Today we will not have the most pleasant conversation. There are such stories in cinema: they shot a good film, the critics were satisfied, the audience received a warm welcome and the box office was excellent. A film studio as a business project is unlikely to postpone the continuation on the back burner to do something new. If the film paid off and collected a solid box office, if people talked about it often and a lot, we will definitely see a sequel. They fall into two categories. In the first, the new film comes out well and the viewer gets a welcome addition. In the second – another film is a tortured and sick project that would be better off forever on the table in the editing room.
Since January 14, the new blockbuster “Wonder Woman 1984” can be seen in wide distribution (and now in IMAX) and this film is closer to the second category.
It is 1984. Diana Prince lives a new life: she works with ancient artifacts at the university, rescues people from sloppy robbers in shopping malls, and in between, she appears at social events in revealing outfits. The story between the final credits of the original film and the girl’s current life is left off-screen.
Everyday routine bursts at the seams when the heroine Gal Gadot, along with a loser colleague named Barbara (played by Kristen Wiig), find a magic stone that grants wishes. The cobblestone gives the beggar what he wants, but in return it takes something valuable. The third side in the plot of the sequel was the character of Pedro Pascal – the unlucky and greedy investor Max Lord.
A fairy tale begins in the spirit of Greek legends: her beloved Steve Trevor (Chris Pine again got used to the role) returns to Diana, who died in the finale of the first picture, but the forces of evil appear on the horizon. By saying “fairy tale” I am not exaggerating – the events on the screen develop rapidly and the characters seem to be in the right places at the right time by chance, so that the scriptwriters have a puzzle.
Life, of course, is an insidious thing, but in the film everything is sewn with white thread. The Lord (even the hero’s surname speaks, just like in the books of Russian classics) gains power and himself becomes a kind of genie, and the lover returned to Diana costs her a very dear price. Alas, the technique works with a stretch. Returnee Steve Trevor runs after Diana throughout the film and at the very least helps (although often interferes) to overcome evil. This storyline inevitably comes to a standstill by the end of the film, although I saw there an unsuccessful attempt to show Diana’s transformation into a superheroine, for whom the common good is more important than the private.
In the second half (closer to the final), the villainess Cheetah is brought to the stage. Before the release of the film, she was actively talked about and I got the impression that she would be the central opponent of Diana, but in fact there are only one and a half scenes directly with her, the rest is an exposition about a woman offended by everyone.
As a result, the entire narrative slides into a fabulous confrontation between the brilliantly whitewashed, exemplary Diana with an greedy, notorious middle-aged man and an envious loser. Cartoon villains leave no chance – you want to laugh at them, and that’s all. Director Patty Jenkins was clearly trying to show something more, at various times Wonder Woman 1984 deals with feminism, Cold War echoes and sacrifice for a higher purpose. Unfortunately, everything is past, none of the topics raised develops even half of its potential. The year 1984 seems to be not accidentally put in the title, but there is nothing from the mood of George Orwell – Max Lord is more reminiscent of Donald Trump than of one of the characters of a science fiction writer. True, it is worth recognizing the cool transformation into the image – the handsome Oberyn Martell from “Game of Thrones” has changed beyond recognition.
If this film were a book, it would not dramatically pull even a summary of a full-fledged work. Maximum – for a subject index.
I can already see how you furiously write in the comments the question: “This is a blockbuster! What kind of drama? Action! Attraction!” Yes, I thought so too and was disappointed. It’s strange and unpleasant to say this, but in most cases, Wonder Woman 1984 looks like a product of Indian cinema.
The only adequate scene is at the very beginning – a flashback from Diana’s childhood, in which she first participates in the first Amazon competition. Then there is a fight with robbers in a shopping center. If you add music from the Benny Hill show to it, I swear to you, it will be just right. Everything that follows is no better: ragged editing, ubiquitous slow-mo, soapy graphics and gnarled backdrops.
There are no interesting finds in the film, no original creative solutions, a coherent story with intrigue or a clear message. I dare to suggest that a pandemic could play some role in the weaknesses of the picture, but the tape was transferred several times and it was gathering dust on the shelf for almost a year. In comparison with the first one, this is a strong step back and the only thing that remains as beautiful is the beauty and charm of Gal Gadot.
Wonder Woman 1984 is an artificial product of the industry. They took seemingly obvious options for a mandatory continuation, added a love line that was appropriate in a different place and time under different circumstances, and mixed everything on a fabulous basis. Did not work. It’s a pity, but it happens, although I was so imbued with the first picture, I will hope that the failed sequel will not kill the rebirth of the DC MCU. There’s still a lot of work on bugs, but they deserve their chance.
In the meantime – the syndrome of the second album, not otherwise.