"Wonder Woman 1984" is "chaotic" and "delightfully cheesy": Reviews of this year's superhero sequel

Wonder Woman 1984
Gal Gadot and Chris Pine in "Wonder Woman 1984" Warner Bros.
This article originally appeared here on Salon.com
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We deserve Wonder Woman 1984, but does the movie deserve us? In a year of upheaval and unprecedented loss, those of us who have survived want something that will make us feel good about the holidays. Warner Bros. ' The sequel to "Wonder Woman" could be what we hope for: escapism that also empowers and gives us the illusion that everything is not futile as long as you are optimistic and just a little grainy.
In Patty Jenkins' eagerly anticipated sequel to her 2017 blockbuster, Amazonian warrior Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works as the chief anthropologist at the Smithsonian and sets the bar incredibly high for true anthropologists (sorry, Margaret Mead). There she meets a new employee, the insecure Barbara Ann Minerva, who later becomes the villain Cheetah (funny Gal Kristen Wiig), and the ambitious businessman Maxwell Lord ("The Mandalorian" star Pedro Pascal). Through some kind of magic, Diana's dead lover Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, the best Chris) is brought back to life to crack 80s jokes and wear stylish belt bags.
Warner Bros. sent shock waves across Hollywood when it was announced that Wonder Woman 1984 would hit theaters simultaneously on Christmas Day, and HBO Max, a release model the studio is planning for many other highly anticipated tentpole films. If there ever was time to sign up for a new streaming service, this is the time (especially since HBO Max finally got to Roku). Although drive-in movies and other theaters have found a way to stay viable during the pandemic, friends and families who want to safely share this experience can pull up a couch.
Will "Wonder Woman 1984" be worth all the hype and will a miserable 2020 with a shiny, red booty heel successfully hit the roadside? Check out the trailer and what critics say in the following reviews:
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Wall Street Journal: Wonder Woman 1984 Review: Desire Riot
Joe Morgenstern says:
When "Wonder Woman 1984" started streaming in the preview on my living room screen, I felt some of the Covid thrill of sitting in a theater and being drawn into "Wonder Woman" 2017, a great action spectacle starring Gal Gadot as the Amazon warrior princess Diana. This included a look back at Themyscira, the home of the Amazons, where Diana was trained in martial arts as a child. The sequel, starring Ms. Gadot in the title role, begins with another look back at Themyscira, but Diana, who is nearing puberty and, as before, played by Lilly Aspell, takes on formidable women at the Amazon Games, a series of challenges that Make the Olympics look like hopscotch. This opening sequence is as elegant and exciting as anyone could have asked for. When it's over, the movie, which opens in theaters and streamed on HBO Max, will be gross, high-pitched and chaotic, a kinetic but hilarious fiction that plays like a maddened make-a-wish foundation sendup
* * *
At only 2 stars, Christy Lemire admits that Gadot "wins and wins," but the sequel is "wilder and bolder". She finds the touch of the 80s particularly annoying:
"Too often the instinct to evoke this time is wallowing in obvious nostalgia - popped collars on pastel-colored polo shirts, a centipede game in the arcade, a B. Dalton salesman in the brightly lit three-decker mall." She writes. "It feels like it's part of a movie that actually came out in the 80s."
* * *
Playlist: "Wonder Woman 1984" dreams big, but wishes for something that it is not: convincing [review]
With the exception of the "rousing" opening recap of Diana's youth, Rodrigo Perez seems to think the entire film is insane and incoherent. He writes a D + and writes:
"Wonder Woman 1984 'is more than just a disappointment or disappointment from the last film. For all its hopes and dreams,' WW84 'has a lot of ambition but does not achieve the appealing and inspiring size it seeks."
* * *
Washington Post: Wonder Woman 1984 is made up of two films: one funny and one bloated, grandiose
Ann Hornaday notes that Kristen Wiig is doing a good job:
Here, that honor belongs to Wiig, whose crazy personality is the perfect foil for Gadot's watchful restraint. What's even more gratifying is that filmmaker Patty Jenkins found a way for Diana's love interest, Steve Trevor, to travel back in time into her life, meaning Chris Pine took a time travel into our lives. He playfully plunges back into the role of love interest usually reserved for Ingénues, stealing every scene he's in, be it in a Mystery Date-like fashion montage (everyone welcomes the belt pouch) or when he's into modern phenomena how DC Metro is introduced escalators and the great works of the Hirshhorn.
Unfortunately, as the film crosses the 90-minute mark, she writes: "It's like Jenkins remembers her other outcomes in the form of special effects, epic global crises, and a plotty, increasingly confusing plot that metastasizes into something much darker and more violent. "
* * *
Vanity Fair: On a small screen, Wonder Woman 1984 is a little less wonderful
Richard Lawson points out that the film is "colorful and playful in a way not seen anywhere else in the DC Universe," but is just "terribly messy" - by Pine's delivery, labeled "Marvel-esque" and The bloated plot runs out of stumbling determination and wasted talent.
"Wiig and Pascal add a nice timbre to the more serious scenes, but the barbara of everything becomes short," he writes. "She disappears for a while and is sorely missed. Play like Pascal, I think he could have been thrown and Wiig pulled into the middle."
* * *
USA Today: Review: "Wonder Woman 1984" is a rousing retro throwback to Christopher Reeves "Superman"
Brian Truitt (3 out of 4 stars) is far more tolerant of the 80s and calls it "rad". Overall, it is there for the performances and views of "1984" as a Christmas present that it should be:
The chemistry of Gadot and Pine was one of the best parts of the first Wonder Woman, and they bring so much life to the new one when a vivacious Diana introduces Steve fish from the water into fanny packs and parachute pants. When you record a soaring Hans Zimmer score, the two lovebirds give the film an exciting, serious atmosphere that has come closest to Christopher Reeves' original "Superman" in recent times.
. . . Jenkins is the resident Santa Claus who presents us this holiday season - even those stuck at home - with an action-packed, heartwarming movie full of grace, kindness and a gadot that whips tanks, whips, and beats villain.
* * *
Mashable: "Wonder Woman 1984" gives mercy and compassion to a desperate world
While Angie Han acknowledges some of the narrative issues, she also advises viewers not to pay too much attention or expect logic. Instead, she's dejected at the weirdness of Steve Trevor's' 80s trip, and especially the authenticity of the emotions between him and Diana.
Overall, it's all about what the film wants to be, which is heartwarming and a balm for this often depressing world:
"There is a crucial moment when the otherwise busy movie slows down until Diana realizes how tough life on earth can be, how scary and sad it can feel. It is in the middle of one of the toughest years of the past Time to see hits like a sigh of relief. Your words aren't enough to fix it all, not in film and not in real life, but it's in simple recognition - in being seen for the wretched creatures we are and in the decision to love and still be loved. "
* * *
Vox: Wonder Woman 1984 is a better rom-com than a superhero movie
Alex Abad-Santos reaffirms the jumbled nature of the film - it tries to take in too much of everything - but revels in the humanity of this larger-than-life blockbuster.
"The best moments of Jenkins' ambitious and violent sequel, WW1984, deal with the very human problem of Wonder Woman. Diana is a goddess - in looks, morals, strength, invulnerability - who lives among mortals, but otherwise she is alone."
Those human problems - her romance with Steve, the rivalry with Barbara - work, but Abad-Santos thinks there is only one too many bad guys.
"The frustrating part of World War II is that those two solid storylines are saddled with a third. In the background comes the mad Maxwell Lord who wants to rule the world and wield unmatched influence," he writes. "While Pascal does a great job lacing American cheesiness into every fiber of his character, I wondered when we would be returning to Diana and Steve, or wondered if Barbara and Diana would ever be friends again, or wondered what Diana was loves more: being a goddess or being in love? The more time that is spent, the less time WW1984 spends being wondrous. "
* * *
SlashFilm: "Wonder Woman 1984" Review: An amazingly friendly, wonderfully cheesy balm for the horrors of 2020
For any person offended by the 80s excess, there is someone like Hoai-Tran Bui who will take it for the feel-good stupidity it is supposed to be. . . and an antidote to this terrible year.
"The filmmaker digs deeper into the promise of kitschy superhero goodness until it poses a potential health risk," writes But. "But the caricaturally optimistic charms of 'Wonder Woman 1984' feel like a direct rebuke of the current political and cultural landscape, in a way that is undoubtedly ham-fisted, but - as banal as it sounds - to this over-repeated sentence to repeat." - a much needed balm for 2020. "
She also calls Wiig's performance "graciously uncertain" and reserves her best praise for Pedro Pascal:
"If there has ever been a role that fits Pascal's natural charisma perfectly, it is Maxwell Lord. The role takes a lot from Pascal - hammering her in an over-the-top performance that resembles the best villains of the '80s - playing someone must be despicable, charming enough to get people to convey their deepest wishes to him, and disarmingly personable at the same time. "
* * *
LA Times: Review: With big bad guys and bigger hair, "Wonder Woman 1984" is a gloriously crowded sequel
Count Justin Chang as a fan of sincere cheese: "Director Patty Jenkins and her star Gal Gadot have mastered the art of persuading grainballs. If you want high spirits, serious emotions, and the unironically adorable sight of Chris Pine this season, consider Take it for granted in a belt pouch. "
* * *
IndieWire: Wonder Woman 1984 Recap: Gal Gadot returns in an insane explosion of 80s excess and intrigue
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And finally, Kate Erbland raves about the bright and exaggerated delights of the film:
"Leave it to Jenkins to come up with a suitable and satisfactory solution in the form of 'Wonder Woman 1984', the rare superhero sequel who goes her own way for the good (and sometimes, but rarely) bad and finds something joyful, crazy. and deeply gratifying as a result. All that neon and all those parachute pants? Just a bonus as Jenkins and Gadot bring back their 1984 heroine and find some bombastic territory for Diana Prince to explore, blessed beyond the confines of their contemporary compatriots. "
In this article
Gal Gadot
Patty Jenkins
Chris Pine
Pedro Pascal
Kristen Wiig

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