turn a jet invisible or discover that she can fly. I think a compelling hero should have defined weaknesses to add a sense of danger and risk. Superman has green kryptonite and Batman has childhood trauma. Giving Diana a broken heart seems so lame in comparison.
    posted by cazoo at 3:27 PM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


    More power to anyone who enjoyed the film, but I'm pretty sure people died.
    Jenkins said in interviews that her intent was to have no deaths in the film, and challenged the stunt coordinators to stage fights with that in mind. (e.g. "the brakes still work").
    This is Hollywood action; the Wet Bandits survived much worse.

    On the whole, I enjoyed the film. I'm an old-school comic fan with fond memories of George Perez's Wonder Woman and the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League (where Max Lord debuted). Considering how WW's confrontation with Max played out in Infinite Crisis, I feared the worst when they said they'd have to destroy the Dreamstone. But using the Lasso of Truth to expose the consequences of the villain's plot - that's straight out of Perez.
    posted by cheshyre at 3:59 PM on December 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Can’t decide if it was tone-deaf or just super optimistic to have the happy ending hinge on people everywhere being willing to sacrifice their wishes for the common good, at a time when we can’t even get people to stay home or wear a little cloth on their face to save other people’s lives. Invisible jets and magical wishing stones seem almost realistic by comparison.
    posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 4:41 PM on December 27, 2020 [12 favorites]


    Jenkins said in interviews that her intent was to have no deaths in the film

    so it's ok to beat the crap out of someone as long as they don't die? ick
    posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:03 PM on December 27, 2020


    I did not care for it, and have so many questions about Steve Trevor, Man out of Time.

    Whose body did he take over? What happened to that guy while his body was being taken over by Steve Trevor? Did his consciousness get suppressed? Did he replace Steve Trevor in what we're supposed to assume is Heaven, Rick Jones/Mar-Vell Nega-Band style (to cross companies)? Was he trapped inside his own body, pounding phantom fists against the insides of his own eyeballs and screaming silently as his living corpse was piloted by a body-stealing, blue-eyed sociopath? Did he own pets? Plants? Who fed his pets and watered his plants?

    The fact that he meets Wonder Woman in Full Pirate Garb at the end of the movie belies the "trapped inside his own body, screaming, for days" theory, but maybe the trauma just erased the entire thing from his mind.

    Why did that guy have so many radically different outfits in his apartment? I know many people, and most of them hew to a couple of kinds of dress, but this dude had every eighties outfit and apparently an arsenal of fanny packs at his disposal. I was alive in the eighties. I owned a fanny pack! But I owned one fanny pack. I did not own an array of fanny packs. Why did he have so many fanny packs and outfits? Was he a male model? Did he lose a lot of male modelling gigs because he just up and vanished for three days, and "I'm sorry, I was a screaming prisoner inside my own skull while a time-displaced madman flew a fighter jet from Washington to Cairo, non-stop, and also through fireworks, and now my plants and my cat are dead" probably doesn't cut it as an excuse.

    Does Steve Trevor, in any body, have a super bladder? I can sort of buy that Wonder Woman has a super bladder. But putting aside the impossibility of flying a fighter jet from Washington to Cairo, that's like a 10+ hour flight. Did Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman get weirdly super personal on this flight? Can you empty a Slurpee cup full of urine out of a jet fighter over the Atlantic?

    Why do escalators terrify Steve Trevor? They have been around for a long time. They were common enough that there were lawsuits over them in departments stores in the 1930s. In looking this up, I have discovered Elevatorpedia, a Wikipedia for elevators, and I am forever grateful in a roundabout way to this movie for that.
    posted by Shepherd at 5:34 PM on December 27, 2020 [24 favorites]


    "Nobody dies" and "only the villain savagely beats someone" at least draws a line that none of the other recent DC movies did, not even SHAZAM! but I agree with those who don't need to see the villains do it either.

    But WW1984 crosses the line unless you count "nobody stays dead" because a whole lot of people died before all the wishes were undone. Does that mean the attempted rapist was never beaten? If not, lots of people definitely died as consequences of wishes. If so, was time just rewinded, meaning most of the movie never happened?
    posted by straight at 5:51 PM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I believe that virtually all of the goodwill toward the Wonder Woman franchise is about how perfect Gal Gadot is in the role. The actual movies are not great.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:19 PM on December 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


    Patty Jenkins being pretty sharp and the title being Wonder Woman '84, I was fully expecting this to be an Orwell riff hiding behind shoulder pads and parachute pants. It is... nowhere near that clever.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:40 PM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Jenkins said in interviews that her intent was to have no deaths in the film

    so it's ok to beat the crap out of someone as long as they don't die? ick


    I mean not in real life, no, but these are films so there is an element of the fantastic. I think it's understood that things we see in films we react to differently than in real life. A drunken harasser gets beat up, OK. Iron Man blows up a tank full of maybe-bad guys, it's understood that this is not real and the framing of these sort of stories means violence gets done. It's fine to not like that but what were you expecting?
    posted by axiom at 7:24 PM on December 27, 2020


    TBH a lot of the points are nitpicky, but I've found it's usually indicative of a larger problem because that simply meant the movie didn't work for the viewer, that a lot of these things became visibly problematic. My go-to example is X-Men: First Class - deeply stupid and frustrating but the movie worked for many people, so a lot of those nitpicks were mentally let go in people's estimation. The other example is the last jedi vs rise of skywalker.
    posted by cendawanita at 8:02 PM on December 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


    Somewhere in there is a much better, slightly shorter movie and I'm bummed we didn't get to see it.

    I don't think "slightly shorter" is enough. This was two hours and thirty minutes. There's a lovely hour and a half film in all that.
    posted by mikelieman at 8:06 PM on December 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


    My problem with Wonder Woman is that she has no defined set of powers. It seems like they are just changing things whenever they feel like it. It's too convenient when she can suddenly turn a jet invisible or discover that she can fly.

    AFAIK as a fairly casual comic reader comics canon is WW=Superman, basically - at least for the modern/current version of WW.

    I think the "learning to fly" thing was (in addition to a little Steve Trevor get out your hanky moment) an intentional ramp up of her knowledge of her own power. Note that early in the movie after she lost the Amazon decathlon-thingy her mom gives her a "you have no idea of how special you are and how powerful you'll be" pep talk, and I'm pretty sure a similar idea was expressed in the first movie.

    Which makes some sense - if she's been just kinda bopping around taking out mall jewelry store robbers she hasn't exactly been stretching herself, so she doesn't really know what she's capable of. She needs a major worldwide threat to get her to try to go beyond what she's easily capable of, and so she does. One assumes this is not only to make movie WW equivalent power to comics WW, but also because they Have Plans for WW being Supes-level in future DC movies.

    I think the invisible plane was really just meant as a callback to the earlier versions of the WW character, who did have an invisible plane. A supposedly fun little thing that can be safely forgotten.

    I think a compelling hero should have defined weaknesses to add a sense of danger and risk.

    Although this was obviously not clear enough (or, IMO, given enough dramatic & plot weight), as part of the magic wish rock thing Cheetah gained her powers by draining Wonder Woman's, so while maybe it's not an intrinsic weakness they at least tried to throw some risk for Diana into the flick.
    posted by soundguy99 at 8:52 PM on December 27, 2020


    Yeah, this film was pretty confused about what it wanted to be. At first it seemed like it was trying to be mostly a campy comedy like Thor: Ragnarok, and it was looking like it was going to be some mix of (1) a tragicomedy about a man who wishes to be a genie and gets more than he bargained for, plus (2) a time travel rom-com, plus (3) a story about Diana’s budding friendship with an endearingly awkward scientist. But then at some point it switched off the campiness and humor and just earnestly tried to be this serious action movie about a wishing stone, and anything that was making the movie fun (like Barbara’s personality) suddenly disappears.

    And yeah, as movies about wish granting go, this movie was significantly less coherent than, say, Disney’s Aladdin (1992), which at least laid out some ground rules. Maybe I’m too analytical, but if I’m watching a film about something that grants wishes, and it suggests that all 5 billion people in the world are going to get to make a wish (and then later revoke it), I’m going to be distracted wondering about all the people who make contradictory wishes, people who wish for infinite wishes, etc. Surely there’s at least one misanthrope in the world who would wish the world out of existence, right? (By the way, if you have a wishing stone, wishing yourself to become the wishing stone and then personally convincing other people to make wishes on you and then stealing their oil afterwards seems like a radically inefficient means of achieving world domination.)

    Beyond such quibbles, this film was deeply problematic in ways it really didn’t need to be. As mentioned above, Diana and Steve using some stranger’s body to have sex had major consent issues. As far as I can tell, the sci-fi scenario of having sex with someone’s body while your buddy occupies it is morally equivalent to the real-life scenario of having sex with someone’s body while they’re passed out.

    But why was Steve occupying someone else’s body in the first place? Presumably Diana’s wish was just “I wish Steve were alive again”, not “I wish Steve were alive and occupying someone else’s body.” There seems to be no in-universe explanation and no narrative reason for introducing this problem. Steve could have just shown up in the flesh.

    The other thing that was unnecessarily problematic was the whole Egypt scene. Especially given the previous controversy over Gal Gadot’s pro-IDF remarks, staging a major action scene as being between Gal Gadot’s character and the security forces of a generic Arab oil magnate whose wish is for the invaders to leave his people’s ancestral lands seems like either a very deliberate political statement, or a phenomenally unfortunate choice. And again, there was no narrative reason for this. The Egypt scene’s only function was to provide an extra example of Max Lord’s avarice and a car chase scene. It could have been replaced with almost anything else.
    Why do escalators terrify Steve Trevor? They have been around for a long time.
    Yeah, the things they choose to have him be amazed by are pretty strange. “I’ve traveled 66 years into the future, and the planes and trains here are bigger and faster than in my time? Unbelievable! Who could have guessed?!” He acts like he’s from the 15th century, not 1918.

    Also fireworks. Fireworks have been used to celebrate the Fourth of July since 1777. (Yes, they’ve gone bigger and prettier and more colorful since then, but that’s another incremental, unlikely-to-astonish-a-man-from-1918 change.)
    posted by Syllepsis at 9:24 PM on December 27, 2020 [9 favorites]


    I think a compelling hero should have defined weaknesses to add a sense of danger and risk.

    I don't have enough familiarity with the DC universe to know where this came up, but I recall a sequence in one of the comics, in which Batman shows Superman his contingency plans. Basically, he has a box for every member of the justice league, containing their one weakness in case they should go rogue, kryptonite for Superman, yellow mustard for Green Lantern, etc. And then he opens Wonder Woman's box and it's empty and he emphasizes to Superman how fucking scary that is.
    posted by wabbittwax at 9:27 PM on December 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


    Of all the modern tech that should have stopped Steve Trevor in his tracks, fucking TELEVISION should have done it and I don't think he even bats an eye at it.
    posted by wabbittwax at 9:29 PM on December 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


    Why do escalators terrify Steve Trevor? They have been around for a long time.

    And I mean I kind of wanted it to be Wheaton Station's 230 foot escalators, but they didn't enter service until 1990. Maybe that red line station _was_ the longest set of escalators in 1984?
    posted by Kyol at 9:48 PM on December 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


    It wasn't awful, but it was so unnecessarily long. Lots of glaring nonsense, some of the highlights:

    - "LOL, remember when my dad made the island invisible? I did that once to a coffee cup ??? years ago and never tried it again, let's try it on this jet! It will, of course, render the jet invisible to radar as well!"
    - "We'll just stroll out of the White House after all this chaos, we've beaten up all 20 people in the Secret Service and there's nobody left to stop us!"
    - "My dead pilot boyfriend explained flying to me and now I can do it. Without a plane."
    - "I will embrace my son in this field presumably in or near DC after very obviously being at the center of an event that nearly caused World War 3 and there's not a sniper's bullet in the back of my head or any feds trying to drag me away anywhere!"
    - "Hey we put the woman from the old TV show in here for 30 seconds in a post-credits scene and that counts as a Special Guest Appearance!"

    I wish Marvel and DC would both stop making nearly three hour long overwrought epics with world/universe-threatening villains and just give us some fun capers. None of this stuff is memorable because it ends up at the same self-important grimdark apocalyptic final battle against the glowing omnipotent megalomaniac, who is defeated because of their opponents' superior moral fiber -- substitute "willing to kill" for "superior moral fiber" to create your own Snyder cut. "The repetitive epic is the most elegant form of Cardassian literature."
    posted by jordemort at 10:30 PM on December 27, 2020 [9 favorites]


    there was a lot of dumb here. but pilot dude amazed by escalators is walking through the motherfucking air and space museum surrounded by honest to god rockets (what does he care about big pointy cylinders? why not, oh, i dunno, the jets/sound barrier gallery, sure to make this guy flip his lid?) and the thing he's looking at is a mascot in an astronaut costume (which would mean nothing to him more than breakdancing and parachute pants) handing out pamphlets of nothing important. oh also, diana can read mayan heiroglyphic script? finally, lion-woman who was swinging on live power lines is electrocuted when one of them falls in the water but diana (who, in fairness, can lasso lightning bolts) isn't?
    posted by 20 year lurk at 10:49 PM on December 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


    The rules on wishes were scattered, to the point that I wonder what the film makers were trying for thematically. Max tricking people into wishing for stuff he wanted (like a meeting with the president) was at odds with wishers being punished for their own greed.
    posted by mark k at 11:25 PM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Certainly there were scenes that were clearly meant to be theatrical in scope - flying through the fireworks would probably have been glorious on the big screen.

    I saw this at the cinema, it was pretty enough. I was distracted though by trying to work out whether it being 4th of July had been mentioned to that point. Had there been anything to suggest it was a holiday?
    posted by biffa at 2:29 AM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


    We made it to the end last night. This was clearly meant to be a summer movie, then they added a Christmas reshoot at the end (with a digital crowd for shots of Gadot.)

    I did think that small scene of the guy whose body Steve stole was really creepy. He remembers the outfit... does he remember the sex they had? How hard would it have been to have her ghost boyfriend just appear and then later turn to dust or something?
    posted by Catblack at 8:39 AM on December 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


    Was the Lynda Carter cameo at the end (in the Christmas market) part of that reshoot?

    It was great to see her, but it was really ham-handed to close on her and then immediately put up the credits like HEY THAT WAS LYNDA CARTER YOU JUST SAW OMG. Unless the cameo was supposed to be in the flashback and they edited that down to just her eyes in the final cut.
    posted by JoeZydeco at 9:20 AM on December 28, 2020


    Oh, and this made me chuckle. WW84 used so many colors in their posters, they ran out when it was time to finish the film.
    posted by JoeZydeco at 9:35 AM on December 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


    as part of the magic wish rock thing Cheetah gained her powers by draining Wonder Woman's

    I ... don't think that's right? Losing her powers was the price of Diana's wish, which is why she got them back when she renounced the wish.

    Although the whole wishing stone thing was really poorly explained. Like: what was Barbara's price? You get the powers but in exchange you ... become an asshole? Presumably "but you lose your health" was Max's price but it felt more like it was the actual process of wish-granting taking a toll on his body? And how was he able to transfer part of the everyone-gets-a-wish tax into Cats-ifying Cheetah? that doesn't seem within the stone's original remit? damnit what are the rules here?

    (It amused me that I was like "oh, it's a monkey's paw then" at the first wish and then maybe 45 minutes later Steve carefully explains to Diana that "hey, it's like the monkey's paw" and YES WE GOT IT ALREADY THANKS STEVE.)

    I didn't hate it as much as many here -- it was fun! -- but yeah, it doesn't really hold together very well when you think about it to any extent. And yes, oof, the trip to Egypt was a real "well that took a turn" moment.

    (also, how damn long is the Lasso?)
    posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:52 AM on December 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


    (also, how damn long is the Lasso?)

    As long as it needs to be.
    posted by octothorpe at 10:08 AM on December 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


    Another nitpick: I get that this is supposed to be Diana's movie and her story and etc etc... but if you're going to write a story in the DC universe* and have shit go sideways all over the planet with walls rising from the earth and missiles launching all over, where the hell did Superman go? Is he on vacation? It would have made a lot more sense if things just went bad in her local city and she fixed things up.

    * My knowledge of DC goes as far as Hall of Justice cartoons on Saturday mornings in the 80s. Sorry. I will now return to water-bucket form.
    posted by JoeZydeco at 10:41 AM on December 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


    where the hell did Superman go? Is he on vacation?

    The Superman of Earth-These Movies made it exhaustingly clear that he was 33 (while sitting in front of a stained glass window of Jesus ffs) in one of them (I forget which), so in 1984 he would have been 1 to 3 years old. Can't remember if he had any powers yet but yeah, it's not like the third act appearance of a superbaby would have made this movie any sillier.
    posted by EatTheWeak at 11:25 AM on December 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


    Batman and Superman in the universe of these Wonder Woman movies exist in the "present" day, but in 1984, presumably, Bruce Wayne might just be an angry orphan teenager and Superman is still eating Wheaties in Smallville. This introduces another plot hole though. The framing device of the first movie is Diana receiving a photograph of herself with Steve and the other soldiers from Batman, which prompts the film as flashback. The impression is that she hasn't seen that photo in almost 100 years, much less Steve. But now we learn she got to see him again a couple decades back. And ALSO, that photograph is in her damned apartment.
    posted by wabbittwax at 11:25 AM on December 28, 2020 [13 favorites]


    cheshyre: This is Hollywood action; the Wet Bandits survived much worse.

    This is an interesting point, and makes me think about the textual function of violence in these films. I also happened to just rewatch Home Alone 3 days prior to WW84, so I feel equipped to compare the two. As you say, the Wet Bandits "survived" much worse, and to me that's part of the point. Their survival was always 100% clear in the context of the film. In fact, they don't even particularly seem to suffer lasting effects of their punishment which would in reality send them to the hospital if not the morgue. It is very much cartoon violence, as one would expect from a movie rated PG.

    WW84 (PG-13) is not a kids movie, it's a superhero movie and so it's expected that the violence would be more extreme since the point is to be exciting rather than comedic as it is in Home Alone. I remember my first time watching the Wet Bandits get pummeled with paint cans and laughing so hard I nearly peed myself. In watching WW84 the violence made me either feel bored (the car chase) or disturbed (Cheetah's beating her attacker). To be fair, there was some genuinely fun action (the opening race, the busting up of the mall heist), but that didn't feel violent to me. What was so distasteful about the scene with Cheetah is the depiction of violence as a cold assertion of dominance with no apparent emotional affect apart from anger. Yes, the Wet Bandits received potentially more grievous physical harm, but it was from a playful 8 year-old and it was always clear that the injuries were unpleasant, but the tone remained comedic. This was quite a contrast to the bloodied and limp form Cheetah in her wake.

    Now perhaps the point of that scene is to show us that Cheetah has gone full villain, and in that much it was effective. But I don't think you can have that kind of turn be a major part of the narrative and still have a film that's overall "fun, gentle, [and] positive", at least for my experience. There were plenty of other ways to show Cheetah had turned, so in this case the violence felt tonally inconsistent and gratuitous. (Compare Hera in Thor: Ragnarok who kills a bunch of folks in a way that clearly establishes her as the villain, but not in a way that feels like toxic masculinity: she efficiently dispatches those who oppose her.) Which is too bad, because the best parts of both Wonder Woman films for me are when it is fun, gentle and positive.
    posted by Cogito at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I did think that small scene of the guy whose body Steve stole was really creepy. He remembers the outfit... does he remember the sex they had? How hard would it have been to have her ghost boyfriend just appear and then later turn to dust or something?

    I wouldn't say he remembers the outfit as much as it was an outfit he already had in his closet that Steve tried on and Diana said no to, but now that dude isn't Steve any more so Diana says it looks great.

    But yeah, I think it would have probably been less weird for Steve to just have come back as a golem out of the magic wish dust and faded back into the ground than the whole possession aspect as filmed.
    posted by Kyol at 11:56 AM on December 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


    the best parts of both Wonder Woman films for me are when it is fun, gentle and positive.

    For better or worse WW84 and the original are extremely earnest, more so than any other overriding esthetic. That doesn't mean they can't be fun but even when they're having fun they're still very earnest. Whether Diana as a character is the source of this or whether she's coloured by it, but she's also very earnest. Duty bound to a sense of lawfulness in general. Everything is just very serious at all times and there's always some moralizing going on about how you need to be truthful, work harder, be loyal, etc etc.

    In contrast the Marvel films are not very sincere in the least - they's going for big battles, everyone has a joke ready, everything is amped up to 11. Even Cap is a goofball whose loyalty to Bucky is more clearly a plot driver rather than true earnestness. Perhaps only T'Challa reaches Diana's levels of earnestness in the Marvel pantheon.

    It's simultaneously one of the best and worst parts of the film.
    posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on December 28, 2020


    I thought sure that Steve knowing the Monkey's Paw story was an anachronism, but turns out the original story was published back in 1902.
    posted by straight at 1:47 PM on December 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


    Perhaps only T'Challa reaches Diana's levels of earnestness in the Marvel pantheon.

    Being neither black nor a woman, I've been hesitant to make cross-comparisons, but as two tentpole franchise films which center protagonists which have long been marginalized in this medium I found Black Panther to be an enormously successful film on all levels and was hoping for the same with WW84. Now that you mention it, the earnestness comparison is a good and interesting one. I think it points to the ways in which WW84 was lacking a villain with Killmonger-like charisma and comic foils like Shuri and M'Baku. Wiig definitely has the comic chops, which is part of why I found her initially promising character's lack of an arc so disappointing.
    posted by Cogito at 2:05 PM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I liked the Monkey's Paw thing bcs yeah, that's just Steve referencing contemporary fiction
    posted by EatTheWeak at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


    I think it would have probably been less weird for Steve to just have come back as a golem out of the magic wish dust

    Another aspect of the wish-rules that was wildly inconsistent. At first the wishes were fulfilled in a subtle, could-be-coincidence ways (they found oil on land they'd already been drilling on, someone just happens to have an extra coffee, etc.) so not being able to build a Steve from scratch made sense. Then of course later on walls and nuclear weapons are appearing out of thin air.

    Even Cap is a goofball whose loyalty to Bucky is more clearly a plot driver rather than true earnestness

    I agree with most of your post and the difference in tones is really notable. But Cap's loyalty to Buck (and general benevolence) is completely sincere and consistent--I don't think it can be written off just because he's a goofball.
    posted by mark k at 2:11 PM on December 28, 2020


    Captain America is, consistently, a sincere goofball.
    posted by wabbittwax at 2:26 PM on December 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


    Another aspect of the wish-rules that was wildly inconsistent. At first the wishes were fulfilled in a subtle, could-be-coincidence ways (they found oil on land they'd already been drilling on, someone just happens to have an extra coffee, etc.) so not being able to build a Steve from scratch made sense. Then of course later on walls and nuclear weapons are appearing out of thin air.

    On the other other hand, all the big and obvious stuff started happening after the stone powered up by consuming Max's "soul" or whatever. Beforehand it was a mumpty-thousand year old trickster god's plaything, running out of mojo, but then Max comes along and runs headlong at the Monkey's Paw and maybe?

    But again, that's not really directly supported by anything in the movie, is it. I mean heck, even if Max sortakinda somehow immanentized the earthly presence of the trickster god (I'm specifically _not_ saying it would've brought Hiddleston into the movie here) and they made it clear that's what was happening, I'd be able to write off a lot of those inconsistencies.
    posted by Kyol at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Captain Awkward has a twitter thread with a proposed different take on the plot. (bottom of the thread here, in case that works better for browsers/clients have trouble following threads from the top. I like it - it hits a lot of the same emotional beats without nearly as many things that I thought were problems.
    posted by rmd1023 at 2:33 PM on December 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


    oh I should also add that after WW84 my headcanon is that Diana was exiled from Themyscira for being straight. She doesn't even go home for Amazon Christmas or whatever.
    posted by GuyZero at 2:44 PM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


    I guess I've forgotten the details of the first movie. Was there something about Diana not ever being able to go back to Themyscira if she left with Steve for Man's World. Except I guess the Amazons are part of Snyder's Justice League movie?
    posted by straight at 3:08 PM on December 28, 2020


    This movie is gloriously shameless in how knowingly even trollingly dumb and schlocky it is. It was like one of those Adam Sandler heist movies where the heist is how many millions Sandler (who is a genius clearly capable of actually smart films) & his crew can rip off from the movie companies and their audiences for the dumbest possible movies. It's like going up to a three-card monte dealer and obvious con artist in the street and playing their game and getting your fun knowing that you're being ripped off and admiring their art. Chapeau.
    posted by Bwithh at 3:15 PM on December 28, 2020


    It's...so many things. So, so, many things. So many things.

    In lieu of nitpickery (except for the fact that I apparently have not broken my habit of pointing at the screen and going "Wig! Wiiiig! Bad Wig!!" out loud at mismatched hair extensions, the way one might call out "Boom Mic in the Frame!"), I'll let these guys do a few.
    So does Steve really love Pop Tarts? Or is it only because that guy's body loves Pop Tarts?

    Whatever else can be said, they made a second multimillion dollar Wonder Woman movie, with a female director. Not something that would have likely happened in 1984. And hey, would you rather have watched WW:1984 in this timeline? Or would you have preferred being stuck at home watching the Cobie Smulders / Joss Whedon version of it? Or that there was no movie, because the rights were all tied up with the CW version TV show starring Adrianne Palicki?
    posted by bartleby at 5:02 PM on December 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


    I was really disappointed at the music. What's the point of owning a movie studio, comics publisher, and record label if you don't go to town with the song clearances? Warner was the label of Prince and Madonna, if we're doing 1984.
    Think about doing Barbara via Blondie. We meet shy pink sweater Barbara to Heart of Glass; then she shows up at the gala in her new look to Call Me; then a big chase/fight between full-Cheetah her and Wonder Woman to One Way or Another?
    Maybe I'm thinking of a bygone era of physical media, where they could have sold a million copies of back-catalog songs, Guardians of the Galaxy style?
    posted by bartleby at 5:28 PM on December 28, 2020 [9 favorites]


    So a couple more disjointed thoughts:

    I generally liked the movie. I liked the opening scene which was really just filler for mid-tier SFX but it was fun in a way that the rest of the movie mostly wasn't. I like Steve as a character. Someone upthread said they thought Chris Hemsworth did it better in Ghostbusters but I feel like they're really different characters. Steve Trevor is a competent sidekick, sort-of love interest and plot motivator and generally manages to inject a little fun into an otherwise self-serious movie. Also he manages to do all that without outshining Diana. Wiig was fun as Minerva. The nerd-to-queen transformations always ring hollow in this or any teen movie, but hey, Wiig has the chops to pull it off.

    The deus ex machina plot device was fine. Honestly I'm amazed at how much restraint they showed in not spending 20 minutes explaining who created it and why. I'm just here for the worldbuilding honestly.

    But back to my older point: why so serious? Diana is dour to the point of being a real drag. I'm split on whether she's supposed to be like that because she's a martial warrior who just isn't into fun, whether she's heartbroken over the loss of Steve and just can't ever have any fun again or whether the constant harassment by men from being deity-level hot just gives her the most super RBF ever. To be fair, it does seem like her life would be fairly terrible if she was getting hit on by a random DC dudes ever 30 seconds as the movie alludes to. Perhaps pervasive societal expectations about women prevent there from ever being a female Tony Stark or Peter Quill (or Steven Strange or Peter Parker or Scott Lang or god this is really depressing). Someone please make a superhero movie where a woman gets to have some fun and makes some wisecracks.

    That said, it's possible the blame here lies in the overall tone of the DC films in general, which is grim and dark. Relative to that context, WW (84 and original flavour) are kind fun and relatively lighthearted about the angels of our better nature as opposed to movies about vengeance and psychopathy and incredibly poor lighting.

    The music was a disappointment but I think part of the issue here is that all these sub-franchises have to carve out their own space. Guardians kinda got all the space for having a fun pop-music backdrop. Spiderman gets the funny quips and teen hijinks. Avengers gets the massive setpiece battles interspersed with pathos and comic relief. There just isn't much room left and for whatever reason it seems like Jenkins decided to make movies about being the best you can be and trying to help people the best you can and doing it backwards while wearing heels. And that's not a bad thing at all! But somehow I feel like they tried too hard to not be Marvel and in the process became too earnest and kinda boring. Also there was not nearly enough of that awesome musical theme from the first movie! I don't know what the instrument is supposed to be but whenever Diana busts into battle and that music hits in the first movie, holy shit, chills every time. Give me more of that! Right into my veins!

    The bit in Egypt was odd as it really could have been anywhere and to just rehash a lot of lazy stereotypes about Muslims and middle east violence seemed lazy. I feel like a better choice could have been made about the setting of that part without really changing much. At least spare us a dude in a turban complaining about "infidels". Definitely my two biggest beefs about that part are that a) kids know how to get out of the road, sheesh and b) you can't lasso a rocket-propelled grenade and expect to swing from it! it weighs like a kilo and momentum doesn't work like that, even for Wonder Woman! And if she can just swing from air, swing from air! Anyway. It was an adequate chase sequence otherwise.

    Anyway, yes, there are lots of problems but I thought it was good on balance and it was definitely worth what I paid for it ($0).
    posted by GuyZero at 6:15 PM on December 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


    Someone please make a superhero movie where a woman gets to have some fun and makes some wisecracks.

    Good news! Her name is Harley Quinn and she's in _two_ movies!

    *runs away, ducking and weaving*
    posted by Kyol at 6:19 PM on December 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


    Labels aren’t the ones you license songs from: it’s the owner of the publishing rights and the artist. That shit can get expensive (the articles I’ve read are not specific about how much was paid to use Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” in “Thor Ragnarok”), and if the artist isn’t on board it doesn’t matter really how much money you want to throw at them.
    posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:20 PM on December 28, 2020


    Also, Warner Music Group has been separate from the movie/TV stuff for a long, long time, so no they don’t “own” Madonna/Prince/whomever.
    posted by sideshow at 6:24 PM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


    And Universal Music Publishing Group owns the publishing rights to New Order. Drat.
    posted by JoeZydeco at 6:39 PM on December 28, 2020


    Well phooey. So much for a mythical edit with a better soundtrack album. Or cutting it up into two 'tight 90' films with one villain each.
    How about Easter eggs and fanservice stuff then? I spotted:
    Operation Wolf! in the arcade
    Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers on the table
    Psychology of the Giant Gorilla on the bookshelf
    set dressers, when there's a back room full of black market antiquities, that's where you put a hawk helmet or a blue scarab beetle or something in the background. Just sayin'.
    posted by bartleby at 7:30 PM on December 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Captain Awkward has a twitter thread with a proposed different take on the plot

    As a tweak, i like it, but I don't think it's a treatment that would've survived script development (plot rethread which is what it is on the face of it, something that's considered a feature of 'bad' sequels), but the setup for the villain at the end is pretty much the tack Dr Strange's first movie took and i do like the thematic elegance of it.

    One thing that I'm seeing more on twitter re: mideast kids playing football is the unfortunate reminder it played to Gadot's stated support to IDF circa 2014 when a similar incident occured though no one saved the kids when the military rolled through. I can see it but this movie has bigger problems to contend with before I need to bring that in, though unsurpringly it's made salient with that specific plot choice, which i can believe is accidental. When you talk about oil magnates in the 1980s, you don't think of southeast asians occupying that stereotype even tho that's the other cash cow region.
    posted by cendawanita at 8:49 PM on December 28, 2020


    International Relations Comics Apologist:
    Max's commercial plane ticket was for Cairo; the turbaned magnate was peacocking about his land of Bialya. Bialya is one of DC's fictional pastiche countries, like the Himalayan nonexistent nation of Nanda Parbat, or the Caribbean prison-island of Santa Prisca.
    Not only did they mess up the delivery of that to the audience, by mentioning Cairo more than Bialya; but I think they even got the geography wrong.
    If you were flying into Cairo, the nearest fictional DC country would be Kahndaq (basically if the Sinai peninsula was its own country with its own ancient kingdoms).

    That would have made more sense, to just say Kahndaq! That's halfway across the world! and then show the generic camels-and-limousines setting.
    But maybe Kahndaq is off limits, since that's where Shazam rival Black Adam is from, and they've got a movie of their own coming?

    I don't know what to say, except there's a long history of storytelling shortcuts, names and places are entirely fictional; any resemblance to actual persons etc etc. "Okay, we want to suggest a Cold War era Balkan country, ruled by a sorcerer; but not set it in an actual place. Imagine spooky Transylvania, but Stalinist." 'But boss, Transylvania is a real place...' "Fine, whatever! Call it ... Latveria then! But I want medieval castles with not-Soviet-but-you-can-tell tanks out front." They usually do a good job of not naming any names, and keeping the geography vague; but that limits one to types and tropes.
    posted by bartleby at 9:48 PM on December 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


    Stumbled on this one: Hazel Cill @ Jezebel.com - Not Even Wonder Woman Can Have It All.

    "If this all sounds like a tired romantic drama fit for the 1980s era in which it takes place, with a respected career woman torn between her work and love, you’d be right. Because, despite the fact that Diana Price is actually the superhero Wonder Woman, and her work in this instance is, uh, saving humanity, Wonder Woman 1984 crafts a rather un-heroic narrative for its lead star. In an action film where the only real requirement is to deliver a well-articulated fantasy, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has become quite boring, placing an overwhelming focus on her romance with Steve in the scope of the film’s overly convoluted plot."
    posted by soundguy99 at 7:11 AM on December 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


    constant harassment by men

    That was actually really noticeable in the first half or so of the movie: women -- mostly, but not only, Diana -- just getting constantly randomly propositioned by men. At every venue; at every event; a radioactive background noise.
    posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:47 AM on December 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


    Yes, gentle. Within the confines of superhero movies this movie was gentle. Since when have fights between heroes and villains focused on reducing collateral damage to bystanders or even Secret Service agents? The care given to harm mitigation was very noticeable and a welcome change. I liked this story and ending because it says positive things about people in the middle of a pandemic where we are surrounded by selfishness. And I guess it’s a good thing so many people can’t relate to Kristin Wiig’s character and the intoxication of having power after a lifetime of being ignored and looked down on—or harassed and victimized— so maybe folks didn’t see (or feel) how much it cost her character. This movie felt like one of Aesop’s fables. I don’t see how more details on the stone would make it more sensical because it is a wish-granting stone from an ancient god. It can do whatever the storyteller wants it to do.
    posted by apex_ at 10:48 AM on December 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


    it is a wish-granting stone from an ancient god. It can do whatever the storyteller wants it to do.

    Well, sure, but a good storyteller would make some decisions about what it does and stick with them.
    posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:02 PM on December 29, 2020 [6 favorites]


    And possibly communicate those decisions to the audience towards the beginning of the film
    posted by Cogito at 3:26 PM on December 29, 2020 [9 favorites]


    A small detail, but I enjoyed the fact that the car used in the chase in Egypt is a period-accurate Peugeot 504 with the roof rack and the black-and-white livery typical of Cairo taxis. Internet tells me that they were phased out in the late 2000s but I remember seeing 504s everywhere in Egypt back in 1985 (though my pictures seem to show Ladas 1300/1500 for some reason).
    Otherwise the movie was a mess, but not unpleasant. I liked that nobody was really evil, that the movie took pains to spare bystanders/guards/minions etc. and that the murky-CGI-boss-fight-in-the-dark was short. It's probably one of the few superhero movies that ends with the bad guy being talked into quitting (Dr Strange is another) rather than killed or punched into oblivion.
    posted by elgilito at 3:47 PM on December 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


    If WW84 just didn't do it for you, I recommend rewatching the 2017 Wonder Woman. Watched it again just now and it's tighter and more satisfying in nearly every way. Still dangerously high levels of earnestness but here at least it feels earned, the whole thing holds together better, and it's still a very fun ride throughout.
    posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:11 PM on December 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


    While acknowledging the many millions of dollars spent in production (and now lost, due to multiple reschedules and lack of theatre sales) overall the movie felt remarkably... cheap. Perhaps it was a deliberate choice, an attempt to reference the look of the low budget television series, but if so it was a poor decision. There was nothing of the grandeur or scope of the first film, and (surprisingly, given its theme) very little of its heart. Yes, Diana's aims may have changed, but to move from an opening of "I'm going to end all war through deicide" to "rescuing kids in a shopping mall" felt tawdry.

    The floating VFX was emblematic of the entire movie: nothing felt connected or grounded. I appreciated what I thought were fairly direct references to Trump in Max - the grand presentation in front of an empty shell of a building, the avarice and bottomless need for validation - and this thread has made me more aware of the careful avoidance of physical harm. But it's a pale shadow of the first movie.
    posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:49 AM on December 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Yes, Diana's aims may have changed, but to move from an opening of "I'm going to end all war through deicide" to "rescuing kids in a shopping mall" felt tawdry.

    This feels to me like one of those plot/theme loose ends that they dropped the ball on - to wit, to the extent that a coherent connected DC Cinematic Universe exists (and it seems that Warner/DC is losing interest in building one), it feels like Superman is the only really public superhero, and of course he didn't appear til decades after 1984. Justice League and the beginning of Aquaman & some of the other films definitely strongly suggested that everyone else has been operating locally and largely in secret.

    So the opening in the mall fits in with that, I guess - any superheroing Diana has been doing since the first film has been pretty minor and mostly flown under the radar. Which both shows her ambivalence about fully engaging with the society that she has chosen to live in, and has resulted in her powers not really developing.

    The minute I saw that Lynda Carter cameo at the end I realized I would have loved to have a strong B plot be that the long-assumed-dead Legendary Greatest Amazon Warrior, Asteria, original owner of the armor (yes, played by Lynda Carter), has actually been wandering the earth doing good deeds and heroic stuff very anonymously, even more so than Diana, not even having a costume. There are a lot of directions this could be taken, but this would definitely give an opportunity to dive into setting up a mother/daughter master/student relationship between those two characters, with Diana developing her powers as a result of this, and consideration of how public to be as Wonder Woman.
    posted by soundguy99 at 7:25 AM on December 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


    That would be fabulous, soundgy99. I am here for 'adventures of secret asteria'.
    posted by rmd1023 at 8:46 AM on December 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


    You probably all noticed the three bladed horizontal axis wind turbine towards the end of the big chase sequence in Egypt. I thought that was stretching credibility a bit for 1984.
    posted by biffa at 4:19 PM on December 30, 2020


    I like the commentary that pointed put that out want so much her strength that Diana sacrificed, but hey ability to prettier people. Because that's getting more into the core of her nature.

    Also, people were complaining that Diana was still morning for Steve. Give her a break- how long is an appropriate mourning period for an immortal? She's going to be around for thousand of years, 68 years is nothing.

    In general, I liked it more than pretty much any DC movie outside of Birds Of Prey and the first WW movie. Its A low bar, but there we are. I'll also note that while I think the early acts if WW1 are stronger, the final act of WW84 is stronger, because it isn't just beating up a god by becoming more powerful.
    posted by happyroach at 6:02 PM on December 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


    Wow. I just realized that they missed a huge opportunity. The first Wonder Woman as about WW1, they really should have made the second one about WW2.
    posted by wabbittwax at 7:24 PM on December 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


    Did you not watch the 82 other WW films that were released in the past 3 years, wabbitwax?
    posted by Cogito at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


    I have been woefully delinquent
    posted by wabbittwax at 9:35 PM on December 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


    The thing is, I feel somewhat petulant nitpicking this movie because it does a bunch of stuff I've been asking for. It's a period piece, it engages with some real world stuff, there's a big emphasis on rescues. That's all stuff I'd love to see more of in these movies. Just, you know, better. I tried to be a good sport and separate artist from art and all, but this movie was almost determined to try and pull me out of it in places. I dearly wish that the first and likely only big screen appearance of Diana's invisible plane was not also a scene where Gal "IDF" Gadot is chauffeured into Egypt in an American fighter jet.

    I liked the lightning lasso a bunch. I like that it tried to do something with Max Lord's history as a riff on Trump. I like that Kristen Wiig continues to get film work, even if I don't love the films. I loved the stunts, and the high velocity, sliding, rolling, LEAPING, Amazon fighting style these films feature. I'm delighted with parts of this movie, and frustrated with the whole. Seems like sending the script back for another couple drafts could have helped with many things. So many, many things.
    posted by EatTheWeak at 10:37 PM on December 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


    Skip this and watch Birds of Prey instead. Also on HBO Max and has the benefit of being actually good.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:37 PM on December 31, 2020 [3 favorites]


    I wonder if it’s coincidence that WW84’s last twenty or so minutes are the superhero-movie-cinematic equivalent of Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video.
    posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:01 PM on January 1


    I.... cannot even begin to count the ways in which this was bad. Like seriously I could spend the rest of this new year writing an essay every day about a different aspect of this stupid movie that was fucked up beyond belief.

    Since others on this thread have covered many necessary aspects of how wrong this was, like: "why 1984?", "body snatcher eww" , "incoherent oil story", "how tf do wishes even work", etc. I would like to talk about how this movie gives us a weird but persistent anti-feminist throughline - it is in fact one of the only consistent themes in the movie.
    • the nerdy girl hates and envies the popular girl for being pretty, and her fondest wish is to be just like the popular pretty girl no matter what the cost
    • the nerdy girl becomes bitchy and evil immediately upon gaining beauty + power, because beauty + power is a dangerous combo in normal regular earth women
    • her turning evil is only *almost* as bad as her bitchiness, therefore the movie only ever laments her loss of 'kindness' and not, say, her murderousness or her megalomania
    • the formerly-nerdy girl villain turns into a leopard so that the final boss battle is literally a catfight
    • from the POV of Wonder Woman - legendary female warrior, female hero, and female savior of the world for the past 60+ years - the plot of this movie is "hey la my boyfriend's back"
    • the female main character's central conflict is maybe her boyfriend is more important to her than her mission, her power, or indeed the entire world
    • the female main character's boss speech to the world at the end of the movie, after she has nobly given up love in exchange for her (female) powers, literally contains the words "No, you can't have it all. Nobody can have it all."
    Christ what a mess.

    >> Wow. I just realized that they missed a huge opportunity. The first Wonder Woman as about WW1, they really should have made the second one about WW2.
    posted by wabbittwax


    > Did you not watch the 82 other WW films that were released in the past 3 years, wabbitwax?
    posted by Cogito


    I think Wabbitax has a point, like, did Wonder Woman just sit out the holocaust because she was too busy pining for her boyfriend? Or did she in fact prevent the holocaust somehow, in which case, holy shit, can we please have THAT movie instead?
    posted by MiraK at 12:22 PM on January 1 [13 favorites]


    Having roasted the movie to hell and back I am SUPER GLAD that we got a horrible female superhero movie directed and even written by a woman. I hope we get many, many, many more terrible horrible no good very bad high-budget movies with women are the helm both on-screen and off, without the badness of any of these movies in any way impacting opportunities to make more of them.

    As the movie's villain says, "It's our turn!" Hell yeah. I can get with this.
    posted by MiraK at 12:32 PM on January 1 [6 favorites]


    like, did Wonder Woman just sit out the holocaust
    Ooh, I know this one! I'm doing a rewatch because I had a Plot vs. Story idea, and I paused it to look at the photographs of hers they show. Besides several tear-stained pix of Steve, there are three that go by quickly:
    - the gang from the first movie, Charlie getting married (in a kilt), probably right after the war.
    - an Ektachrome of Diana and a grey-haired-granny looking Etta, on a boat to New York
    - a b&w of Diana, Etta, Chief, and Sameer, leading a bunch of people in striped pajamas away from brick buildings with an iron gate.

    So I'm inferring that the crew hung around Europe for the 20s and 30s, were involved in the next war, then Diana took Etta to retire in the states in the early 50s, as the last ones alive. Then Etta dies, and Diana retreats to Trevor ranch for 20 years or so? Writes a doctoral thesis from there and gets work at the Smithsonian?
    posted by bartleby at 1:30 PM on January 1 [5 favorites]


    Just want to point out that Mayans were not destroyed by their hubris and inability to give up their desires after making wishes, but by being colonized by Europeans. If they wanted a destroyed civilization, they could have gone with several ancient destroyed civilizations that amazons could have been aware of, or ancient Rome if they needed something less obscure.
    posted by Chrysopoeia at 6:19 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


    I was thinking about how effective that Blue Monday trailer was.
    How much was that, vs. the nostalgia mining, vs. a familiar pop culture figure.
    So I want to run a little experiment. Somewhat Wonder Woman adjacent.
    You wanted gentle? And earnest, but not a scold?
    A certain inject it right into my veins factor?
    Pretend this is an upcoming movie or streaming series trailer.
    It might even work better if the tagine from the poster doesn't ring any bells for you.

    One ear. One arm. Both legs.
    All heart.

    Coming This Summer

    as a bonus, you avoid Diana's built in why so serious problem
    posted by bartleby at 7:52 PM on January 2


    i liked it! I did think it suffered from the two villains problem, the "spiderman 3" problem.

    but the two opening scenes were both so fun. I can see why neither was cut, even though one of them should have been cut. They were so fun!

    Also, the white house fight scene was excellent! Cheetah is awesome! I didn't like Kristen Wiig, but that scene was exciting and I cared about her character. the scene showed the best of action driven by character. but since the main bad is max lord, the cheetah plot and character just had to fizzle after that, to make way for max lord.

    the big fight with cheetah at the end could have been somehow different, but at that point, we just got the point of the wishes plot, so it would have taken excellent writing to harmonize the two themes, and we just didn't have that. It would have been nice to have the Kristen Wiig character say something to poke fun at the schmaltz at the big ending scene, but they didn't give her a line, that was disappointing. She could have at least uttered a "Pfft. whatever."

    I didn't care about the egypt indiana jones scene nor the ending cheetah fight, which just tells me one or both or them should have been cut.

    red letter media also mentions the two villains as a problem, but having watched their video, they get so many details wrong, I don't think they watched the movie too closely.

    it does seem like no one could tell Patty Jenkins when to cut the movie.

    the big success of the first film was the "over the top" scene, and there wasn't anything in this one to match that heroism in the face of death. We are told about her love for Trevor, but the love scenes were just nice, when I think they should have been over the top saccharine, or something more intense to show us how Diana's fantasy was so tantalizing. hell, make them share war stories. something. something was missing in Diana's character development.

    obviously the big climax is her walking away from Steve Trevor and learning to fly. I thought that whole sequence was pretty moving, and I like the way it happened. she turned away from her own immature wish and living a false dream, it took personal strength. It was great schmaltz and I cried.

    I liked that the official climax was an emotional scene triggered by nuclear armageddon and not a big monster battle. It could have been better, but it was a good choice. and I don't know, the dad and son thing worked on me.

    but this movie was a bit too long for those two to be the only big character moments to hold it up. it needed an editor, but the company is probably desperate to keep Patty Jenkins and will let her do whatever. and that's probably why this movie is only good, and not great
    posted by eustatic at 9:18 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


    the nerdy girl hates and envies the popular girl for being pretty, and her fondest wish is to be just like the popular pretty girl no matter what the cost

    And the thing that makes this frustrating is that the movie initially seemed like it was setting up something more nuanced and interesting - namely that this is all based on the nerdy girl's assumptions of what the popular girl's life is like.
    posted by soundguy99 at 6:03 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


    Pitch Meeting
    posted by Syllepsis at 7:46 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


    Finally got around to watching this movie this past weekend, and yeah, there are all kinds of problems that lots of other people have already pointed out. I feel like this movie had good intentions to start with, but either the problematic aspects of some things weren't thought through (i.e. what MiraK said about the whole Cheetah subplot) or that a lot of pointless spectacle was used to pad out the running time (the message behind the Max Lord plot--that the relentless, mindless pursuit of more just ends up being destructive in the end--could probably have been covered in a single episode of Supergirl). The golden armor was cool, the opening Amazon Olympics scene was cool, some of the eighties stuff was cool (I noticed that Barbara was drinking a Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler during her and Diana's date, that was a nice touch), but overall it was very McSuperheroMovieSequel.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 7:16 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


    Also, the Tumblr Texts from Superheroes addresses the whole "steal someone's body to get your boyfriend back" thing.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 6:45 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


    Somewhere in the middle of this movie I realized I was only watching so I'd be able to fully enjoy the internet snark later.
    posted by MrVisible at 7:56 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


    That Pitch Meeting video really exceeded expectations, Syllepsis. Thanks for sharing!
    posted by Cogito at 2:34 PM on January 5


    LOL Pitch Meeting also addresses the body swap thing
    posted by kokaku at 9:56 AM on January 6


    > I was distracted though by trying to work out whether it being 4th of July had been mentioned to that point. Had there been anything to suggest it was a holiday?

    I shouted about that revelation, because I've been in DC in July and one does not wear a Members Only jacket, long pants, blazers, etc. One wears shorts and yet still dies from the heat and humidity. Steve should've been astounded by the air conditioning.
    posted by The corpse in the library at 4:35 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


    Rewatched yesterday before it vanished from HBO Max and to revisit one of my comments:

    Presumably "but you lose your health" was Max's price

    ...which is what his weird stuff early on about recommending serums and demanding his vitamins is about; not just a generic 80s-setting health-freak thing like the mall aerobics, it's trying to set up that he values his health above everything.
    posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:42 AM on January 25


    I've been informed that The Maya civilization collapse in WW84 could be referring to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Maya_collapse which occured prior to the Spanish arrival. The Spanish did conquer the Mayans, but their power had declined somewhat from it's height in the Classic period before they arrived.

    Of course the movie talked about the culture being completely destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth as a result of them not abandoning the dream stone, which arguably isn't what happened to the Maya. They did experience a decline and shifted governance and geographic centers, and were later conquered by the Spanish (the last independent city fell in 1697) but definitely continued to exist as a culture; millions of Maya people exist, many of whom still speak Mayan languages as their primary language.
    posted by Chrysopoeia at 4:27 PM on January 25


    Why do escalators terrify Steve Trevor? They have been around for a long time.

    Not only that, but the first escalator in the London Underground was installed in Earl's Court in 1911*; in this movie series, Steve Trevor is a spy who spent time in London five years later; it seems remarkable that -- of everything in the world of 1984 -- he would be surprised by taking an escalator to a subway.

    Presumably Diana’s wish was just “I wish Steve were alive again”, not “I wish Steve were alive and occupying someone else’s body.” There seems to be no in-universe explanation and no narrative reason for introducing this problem. Steve could have just shown up in the flesh.

    Honestly, given the monkey's paw nature of the wish-stone, if she had wished for Steve to be alive again, the movie should really have just had nothing happen, she loses her powers and is baffled why, realizes that the wish takes something from you, the rest of the movie finishes, and then the post-credit scene is a shot of Flanders Fields, pan down past an unmarked cross six feet under the earth to show Steve Trevor thumping his fists against the coffin.

    One of the fundamental problems of the movie is that it's trying to reconcile the comics and the previous movie; in the comics, Steve Trevor was her love interest etc for 30 years, so that would sort of make sense that she'd wish for him. In the movie history, he's some dude she spent about two weeks with 65 years ago.

    Someone who must feel really silly about the whole movie is the US military; they went to massive expense to build the satellite base, and supply it with a ton of electrical power with all those transmitter towers all around the base; turns out that you can rip all them down, pull the cables out, even short them out in the water and the satellite uplink and everything else still works perfectly!

    * Fun fact, the Underground hired a train engineer named William 'Bumper' Harris who had previously lost a leg in a train accident to spend the first day riding the escalator to reassure the public that it was safe and easy to use.
    posted by Superilla at 12:12 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


    Watched this on DVD last night. After it was over, I spent 20 minutes ranting to myself about how bad the movie is. The key word that came to mind was insipid.

    1. We have a spiritually weak Diana still moping over her dead boyfriend. Followed by a morally weak Diana who doesn’t immediately realize that she must renounce her wish, otherwise she’s sacrificing an innocent person’s life to get her boyfriend back. Think about that and how that makes Wonder Woman the bad guy at that point.

    2. The crux of this story is supposed to be the relationship between Max and his son. But we see damn little evidence that they have any kind of relationship. “Max renounces the world to save his son” should have been a strong moment. Instead, because the relationship is never developed, it has no emotional heft at all.

    3. The things most people wished for (“I want to be famous.” “I want to be a king.” “I want a million dollars.”) likewise carried no emotional cost. Suppose the wishes had been more significant (“I wish Mommy loved me.” “I wish I had money for college.” “I wish I didn’t have cancer.”)? Sure, we had the one guy who wished a woman dead, but we never see the outcome of his “renunciation.”

    4. There really are no take-backsies. Given the chaos that erupted around the world, renouncing the wishes doesn’t put things back the way they were. Everyone who died during the chaos is still dead. The President of the US is still a crazed madman. And, in the end, who controls all the damn oil?* Contracts were signed, I assume; did they just un-sign themselves somehow?

    5. “The Truth is beautiful.” This message absolutely supports the status quo as the Best of All Possible Worlds (pretty people all having a good time around Christmas). It’s weird to hear this message while reading about the real-life trial of a police officer that murdered a black man in full daylight. In my mind, the Truth should make you angry.
    posted by SPrintF at 6:48 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


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