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  Wonder Woman 1984 Make A Wish
Year: 2020
Director: Patty Jenkins
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha, Natasha Rothwell, Ravi Patel, Oliver Cotton, Lucian Perez, Gabriella Wilde, Kelvin Yu, Stuart Milligan, Shane Attwooll
Genre: Action, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) was a child, she was obviously going to excel among the tribe of Amazons she grew up with, and she remembers taking part in a contest which she would have won had she not been accidentally waylaid by an unexpected obstacle - though she retained her first place, she was prevented from claiming the prize since she improvised a shortcut, which was regarded as cheating. This was a valuable lesson, that there are no shortcuts to real achievement, but now, in the year 1984, she is making herself useful as a superheroine, applying her amazing powers to fighting crime - so why is she so lonely?

Co-writer and director Patty Jenkins had a mountain to climb when it came to following up her megahit Wonder Woman, because that film had been so popular, with everything getting it right, that moving the plot onwards to the eighties and featuring a very different war from World War I - the Cold War - was fraught with pitfalls. And so it was the biggest, the lack of cinemas to show it in thanks to the pandemic in 2020, put a dent in its profits and failed to dazzle many of those who would have appreciated it on the silver screen, as watching it as a home rental premiere on streaming was not quite the same, no matter the escapism it offered.

Thus the backlash that had been simmering under the first movie was well and truly unleashed for a film that was out in a social climate where cynicism and despair were not being fended off as they should, though sadly you could not solely blame the virus for that, as this was regarded as an easy target when the emotional directness it shared with its main character was not going to sit well with anyone for whom the most exercise they were getting in Lockdown was eye-rolling. But it was not all tutting and snark, for there were many who responded to Gal Gadot's optimistic, fresh take on Wonder Woman as something we could do with a lot more of instead of giving in to the Dark Side.

Wait, wrong franchise. Anyway, it was the "be careful what you wish for" theme here, as befitting the updated fairy tale stylings, as the main villain Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a businessman whose business is in oil, of which he has... nothing, gets his hands on a magic wishing stone and wishes its power onto himself, sort of that old trope of wishing for unlimited wishes from the genie of the lamp, except he has to persuade others to do the deed for him. Meanwhile, one of Diana's work colleagues at the museum is klutzy Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) who is as isolated as she is, so naturally they strike up a friendship, even going on a "date" until Barbara uses the stone to ask if she can be just like the lovely, confident and smart Diana. What she does not realise, of course, is that along with that she gets the superpowers into the bargain.

There was a matter here that power corrupts, and surprisingly has even corrupted Diana - it was that narrative seen in the nineteen-thirties cult movie The Man Who Could Work Miracles which tells us there is a reason why nobody gets everything they want in life and more as it would create chaos. So Wonder Woman (never named as such in the dialogue) wishes for her lost love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine back), a selfish act that she pays for by having her heart broken all over again, yet benefits for by making her understand that once you have had a taste of extreme power, you just cannot allow it to cloud your moral judgement. But don't go thinking this was all finger-wagging, as there was a lot of fantastical fun too, with exuberant, even goofy action sequences, the famed invisible plane from the comics, flying itself treated with all the ecstasy of a Hayao Miyazaki anime, gentle poking fun at the eighties and how we may not have moved on as much as we like to think, and above all a curious kindness to the way it looked at its characters and humanity in general, like a mother trying to guide her children onto the straight and narrow, and not always succeeding. It may be naïve, but that's better than the alternative. Music by Hans Zimmer.

[Wonder Woman 1984 arrives on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on 22nd March 2021. These are the special features:

The Making of Wonder Woman 1984: Expanding the Wonder
Gal & Kristen: Friends Forever
Small But Mighty
Scene Study: The Open Road
Scene Study: The Mall
Gal & Krissy Having Fun
Meet the Amazons
Black Gold Infomercial
Gag Reel
Wonder Woman 1984 Retro Remix.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Patty Jenkins  (1971 - )

American director and graduate of the American Film Institute who made her feature debut in 2003 with the Oscar-winning Monster, based on the true story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. She went on to work in television for the next decade until, after a lot of pre-production, she was picked to helm the Wonder Woman movie of 2017. This proved to be one of the biggest hits of its year, and Jenkins was kept on to create the sequel.

 
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