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Sunday, July 25, 2021

    WW84 – Sophomore Slump

    Ben Nietzel
    Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

    Muscatine Living

    “Wonder Woman 1984” (WW84) is the sequel to 2017’s comic book hit movie “Wonder Woman.” Set in 1984, Gal Gadot reprises her role as the titular character as she faces off against some new foes.

    Pro – Gal’s gal

    Gal Gadot has proven to be a fantastic Wonder Woman. She has the physicality, beauty, and acting chops to bring the larger-than-life heroine to the big screen. A big part of the original movie’s charm was Gadot’s portrayal of the character. That continues here, as Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) is heroic, smart, and successful in all the right ways. There is even an interesting subplot on the loneliness created by her powers and life of right-doing that unfortunately is not fully explored.

    Chris Pine returns as her love interest Steve Trevor. They continue to have the delightful banter that was so fresh and fun in the first film, but the unfortunate side effect is the clunky storytelling used to make that happen.

    “Narcos'” Pedro Pascal has his acting dial turned up to fifteen, and it’s hard to tell if it’s horrific or brilliant. Finally, Kristin Wiig goes from excellent to corny as the movie progresses, through no fault of her own.

    Con – Wasted potential

    The tragedy of WW84 is that it is a huge waste of potential. The first movie showed what an amazing and unique character Wonder Woman was and this film simply doesn’t do her justice. The setting of 1984 is fun, and many movies (“Atomic Blonde”) have greatly benefitted from setting themselves back in this time frame. WW84 makes a couple fashion jokes, plays a few obscure songs, and conjures the specter of the U.S.S.R., but aside from that, wastes the easy nostalgia hits of the setting. The cast is hugely talented yet given little to do. Worst of all, the story is just not good. Character motivations are confusing at best. The desire to rekindle the Diana and Steve connection and fun can only be achieved through clunky means. The two main villains’ motivations are the worst.

    Con – who is this for?

    WW84 felt like a superhero movie for people who love Hallmark Christmas movies. The problem is, as a general rule the people who love Hallmark movies don’t care about superhero movies and the people who love superhero movies don’t care about Hallmark movies. It feels like this movie is going to be beloved by the dozen people in town who love both, but I do not think the rest of the population is going to be very keen on the mash-up. As an example, I just didn’t think I’d see the day where a hundred-million dollar blockbuster movie had motivational exposition as it’s entire climatic battle scene. I was wishing for the next Wonder Woman movie to release, and now I find myself recanting my wish.

    WW84 can be fun. Gal Gadot is wonderful, and the cast is too talented to not make it fun and interesting at times. Still, most of the movie falls flat due to confusing motivations, silly story lines, and wasted potential. All this is exacerbated by the excitement and expectations created by the excellence of the first entry. You could do a lot worse than going to see WW84 at the Fridley Palms Theatre, but manage your expectations.

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