“You cannot be a winner, because you are not yet ready to win.” Those words are uttered by the fierce Amazon general Antiope, portrayed by actress Robin Wright (reprising her featured role in the sequel, even though the character was struck down in the 2017 blockbuster that introduced Gal Gadot as the DC Comics heroine. Wonder Woman 1984 opens up on Themyscira, the paradise island home of Princess Diana, who has since left its mythological boundaries for “Man’s World”. Though after losing her heart’s desire, Diana has somewhat isolated herself and has lived a solitary existence not aging a bit since she arrived.
Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen WW84 you may not want to read any further (you’ve been warned)!
Set against the backdrop of the early 80s, an era often categorized by its high-potency for greed and epitomized by its “me” culture, which drove everyone to mine Wall Street and dive into every get rich quick scheme imaginable, Diana has now lived an island onto herself, protecting the innocent and evading recognition (fortunately for her cellphone cameras weren’t yet a “thing”), while mourning the loss of her one true love, WWI pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). After foiling a jewelry store heist, amidst the items that were jacked, is a totem of considerable power, a precious stone that lands in the hands of an expert Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a mousy and insecure gemologist, who is unaware of its ability to grant to bearer their greatest wish.
Diana befriends the young woman, who as similarly inspired by the comic book origins, becomes a close confidant. Minerva is attracted to Diana’s independence and admires her resolve. Comic books fans will recognize the chemistry between the two that immediately begins to sour as Barbara begins to fall for the increasing power that will ultimately turn her into Wonder Woman’s most dangerous enemy, The Cheetah.
Maxwell Lord, a scheming con man played by Pedro Pascal wants to control the totem’s power and turn his fortunes around. Through his Blackgold Cooperative, Lord has convinced millions: all you need to win is to want it! Both Diana and Barbara become susceptible to the power of the “cursed” totem! It grants Barbara her greatest wish: to become more powerful and self-reliant…more like Wonder Woman. And for Diana, it restores her one true love: Steve Trevor, who reincarnates through a poor, innocent man (whom we are left to believe his own life is inconsequential as he carries on the adventure with Diana). Maxwell Lord will stop at nothing to become the stone!
Though in his comic book incarnations, Maxwell Lord is a dastardly much more threatening player with his dirty mitts in several pies across political conspiracies and metahuman affairs, Pascal’s interpretation of the villain is vastly more grounded in reality. His Max Lord even has a son to worry about.
The plot of Wonder Woman 1984, becomes a cat and mouse game as she circles the world to find Lord and prevent him from using his newly derived “influence” to take over the world, at the cost of everything that Diana holds dear. Barbara Minerva evolves into the feral fatale known to comic book fans as The Cheetah, and in order to stop Lord, Diana must “let go” of Trevor. As inconsistent and as confusing as some plot points are to follow (mainly our villains’ motivations), Gadot is able to stay true to form, and Jenkins is determined to steer the ship on course, and the plot holes get quickly swallowed up by the amazing set pieces of the film.
Everyone has been looking forward to seeing the fabled Golden Armor fully realized on the big screen, and it doesn’t disappoint, the battle between a fully cat-like Cheetah and Diana is to dark and lost in the shadows to be appreciated, but Wiig is more than a match and is fun to watch as she declines into the dark side. Pine is wonderfully irreverent as Steve Trevor, and although Pascal has been elevated due to his role on The Mandalorian he doesn’t really bring the gravitas to Maxwell Lord that marks him as one of Wonder Woman’s most dangerous enemies. Wonder Woman 1984 is everything WW fans will want it to be and is a fun romp.
If it’s true that it is the “filling” of a trilogy for this story arc, then it’s next chapter has to be a crowning achievement worthy of the Wonder Woman legacy…and that’s the truth!
Wonder Woman 84 | starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, and Pedro Pascal | directed by Patty Jenkins is in theaters now and also available to watch on HBO Max in a 4K presentation.
Note | This is “Part 1” in a 3-part feature.
Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is decked out in her Golden Eagle Armor, which will resonate with fans of the “Kingdom Come” graphic novel. The suit plays a pivotal part in the the movie’s climatic battle.
Although he sacrificed himself at the conclusion of the first Wonder Woman film, Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor in the sequel.