Monday, December 28, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984: My review

As a point of reference, I very much liked the first Wonder Woman movie.  That said, WONDER WOMAN 1984 was a complete and utter mess.  As this endless stink burger unfolded, making no sense, and boring the shit out of me even with all the CGI and special effects — I just kept saying to myself: Gal Gadot is very hot.  I get to watch Gal Gadot for two and a half hours. 

That carried me for the first half hour.  The idiocy and excess of this bloated piece of shit overtook even Gal Gadot. 

So this is what studio movie making is these days?  Costumed superheroes facing end-of-the-world doomsday power-mad cliche villains through a series of cartoon action sequences that destroy national landmarks, entire cities, and a thousand cars.  Schmaltzy moments that are laughable. Scripts that are convoluted and make no sense.  Probably on purpose.  That way the writers don’t have to explain things.  The audience might think they were explained but they just missed it.   Like why is Wonder Woman in 1984 and not the ‘40s?  Is she immortal?  Does she never age?   Has she been here all along?  No.  That can’t be because when she appears as Wonder Woman at the beginning of the film (after the twenty minute completely superfluous Amazon prologue with a ponderous CGI action sequence and not even Gal Gadot), the media is baffled as to who this masturbatory vision with a golden lasso is. 

And why 1984?   Why not 1979?  Or 2074?   There was nothing specific to 1984 in the film.  My only guess is there’s a scene where someone uses a vintage ‘80s phone booth.  Maybe they got a deal on the prop and built the picture around that. 

Like most superhero movies, the writers solve story problems by merely tacking on more superpowers.  Wonder Woman and Chris Pine (who delivers every line the exact same way) want to take a super fighter jet to Cairo. (No one questions why Wonder Woman steals a plane?) But how do they do that undetected?   I take you to the story conference:

Hmmm?  How about this?  Wonder Woman can make the plane invisible!  Yeah! Awesome!  Wait, how does she do that?  Do you want to discuss this or go to lunch?  Invisible plane it is!  Do you think we’ll get an Oscar nomination? 

The movie was directed by Patty Jenkins.  She was heralded as such a genius for WONDER WOMAN.  Same director and she has story credit so don’t drop the dead body at the feet of the writers.  What happened to her genius? 

I caught it on HBO Max.  Thank God I didn’t waste money seeing it in a theater.   My guess is this review is not a shock to you.  It was released three days ago and you probably already heard the word-of-mouth.  Other than the 30 year old males who still live in their mother’s basement and have Gal Gadot action figures, which they do God knows with — I can’t imagine anyone loving this movie. 

It was just announced there's going to be yet another sequel.  But fear not, I have the solution that will save the franchise.   Do WONDER WOMAN 2019 and have her fling Donald Trump into the ionosphere where he can burn and disintegrate.  She’d save over 300,000 lives.  Hey, I’d even pay IMAX prices to see that.  


Michael said...

Linda Holmes has made an interesting point in her review of Bridgerton. The streaming services have hired a lot of established film writers for their original series and while they are good at writing to the rhythm of entire series, they don't always structure individual episodes correctly, with their own beginning, middle, and end, resulting in some episodes being flat. It is like they are approaching it as 6 or 8 hour movie. Is this something you have noticed as well?

Daniel said...

I mostly agree with you. I liked the performances of Gadot, Pine, Wiig, and (for the most part) Pascal. I generally liked the visual direction of the film. I thought the emotional beats between Steve and Diana rang true. But the story is an absolute mess. No internal logic whatsoever. I also agree that there was nothing in the story that demanded that this take place in 1984 (unlike the first one which took place in 1917 for very specific story-related reasons). I blame most of this on co-writer Geoff Johns (whose "magic touch" ruined "Green Lantern," "Aquaman," the theatrical cut of "Justice League," and "Shazam!"). The man is a terrible, terrible writer who has failed upwards for most of his career.

Poochie said...

Or have her film a tender and tasteful love scene. She can lasso Pine and make him reveal his deepest darkest fantasies. That would sell like gangbusters.

VP81955 said...

All the anticipation surrounded "WW84," but it turns out the film that delivers is Pixar's "Soul," its first film with a black lead character (and co-director). It's getting wonderful reviews, especially compared to the soulless Gadot vehicle.

Been a good weekend for my rom-com feature script "Stand Tall!", whose lead character is a semi-superheroine of sorts (Logline: A Vegas waitress tripled in size becomes a beloved showroom headliner, falls in love with the scientist who accidentally enlarged her and vows to rescue him when he's kidnapped by three mutual rivals). It was named best feature screenplay by a Paris film festival on Sunday, and the day before was named a quarterfinalist in Stage 32's inaugural New Voices in Animation screenwriting contest. (In the wake of Covid-19, I'm hedging my bets, though I'm anything but an animator.) Keep your fingers crossed I can find a producer, live-action or animation.

Roseann said...

I didn't even like the original Gal Gadot Wonder Woman.

Pizzagod said...



I "Tweeted" you after I saw it and of course I could be nowhere near as elegant in my description, other than to say it was TOO DAMN LONG!

Of course we wonder what happened to the guy whose body Steve usurped. How exactly did a guy who was a biplane pilot in WW I manage to pilot a state of the art super jet? How did they refuel when they came back to the states? Where did Diana get all that money to buy the taxi?

Etc. Etc. Etc.

I did not make any friends on Twitter when I "boldly" said it was "meh" and that it wasn't as good as the original-Oh my god, you would have thought I'd attacked Mom, Apple Pie, and Christmas.

It was a mess. It was unworthy of the original, and for my money almost Green Lantern bad.

So I'm lobbying for a Plastic Man movie. If any character can be done in the Deadpool/irreverent vein, and we get a story of redemption, and he's a good guy but not that good (you know-like Billy Batson selling photos?) this is the way to go.

Like you said-glad we didn't have to pay extra to enjoy this.

Troy McClure said...

A couple of weeks ago I said Disney had poisoned the cinematic landscape with its market saturation of comic book films, sequels, Star Wars spin-offs and remakes.

Not to be outdone, the president of DC has announced that, starting 2022, they're going to release six movies a year, four theatrical and two for HBO Max.

At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I think it's game over for cinema. I don't mean theatrical exhibition. That'll come back after the pandemic. But it's game over for the making of ambitious and adult films. The sad fact is that films like The Godfather, 2001, Taxi Driver and Blue Velvet could not get made today.

But hey, Emilio Estevez is coming back for a new Mighty Ducks movie and there's going to be a sequel series of Night Court and a remake of Planes, Trains and Automobiles! Who are we to refuse so much brilliant creativity??!

blinky said...

Thanks for that Ken! I was shocked at how little sense this movie made, even moment to moment. So many questions: why was she in a mall? Does her outfit just materialize on her? Here is a family guy bit that nails the absurdity:

ventucky said...

I don't watch Superhero movies. They bore me to tears. My son encouraged me to watch The Boys, and I admit I liked it. Primarily because I think it was an intended slap in the face to the established formula. Your review makes me want to see WW1984. I am fascinated by truly bad cinema. But I am not going to pay a dime to see it. (FYI, the single worst movie I have ever seen is Eye of the Beholder. If you like truly nonsensical stuff that thinks it is serious art, nothing better)

Jon said...

Wonder Woman had an invisible plane in the comic books. I remember that from reading them when I was a kid. I'm sure that at some point there was an origin story for it, though I don't remember ever seeing one. Seems like there were origin stories for everything about these super heroes and their gadgetry. I doubt I ever questioned the invisible plane. When you're eleven years old, you take these things at face value. Sort of like the way that nobody ever figures out a super hero's true identity because the super hero is wearing an eye mask.

I have a couple of buddies who still read comics--excuse me, graphic novels--and I browse through their copies sometimes. Seems like the comics these days are full of these dark, apocalyptic, will-this-be-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, epic storylines. I don't know if that's the movies influencing the comics or the comics influencing the movies. None of it seems like much fun, though.

Glenn said...

Do Wonder Woman and Steve go to a Wham! concert?

KB said...

I expect most comic book movies to be stupid. They usually are. So, logic and plot holes are par for the course. Look at "Joker." If you suspended your disbelief any more, you might find yourself floating. Yet that got praise and Oscar noms.

The worst part of WW84, to me, was the ridiculous run time, and the complete waste of setting it in the 80's. The only scene they tried to have fun with, where Pine is trying on outfits (most tired montage sequence in history), wasn't even fun. His fish-out-of-water bits lasted about one minute, "wow, that's what an airplane looks like now?" They blew it. Why even set it in the 80's if you're not going to make that a character?

iamr4man said...

Just FYI and because I think you will like the gag, the early version of Mad Magazine did a parody of Wonder Woman and this is their take on the invisible plane:

DBenson said...

Superheroes have reached a point where the "daring, irreverent" ideas are tired. Back in the 60s Spider-Man was revolutionary with its amateur teenage hero struggling with everyday life; now everybody is on that bus. The Tick wasn't the first to flip that concept for comedy, but it did a wonderfully thorough job of it through comic book, sitcom, animated series and I guess another series. Think "The Incredibles" (first movie) was the last really fresh take, and that was mainly by bringing intelligence and some depth to existing tropes.

Since then it's been mainly tweaking the old conventions and desperately trying to find something new, like a western that's been on the air forever ("How about the sheriff gets a mail order bride? Did that? How about the saloon lady gets a mail order groom? Did that? What if the mail order groom is a Confederate war criminal? Did that? ...").

Or the whodunits that reach too far for a new method ("The substance on this condom is NOT lubricant!") and/or motive ("Having wagered the estate on the cricket finals, you intended to kill your best friend's Cedric's cousin Algy so the funeral would prevent him from playing. But you were unaware that Melrose the blackmailer had stolen Algy's distinctive umbrella, while Algy's ex-wife threatened him in front of his old entire regiment ...").

Another issue for superheroes: When the stakes in every film is the end of humanity as we know it, where do you go for the sequel? "This new guy, he's WORSE than Thanos because he's going to destroy ALL sentient life. And most of their favorite inanimate objects as well ..."

Bob K said...

Ha! “Stink burger” was the exact phrase I used while I watched it with my wife last night. She fell asleep less than halfway through it. The TV series with Lynda Carter was more thought-out than this turd.

J Lee said...

I've seen a bunch of reviews note the questionable morality of Diana's wish to have Steve back and having him inhabit the body of another man with seemingly no concern about basically eliminating that poor schlub from society if she can do the nasty with her long-missing boyfiend (wish victim eventually does get his body back, but not because Wonder Woman gets that it was morally wrong to take it in the first place, but because that's the only way to defeat Trump doppelganger and make things right again). It's story plot points like that which don't seem to have really been thought through on anything but the most superficial level that help create the mess of a story that is WW 84.

(I also saw where Warners wanted Patty Jenkins to either axe the Amazon training scene or the mall scene to shorten the movie, but Jenkins thought the two intros were too important/good to lose, and the studio gave in. That explains part of the film's bloat -- we'll see if she gets the same type of deference if the third Wonder Woman movie actually does get made.)

austinspace said...

I couldn't get past the idea that Diana "wishes" Steve to come back and he takes over the body of an unsuspecting dude and then they almost immediately have sex. Using this guy's husk. SOOO creepy, and it's just lah-de-dah in the movie, no more mention of it until the end when there's an awkward "reunion" out on the street. Just ruined the whole thing for me.

gottacook said...

It's interesting - were all the decision-makers (director, studio, et al.) happy with this evidently overlong edit a year ago when it was originally scheduled for release, so no one thought to test it with an audience? Or was there a negative audience test of this same cut in 2019 (as has been rumored, which I just learned by googling) but no changes were made?

(I haven't watched an entire superhero movie since Batman Returns, unless you count Deadpool. The only possible reason I would ever see WW84 is that one of my kids worked on it as a production assistant in July 2018 in D.C. for a few days, and we want to see whether she's in the credits.)

Dave H said...

I have to admit I like the super hero movies. But not the DC movies. Marvel just does it better. They just seem to put more thought into their films. You care more about the characters. I fell asleep during Aquaman. I have never fallen asleep in a movie theatre before. And it gave me a headache. The first Wonder woman was the first DC hero movie I liked since Nolan's Batman trilogy. It's too bad there seems to have been a setback.

Andrew said...

If you enjoy savage YouTube reviews, the Critical Drinker has a great one on WW 1984.

Pete Grossman said...

Well, I do enjoy Pine and Gadot together. And I do suppose the message about "truth" is a comment on our current times, even though it comes through via 1984 (perhaps instead of "Greed is good?) But overall, the script was a muddied mess. Best part? The coda after the actor credits. At least that was fun.

Unknown said...

can heat seeking missals hit an invisible plane? Didn't know Smithsonian kept an active air force, and kept planes sitting around with enough fuel to fly to another continent.
Kids liked it, my wife and I didn't.
Lynda Carter was there, how did they handle the time difference in the TV show?

Brian Stanley said...

Ah, darn you, Ventucky. Now it’s going to take me another 20 years to completely forget Eye of the Beholder. Maybe not worst ever, but definitely top (bottom?) ten worst films ever.

Henchman said...

It's as clear as day as to what happened here.
Some executive said "Chris Pines character tested really well in the first movie. We should bring him back." Even though he got blown the fuck up.

Enter:The submoronic "Wishing Stone" idea.
With so many writers here in LA, this is the best plot they could come up with?
I could come up with a better idea, if I was in a coma.

And there were so many truly awful scenes in this movie.
Like, how LOOOOOOOONG did they have to draw out the "Dress Chris" gag?
And they still made him wear the stupid fanny pack? Not funny.

He acts as if he's never seen a subway.
Uum, they had subways in the UK back then.
Where the fuck did they think Londoners took shelter in WWII.
They also had Radar.

My God. Maybe Warner Brothers should start looking outside their friends and family circle for writers. No wonder the entire DC comics movie series has been getting worse and worse. It's become painfully clear that Zack Snyder is incapable of writing a decent script. And now they're going to destroy this as well.
The first Wonder Woman was a bright light, that quickly got snuffed out.
This movie has executive meddling to the nth degree, written all over it.

Just dreadful.
What was Patty Jenkins thinking....

Henchman said...

Oh, and the whole, Chris pine looking different in the mirror?
Straight out of one of the first episodes of Quantum Leap.
I shit you not.
Literally the same.

David G. said...

I won't be seeing this until I'm near a theater that's showing it. But I've been baffled about the 1984 setting of this sequel all along while something soooooo obvious was out there that would have made for a much more interesting movie and from a staring-you-in-the-face marketing standpoint:

Why wasn't the sequel set during World War II ... for which they could have titled and marketed the movie as "WW2"...?

Mike Doran said...

"... heat-seeking missals ..."?

Did they come from Our Lady of the Flamethrowers?

RIP Dawn Wells and William Link.
***Who's gonna be #3?***

Jim DeLorenzo said...

I'm still struggling to make it through this movie, on HBO Max. When something gets particularly stupid, I stop and go to something else, meaning to come back. My first reaction to the opening sequence on the streets of Washington and in the mall were, "waitaminnit, where's Bob Todd from the Benny Hill Show?". Seemed almost a total rip-off of the comic opening sequence of Superman III. Then you come to Kristin Wiig, who is basically playing an SNL character and appears out of her element. Then you come to the "godstone" or whatever the heck it is - another Superman III reference (i.e. the synthetic Kryptonite), a deus ex machina to power Maxwell Lord, bring Steve Trevor back from the dead (not really, but that's a whole 'nother level of creepy). Maybe he could have used it to wish away his there-one-minute gone the next accent. I agree with Ken - the bedroom scene with Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor comes out of nowhere, goes nowhere, and is downright creepy when you think about it too hard. Geoff Johns has ruined so many things in the DC Comics realm - whether it's the Green Lantern movie or comic book, the Aquaman movie or comic book, the Flash "movies" and comic book - he almost destroyed the Superman books. The guy walks around with a baseball cap all day long trying to emulate either Ron Howard or Kevin Feige, depends on the day, and hasn't had an original idea since "Stargirl". Ugh. I was looking forward to this movie-even subscribed to HBO Max - now I am definitely regretting it.

Dan B said...

I watched WW84. It wasn't very good. My favorite part was the mid-credits scene at the end. I watched that three times.

Also, I hope studios aren't confusing streaming numbers with potential box office numbers. I get HBO Max for no extra charge because I'm an AT&T subscriber, essentially a free movie. If it had been a movie night out during normal times, no. If they had charged extra, such as Disney+ did with Mulan, also no.

StoicJim said...

A lot of those "she has an invisible plane" and "she can fly like Superman" stuff comes from making the movie true to the comic books. And yes, comic book rationale is cheezy.

Troy McClure said...

Got round to watching this. I didn't hate it like most have. Yes it's bloated, overlong, and should have just focused on the Kristen Wiig character and ditched Pedro Pascal's villain, but it had some fun action sequences, Gal Gadot is beautiful, and I applaud Patty Jenkins for shooting on 35mm film. It might not be important for some, but I cannot stand digitally shot movies. The recent crop of Marvel movies have had that awful, flat, lifeless video look. At least WW84 look good.

I also loved the mid credits cameo by Lynda Carter.

But I will say that WW84 has got the single stupidest scene of the year, if not the last ten years, one that's even dumber than the Martha scene in Batman vs Superman, and it's the moment where the terrorist renounces his wish for a nuclear weapon. There's being implausible and then there's being seriously fucking stupid.

mike schlesinger said...

Even at 2 1/2 hours, it felt like there was a lot of stuff missing. She won't go to the gala event, but then goes anyway without explaining why? Wiig just shows up as Cheetah with no explanation of how she became that persona? Pine has never seen an escalator but can fly a jet with no training? Jeez.

And sorry, casting Wiig as Gilly-turned-comic-book-villain was just a DOA decision. I've never cared for her anyway, and she really delivers the death blow. (OTOH, Pascal did a good job playing a villain with realistic issues, and the flying-through-fireworks scene must have looked amazing in IMAX.) Plus the CGI was noticeably poor, especially for a film with this kind of budget.

Now compared to the Zack Snyder output, this was a considerable step up. But DC still doesn't seem to have figured out how to make these things work.

McTom said...

Barely apropos anecdote - the DC-area post facility I used to work at had stacked parking, and there were always intercom pages for pople to move their cars to let someone out. One day, Lynda Carter came in (only a little drunk...) to do a VO session, and we were all daring each other to page "Would the owner of the invisible jet..."