By Lori Perkins
Well, it was a hard choice – WonderWoman84, Bridgerton or Soul for the after A Christmas Story movie. Let me just say that I was delighted to have such a smorgasbord of choices, but WonderWoman84 ultimately won because I loved the 2017 film so much (I cried during the Front battle scene because it was so overwhelming to see a female superhero do what so many male superheroes had done before).I was also eager to return to the 80s, though don’t ask me why (perhaps because I had watched so many John Hughes films this holiday season?).
I knew Steve Trevor returns 67 years later, and I was curious as to how they were going to pull that off. I loved the chemistry between Diana and Steve in the 2017 movie, and I hoped that it would be there again…and it is. It is my favorite part of this franchise, where Diana gets to be this incredibly powerful woman who loves on her own terms, unabashedly. It’s not the dance of romance that fuels this relationship, but the purity of her passion and outright agency for him…he is the thing she wishes for, and she brings him back from wherever death took him in another man’s body, but she only has eyes for him (so we see him).
I also loved director Patty Jenkins’ playful attempt to mock years of the male gaze in film as she makes Christopher Pine try on various 80s outfits to Gal Gadot’s critique. This will be one of my favorite scenes for life.
And the scenes of Diana introducing Steve to the world of Washington D.C. in the 80s also echoes the scenes of Steve introducing the world of London in 1917 to Diana in the first movie.
Steve is still the sidekick, even though he is a pilot and a spy. He can help, but only so much. One of the ways he helps is to finally bring us Diana’s invisible jet, which I was so happy to see, even though it wasn’t really used to any great advantage. (but Steve gives her the gift of fight in other ways too).
I also liked the villains, even though they didn’t work together as I would have wanted then to if this were a more traditional novel and not a super hero movie. The prime villain is Max Lord, a Donald Trump-ian TV oil salesman who is shit out of luck, until he tries to steal an ancient object that grants wishes which has been sent to the Smithsonian for study where both Diana and Dr. Barbra Minerva happen to work. When Barbara figures out what the object does, she wishes to be like Diana, who she thinks is just beautiful, poised and popular, but it turns out she is also a powerful superhuman, so Barbra eventually transforms into Cheetah, a somewhat undefined bad gal, but the transformation from shy scientist to evil cat woman by Kristen Wigg is worth it.
Max Lord is played by Pedro Pascal who is fabulously slimy and greedy from the get-go. He wants the wish power to pull his failing company out of the toilet, but thinks he has
outsmarted it by wishing himself to be the object so he can grant multiple wishes to others and get their wealth in return.
Of course, the wish fulfillment comes with a monkey’s paw, so there are consequences to all the wish granting for all, on an international level, as well as on the micro level for Diana and Steve, and Barbara.
While some were offended by the implications of the 80s politics in a 2020 movie with an Israeli actor playing the superhero, and others felt that the villains weren’t bad enough, or that the CGI battle scene between Wonder Woman and Cheetah wasn’t good enough, the movie more than worked for me. And, let me just go on the record here that anyone who actually read the comics knows that Wonder Woman has notoriously weak villains, which is why it’s always been hard to drag her into contemporary times because nothing compares to the Nazis.
But let me sum up this review with the tweets of
My second #WonderWoman
viewing and my review: Haters gonna hate.
And will always hate a movie that crushes the Bechdel test, makes the male characters secondary support weaklings, has zero male gaze, and a woman who corrects a guy calling her "miss" with "it's doctor"
Also the props, costume, and set design people did an amazing job. Barbara at dinner Dianna drinking a Bartles and Jaymes wine cooler not even the focus of screen from the bottle is an impressive attention to detail Commander Salamander in 1984 G'town perfect
Please stop with the "plot doesn't make sense" nonsense It's purely traditional comic book trope.. Hits all the usual points: object causing transformation; testing s/hero's nature & goodness; villans driven by lifetime of powerlessness to gain control; s/hero's sacrifice