Rating: Like a B-? As a Wonder Woman movie, a C. Hear me out.
Summary: I WISH I COULD JUST WISH AWAY MY FEELINGS.
I dunno. I really wanted to like this movie and to its credit, a lot of it is charming (Pedro Pascal is a literal gem!) and fun to watch- but there are some major issues that stick out to me and the movie lacks in a lot of areas. Mostly, it’s just not enough Wonder Woman if that makes sense. I watched this back-to-back with its predecessor and WW84 loses a bit of the majesty and delight. The premise is interesting (The idea of self sacrifice: if you could have your deepest wish, would you relinquish your current prized possession?) but the character feels so much like an accessory within her own franchise.
Once they announced Chris Pine would be returning for the sequel, I had a feeling it might turn out this way. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t mind Pine. He’s actually my favorite Chris at the moment. He can Hemsworth better than Hemsworth Hemself. Yes, he and Gal Gadot have great chemistry on screen. I enjoyed watching them together and laughed a lot. I just have issues with how they apply Steve Trevor, and this overshadowed a lot about what I did like in the movie. He’s the new fish out of water and so a lot of the 80’s and world building- which we didn’t need- is based around his sense of awe, instead of her sense of “This is what I’ve been missing because I’ve been lonely.” I’ve never been a fan of the “Oh my lost love, woe is me!” motivating factor and I find it somewhat depressing that the world’s most gifted human who happens to be a woman is hung up for 50+years on some guy that introduced her to Earth by mistake, meanwhile humanity invented like… Ataris and computers and Legos and the internet, or you know, went to space, survived another World War, eliminated segregation in some countries, explored deep sea diving, etc. And I get the whole thing about, “She can’t come to her full potential until she comes to term with her loss!” (I’ve seen that episode of Angel many times, it’s called I Will Remember You and I highly recommend it), but did we need Steve to show up to literally tell her for her to realize it? Did I mention it’s been 50 years? Where did all of that development go from the first movie?
I think the use of Steve in two movies somewhat pigeonholes our titular character- like are we ever going to see her function unless it’s in relation to him or the loss of him? Because if not, again, I find that extremely disappointing, especially as this is arguably the biggest franchise around a female superhero. I don’t want to make so many comparisons to other entities in the genre, but I can’t help but think about Captain America, which made the loss of Peggy so profound and really heartfelt, but not at the expense of Steve Rogers. Steve Trevor’s presence detracts from Diana’s new relationship formed with Kristen Wiig’s Barb Minerva, which deserved much more time and much more attention. And Gadot’s dynamics with Wiig are just as good as she is with Pine. It’s just… thin, when it really could have provided Diana with more dimension. I would love to know who Diana is in relation to other women or other “like” beings- not in relation to just a man.
Tell me Diana and this movie wouldn’t have benefitted from replacing the resurrection of Steve Trevor with Robin Wright’s Antiope, who even shows up in the beginning in a prologue- we would have gotten to see Diana reunited with her mentor, someone she knew and depended on her whole life. It might have carried over the whole “You still have so much more to teach me” vibe, while also bringing forth homosocial relationships between women and providing dimension and more parallels between those characters. Plus, everyone is always asking for more Amazons! We could have had some kick ass action scenes!
Four movies in, and I still feel like I don’t truly understand who Diana is aside from her capabilities. She’s certainly not Wonder Woman yet.