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Wonder Woman 1984 – Review

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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 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies

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Wayne's World image
Paramount Pictures

There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.

1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)

Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.

2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.

3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.

4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.

5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)

Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.

6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)

I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.

7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)

This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.

8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)

We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.

9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.

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