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Wonder Woman 1984 – Review

Victoria Newell

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Wonder Woman 1984 image
Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman 1984 has finally graced theatres (and your living room) after several delays, and the reviews are… incongruent. Some people, (and most critics), have just ripped into the film. Most of their critics circle around poor special effects, a ‘weak’ heroine, and a waste of a good villain. But others thought the movie was great. They herald Pedro Pascal’s show-stealing performance, the comedic humour that Chris Pine brings to the stage, and the earnestness of Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince. I personally loved the movie, and while it does have its flaws, I think it is still worthy of a second, third, or fourth watch.

Movies vs. Living Room

I saw this movie twice in theatres (safely of course). Now I typically don’t cry in movies nor do I like rewatching movies, but this one brought me to dripping tears not once, but twice. It was truthfully better on the second watch. Needless to say, the emotional payout is fantastic. But perhaps that could be lost in a home theatre? I’ve also seen many people complain about the poor special effects, which was something I did not notice both times I viewed it. I did have the benefit of seeing it on the big screen, and I would venture to say that half-baked CGI is easier to spot in your living room. While I wasn’t particularly impressed with the effects, I didn’t think much of it. I think it’s safe to say that this movie greatly benefits from being viewed in a movie theatre.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the movie, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

The plot

But let’s dive into the plot of Wonder Woman 1984, and I’ll let you know when I was brought to tears. A couple of things to remember from the first movie. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) aided in ending World War I. Her lover, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) also sacrificed himself to buy her time.

Now it’s 66 years later, and Diana Prince is working in the Smithsonian by day, and saving people from mall heists by night. When a strange stone is brought to the Smithsonian, Diana and her coworker Barbara Minerva (Kristin Wiig) investigate. The inscription says to make a wish, and Diana wishes for Steve back (unaware that it would actually work). Barbara, lonely and awkward, is taken by Diana’s charms and wishes to be like Diana. Little did she know that came with some surprises in the form of Amazonian superpowers.

There’s someone else out for the stone too, fake and floundering oil tycoon Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal.) After obtaining the stone, he wishes to be the stone. Granting wishes for other people, he takes whatever he wants in return. Meanwhile, Diana is shocked to find Steve Trevor at a party. The two of them promenade around D.C., showing the long dead Steve everything that’s new in 1984. The new sexy and confident Barbara is also stunned to learn that she now has super powers. She tests out her new abilities on a man who tried to assault her earlier in the film.

Diana eventually decides that she should probably figure out how a stone brought her dead boyfriend back. While investigating, she finds that the stone grants you your greatest desire, but takes what you value the most in return. Diana has lost her superpowers, Barbara has lost her kind nature, and Maxwell is losing his health with every wish he grants.

Consequences

As Maxwell continues to grant wishes, the world begins to fall apart, spiralling Russia and the United States into nuclear war. At the same time his relationship with his young son Alistair (Lucian Perez), who just wishes for his father’s success, is falling apart.

Diana learns that to save the world, the stone either needs to be destroyed or everyone needs to renounce their wish. Both Barbara and Diana refuse to do so, with Barbara taking up a bodyguard like role for Maxwell. When it becomes clear that the world is in great peril, and Diana cannot save it without her powers, Steve pleads with her to renounce her wish. She declares heartbreakingly that she will “never love again,” and Steve assures that he is “already gone.” Cue the waterworks. Diana renounces her wish, saying goodbye to Steve forever and learns to fly, paired with a stunning score by Hans Zimmer.

Showdown

She has a showdown with Barbara, who has wished to become an “apex predator,” stepping into the role of Cheetah. After knocking her out with some cool gold armour, she goes after Maxwell, who is broadcasting to the entire world. Everyone in front of a screen is making a wish, Maxwell is becoming increasingly more powerful, and the world is about to face nuclear war.

Diana starts a beautiful monologue, agreeing that she’s no better than anyone else. She wants her wish so terribly, but she has to accept the truth that Steve is dead. She declares that while the truth is hard to face, this world is too beautiful to fill with deceitful desires at the cost of what is true. We see Maxwell’s troubled childhood, his dream for a better life and to provide for his son, and then we finally see Alistair himself. He’s alone on a freeway, calling for his father as a nuclear missile hurdles his way. (I cried here too.)

Maxwell finally sees the cost of his wishes and renounces his wish, along with everyone else who was moved by Diana’s speech. Maxwell reunites with his son, who is glad that his wish for his father to come home worked. Tearful, Maxwell says that “you don’t need to make a wish for me to love you.” Alistair responds with “you don’t need to do anything for me to be proud of you, I’m proud of you because you are my dad.” (The third time the waterworks started). Diana has saved the world once more.

Diana and Steve

Now some people complain that having Diana pine after the same man for over sixty years undermines the feminist nature of Wonder Woman. That she should not be defined by her relationship to a man. I disagree. Diana can love Steve, and still be independent. She has proved throughout the film that she is more than capable of being independent.

Diana never tried to date again because she had already found someone whom she loved dearly, no one else met those standards. She never settled. Diana never needed Steve, he was someone that she wanted. And that’s the point. Diana has always put others above herself, and now she wanted desperately to be selfish for once; she said as much in the film. I think getting to speak to Steve again after his sudden death, and then say a proper goodbye, provided her much needed closure to move on. At its core, this movie isn’t about cool fight scenes or new armour. It’s about Diana working through her grief, and I found that beautiful.

Cheetah

Another complaint is that they drastically misused Cheetah. She is a famous and long-lasting Wonder Woman villain. In this film though she was Cheetah for all of five minutes, and was thrown in there so that Diana could have a “boss battle.” Maxwell Lord isn’t really a villain to throw punches with. And I agree with this.

Cheetah probably should have had her own movie and is too good of a villain to waste as the special henchman. That being said, I think Wiig’s performance of Barbara was fantastic. She was terrifyingly relatable. I’m not sure that I would have acted differently given the circumstances (although I would not have wished to become a cat.) I also think that there is room for Cheetah to return. Barbara becomes just plain old Barbara again at the end of the film, but she’s not dead. I could see a future where she tries desperately to get that power back.

Maxwell Lord

I haven’t seen anyone disagree with this. Pedro Pascal was incredible in this film. His character is just a man who gets overzealous with power, always wanting more. But at the end, seeing where he came from, and his heartbreaking reunion with his son makes the character incredibly relatable.

Here’s my hot take. Marvel does heroes well and struggles with villains. DC does heroes… ok, but has the best villains. Maxwell was truly an amazing villain in Wonder Woman 1984, and Pascal was the stand out actor in this film. He and Diana show the big picture of this film, lies vs. truth. He had been lying to everyone, including himself, from day one. Not only did that almost destroy him, but the world. It gets to the heart of the film, that facing the truth and moving forward honestly is always more powerful than deceit and greed. It’s a message that is topical and applicable to both the state of the world and the human heart.

Moving forward

The film briefly mentioned Asteria, an ancient Amazonian warrior. Diana uses her armour at the end of the film. The post-credit scene introduced us to her, played by Wonder Woman alum herself, Lynda Carter. How it fits into the DCEU is pretty cut and dry, as it takes place before any current DCEU movies, but this end cameo expands the Wonder Woman universe. I think it would be really fun to see Lynda Carter take on a bigger role alongside Gal Gadot in later films.

Cheesy, but Amazing

So here’s my conclusion on Wonder Woman 1984, I loved it. Yes, the movie is a little cheesy, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. I think it benefits comic book movies to lean into that cheese a little bit. While the film does have flaws, I think it expanded and challenged Diana and had a heartfelt, unique message. I highly encourage anyone to go see it. Just bring a tissue box.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


Thanks for reading our Wonder Woman 1984 review. Did you like the film? Did you see it at home or in the cinema? Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read more of our DCEU articles HERE.

Read IMDB information about Wonder Woman 1984 HERE.

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9 Movie Remakes That Should Never Have Been Made

Aaron Phillips

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Total Recall 2012 image
Columbia Pictures

Let’s have a look at nine movie releases remakes that definitely shouldn’t have never been made to seen the light of day.

It seems that in recent years, Hollywood have run out of original movie ideas. There has been remake after remake of films that were initially successful. As it often the case, film execs decide to cash in and remake these films for a new audience.

Now, sometimes this works. Oceans Eleven; The Jungle Book and Woman in Black are some examples that come to mind.

But sometimes it can go spectacularly wrong. This can be due to poor box office sales or being critically panned by the critics. Or it could just be the fact that the writing is utterly diabolical.

9. The Omen (2006)

If you’re going to have a pop at remaking a horror classic, then you have to bring something new to the table. The David Seltzer-penned 1976 original is a horror classic. Brooding and sinister, it doesn’t rely on shock scares. Instead, it uses atmosphere; some fantastic actors; a great script and an Oscar-winning musical score. This remake from 2006 didn’t live up to its predecessor’s brilliance. In fact, there’s no good reason why it was made. The plot follows almost the exact same story as the original film. A large majority of the scenes are practically identical, which seems pointless. You can’t blame the cast as there was some fine actors involved – Mia Farrow, Pete Postlethwaite and Michael Gambon to name a few. But their acting skills were not enough to make this movie good.

It adds nothing new to the original story; it’s just the same film with a different cast. It did make a healthy profit at the box office ($120 million), but the critic reviews were not good for the reasons I’ve mentioned. Fan-reviewed websites also have pretty poor reviews for it, so don’t just take my word for it.

8. Robin Hood (2018)

There have been a few Robin Hood movies over the years. Some are better than others, but this remake from 2018 is truly terrible. There are many factors involved and the two lead men are fine actors, but just not in this movie. Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx have a great filmography, but their ham acting is just cringeworthy here. Blame should also go to the script, which is cheesier than a large cheese pudding. There is plenty of action sequences, but the costumes and dialogue are all anachronistic. This all adds to the clunkiness of the whole debacle. It was also a box office bomb and universally panned by critics. If you want a good Robin Hood movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, watch Robin Hood: Men in Tights from 1993.

7. Get Carter (2000)

The 1971 original is often hailed as one of the greatest movies of all time. A lot of that had to do with the charismatic Michael Caine as the lead character. A gritty Londoner out for revenge after the murder of his brother. In 2000 the movie was remade, but this time it’s set in Seattle with Sylvester Stallone as the lead character. The premise is still the same as the original film, but Sly Stallone kicking butts in Seattle just doesn’t have the same impact. Yes, there are some cool fight scenes and Sly does a good job on the acting front. But it doesn’t have the coolness or panache of the original. It just another Sly fronted action-thriller with little substance. Critics and audiences agreed, and it was universally panned. It also lost $40 million at the international box office.

Psycho (1998)

I’m going to open with the same point I made earlier in this article. If you are going to remake a classic movie, then be innovative and do something new. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 original is a masterpiece of creepy psychological filmmaking. Unfortunately, this 1998 remake failed to improve on any of that. Vince Vaughn played the Norman Bates character with Anne Heche playing Marion Crane. They do a fair job in portraying these iconic characters but bring nothing new to them. I guess seeing the film in colour helps bring a modern feel to it; especially as fake blood was used as opposed to chocolate sauce in the original. But interesting facts aside, it’s pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of the original.

Even the director Gus Van Sant admitted later it was an experiment to see if a shot-for-shot movie would work. It didn’t, as was proved by the critical and financial failure of the film. Then it barely made back half of its $60 million dollar budget. It was also given several Golden Raspberry awards for worst director and worst remake. This proves that you don’t mess around with Alfred Hitchcock.

5. Robocop (2014)

I remember walking into the cinema to watch this full of excitement. I left the cinema two hours later full of popcorn, but also full of disappointment. The original 1987 film is a cult classic. It’s mix of action; violence and satire made it one of the best movies of the decade. This remake from 2014 failed to hit any of those spots. Yes, it had some small elements of political satire and philosophical touches from the original, but little else. People with weak stomachs will applaud the lack of gore, but without it, the film seems too melodramatic. The updated effects make this remake look better, but the substance and excitement just aren’t there. Critics were overwhelming negative of the film too. There is also another reboot in the works. Why?!

4. The Fog (2005)

Enveloping fog has always been a good premise from a horror film. John Carpenter also thought so and made a creepy such film in 1980. The plot revolves around a mysterious fog that brings dead sailors to haunt and terrorize a Californian town. Sometimes the passage of time can allow for the special effects to improve, and it does here. But the gaps between the various grisly deaths are just dull. The characters are wooden, and you don’t end up caring when they meet their untimely demise. John Carpenter did produce this remake so it’s surprising there isn’t more depth to it. It did make a small profit at the box office but was universally panned by movie critics. If you do have to watch it just don’t engage your brain.

3. Total Recall (2012)

Another movie that tried to reboot an iconic sci-fi action film. 1990’s original was set on Mars and featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role. At the time, it was one of the most expensive movies ever made. This remake from 2012 had Colin Farrell in the lead role, supported by the brilliant Kate Beckinsale. This is another film that’s enjoyable to watch, just don’t try thinking whilst watching. There are plenty of spectacular action sequences that fizz, pop and bang, but don’t expect substance. It lacks any depth to the plot and misses the mark on the dry humour and character development that the original had. Pretty much all the movie critics agreed as well.

2. Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

Ah, Nicolas Cage. His movies in recent years have been a bit, well, hit and miss. And that’s being generous. It’s a shame as he is genuinely a great actor. But in recent years he’s picked terrible films to be in, and often dials in a performance. This remake from the Pang brothers Thai original from 1999 has none of the unique hallmarks of the original. For example, Nic Cage’s character is no longer deaf and mute like he was in the original. This seems odd as the brothers also directed this remake. A meandering plot; wooden performances and clunky cinematography make this a flop. It also received poor reviews and barely broke even at the box office.

1. Death Wish (2018)

The Charles Bronson 1974 original was a violent but successful vigilante movie. It also hit a chord with Americans at a time of increasing urban violence. It spawned several sequels, but this 2018 remake had Bruce Willis dishing out the justice. The original film had a point to make about taking the law into your own hands and did it with a visceral bang. The film was shocking at the time with its violence and rape scene, but it was relevant to explain how the lead character changed through the film. This remake doesn’t explore any of this.

It’s a brainless revenge movie that doesn’t have the same impact as the original and Bruce Willis dials in a lacklustre performance. It doesn’t add anything to the original film, and you’re left feeling empty after watching it. The whole thing seems pointless and morally bankrupt. In fact, it makes the 1974 original seem almost philosophical. It also received criticism for being released a few weeks after the Douglas High School shooting in Florida and for glorifying guns. It also barely made a profit at the box office and overwhelmingly received negative reviews.


And that’s our list of nine movie remakes that should never have been given the green light. Did we miss any? do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments below.


Read about what went wrong with the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street HERE.

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