“Pace yourself and remember; Greatness is not what you think “ (Subtlety, your name is not WW84.)
story: It’s 1984 and Diana Prince works in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. She meets the gentle, humble Barbara Minerva (MINERVA AS THE GODDESS RECEIVES IT), who has only one wish; be as cool as Diana. Fortunately, there’s a new item on Barb’s desk courtesy of the FBI. It is old and can make wishes come true, it says on the can. Yay? Oh, and a would-be narcissistic oil magnate wants it. This is going to be great.
Genre I would put it in: Sequels that try very hard and almost make it
Remake, sequel, based-on or original: Continued from Wonder womanand part of the DCEU.
I must say: As a MoCo native who spent many of her teenage years in Georgetown shopping / searching places like Commander Salamander? The Commander Salamander looks a lot more like it does on the wall. But I applaud the neon they are getting for some of the costumes … though nothing can touch my beloved CS.
I guess they couldn’t turn back the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, but as someone who memorized this place in the 1970s and 1980s? The little me remembers every detail. And it’s strange to see the difference in a movie that’s supposed to be in the 80s. While I’m sure that non-DC people will pick it up, I can guarantee you that the people who are will. It’s these little things that pull me out of the narrative every time. But okay, enough about how WW84 doesn’t quite hold the landing in the art direction. Tried, so I’ll give it a pass. (Also check out Diana’s closet; sacred shades of Lynda Carter, Batman! A +.)
How is the film itself? Well … it’s long. How long. As if DC saw Infinity War, checked the running time, and found that it was the length that made this movie a hit. Uh No It’s the story and the fact that there was so much to say and do. There is very little history here in World War 8, but the film runs for two and a half hours with a hiccup. It’s so free of actual storyline at this running time that this movie is a perfect example to show newbies how editing makes the movie. Because honey, this definitely required some decent editing. So many scenes feel way too thin if a few sentences – or a mention earlier in another scene – could have done the five or ten minute work. With a competent editor who was allowed to do his job? This film could have been more exciting. But the way it looks, it drags on. Example? The Steve Trevor Tries On 80s Styles Montage. It’s unnecessary, but fun. But after a few changes it slowly gets stale. An outfit could have done the job after pulling out a couple of ’80s clunker pieces.
Then there are basic story gaffes. There’s a lengthy opening scene from Ninja Gladiator Warriors with Diana, maybe 10? It’s a fun, action-packed scene, but it also feels like padding, as it’s unnecessarily long just to prove that “no true hero is born of lies”. This could have been noticed in a short comment during a similar (faster) scene. But knocking us over the head with things is what WW84 has to do, and damn it, they’re going to knock themes and Chekhov’s gun-character dialogue into our stupid unsuspecting minds until even we can pick them up. Hooray?
There are also random things in the story to achieve “awww” moments. Steve and Diana try to reach [Spoilery Place] to the [Spoilery Thing]. The movie doesn’t even bother to say that it’s July 4th before Diana and Steve see fireworks out of nowhere. The entire scene could be cut and the movie missed with nothing but a juicy “wuv” scene. Which is very nice – Gadot and Pine work well together and Diana + Steve is adorable. But it’s part of time that pulls the movie’s energy down. Once again. (And trust me; there is no way fireworks will come out of nowhere in DC. The metro – where we see them – is as good as empty, as is the National Mall. Okay, my DC brain will stop now.)
As Barbara / Cheetah, Kristen Wiig does a great job with what she’s given, but most of her emotional and physical transformations take place off-screen. Kudos to the cameraman for shrouding her final shape in darkness; While the makeup looks like something I’d resort to for Halloween, there is a minimum of creepy valley at the start of the action. Pedro Pascal chews well with Maxwell Lord, although he has allowed sweet moments with Lord’s son Alistair when he can channel his inner mando. That’s nice. But it feels too good with Max and Cheetah. I understand why both were introduced this way, but the film jumps from one major evil to another, as if the scriptwriters themselves don’t really know what to do with them.
TL; DR? You are at home. Do you have HBOMAX? Go ahead and watch. What else are you doing Okay you could watch soul. But that’s a different review for a different time. WW84 will meet your need for new superhero content, but only because Gadot is magical on screen and you don’t pay twenty dollars for popcorn.
#Protip: Make sure you get through the mid credits at the end. There is one little scene that is worth your time. Maybe not worth seeing all of this, but up close.