Gal Gadot was, and continues to be, the perfect Wonder Woman.
'Wonder Woman 1984' is so different in atmosphere, visual presentation and overall 'vibe' to its excellent predecessor that the freshness carries on through its more-than-two-and-a-half-hour length.
Patty Jenkins is back directing the 'Wonder Woman' sequel after presenting us with what many have called the best film of the DC Extended Universe. Setting this in the '80s was a magnificent decision, to say the least. The colours, the sets, the attitudes of the civilians. . . It's all there in spades – this really does feel like a beautifully-painted portrait of the early 1980s.
While not as laugh-out-loud funny as 'Wonder Woman', the humour is spread evenly throughout '1984' in generous enough servings. Of course, Gal's Diana Prince has lived in 'Man's World' for almost 70 years now – so she no longer feels a disconnect to society and is able to thrive in her surroundings. This kind of comedy is now handed to Chris Pine's Steve Trevor, who is experiencing a 'futuristic' planet earth for the very first time. How his character is returned to existence is something you'll have to find out for yourself.
Meanwhile, Kristen Wiig provides us with some of her signature 'SNL' comic timing and mannerisms early on in the film as Barbara Minerva, but also manages to lace this with a sense of desperation and longing. Let it be known, by the way, that Kristen Wiig can play a serious role. Her gradual transformation from clumsy pushover into Cheetah is fascinating and gripping, but most importantly, believable. One scene in particular, where she truly realises her potential, is especially captivating.
Pedro Pascal is brilliantly menacing as businessman and TV infomercial personality Maxwell Lord. He's the kind of character who is so personable and inviting in his demeanour that it's almost impossible not to be convinced of his word. . . But this also makes him equally as dangerous and potentially destructive to anyone foolish enough to fall under his spell.
One of the greatest things about 'WW84' is that it gives real depth and nuance to characters which don't often receive it. The film's long runtime lends itself to expanding on Maxwell and Barbara's backstories, giving viewers a better look at the way they're wired and perhaps what drives them to become 'villains' within the context of the story. We aren't expected to believe they're bad people just because – we're give reasoning and explanations. At points throughout 'WW84', you will almost certainly find yourself sympathising with the same people you're supposed to resent. This is the result of excellent character exploration.
Gal Gadot and Chris Pine's chemistry is as strong as ever in '1984'. Their power as a couple – whether it's as they stroll quietly along a footpath holding hands or are caught in the midst of some super intense action sequences – is palpable. The story surrounding Steve's return means their interactions feel even more real than what we've seen before.
This is an extremely emotional film, given an extra boost by the incredible – and I mean incredible – work of composer Hans Zimmer. What a superb choice he was to be given the responsibility of scoring '1984'. The driving drums and sweeping strings he provides at the most heightened of scenes mean it's very hard not to feel your eyes well up with tears, not once, not twice, but multiple times during your viewing. Sure, the scenes themselves are enough to get one feeling a little fragile, but Hans Zimmer knows how to take things up a notch. Wow.
When it comes to 'WW84''s plot, it's a film almost scarily suitable for the times. Though set in the '80s, with an '80s mentality, the themes can most certainly be applied to contemporary society, and this was almost definitely Patty's intention. The most important thing is that it's not so on-the-nose that it feels like a cringey, direct reflection.
A nuanced thrill ride of classic 'Wonder Woman' ass-kicking blended expertly with a talented cast, heart-wrenching emotions and a phenomenal score, 'Wonder Woman 1984' stands on its own two feet. It succeeds in its delivery of the message that greatness is not what you think, and greed will get you no where.
PS. . . Don't leave the cinema too quickly once the film is over.