Why did ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ fail? Here’s why fans are disappointed
It appears that Diana Prince has swung her lasso of truth around the neck of Wonder Woman 1984 viewers, as much of the film’s early reviews express disappointment in this Patty Jenkins sequel to the original 2017 Wonder Woman movie.
The sequel, which built much anticipation from audiences not only due to the massive success of the first film, but also because of the multiple release date changes, finally settled on a Christmas Day 2020 release in both theaters that are actually open and on the HBO Max streaming service.
So, with the film finally available for fans to watch, it’s clear that there’s much division in terms of how Wonder Woman 1984 held up to the expectations of its audience, leaving many people of this superhero follow-up disappointed. But why?
Wonder Woman 1984
Directed once again by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 told the story of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) who’s living among mortal men in the vibrant 1980s, when she’s suddenly faced against Maxwell Lord (Game of Thrones Pedro Pascal) who’s come in contact with a “dream stone” which allows individuals to fulfil their wildest wishes. For Diana, that means the return of her lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
Meanwhile, a clumsy Barbara Minerva (SNL alum Kristen Wiig) finds a fascination with the titular hero, whose wish is to manifest the same powers & abilities, turning her into the familiar comic book foe of Diana, Cheetah.
Sounds like an interesting enough premise, right? So why is it that Wonder Woman 1984 seemingly dropped the ball to its fans?
Cut the cheese
While some films knowingly attack a project with awareness of its tone, making an effort to actually be cheesy (i.e. the Sharknado franchise), Wonder Woman 1984 felt like, in the midst of capturing the 80s feel not just in terms of visual style but also its overall execution & tone, a movie that got so caught up in its 80s self-absorption that it missed the mark entirely.
This film is as campy a superhero project as 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which for those of you who saw the film know that that’s not a good thing. Paul Giamatti’s Rhino could’ve fit seamlessly into Wonder Woman 1984 which is obviously a huge red flag.
The movie overall just feels very inconsequential, with the villains taking a huge nosedive given the stakes of the God Ares from the 2017 film, which mind you was already a weak point albeit few of that movie.
The film’s audience clearly has an issue with the overall effects, complaining how it looked like the film wasted its entire CGI budget on the opening in Themyscira in what may have actually been the best part of the film.
Equally, the character of Cheetah was understandably compared to a jellicle cat from 2019’s train wreck adaption of the hit Broadway musical, Cats. She flew through the air with the not-so-greatest-of-ease, with her effects feeling about as dated as 1992’s The Lawnmower Man.
The actress, who undoubtedly has gotten better over the years, is still not yet strong enough an actress to carry that emotional punch that certain Diana Prince scenes required in this movie.
Jenkins did such a good job of keeping the load bare in the original film given Gal Gadot’s overall acting chops, but seemed to have lost a bit of that touch in 1984, perhaps feeling as if Gadot had earned a more substantial role, even as the titular character.
Pine did most of the heavy lifting in the first film, and it may have suited Jenkins best to have simply repeated that philosophy, perhaps by giving more of the emotional acting efforts to either Pascall or Wiig.
Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 was just a weak story, with a script that’s worth less than a bag of Starbucks Christmas blend in the month of February.
The story was clearly meant to serve the overall concept of having Diana Prince be in the 1980s, rather than having a well-written script which made sense for the period-piece.
The dialogue felt flat, and the performances, albeit played by some good acting talent, didn’t help the cause.