REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984 DCEU #9 Diana / Wonder Woman: Like the majority of the DCEU's major character casting, Gadot is pretty much flawless, and had created an unforgettable version of the character. The opening narration has Gadot sounding as if she were elderly, as if this adventure was now in the remote past…along with the 21st century experiences. As in the first WW film, we are seeing Themyscira fully realized. Too bad it will likely be featured in a story set in the present. Trevor: So, he did not remember much after starting his doomed flight, but wherever he ended up, it was “good”. One would think he was in Heaven, but he’s not much with details, which should have been a red flag for Diana—along with her easy acceptance of his wish-born return. Thankfully, Trevor was not truly back as his original being. In other words, he was not back from the dead in a literal sense. Barbara Minerva / Cheetah: Insecure, nerdy Barbara using the Dreamstone to fulfill her desires would be somewhat understandable, if said desires were based in need, rather than want (the point). But the audience knows she’s driven by self-serving emotions, so this villainess lost even a hint of sympathy, when she was supposed to be sympathetic. She’s not a “born” deviant like the Red Skull, so her character needed the element of a woman in over her head thanks to a temporary wrong turn down an unethical lane, but that was not to be found in Minerva. This was compounded by the fact that she took the irredeemable step of murdering her would-be rapist. Revoked wish or not, she made a conscious decision to kill. That said, Kristen Wiig made the most out of her flawed character. THE GOOD: Some viewers have complained that Wonder Woman did not have much screen time, but I remind them that it was established that Diana had purposely laid low over the decades, only appearing when necessary, thus she was successful at remaining a hidden figure (which of, course ties into the general lack of public knowledge about her in Dawn of Justice). Diana said “the truth is bigger than all of us”—yes, that—and the simple morality tale (of not using power or deceit to satisfy personal desires) would be a good framing issue / struggle for several characters, but it was most effective with Diana herself still dealing with failings of greed (regarding Trevor’s return). Showing her being so weak was a solid way to show she is not perfect. After all of her years, she really learns to fly. So much for needing a jet. So, this film universe does not have invisibility technology—it is organic, generated by individuals. Not really a problem, as the Invisible Jet was never a make-or-break element for this version of Wonder Woman. The WW action scenes (and getting more displays of her strength) were striking as usual…except the CG Cheetah, because it was .too clearly...CG. THE BAD: In the finale, Diana appears to be happy, or settled with life as it stands, but having her be so joyful is not consistent with her lonely, sort of isolationist attitude the next time she is seen--in chronological order--in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and in the present-day scene at the end of Wonder Woman (even after emailing her thanks to Bruce Wayne for the photo). I’m not certain if Jenkins, et al., intended to overplay the gross end of 1980s culture, but similar to the mall / setting theme of Stranger Things’ third season, its directed with as much excess as many a cartoonish movie from that decade, to the point of distraction. Maxwell Lord: What bit of development Lord had as a caring father who had insecurity issues of his own behind the greed/business showmanship, was buried by a truckload of BS. Despite Johns and Jenkins claiming Lord was inspired by Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko and Hackman’s Lex Luthor, the obvious influence was a rather ridiculous caricature of Donald Trump (more than anyone else), which will not only date the film (ironically set in the past), but it removed the edge a would-be megalomaniac needed, if he became the living embodiment of wish fulfillment. Pascal was too over the top for this viewer to invest much interest in him. Lesson One to filmmakers wanting to take an obviously political shot: shut that crap down, or your zeal to jump on the soapbox to spread your message / create a “hit job” on a real person will take audiences out of the film. Diana says, “This world was a beautiful place…just as it was.” What? Of the three screenwriters, Johns and Jenkins are certainly old enough to know 1984 was anything but that (in so many categories), so the line made Diana appear naïve, particularly in the wake of seeing the tendencies and negative course of mankind during World War I, its aftermath and influence on the world. Lynda Carter stunt casting. Eh. WHERE IT STANDS IN THE DCEU: The irony of Jenkins wanting to shape Wonder Woman into solo films with their own tone / message, is that the far superior entry (the first film, obviously) was the darker, grittier film that was clearly produced in the creative environment of its DCEU predecessors, so there was a consistent creative and in-universe feel / path taken. In trying to move away from the best of the established universe of the DCEU in this specific manner, Wonder Woman 1984, stands as a partial outlier, and not in a successful way. Gal Gadot is a positively perfect in the role of Diana / Wonder Woman, and would be amazing--as usual--if she appeared in other DCEU films, but WB needs to take a serious, long look at this film before considering a third solo act. GRADE: Mixed. A - Gadot's performance / Themyscira sequence. C - The plot, and the lack of fleshed-out, believable motives behind Barbara and Lord using the Dreamstone.