(director/writer: Patty Jenkins; screenwriters: story by Patty Jenkins & Geoff Johns/David Callaham/based on characters from DC (Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston; cinematographer: Matthew Jensen; editor: Richard Pearson; music: Hans Zimmer; cast: Gal Gadot (Diana Prince), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Kristen Wiig (Barbera Minerva, morphs into Cheetah, Pedro Pascal (Maxwell Lord), Robin Wright (Antiope), Connie Nielsen (Hippolyta), Lilly Aspell (Young Diana), Amr Waked (Emir Said Bin Abydos); Runtime: 151; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Stephen Jone; Warner Bros./HBO Max; 2020)

“Merely escapist entertainment.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The sequel to the 2017 superhero comic book film is a bit of a disappointment (the desert chase scene is a sham, WW1984 is awkwardly executed, it’s bloated at 151 minutes, lacks spunk, is poorly paced, too many goofy bits are duds, its political asides are trite, the villain is too over-the-top obnoxious to be watchable and the climax just doesn’t work). It’s directed and written by Patty Jenkins (“Monster”) as merely escapist entertainment and with a nod to ’80s nostalgia and fashion. It’s main feature is cartoonish violence, which is not a good choice. What’s good is Wonder Woman, as played by the Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

The film is based on the story by Jenkins & Geoff Johns (former DC Comics president/CEO), and is rather weakly co-written by Jenkins & David Callaham.

It opens on the island of Themyscira. There the future superhero is seen as the youngster Diana (Lilly Aspell), who wins in physical competitions over adults. She’s also taught to respect the truth and the values of honesty from her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) and mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen).

We fast forward to 1984 and as a young adult Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is an unassuming archeologist at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., at a time when Reagan is the president. Diana’s depicted as being nice to her envious admirer, the museum’s inept gemologist, Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig). Barbara is assigned to examine recovered gems from a mall jewelry robbery and discovers that one gem is a mysterious citrine crystal that has wish-granting power.

Barbara pines to be like Diana, and Diana wishes she could be again with her beloved WWI fighter pilot lover, Steve (Chris Pine), who was killed in a plane crash. This is granted when Diana’s wish over the stone comes true and the two miraculously live it up in Egypt before returning to Washington. Barbara’s wish to be like her beautiful and powerful idol Diana comes true when she becomes Cheetah, Diana’s powerful rival, and develops a ferocious thirst for power. The catch to all this wishing business is the stone takes something away from the person wishing–Diana will lose some of her powers.

The plot lethargically kicks in when a smarmy Ponzi scheming oil man, con man, an egotistical Trump-like TV personality, Marshall Lord (Pablo Pascal), steals the gemstone from Barbara, which will enable him to control the world through its wish-granting power. The film appears stuck with those bad vibes, like most of us were stuck with the wannabe despot Trump’s presidency, who hogged the news cycle every day boasting shamelessly of his failed presidency.

If you wait for the end credits you will catch a glimpse of TV’s “Wonder Woman” from the 1960s, Lynda Carter.

Wonder Woman 1984

REVIEWED ON 12/272020  GRADE: C+