Star Gal Gadot and writer/director Patty Jenkins reteam for this enjoyable sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman that offers not one but two foes for superhero Diana Prince to face off against.
Following an edge-of-the-seat, terrifically paced prologue featuring Diana as a child (Lilly Aspell) learning some life lessons as she competes against grown up Amazonian warriors in a contest involving gravity-defying acrobatics, arrow-firing and racing horses, the adventure moves to Washington DC, 1984.
An ageless Diana (Gadot) now works at the Smithsonian museum and it’s there she befriends friendless gem expert Barbara Minerva (Wiig). Barbara has been asked to evaluate a gemstone that doesn’t seem to have any value – until Diana realises it grants the person who holds it a single wish (spoiler alert – each wish has bleak consequences, of course). Still missing her lost love, Steve Trevor (Pine), Diana thinks of him while holding the stone, while Barbara wishes she could be more like confident Diana – unaware she may get a few extra traits such as super-strength into the bargain. But it is failing businessman Max Lord (Pascal, sporting a blond Trumpian wig) who knows what the gem can do and who wants to get his hands on it for far more world-domineering reasons.
The first 90 minutes of the movie fly by, as Diana gets drawn into the consequences of Lord’s plot that includes nuclear weapons, the office of the President and strife in the Middle East. There are nods to the 80s setting throughout – including an enjoyably silly fashion try-on by Pine that features parachute pants and bum bags – and some great set pieces, from Gadot’s warm and feisty Diana foiling a robbery in a mall jewel shop with the help of her trusty lasso to a dusty Egypt road race in which she almost gets squished between two trucks and, best of all, the glorious debut of Wonder Woman’s invisible plane.
The last third isn’t quite as successful, partly because it’s never really clear what Lord’s endgame is as his actions cause more and more international destruction, and a near-the-end reveal of his childhood traumas feels tacked on to redeem him before the final credits. Pascal is a hoot, though, and it’s not just his character’s wig but also his megalomaniac actions, that will remind audiences of a certain real-life shady businessman turned world leader.
Wiig, meanwhile, goes from meek Barbara to slinky Cheetah in a transformation that feels very similar to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina/Catwoman one in Batman Returns (even down to the hairstyle). It doesn’t entirely make sense why she wants to become an Alpha feline, and while a fight with Wonder Woman in the White House is smashingly silly, you can’t help thinking – wishing – that her character had been given more screen time and development, and a decent finale rather than the ending being split between Cheetah and Lord.
Nonetheless, this is still cracking entertainment with a message of hope and wanting a better tomorrow, and is worth the ticket price alone for the stunning Gadot’s strong, tough but vulnerable performance (and the invisible plane, of course).
Is Wonder Woman 1984 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate due to some fight sequences and signs of injury. One character is attacked by a drunken man but later retaliates to the extreme, and there are a couple of scenes featuring children in danger but they are all ultimately fine.
Parents of younger children should note that there is a scene of domestic abuse in a flashback sequence towards the end of the movie.
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