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Wonder Woman 1984 – Review

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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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Movie News

Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters

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MCU Harry Potter houses image
Marvel Studios & Warner Bros.

Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?

Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw

While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.

Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor

Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff

Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw

Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.

Thor- Gryffindor

Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.

Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor

Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.

Dr Strange- Ravenclaw

Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff

Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.

Loki- Slytherin

Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin

This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.

T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff

T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor

At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.


Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.


Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.

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