Wonder Woman 1984 is one of many films which has been put back in the release schedules several times, given the way that 2020 has gone, even though it was originally due for release in December 2019, before being put back a month to November last year. However, a move to 2020 meant that it entered the same situation as almost all of this year’s blockbusters, knocking most into next year, or the year after.
I found 2017’s Wonder Woman movie rather hit and miss, but for this one, the ’80s was my time as a child as I was growing up. Sadly, Manchester wasn’t anywhere near as cool as Themyscira, where we have an opening credits Ninja Warrior/Olympics-style action scene, with a young Diana Prince going up against a number of adult competitors. This doesn’t have a direct link to the rest of the film, but as well as being an engaging intro, you’ll see one competitor acting like Zola Budd tripping up Mary Decker, which was a legacy moment in the 1984 Olympics, so kudos to the scriptwriters for that link.
Fast forward to the present day – well, 1984, itself, and it’s an era I would’ve loved to experience as a car owner with a hot rod, as we see in an an early scene, but if I had, that would make me older than I am now. Out of the blue, we see our titular heroine (played by Gal Gadot) saving a few people in distress (in one part commenting “I hate guns“), including a jewellers being held up.
Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) plays Maxwell Lord, an entrepreneur and founded of the Black Gold tech company, whose schtick is promising the Earth to everyone (whilst hiding his own severe fiduicary issues), and if you can wish for it, it’ll happen. Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig – Downsizing) befriends Diana early on in the movie, and wants to be as strong and sexy as Diana. Well, I’d like Jennifer Aniston to knock on my front door and take me out to dinner, but life doesn’t work like that. Barbara also wants people to think she’s hot as hell. Wonder if this situation could work for me?
We made Wonder Woman 1984 for the big screen and I believe in the power of cinema. In these terrible times, when theater owners are struggling as so many are, we are excited to re-date our film to August 14th 2020 in a theater near you, and pray for better times for all by then pic.twitter.com/85ykQ8x6NE
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) March 24, 2020
But all the good fortune in the world can’t buy happiness. The trouble with seemingly living forever means that Diana has spent 40 years without Steve Trevor (Chris Pine – Star Trek Beyond, Hell Or High Water) since his sacrifice in the first film. Of course, from the trailer for this new movie, we know he’s in this one, but how does he return? Ah, well, you find stuff out by watching the film. That’s how this works.
Here, he acts like the ‘fish out of water’ character, trying to understand modern life – well, modern to the ’80s, anyway. I had the same experience when I visited the 23rd Century, but… well, I’ve said too much. He’s the comic relief, essentially, although while he gets a few nice one-liners in there, it could do with more. I’ll put one in the spoilers header below. Don’t worry – it’s NOT an actual spoiler, and it’s a line that was in one of the trailers, but if you want to save it for the cinema, you can safely skip it without reading it accidentally.
Just going back to Barbara for a moment, though. She’s rather a geek who works in the Smithsonian museum alongside Diana, but it did make me ‘wonder’ for how long has our heroine been working there? And have they realised she doesn’t age? The Age Of Adaline saw Blake Lively having to move from town to town every ten years, because of that.
But never mind such basics of reality, this is one of those tales where two eventual enemies start off as friends.
Wonder Woman 1984 is a huge amount of fun, with Gal Gadot confidently assured in her role which was once owned so well by Lynda Carter. Chris Pine has a number of nice one-liners in there, while Pedro Pascal brilliantly dominates his scenes as Maxwell Lord, the man who would wish for the world if he could.
Max is the type of maniacal character who wants world domination, basically, The Simpsons‘ Sideshow Bob of the film. That said, given how he constantly wants more and more all the time, I guess he’s the kind of guy who likes to think he won… by a lot, so I expect there’s a partial dig at Donald Trump in there.
I also liked how he even attempts to woo Diana by buying her a 19″ CRT TV. Wow, what a prize! That said, 4:3 is close to 1.43:1 – the IMAX format which this film uses, and which I’ll get into later – and after wanting films in 2.39:1 to be shown properly for years (even ITV and Channel 5 struggle to manage it), who knew that I’d want to get back to a ratio close to 4:3 again?
Most of the action comes in the second half, so I felt the first half could do with tightening up by 15-20 minutes, since two-and-a-half hours is way too long for a superhero movie. Bear this in mind for the next paragraph.
The other main character is Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva, with Minerva being the Roman goddess of wisdom. I also learned about her from The Simpsons. Yes, those cartoon characters are very educational. Wiig is fine, but as for her character, everything based around Cheetah – when she eventually appears as that character – all feels too late and too rushed; and as one trailer showed, the fight that takes place is all in the dark. Perhaps they should’ve left Cheetah out of the equation altogether, say, introducing Barbara in this film, and saving Cheetah for film No.3 when they could develop the character more? That could enable them to cut the film down to a straight two hours, and you would still have all the key scenes for this one’s main story.
Either way, don’t try and understand what’s going on, but if there’s one thing that stood out for me – while Diana is out saving the world, and Barbara is up to mischief, aren’t their employers wondering where two of their members of staff are?
British TV viewers will spot a scene featuring a brief cameo from Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing), and he also shares teh ‘spare coffee’ scene with Danny Morgan, who starred in and wrote the stellar horror-comedy Double Date. Memo to Patty Jenkins et al, he has superb comic timing in that film, so when ‘Wonder Woman 3‘ is in the works, I’d recommend a bigger role for him in the Smithsonian next time.
Like 2017’s Wonder Woman, there’s no post-credits scene, although while that one featured some CGI animation during the first part of the closing credits which replicates elements from the film, this one has an effect of a TV going slightly out of tune between pages of static credits. By making them static, it means they pass by within five minutes, rather than the average blockbuster’s credits tending to run for at least twice that.
I understand some scenes have been shot in 70mm IMAX – which will be 1.43:1 on a screen that can show them that way, whether in 70mm or the newer Laser IMAX, or 1.90:1 on the more usual digital IMAX – but I don’t know which scenes or for how long they go on. It’s not often you get such scenes in mainstream movies outside of a Christopher Nolan film such as Tenet, but it’s also something that’s a feature of the forthcoming Bond film, No Time To Die, for both the opening and closing scenes.
If I had to guess which are the IMAX scenes in Wonder Woman 1984, then – and only referring to them in terms of what’s shown in the trailers, so as to avoid any spoilers – I would expect these are the opening ‘olympics’-style scene, a later one on a road where a truck flips over several times, plus the flying scene with the fireworks.
UPDATE: I now know which scenes are in IMAX, so check this spoiler-bound section. I got one right, and missed another!
It’d be great if home versions of such scenes could always open the frame up to 16:9 (since 1.43:1 would breach the limits of your screen at home!), same as a Nolan movie, although there are films such as 20th Century Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel which have many scenes that open up to 1.90:1 in IMAX 3D, yet are still cropped to 2.39:1 on all available home versions. Why is this?!
If more films allowed for varying aspect ratios on the home versions, then more viewers would get used to it.
I look forward to cinemas getting back to normal, but that’s a long way off, it seems. At the time of Wonder Woman 1984‘s planned release in the UK, of December 16th 2020, London is joining almost all of the rest of the country in Tier 3, which means all cinemas and bars and restaurants are closed. If it still going ahead, then Cornwall might pretty much be the only place you can see it.
In the US, the film is released in cinemas on Christmas Day (which is always a day when UK cinemas are closed on any given year), plus the streaming service HBO Max, which will also be the home for all Warner Bros’ 2021 releases, going day/date with the US cinema release each time.
Thanks to our friends at Warner Bros for being able to review this film prior to release.
Wonder Woman 1984 is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday December 16th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
You can also buy the Mattel Wonder Woman 1984 Golden Armor Doll and Wonder Woman 1984 Image of A Bust of Queen Nefertiti,1930 Vintage Movie Posters Canvas Wall Art decorations for living room decor for bedroom aesthetic 12x18inch(30x45cm).
Running time: 151 minutes
Release date: December 16th 2020
Studio: Warner Bros
Format: 2.39:1 (Dolby Vision, Super 35, IMAX (some scenes)), 1.90:1 (some scenes: Digital IMAX), 1.43:1 (some scenes: 70mm IMAX)
Director: Patty Jenkins
Producers: Gal Gadot, Patty Jenkins, Stephen Jones, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder
Screenplay: Dave Callaham, Geoff Johns, Patty Jenkins
Story: Geoff Johns, Patty Jenkins
Wonder Woman creator: William Moulton Marston
Music: Hans Zimmer
Diana Prince / Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot
Steve Trevor: Chris Pine
Maxwell Lord: Pedro Pascal
Barbara Minerva / Cheetah: Kristen Wiig
Hippolyta: Connie Nielsen
Antiope: Robin Wright
Young Diana: Lilly Aspell
Emire Said Bin Abydos: Amr Waked
Handsome man: Kristoffer Polaha
Carol (co-worker): Natasha Rothwell
Babajide: Ravi Patel
Simon Stagg: Oliver Cotton
Alistair: Lucian Perez
Raquel: Gabriella Wilde
Jake: Kelvin Yu
President: Stuart Milligan
Dangerous Drunk: Shane Attwooll
Roger (co-worker): Asim Chaudhry
Co-worker 2 (Spare coffee): Danny Morgan
Mr Khalaji: David Al-Fahmi
Televangelist: Kevin Wallace
Lai Zhong: Wai Wong
Venelia: Doutzen Kroes
Herald (Trigona): Hari James
Charlie (photograph): Ewen Bremner
Etta (photograph): Lucy Davis
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.