2020 was a terrible year for the Indian box office. The theaters remained closed for most of the year, and even after the movie theaters came back online, the steps were not what one would have expected. Fortunately, an exciting Hollywood film, WONDER WOMAN 1984, was released on the last weekend of the year, which is also the pleasant Christmas season. The first part did well in India and amassed a fan base. Even the leading lady [Gal Gadot] is a recognizable and very popular face for the Indian audience. As a result, expectations of the sequel were enormous not only for moviegoers, but also for exhibitors and the industry as a whole. Does WONDER WOMAN manage to be a great entertainer like the first part in 1984? Or is it not tempting? Let’s analyze.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 is the story of a superhero who tries to stop a megalomaniac man who wants to conquer the world. The year is 1984. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is now the senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. She still hasn’t gotten over Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and misses him very much. Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a nerdy girl, takes part in the institute and specializes in many areas. Unsure about her looks and shy behavior, she begins to look up at Diana. Meanwhile, Diana continues to be Wonder Woman and comes to the rescue if necessary. During one such stay, she saves a jewelry store from theft and arrests the robbers. When police investigate the crime, they discover that the store was just a frontline and that the shopkeepers’ real business was to go into blackelling antiques. The FBI sends these antiques to the Smithsonian Institute so they can understand their true worth. Barbara is given responsibility. Diana also joins her out of curiosity as she is the one who foiled the robbery plan. Both trip over a dream stone. According to the inscription, this mysterious object grants wishes upon contact with a user. They try their luck. While Barbara, like Diana, wants to become sexy and confident, Diana asks about Steve. The next day, Diana gradually begins to realize that her wish is coming true. On the same day, aspiring businessman and TV personality Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) visits the Smithsonian Institute. He shows interest in becoming a partner in the institute. He gets a tour of the place and is beaten by Barbara. Barbara is also impressed by the interest of such a rich, agreeable personality. It soon turns out that Maxwell is deeply in debt and has cheated investors with a fake Ponzi program. To get out of the chaos, he needs access to the dream stone. Because of this, he befriends Barbara. He soon steals the stone from Barbara on the pretext of having an experienced friend decipher the writings. Instead of granting a normal wish, Maxwell wants to become the stone and have the power to grant other wishes. Diana, on the other hand, cannot stop being happy as even her wish is granted and Steve returns from the dead. What happens next makes up the rest of the film.
The story of Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns is impressive and above all not connected to other films of the DC universe. Once you’ve seen the first WONDER WOMAN film, it’s easy to understand what happened. The script by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham is entertaining and even fleeting. DC movies tend to be dark, but this film is blatantly written as a complete commercial entertainer. The dialogues are simple and sharp as needed. In Maxwell’s scenes, the one-liners are far fetched, but that fits the character’s personality.
Patty Jenkins’ direction is once again very impressive. The first part was also long at 141 minutes, but it didn’t feel like it as there was a lot going on every minute. The sequel is no exception. This movie is 2.31 hours long and yet the movie doesn’t boring or dragging. Some viewers might miss bits of action in the first half. But Patty makes it clear that she’s preparing a great, action-packed second half in the first half. However, the narrative is much more than just a plot. The romance between Diana and Steve is beautifully treated and so is the crazy side of Maxwell. On the other hand, the finale is gripping, but also pretty preaching. And it’s a bit tedious too. You wish the makers had kept this piece in check. Maxwell’s flashback also extends the length of the film. It was, without a doubt, an important part of the story. But it comes at a time when you expect fireworks and a fast-paced narrative.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 got off to an exciting start with a young Diana competing in a very difficult athletic competition in her kingdom of Themyscira. An important aspect of the story is added at the end of this title and it is understood that it will have some meaning later in the narrative. The opening sequence of the adult Diana comes straight from a Salman Khan film and is sure to be greeted with whistles and claps. Barbara’s introduction to the narrative and her bond with Diana is sweet. You could get a little restless as the action mostly fades into the background during this hour. But no complaint as there is a lot going on in the movie. The resuscitation of Steve Trevor takes the cake this hour. Also, look out for the scene where Steve flies the plane through fireworks. It has a nice Disney-like twist and would be lapped up. After the interval, the action finally comes to the fore and goes to another level. It’s not just about Diana trying to save Maxwell from destroying the world. Barbara’s track also plays an important role and adds to the tension. The climax, though preaching, makes an impact. The mid-credit scene is quite a surprise.
Speaking of performances: Gal Gadot is once again playing an incredible leading role. She is a pro in action scenes. But she rocks most in the romantic scenes and sequences where she has to be vulnerable. She also wears off her various outfits like a queen, and that is commendable too. Chris Pine is adorable as always. He’s sure to make viewers smile, especially in scenes where he’s excited about the advancement of technology in the 1980s. Kristen Wiig is a surprise of the film. Your role is very well written and it does it justice. Pedro Pascal is pretty exaggerated, but handles the part very well. Some of his actions could also be reminiscent of Trump. Connie Nielsen (Hippolyta; Diana’s mother) and Robin Wright (Antiope) are, as expected, fine in their cameos. Amr Waked (Emir Said Bin Abydos) is exaggerating a bit. Ravi Patel (Babajide) gives a good performance, but his character is shown in a rush and no time is taken to properly establish him. Lucian Perez (Alistair) is cute like Maxwell’s son. Stuart Milligan (US President) is fair. Gabriella Wilde (Raquel) and Shane Attwooll (Dangerous, Drunk Man) are passable. Kristoffer Polaha (handsome man) is very nice. Lynda Carter (Asteria), who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s, makes a memorable special appearance.
Hans Zimmer’s music is cinematic and intensifies the effect. However, in some action scenes, it overwhelms the impact. Matthew Jensen’s cinematography is great. Themyscira’s opening shot is breathtaking. Aline Bonetto’s production design is extensive and she tries her best to make the movie look as authentic as possible in the 80s. Lindy Hemming’s costumes are pretty glamorous, especially the clothes of Gal Gadot and Kristen Wiig. Action is a highlight and visually superior. Fortunately, it’s not bloody. VFX is top notch. Richard Pearson’s editing could have been sharper, especially in the ending sections.
Overall, WONDER WOMAN 1984 is a complete entertainer who is sure to give you the value of your money. It is treated commercially and therefore has great mass appeal. There are multiple roadblocks at the box office like some moviegoers’ fear of going to the movies, the curfew in Maharashtra state, and fear of the pirated HD spreading once they hit HBO Max on Friday December 25th, the positive side, the Film has a tremendous amount of hype and there is also a lot of pent-up demand from audiences. It is released on the soothing Christmas weekend without competition. The WONDER WOMAN series and Gal Gadot also have a following in India, so the box office result can be very good.