While “Wonder Woman” (2017) was a widely praised and solid entry, “Wonder Woman 1984” (WW1984) unfortunately feels clunky and too long. It meanders between seemingly random events, characters, and locations, showing both an inconsistent tone and focus.
For a 2.5 hour runtime, WW1984’s action scenes are surprisingly anemic until the third act. Its odd seeing such a long film by genre standards feel so bland for much of its time. There is no similarly iconic scene like in “Wonder Woman” where Gal Gadot’s Diana hopped out of a trench to shield soldiers from machine gun fire—just a few odd lasso sequences, including pulling bullets out of mid-air.
The film’s first scene shows an extended flash back of a young Diana entering an Amazonian competition where she learns a lesson semi-related to a central movie theme. While such extended scenes can be interesting background, way too much time is spent here and on other irrelevant scenes like this. For example, Diana’s love interest, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, is back to give Diana a taste of what she has lost. But aside from his general existence in the first and final moments of this character’s return, his presence usually feels like unnecessary filler.
Pedro Pascal plays a great neurotic villain, Maxwell Lord, but his story consumes too much screen time with trivial acts, while at the same time providing too vague and underwhelming a motivation or direction for the audience to chew on.
Kristen Wiig’s plays a surprisingly twisted Barbara Minerva, and its admirable that the film grapples with both Pascal’s character and Wiig’s characters. Together they provide a more interesting story that either alone would likely have, as can often be the case in single antagonist films in the genre.
WW1984 feels like director Patty Jenkins’s success of finally making a decent DC comics film went to too many studio related heads. There just simply isn’t a good reason this movie needed to be 2.5 hours, and the time spent filling it resulted in a hodge podge of *things* that don’t amount to all that much to be considered a good film, aside from a dramatic Hans Zimmer score.
It’s a shame that the flaws of WW1984 are so glaring, because its not a bad movie, and there are several scenes and ideas that genuinely feel worthy of a sequel’s time. The film could have greatly benefitted from more focused editing and perhaps some rewrites. While its too much to say that “Wonder Woman 1984” is an essential or recommendable film, its entertaining enough to avoid the label of regrettable.