FILM REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984 starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine & Kristen Wiig

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

OUT: In UK from 13/1/21 via Premium Video-on-Demand (PVOD) rental

RUNTIME: 151 minutes

We’re here because we loved the 2017 film and 80s TV show – and not because this is the latest in the hugely successful Marvel or DC series which is one of the reasons currently why for us TV is more of an inviting prospect than cinema.

  • Read on for reasons including how to see this film in the UK now cinemas are closed

Wonder Woman 1984 was initially scheduled for UK release in December 2019 and its launch date has shifted more often than the titular superhero’s truth lasso, first forwards to November 2019, then to June 2020 and, post-COVID, to October and finally Christmas.

Like the Phoebe Waller-Bridge-written next Bond, No Time To Die, its shifting release date gives a sense of how important its success is to UK cinemas which have been predominantly closed since March’s lockdown firstly because of COVID and latterly because studios were too nervous to risk big movie releases after Christopher Nolan’s extraordinary Tenet didn’t perform as hoped on its 2020 theatrical release.

Wonder Woman 1984‘s predecessor, 2017’s Wonder Woman, was always going to be a tough act to follow, not least because it was such a crowdpleaser, globally it was the year’s 7th most popular film making $822 million against a budget of no more than $150 million.

The 80s are a proven successful setting with Netflix’s Stranger Things, the Deutschland series and the latest instalment of The Crown testament to the dramatic pull of an era when US/USSR relations appeared on a knife-edge.

Set 66 years after the 1st film, we meet our titular hero as anthropologist Diana Prince working in the Smithsonian University in Washington alongside Wiig’s quirky co-worker Barbara. The action centres on the Latin-inscribed Dreamstone which is part of a batch of stolen antiquities recovered from a foiled armed raid which comes to the attention of failing businessman Max Lord (a scenery-gnawing Pedro Pascal).

In a plot which may well have been plundered from a comic book the soul of Diana’s lover Steve Trevor (a two-dimensional Chris Pine) returns to inhabit another man’s body, Wiig’s Barbara finds inner strength and Wonder Woman must confront Lord whose actions do not seem a million miles from one recent former US president.

At more than two-and-a-half hours, it’s at least 30 minutes too long and for us, although visually impressive, the heart of the story is the emotional dilemma it poses our hero which seems rather lost in the set-piece hullabaloo masterminded by director Patty Jenkins.

Those hankering after the woman-out-of-time comedy of the original film can look forward to similar japes on this occasion featuring Diana’s squeeze.

Wondering where you might have seen villain Pascal before? He was bisexual Oberyn Martell in Game Of Thrones who, spoiler alert, came to a memorable if eye-popping end.

Despite the rather muted UK release for this, it is cause to rejoice that it is finally able to be seen. Indeed director Jenkins is already planning for the final film in the franchise’s planned trilogy.

So this sequel isn’t quite its predecessor’s match but Wiig is one of our funniest comedy actresses and it’s a joy seeing her convince in this stretching role. No spoilers but don’t leave the cinema early (or indeed switch the TV off too soon) because the highlight, for us, was in the post-credits cameo.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Warner Bros Details How to watch it in the UK
  • Have you seen any of these shows or films? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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