By Drake Vittitow
My first visit to the theater in 2021 was an underwhelming one.
“Wonder Woman 1984” can be compared to an impulse buy you make at a mall or a retail store. At first glance, the item you are purchasing can seem too right to be true. But under all that glitz and glamour, you soon realize that it is not all that you made it out to be.
That is “Wonder Woman 1984.”
A movie that presents nicely, but once the layers peel off, the luster and sheen of the product diminish greatly.
“Wonder Woman 1984” shows Diana Prince and Steve Trevor facing off against Maxwell Lord and Cheetah. Lord steals the Dreamstone to save his oil business and become an influential figure. Barbara Minerva is a geologist who wants to be cool like Diana, which prompts her to wish herself into the Cheetah thanks to the Dreamstone.
This flick’s fatal flaw is that it relies heavily on cliché tropes that not even a novice would use. Once I saw the Dreamstone, I knew that this movie was leaning into a downward trajectory.
When a film uses the concept of wishes to forward the plot, it spells out lazy writing. Not only is it lazy, but it is an element we have seen too many times before, with “Aladdin” for example.
Another problem with this movie is that it tries to build up emotional moments to no avail. The film tries to persuade the audience to care about Maxwell Lord’s relationship with his son, but by the end, what we get is an awkward embrace that was never earned.
Another scene shows Wonder Woman trying to let go of the past by relinquishing Steve Trevor from her mind. Trevor died in the first movie and was brought back by the Dreamstone (yuck), but he was reincarnated into a separate man.
Basically, Wonder Woman was going around doing superhero stuff with the love of her life, who was not actually her love but some random guy that Trevor inhibited.
It really is as bad as it sounds.
With all that said, there were some spots in this film that reminded me of a couple of wacky Wonder Woman comic stories from the 50s and 60s.
The opening 30 minutes were so promising. We see a flashback of Diana’s time in Themyscira and how she won an athletic event against older Amazons but had to cheat to win. Being stripped of the title teaches her that anything in life that is worth it must be earned honestly.
We then are transported to an 80s shopping mall where we see our titular heroin take down a group of mall thieves.
We are left scratching our heads for the next two hours, wondering where the sense in the movie went. It becomes washed away by a sea of cliches and unfulfilled lessons.
Kristen Wiig, the actress who plays Cheetah, is a pretty woman, but the movie presents her as an ugly and ditzy mess. After wishing to be like Diana, she puts on some makeup and does her hair, and we are supposed to believe that she couldn’t have done that all along without the wish?
No amount of Jazzercise or hairspray can fix what “Wonder Woman 1984” is, a movie that suffers from complacency.
You’re going to wish you weren’t at the movie theater in the first place.