Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
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‘Wonder Woman 1984:’ a quest for truth, love & justice

15 mins read
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I’ve always been enamored by Wonder Woman. Upon first introduction to the character as a child in the animated Justice League series of the early 2000’s, her tenacity and overt resistance of what the world wanted a woman to be was inspiring to a growing gay guy like me.

In a year where life was upended by a pandemic, and my own personal Wonder Woman died from a hereditary disease, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ provided a much needed glimmer of hope in an otherwise hopeless time.

“WW84” is the sequel to 2017’s “Wonder Woman” and the ninth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Patty Jenkins from a script she wrote with Geoff Johns and David Callaham, and a story by Johns and Jenkins. It stars Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, alongside Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen in supporting roles. Set in 1984, during the Cold War, the film follows Diana as she faces off against Maxwell Lord and Cheetah.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ truly felt like a classic comic book flick. It was colorful, fun and adventurous. Director Patty Jenkins stated that two main inspirations for this film are “Superman: The Movie” (1978) and “Spider-Man” (2002). The movie pulled inspiration from these films and other various sources while establishing a well rooted foundation of it’s own.

As always, Gal Gadot stole the show as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman. Her grace through strength, determination, compassionate heart and courage to love were very powerful beneficiaries in the movies success. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. Relishing in this fact makes the film more believable. Like she did in “Batman v Superman,” “Justice League” and the first “Wonder Woman,” Gal’s Diana Prince descended from the heavens when it mattered most. She brought a wonderful take to the character and I can’t imagine anybody else, except perhaps Linda Carter, in the live-action role.

In the movie, Diana Prince practices her heroics in broad daylight, but shrouded within secrecy. She hides her good deeds from prying eyes by moving swiftly, precisely and by taking out almost every security system in her path. But witnesses are left to speculate. If Lois Lane was a reporter then, there’s no doubt Wonder Woman would’ve been publicly published in the Planet’s front page. However, this does compel me to ask a question regarding her comment to Bruce Wayne at the end of 2016’s “Batman vs. Superman.”

“A hundred years ago I walked away from mankind – from a century of horrors. Men made a world where standing together is impossible.”

Diana Prince (Batman vs. Superman)

This comment is probably the only thing that I didn’t like about this film. It made sense with 2017’s “Wonder Woman” but is somewhat contradictory with this latest picture. Perhaps she was talking about working with a team? Or publicly practicing her powers without secrecy? If these questions prove true, it really makes Ben Affleck’s Batman / Bruce Wayne from the terrible version of 2017’s “Justice League” look like an asshole. In that version of the film Bruce accuses Diana of hiding whenever she was needed most. Then he goes on to mock Steve’s memory. In any regards, 1984 is still a phenomenal flick.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Something that always bothered me about superhero films and shows of recent is the amount of death they leave in their wake. In “Wonder Woman 1984,” you don’t see that and it’s refreshing. It revitalizes the belief that we can do better. We must do better. We can all achieve greatness, we just lack the light to show us the way. Diana was that light in this movie.

After foiling a mall heist, Diana learns that blackmarket dealers were utilizing a jewelry store as a front to sell valuable historical artifacts. The FBI recovers said artifacts and brings them to the Smithsonian for detailed identification. One particular commodity attracts the attention of Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig). She shares her find with Diana and the duo discover the antiquity is rumored to grant each individual a single wish.

Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Diana Prince blissfully looks upon the stone and wishes for her long lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), oblivious to the rocks true potential for power and destruction. After an assault, that Diana stopped, in the park Barbara wishes to be more like her newfound friend. Neither understood the repercussions of getting the one thing they wanted most. Soon after, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) get’s his hands on the stone and all hell breaks loose.

Pedro Pascal is a talent like none other and this truly showed in “Wonder Woman 1984.” As he became more unhinged, Max physically deflated from faux confidant businessman to emotionally unstable maniac with great elegance. His quest to better himself and his family pushed him over the edge and he lost himself. The loss of self identity is difficult and I saw this effect Max in a believable way. This is all thanks to Pedro’s great acting.

In a dramatic show against fate, Steve is resurrected and reunites with Diana. In a single fleeting moment the two are locked in a joyous embrace. As time progresses, Steve discovers how different the world has become.

Chris Pine as Steve Trevor and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Chris Pine soared as the dapper Steve Trevor. His curiosity for the brave new world, understanding of Diana and all out strength of resurrected character incorporated an interesting plot point for the films storyline. He was Diana’s wish, and he recognized this. Chris made this interaction believable and I felt their chemistry radiate forth from the screen. I truly understood the sacrifice Diana had to make. She had to loose her best friend, the love of her life, again. And it had to be her choice. I have to say, watching Chris die a second time was not fun.

When Diana first embarked into the world of mankind in 1918, it was Steve Trevor who introduced her. I enjoyed the reversal in 1984. Diana has been living outside paradise for over half a century and recognizes 80’s culture as everyday life. Steve has been absent since the Great War.

Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

A cautionary tale that is as old as time itself – be careful what you wish for – is at the epicenter of the movie. It showed the great ignorance individuals have for their fellow beings as they selfishly wish for what’s best for them. It was the 80’s after all.

Nobody bore witness to the harshness of this decade more than Barbara Minerva did.

Kristen Wiig astonished as Barbara. Her character development really showed how the world can wear one down. I empathized with her. I find it necessary to say that if we treated people with the respect they deserve, maybe they won’t feel the need to become an apex predator. Just saying. Wiig played the different aspects of Barbara, and later Cheetah, beautifully. From mild-mannered scientist, to powerful decedent feline, Kristen slayed in the well rounded role.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

As wish upon wish is granted, price upon price is called for and the result is a world in chaos. Our true antagonist, Maxwell Lord, acts out of desperation and pushes forward with a plan to better himself, no matter the cost. Ironically following in the footsteps of General Zod, Lord’s aspirations lead him into the Oval Office, then soon after onto every screen on the planet. His hunger for power overwhelms him, yet he doesn’t recognize the danger. He’s overcome with the toxicity.

Everyone wishes for more.

We can’t always get what we want. Not for nothing, at least. Only individuals have the power to achieve their dreams. Something we seemingly always tend to forget. As my favorite super once said, “you’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.”

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Another thing that baffled me with WW84 is in regards to the DCEU timeline. As far as we knew, the battle of Metropolis in “Man of Steel” was the first such event in that universe’s timeline. It caused a drastic call for change and the world was never the same. Yet WW84 saw events that were far more catastrophic. Billions were affected. Maybe the events in 1984 is what preempted the United States Government to engage in metahuman research in the first place and the destruction in Metropolis issued a different set of regulations? I think that’s a topic for another time.

Either way, the history of the DCEU just expanded and an entire realm of new possibilities for future projects emerged forth from this great movie.

Wonder Woman 1984 was originally scheduled to be released in the United States on June 5, 2020 by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. It has since been rescheduled twice due to increasing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The first rescheduling had the movies premier date on Oct. 2, 2020. It was rescheduled again for Dec. 25, 2020.

In the end, Diana taught everyone a hard lesson. As she renounced her wish and retained her powers, she show’s that we must come to terms with life and overcome insurmountable obstacles. She leaps into the sky and we witness her first flight. I never fathomed the thought of seeing such icons like Wonder Woman and Superman embrace their powers so wholly, yet here we are.

Diana’s lesson in resurrections could be the reason she was so reluctant when the Justice League decided to bring Superman back from the dead. She knows the disastrous outcomes first hand.

Everyone suffers. Everyone wants more. Everyone wants someone they’ve lost back. I know I do. Nobody wants to be afraid or powerless. Sometimes we forget that we’re all equal, fighting the same battles. Some prove to be victorious, while others are left behind. We tend to seek the easy way out.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Photo curtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

With musical scores first heard in “Batman vs. Superman” playing in the background, Wonder Woman pleads with the people of the world – and by extension, us – hoping they’ll reconsider. This moment gave me goosebumps. Diana pointed out that our world is a marvelous place. It has it’s flaws, but it’s beautiful. The planet is full of life, full of differences, and it’s incredible. Everything we wish for comes with a price and we can’t have it all. We can only have the truth, and the truth should be enough. The truth is beautiful.

Diana continues to bring wonder to my life as she points out an obvious fact. We must be heroes to each other because we’re all we have. Their is no cosmic wish granting scheme at work, and their shouldn’t be. Our struggles help define us because our true potential comes forth when we overcome our difficulties. Every person deserves love and appreciation. Everyone deserves to be wonderful.

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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