Gal Gadot returns in her signature role in Patty Jenkins much anticipated bloated follow up that is both exhilarating and frustrating and fails to offer anything fresh for its much loved fanbase….
WW 84 starts wonderous. A stunning opening chase sequence in which we witness a young Diana (Lilly Aspell) up against warriors twice her size and for most of the time holding her own, until she is taught a valuable life lesson, that will no doubt pave the way for her to find the much needed strength at the finale.
Its a breathless start before we move onto the 80’s setting and if you thought the alleyway scene in the original was a perfect homage to Superman 1978, the next fight sequence is as close as you get to the old vibe of those first three Man Of Steel flicks, even though this time it closely resemblances Superman III’s opener than the Richard Donner style.
Here we get the first seeds of the plot with the always delightful Kristen Wiig playing Barbara Minerva, an awkward nerd, who is desperate to be noticed and whose Villainous backstory feels like its just walked off from the set of a Tim Burton Batman flick.
In between all this, we have a Quantum Leap style plot thread that even carries its own “mirror image” scene, a megalomaniacal villain in the shape of Max (Pedro Pascal) who weirdly becomes a kind of “Wishmaster” for a Comic Book Generation, added with an artefact that brazenly borrows a car chase from Indiana Jones adventure and what you have is a film that carries so many greatest hits from films of the past, that it forgets to create its very own identity.
While the original was a stunning origin tale that had us all looking forward to what came next -ignoring Justice League of course-, here you can not help but feel that they have tried just too damn hard to create a sequel, worthy for its fanbase.
Its a case of throwing everything at the plot to hopefully get a reaction from its viewer, but most of it fails to land the required punch to carry the film through its long running time.
The case in point is the return of Steve (Chris Pine) who sacrificed himself so beautifully in the first film and somehow finds himself back from the dead and reunited with the woman he loves. How? Is a spoiler that won’t be mentioned here, but its more of a shrug of a shoulders plot vice that at the end only serves to repeat itself that will no doubt bring a severe case of Deja Vue for those watching.
Its hard to criticise a film that is leaps and bounds better than the Martha inspired Batman V Superman, but with expectations so high after the joyful romp of the first film, you can not help but feel disappointed at the end result.
To be fair Gadot is once again sensational in the role that she was born to play. Her comfortable ease at the action sequences and the way she glides through the air while her lasso attaches to the bolts of lightening from above, while that “theme tune” plays out, still makes your heart pump out with pride and she alone carries the film through all of its dodgy moments.
Wiig in her earlier scenes more than makes Barbara a sympathetic character, but sadly she somehow gets lost as Max’s more grand scheme plotting takes centre stage which is a shame as you feel that there is a missed opportunity there as the scenes shared by Gadot and Wiig carried that spark that makes a Superhero flick stand out from the rest. By the time the awful CGI battle plays out and trust us, for a big budget film there is some iffy effects, you sort of stop caring what happens to Barbara as we go from slow building of her character arc to a rushed transformation. It makes you feel what could have been as by raising the stakes on offer, we lose that grounded feeling that we so desperately needed.
By the time two hours have passed and we reach the overblown and very anticlimactic finale we get to a point where plot sense goes totally out of the window. Better reviewers will mention the Donald Trump comparisons of this blonde haired bad guy who uses the power of the media to get his point across, but for me I was too busy looking at the nonsensical way the script changes tack just to move its storyline ahead.
The problem with Wonder Woman 84 is that it overstays its welcome. It becomes bogged down with overplaying its many subplots and failing to conjure up a big bang of an action sequence to get action junkies talking.
Its basically a typical sequel in which its tried to go bigger and better, but failing to remind itself of what we liked about it in the first place. Die-hard fans will no doubt lavish the praise, mostly because of Gadot who deserves all the acclaim, but for many, all they would want is too grab that mystical stone themselves and make one tiny wish that WW 84 was a more leaner addition, worthy of its fantastic leading lady…..