by Melanie Arvanitis
*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*
For the record, I absolutely love the cheesy, yet charming first Wonder Woman film. I even think it’s one of the best superhero films of all time. Wonder Woman is also my favorite superhero ever, so if anyone would like this sequel, it would be me. Now, let me begin by saying that I am EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED.
This ‘sequel’ is a very sloppy, unorganized, and illogical mess. It feels like the writers created a “magic rock” just as a way to bring Steve Trevor back. There are so many questionable plot points: Barbara Minerva happens to work at the same place that Diana Prince does? And can help her decode this magical rock? And somehow Diana also has keycard access to a place with a whole bunch of planes? It feels like director Patty Jenkins & Co. pulled so many strings to try and make this boring and nonsensical plot work. There’s going to be a third installment now, and I honestly don’t trust Patty Jenkins to direct it after how atrociously disappointing this was!
This film has no character development. The first film was all about the relationships between Chris and Diana, and also Diana ‘betraying’ the Amazons to help the human world, which is what made it so great! It focused on developing the characters, and there was also a whole gang along with Chris and Diana who helped them fight Nazis. The plot was relatively simple: it was just one mission, (mainly to defeat the Nazis and eventually Ares) and, because the plot was so simple, it could focus on developing character relationships and striking a chord with the audience. This new film was the exact opposite.
It is too plot heavy (with a strange and confusing plot) which distracted from the stellar characters. For example, what was the point of bringing Steve back if he barely spent time with Diana? It almost felt like Steve was just used as a plot device to give Diana the ability to fly and to subtly introduce the invisible jet. Why focus more on the plot (which wasn’t even done well) when the characters are the main reason why superhero movies in general are so successful? This sequel should have focused more on how Steve Trevor is the one thing that’s difficult for selfless Diana to sacrifice for the world – she will easily give up everything: her life, the ability to live in Themyscira, any possible relationships/friendships, but Steve Trevor is the one person that she cannot bear to let go of; especially not for a second time.
The scene where the invisible jet is introduced.
This movie tries to make so many points and fails at each one of them. It tries to preach about not taking shortcuts and that what you wish for isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when you actually get it, but for a film that talks about shortcuts being bad, it takes quite a few shortcuts in the storytelling. For example, when Diana and Barbara are at dinner, the scene starts by cutting to them laughing, then to Diana saying to Barbara, “You are so funny and personable” instead of actually showing how Barbara is funny and personable. The film tries to hit you over the head with these “lessons” while interweaving the politics and tensions of the 80s, all at the very end, and it is not at all impactful. Once again, this film seems more focused on trying to make points, having a sophisticated and complicated plot, and feeling prestigious (none of which it actually achieves), instead of delivering what the audience wanted.
Also, there were too many villains. Both Cheetah and Maxwell Lord were underdeveloped, and there really was no need for Pedro Pascal’s character because Kristen Wiig stole the show! Having these two villains distracts from the integral dynamic between Diana and Barbara, so why distract from that by adding in Maxwell Lord, who is apparently a Justice League villain, while Cheetah is Wonder Woman’s biggest foe?! I have the answer to that question – it’s because Maxwell Lord is also used as a plot device to help promote the whole, “be careful what you wish for/shortcuts are bad” message by him literally wishing to become the magic stone. This film should have had just Cheetah as a villain, because Kristen Wiig, and this epic cat-character are more than enough to drive the evil force in this flick – Kristen Wiig is the perfect casting choice to blend with Barbara Minerva’s awkwardness, but she can also be a total badass when needed. Kristen Wiig is also an amazing actress in general, who can do both comedies and dramas superbly, so it really is a waste not to develop her character and her relationship with Diana more.
Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah, and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord.
Why have your film set in the 80’s if you aren’t going to make use of the vibrant music and neon colors that permeate the time period? The posters are the most colorful thing about this movie – the color scheme is basically just gray and brown. The costumes and the setting (being set in the 80’s was used as a plot device to provide the shortcut message) were the most 80’s part of this movie. There was barely any neon lighting, and there was not a single 80’s song in the entire soundtrack!!! Why play Blue Monday in the trailer, if there’s not even an eighties song in the soundtrack – why make an 80s movie if you don’t use any 80s songs in the soundtrack?!? This is another disappointing part of this blockbuster mess.
Lastly, this film was a bad-slapstick-type of cheesy, unlike the lovable cheese of the first film. I don’t know if it was the writing or the exaggerated physical comedy or a combination of both, but the action was cheesy in this film; especially in the mall scene, and honestly it was a little cringeworthy. The only good joke that was reminiscent of the first film is in the invisible jet scene when Diana said that she made her mug invisible, and she lost it – that was the only laugh out loud moment in the entire movie. Another big issue of mine isn’t the film’s length, it’s how it’s used. The first Wonder Woman film was even shorter than this one (by a few minutes, but still shorter), yet it’s better on all levels (especially on nailing the aesthetic of the time period).
Cheetah’s ‘ultimate’ form in the final battle with Wonder Woman.
Despite being 99% negative in this review, (it’s because I care, less because I’m a meanie) I must say that the acting was mostly very good from everyone, and the costumes were well done (especially Asteria’s armor, which should’ve been used more, Diana’s party gown, and Kristen Wiig’s animal-rocker outfit). There’s also a stellar, yet underused score from Hans Zimmer.
Overall, this film felt very lacking in heart and charm like the first one. The only reason why I bashed this film so much is because I loved the first one, and I was wrongfully expecting an even better sequel.
Rating: 6.0/10 (It’s only this high for the characters)