Christmas Day was even sweeter with the release of Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max and in select theatres around the world, that is the ones that are open. The ninth installation of DC’s Cinematic Universe and the second Wonder Woman titled movie directed by Patty Jenkins sees the return of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord and Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah.
SPOILERS FOR WONDER WOMAN 1984 AHEAD
There were certain things about the movie that I noticed that left me perplexed and raised the following questions.
Why is Wonder Woman wearing her Costume in broad daylight?
As said in Batman v Superman, she walked away from the world of men. The exact quote is below:
A hundred years ago I walked away from mankind; from a century of horrors. Men made a world where standing together is impossible.
Seeing the evil of mankind, finally defeating Ares and losing Steve Trevor forced Diana to go into hiding until Doomsday threatened the planet. We can assume that she skipped the Second World War after being disgusted by the first. We can also assume that the Justice Society of America fought this fight instead as in ties into their original storyline in the comics. The latter is better than picturing Diana buying art pieces in London whilst Hitler invaded Poland.
So if she’s meant to be in hiding and focusing on herself like everyone in 2020 why is she fighting crime in broad daylight in her costume? She could have easily done it without having to run into the bathroom and change into the costume every time trouble brews. I presume that’s how she gets into costume seeing that she doesn’t wear it underneath like Superman does or have a butler or secret stashes all over the city like Batman does. And despite having a few new random powers she doesn’t have this one:
This undermines her entire quote mentioned above as over a hundred people definitely saw her running down the street in the third act. Also, it’s 1984, how does no one own a Kodak?
Cheetah didn’t kill anyone
Kristen Wiig plays the character of Barbara Minerva quite well. She’s clumsy, unfashionable, forgettable and socially awkward. Her wish was to be like Diana: confident, sexy, the centre of attention etc and it came true at the cost of her warmth, joy and humanity. Her lust for her newfound power drives her to want more and more, she wishes to be an “apex predator” and for some reason picked a Cheetah and grew out a tail. This symbolises that she was losing all her humanity to be a creature of power.
In the comics, The Cheetah is one of Diana’s most dangerous enemies. She is ruthless, dangerous and kills without remorse. Despite all of that Diana still sees the human in Cheetah and always tries to reach out to help her. An ode to women helping other women out no matter the circumstances.
In Wonder Woman 1984 no matter how hard the Cheetah tried to kill someone, Diana stopped her from doing so. When she was throwing around security guards around the White House, Diana spent more time saving them than stopping the Cheetah. This showed that she didn’t want Barbara to regret any of the actions she did whilst under her wish. If she was true to the comic and wanted to develop a future storyline and rivalry between Diana and Cheetah we would have seen Cheetah kill some people. This will drive Diana to feel guilty for Barbara transforming in the first place and continue to save her in future encounters.
Will Cheetah return? Yes.
At the end of the movie, we see that Cheetah is now resting watching the sunrise in human form. Whilst many see this as her giving up her gift as she has returned to human form, many have forgotten that she actually made 2 wishes. One with the Dreamstone directly and then afterwards with Max. She renounced the second wish that transformed her into the animal, but kept her first, retaining her powers and some of her humanity.
The Invisible Jet
Wonder Woman’s most talked about method of transportation in the comic book world has been the most ludicrous I’ve heard of. An ancient Amazonian island, stuck in time, never seen the modern world have jets, which are invisible.
I’m glad they changed the story up in this reiteration of Wonder Woman. However, it wasn’t for the best. The nerdgasms Chris Pine has when discussing anything related to plans and flying was well in character, and amazingly executed as well. So it was a great scene to see him fly a fighter jet and do it so naturally despite not having flown anything since the first World War. The Invisible Jet has gone through many origin stories ranging from child Diana enforcing her mothers’ airforce with a jet that can fly undetected to her being able to “summon” it with her tiara to magic alien crystals forming it. None of the explanations to Wonder Woman’s invisible jets makes any sense with the best iteration being from the animated show Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, where she keeps the jet as a spoil of war from an enemy.
So it frustrates me that the invisible jet in Wonder Woman 1984 was created by Diana by using the magic of Zeus. There wasn’t a whisper of Diana being able to access the power of the Gods and they never even touched on what she was up to from 1918 to 1984 except work and going on trips. In her free time, she was able to make a coffee cup invisible (and lose it) but when under stress and committing a crime she was able to make a fighter jet invisible and somehow make it fly 6 times it’s flying range.
Unbelievable, Patty Jenkins I expected better.
Maxwell Lord Lives
Whilst the villains of Wonder Woman range from Cheetah to Ares and other Greek Gods, there is no one who made a bigger impact on Diana than Maxwell Lord.
I was very excited to see Pedro Pascal play this iteration of Lord in the movie. Keeping with the theme and having Lord be a Ponzi scheme salesman (it was a rage back in the 80s) instead of the intelligence chief he played in the comics he really did push Wonder Woman to her limit like he’s meant to.
The first chapter of the movie outlined Diana’s loneliness and grief. She was all alone, driven deep into her work and losing everyone she knows including Steve Trevor which she obviously hadn’t gotten over, seeing the number of memorabilia she had dedicated to him. When she got Steve back she could not have been happier but after running around the globe with him she had to give him up to regain her strength to fight Maxwell Lord. This should have been enough to push her over the edge.
In the comics, Maxwell Lord takes over Checkmate an intelligence agency and hijacks Batman’s Big Brother satellite and creates OMACs and almost ends the world. He was discovered by Ted Kord, the first Blue Beetle who was shot in the head by Maxwell Lord.
This along with a few other things drive Wonder Woman to do what she was trained to do. Be a warrior that ends evil. And that is exactly what she did to Maxwell Lord.
She snaps his neck, with her bare hands in front of Superman and millions of viewers who were watching via a feed broadcast by Maxwell Lord. Her image of being an emissary of peace was destroyed in a single moment. This lead to a rift between herself and the rest of the superheroes especially her closest allies; Batman and Superman. This was a defining moment in Wonder Woman’s character, where she gave in to her emotion, all the training to be better than extraordinary, the moral compass of the Justice League losing her way. It was a pivotal moment in her character and she spent the next few years redeeming herself.
In Wonder Woman 1984, not only does Maxwell Lord NOT die, he renounces his wish and comes to his senses. He gives up his lust for power and dominance after hearing a 4 min speech by Wonder Woman and runs out of the final chapter looking for his son. He pretty much did a hard reset and will go into hiding and never be charged for his crimes. We know that with this end, Maxwell Lord will not a future enemy of Wonder Woman, which is a shame.
Wonder Woman 1984 was a step down from the first Wonder Woman done by Patty Jenkins. Despite its stunning visuals, a great wardrobe and stunning performance by its actors it failed to deliver a concise story. Instead of throwing in the Cheetah and Maxwell Lord as villains along with Wonder Woman herself, they should have stuck to one of them and played Diana and her grief. Marvel’s WandaVision did a great job with that.
DC Comics is yet to redeem itself for the most awaited movie of the past two years; Zack Snyder’s Justice League which airs on the 18th of March 2021 on HBO Max and other streaming services.