Wonder Woman 1984 is an American Superhero movie based on the DC Comics character created by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter. Stylized as WW84, the movie is the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe franchise and acts as a sequel to the 2017 movie “Wonder Woman.” The film is directed by Patty Jenkins with a script she wrote alongside Geoff Johns and David Callaham. Wonder Woman 1984 has a cast starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Kristen Wiig as Cheetah/Barbara Minerva, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord.
The movie “Wonder Woman” was great, but an issue surrounding it was the time it was set in. Now, Wonder Woman 1984 is set in a post-WWII era in the midst of the Cold War, which is great but fails to do a few things which the previous movie was much successful in doing.
To start off Wonder Woman 1984, A young Diana is shown to us who is taking part in some form of race. Surrounded by far older Amazonians, she seems to be at a disadvantage based on stature. As the race begins, she takes many difficult routes and even so takes a significant lead over her competitors. During the course of the race, she fell back and was unable to continue. On finding a way she could catch up, she took a shorter route and was just about to win when Antiope catches hold of her and prevents her win by taking an alternative route. Hippolyta, Diana’s mother, comes and tells her how deception and lying made no great heroes. She believes in her daughter and knows she has to keep working till she is ready. She believes she can be just like Asteria, who was brave and fought off enemies so that she could save her fellow comrades. This sequence gives us an idea of what the movie will have its focus on.
The other focus the movie has on is the concept of Monkey’s Paw. In the comic story, a person who holds the Monkey’s Paw is given three wishes, but they come with great consequences because of interfering with fate. The movie has a similar supernatural factor in action with the introduction of Dreamstone. The stone was considered to be a fake relic as it was made of citrine, a common element used for making fakes. It had some Latin inscribed on it, which said that any wish could be granted using it. The stone was, in fact, real, which did grant the user’s wish. Sounds too good to be true, but it did come with its catch, that the person using it would lose their most precious entity. Originally created by The God of Deception, it is a tool passed down generations, destroying multiple civilizations.
Diana Prince, now residing in Washington DC, has been living in the “man’s world” for around half a century. Now working a normal day job as a researcher of antiquities in Smithsonian Institution, she still mourns the death of her first and only love, Steve Trevor, who had died in the previous film. As much as he was great, it’s hard to believe that with so much time passing, she chooses to live a solitary life in her apartment alone or even have dinner alone. She occasionally dawns on her iconic Armor to fight minor crimes while trying to keep away from media by destroying evidence on her way. She does not want to reveal herself completely to the public but wants to keep helping people.
Introduced as a new employee in the Smithsonian Institution, Barbara Minerva is a geeky person who is often the subject of getting ignored. She is shoved by people thinking she is boring and has barely an opportunity to connect with others. We get to meet her just as with Diana, with who she has an “early dinner.” They both enjoy each other’s company and even become friends sharing each other’s past. Diana believes she is a great person to be with as she is very lively and filled with compassion. On encounter with the Dreamstone, she wishes to be just like Diana. Her wish is granted, but she does lose her biggest entity, Humanity. This is shown by the sequences where Diana saves her from a sexual predator but later, when Barbara meets him, she beats him to an inch of his life. First losing her humanity figuratively, she even loses it literally later as she becomes an apex predator.
Dying in a plane crash back in the 2017 movie “Wonder Woman,” Steve Trevor was the first man Diana ever met and fell in love with him. After so many years, she still mourns his death, and just for the sake of it, she wishes he were there when she was holding the Dreamstone. Later she realizes that her wish came true as Steve Trevor does come back to life in some random person’s body. Coming back to life after 66 years, Steve sees a world completely different than his. This is the part of the movie which brings certain humor to us. Diana introduces Steve to various aspects of his future, only amazing him every time. But during all this, one thing Diana didn’t realize was that she had started losing her powers, which were her most precious entity.
The chairman and owner of Black Gold Corporation, Maxwell Lord, was a television personality popularly known as the “Oil Guy.” He was first shown with his bombastic intro in an 80s style advertisement regarding his joint oil ownership company. He was seen by everyone as an oil-magnate but in actuality was deceiving everyone as he had never struck oil and his office was empty. Although the origin of Maxwell Lord isn’t completely comic accurate, it is still pretty interesting and does match certain aspects to it.
Beaten by his father in the past, Maxwell wanted to become successful and hates being a loser. He has a son Alistair who he wants to make proud. To do this, he had done extensive research on an ancient relic, Dreamstone, to achieve its powers and grow stronger in the world. It is still very questionable how a common being like Maxwell knew of such a relic while Diana had no clue of it. On acquiring the Dreamstone, he wishes to be it and gains its power to grant wishes and take back something on contact. In Maxwell’s case, his health was his greatest possession, and that starts deteriorating shown using blood oozing out through his eyes, ears, and nose.
As the end slowly nears, we see the battle between Wonder Woman and Cheetah, which in itself was great with a high level of acrobatics and speed throughout the fight. The thing difficult for one to deal with is the quick change in Barbara, from a compassionate human to an apex predator; her character contrasts highly within the movie itself. Although it is understandable why she would protect Maxwell Lord, it makes the development of the character seem incomplete. But that’s what comes with the story and consequence of using the Dreamstone.
The final battle with Maxwell Lord feels a much better end for his character than the end of the movie. As Maxwell Lord had the power to put a barrier keeping Wonder Woman at bay, there was no action in the fight. Instead, it came down to morality and what each person really valued. This was because of Dragonstone, which was more focused on lies people wanted to materialize and hide behind or acknowledge the truth and move on.
Gal Gadot, like her previous appearances, plays a very enjoyable Wonder Woman. She is calm, collected, and strong and plays the part skilfully. Her accent being different gives an idea of not being from America and implicates that she is from somewhere far, thus suiting her role as an Amazonian. Kristen Wiig was an excellent selection for the role of Barbara Minerva as she plays her role competently. But due to time constraints, she becomes victim to the story and quickly changes characters. This totally interrupts us from having a connection with her in the first place.
Chris Pine, as Steve Trevor, does the job well. He brings in comic relief and also acts as an object in question for Diana’s morality. Pedro Pascal, as Maxwell Lord, was excellent as his actions fueled by his emotions drive the movie. He plays the part deftly, acting as a swindler who hates to lose and is unwilling to stop trying for more. Considering Jenkins was already given a framework to fit in-between “Wonder Woman” and Dawn of Justice, the movie was bound to be hollow in terms of story progression. If it were looked at as a standalone Wonder Woman series sequel, it does do the job and gives us more insights into Diana’s past and her ideals. DC did well with Wonder Woman 1984.