REVIEW: It’s 1984 and Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is living a lonely existence, working as a senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. But that doesn’t stop her from fighting crime by routinely performing random acts of heroism and rescuing those in danger.
Her neon-lit lasso is enough to set things back in order. But a much bigger problem awaits her when a socially awkward and geeky archaeologist joins her team at the research center. Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) is instantly awed by Diana’s unmatched grace, poise and beauty. She just wants to be like her – a harmless wish that ultimately becomes part of a much sinister plot that could destroy the world. And it all begins when a charismatic businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), and one of America’s most famous TV personalities, sets his greedy eyes on a powerful ancient ‘wishing stone’ that is in Barbara’s possession for research.
As far as superhero movie plots go, ‘WW84’ immediately sets itself apart with its simplicity and relatability with the characters. To expect gross unpredictability here is foolish, but that in no way restricts director Patty Jenkins and her co-writers (Geoff Johns, David Callaham) from giving us a refreshing tale of a superwoman, who’s all heart.
In fact, this well-deserved sequel tilts more towards tugging at your heart strings than giving you the adrenaline rush. And it succeeds in both, whenever its able protagonist is in the frame. Jenkins extracts Gadot’s career-best performance, who lights up the screen with her magnetic persona. Gal Gadot’s breathtaking beauty and sincerity is the embodiment of her character’s heroism, a lot more than her super powers.
Despite what can only be termed as a stretch of imagination, there is enough conviction in Wonder Woman’s reunion with her lost love Steve (Chris Pine). That’s because her longing for him feels real. Their chemistry isn’t exactly crackling, but it grows on you as Jenkins creates some fun, light and magical moments. This doesn’t slow the screenplay down to an extent that it becomes dull. The main reason here is the film’s villain – a bit too dramatic and over-the-top power maniac, who will stop at nothing. Played with cringe-worthy loudness by Pedro Pascal, Max Lord is a villain straight out of the 80s. The biggest casualty of his character’s insatiable greed and overindulgence is logic, the lack of which often breeds caricatures and stereotypes of everyone – from the average Joe on the street to the President of America.
But these are minor flaws in this otherwise riveting mass entertainer that also has some spectacular action sequences with death defying stunts. Paced evenly throughout the film, the action feels adequate, warranted and of course, extremely thrilling. The experience is uplifted by believable special effects, Matthew Jensen’s expansive cinematography and Hans Zimmer’s powerful background score that is just as effective in the emotional scenes as well.
And there’s some pure femme fatale action here with not just Wonder Woman’s gracious punches, but also Barbara’s (Wiig) treacherous turnaround from a bumbling idiot to a total badass. Barring Diana and Barbara’s trendy and chic figure-hugging outfits, the rest of the production design is suitably 80’s.
Overall, ‘WW84’ is a clean and wholesome mass entertainer that dutifully ticks all the boxes. From action and adventure to drama and emotions, it’s all here to pull the audience back to the big screen.