I’m all for 80’s throwback nostalgia, it was the decade where I spent most of my damn childhood for cryin’ out loud. That being said HBO’s “home pandemic theater” holiday release ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ should have really been a dream come true for me. Literally tailor made for someone just like me who still often longs for the good old days and full on nostalgia of the 1980s. However ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ somehow completely misses the mark and simply seems to try an make a checklist of what Hollywood thinks we want to see from that era, it’s the DCEU’s version of 2016’s ‘X-Men: Age of Apocalypse’, which in my opinion supremely failed at what should have been a sure-fire nostalgic hit with the awesome source material they had in their hands.
The funny thing is I’m not quite sure how to pin point just exactly what doesn’t work for me with Wonder Woman 1984. On paper it sounded like a wonder-ful idea to have Diana Prince hangin’ out in that particularly colorful fun filled era of cinema. It just made sense. There seems like so many totally radical scenarios to put her and the supporting characters in, but as the movie slogged by with it’s flimsy plot it was quite clear to me: This was not the 1980s I remember sooooo fondly. I guess the main problem is the plot’s pointlessly random approach to almost everything that occurs in it 2 hour and 30 minute run time. Dressing it all up in wild neon 80s fashion and the whole “fish out of water” approach just doesn’t save this one from being a bit of a stinker. I know Patty Jenkins was attempting to recreate the magic of Richard Donner’s Superman and and in the first 20 minutes it seemed like she was on track. It was soon apparent though it had more in common with say, George Lucas’ ‘Howard the Duck’ than ‘Superman II’.
Something this time around about Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman just didn’t resonate with me in the way it did in the charming first installment. Sure we got the ‘Mandalorian’ himself Pedro Pascal as the greedy “Lex Luthor” type villain who apparently has spent his entire life searching for some ancient magic crystal that grants wishes-why? Who knows and I guess who really cares right? Then you have Kristen Wiig playing the frumpy coworker of Diana’s at the Smithsonian Institute, who’s also set on becoming the next Iconic villain for Wonder Woman. Far from it. Of course Pedro Pascal or ‘Max Lord’ conveniently figures out that the two of them are in possession of and studying his most coveted crystal treasure. Things from there increase to get incredibly uninteresting, the pace slows way down and lets you enjoy the most boring aspects of the 1980s. Oh but wait, we just cannot forget Diana’s ex-lover, Chris Pine shows up, resurrected from the dead and randomly in the body of another man for some reason that I guess is connected to the magic crystal’s wish granting power.
The action scenes are decent, the acting isn’t half-bad and the 80s backdrop was for the most part handled fairly well. But this movie’s bland overly random plot points combined with it’s stereotypically boring supporting characters (mainly two uninteresting villains with ridiculous motivations) had me checking the time counting down the minutes tell it’d finally be over.
We do of course get to see Wonder Woman in a fully CGI final battle against a (for some reason fully CG) generated Kristin Wiig “Cheetah” that harkens back to that terrible final fight underground train sequence in the Black Panther! Yeeehaw! Trust me as someone who grew up in the 80s I can assure you they were much more totally radical than this. As a fan of the first outing this one, as we said in the 80’s this one gagged me with a spoon….I’ll gladly take THIS instead any day!
I really love the the first few M. Night Shyamalan movies, heck I even liked The Village and yes Lady in the Water!! Get over it people, Lady in the Water was corny but a ton of fun! I think the order in which his movies were made go from best to worst, which is kinda interesting. Once one of the most well respected directors in Hollywood, Night now rarely even gets his name mentioned in ads for his most recent movies. The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth were three big time stinkers that most people just want to forget they wasted their time watching. I’ll even admit I’ve serious doubts that the guy can craft another hit or something as intriguing as his first couple films! Yet recently it has been reported that Night wrapped up a top secret micro budget film called “Sundowning”. It has a super small cast and sounds like a possible return to form for him. All we really know about it is that it involves a single mother with two kids visiting their grandparents out in the country during winter when things go terribly wrong. Sounds interesting to me and I’ve always thought Night was a master of mood & atmosphere.
I’ve always hoped he’d give us a full on horror movie, you know without all the preachy-ness he he somehow always seems to insert into the endings be it relgious or philosophical. Now a micro budget is where a lot of these big time directors should be spending their time. What I wouldn’t give to have someone like Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi return to a small budget flick and be forced to make something truly incredible again So this could be Night’s chance to amaze people once again, far away from the flashy effects and overblown plots.
I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I think there’s a good chance he could blow some minds with this one. If it’s rating is revealed to be an R, there’s a good chance otherwise we could be getting his tame family friendly recent styles. However the term “Sundowning” reveals some truly spooky possibilities, this is it’s definition: “a psychological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with some form of dementia. Most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but also found in those with mixed dementia, the term “sundowning” was coined due to the timing of the patient’s confusion.” This sounds to me like it could be a truly creepy endeavor. How about you? Are you willing to give Shyamalan one more try?