Because Rosa got a special preview of HBO Max, we were able to see Wonder Woman 84 on its release date.
Maybe we should have been happy with only seeing, and greatly enjoying, Soul?
In short, our family gave the latest DC film a solid "Meh" with a handful of "Woo Hoo!" moments to raise it up a bit.
At two and a half hours, it felt very long, but also packed in far too many threads we didn't care about. The bigger problem with them was those threads took away from the cool things that happened that we would have liked to see explored further.
Anabelle summed it up the best:
The first film was a great "she becomes Wonder Woman" movie and this one should have been "we get to see her being Wonder Woman." Instead it was yet another round of "powerful female super hero loses her powers."
To Rosa, and I agree with her, it felt more like it was Maxwell Lord's story, with Diana as a side character moving his arc along. Marvel could get away with the villain centered tale in Infinity War, because they had twenty films to build on and establish all the super heroes first.
It also felt like choices were made solely for Diana's character to connect between her excellent solo film, and the modern day DCEU films she already appeared in and not for storytelling reasons.
Warning- in order to talk about this film any further, I need to use spoilers, so those who don't want spoilers should stop reading now.
Everyone gone who needs to be?
Here we go.
Going back to Themiscyra was gorgeous, and fun.
The opening "modern" action scene in the mall was fantastic. It was Wonder Woman being awesome, saving people, protecting the innocent and stopping bad guys, Woo Hoo!
Then, much of the film was lacking in Wonder Woman. Her accidentally wishing Steve back was kind of creepy, considering he was inhabiting someone else's body. This was an issue that the movie flat out ignored. Even when Diana realized she needed to renounce accidentally wishing for him, (which Steve had to tell her to do...sigh) it was more about acceptance of loss not the wrongness of body snatching.
The action scenes Wonder Woman was in were cool, but again, the fact that she was losing her powers artificially amped up the drama, while diminishing her character. Wonder Woman is one of the highest tier superheroes both in terms of power and history. She should be at the top of her game in using and understanding her powers; and struggles should grow from foes and situations she is unfamiliar with, not a reduction of her own levels.
Anabelle wanted to see how she got Asteria's armor. That's a story worth telling. Having her go back to Themiscyra would have been really cool.
Showing Diana on some wild adventure to find it would have been equally nifty. Instead, its at home in her closet, so we can spend more time following Max Lord's road to ultimate greed.
If any movie people are reading this...here's a tip from Uncle Jeff.
When you've made an entire movie in the bright and often garish colors of the Eighties, tease the main physical villain throughout but don't transform her to the end, and depower the main hero before ramping her back up at the end...
DON'T SHOOT THE BIG BATTLE BETWEEN THEM AT THE END IN THE DARK WHERE ITS HARD TO SEE ANYTHING!
While I'm lecturing, yes the armor looked cool, but the "wing shield" changed and reduced Diana's fighting style making the final battles less visually interesting than they should have been.
There were enough awesome moments that I am still looking forward to the third film in the series. I feel like many choices in this one were forced by the studio to fit into the overall franchise.
Gal Godot is Wonder Woman. They should let her do that more.
Some "Woo Hoo!" things-
Wonder Woman saving the world, not through combat, but through words, truth and compassion was spot on for the character.
The creation of the invisible jet!!!! (Granted, that's another thread I'd like to have seen followed more logically rather than being told about it so it could pop out of nowhere.)
Wonder Woman learning she can fly (after she did in the first film...I'll give them that one) coupled with Spidey style swinging on lightning.
The White House battle scene was actually cooler than the highway one used in the ads. Since she already knew her powers were limited, it wasn't surprising her and throwing her off as much. Therefore her compensations were more natural. (I think that made sense.)
In general Steve and Diana working together was awesome. There's a million non creepy and stupid ways to bring Steve back. Do one of those.
Hell, they've already ignored most of the comics, give Steve a Green Lantern ring. Chris Pine would rock it!
Kristin Wiig as (never say the name out loud) Cheetah was well done. Her transformation was really cool and should have been more of a focused thread. Really, they could have dropped the Max Lord thread completely and still had a great film. And for people pickier than I, she got two wishes because one was on the magic rock itself, and the second was on Max. He lied that he was "giving" her two to manipulate her...that's what he does.
The unbelievably outstanding mid credits call back Asteria cameo, complete with a George Reeves' style audience wink was wonderful.
And yes, I recognized Lynda Carter by her eyes in the brief flashback in the film and went nuts there. This did not diminish my yelling and whooping it up again when she was more visible in the credits!
So there was cheering and there was hope for the future...I honestly think the weight of connecting to the other depressing DCEU films, and the odd need to spend so much time on Max Lord's personification of (magically enhanced) excesses of Eighties greed, held this one down. Its a shame because Pascal worked so well as the character and would be great in a comics accurate Justice League International film.
Here's hoping the third go around lets Gal Godot shine as Wonder Woman as she already proved she can.
And Warner Brothers, stop being ashamed of your iconic DC characters' names. Four, count em FOUR movie appearances and no one has called her Wonder Woman yet!
On the positive side, the HBO Max Trial led to discovery of this year's outstanding winner of the Dana Award for Profanity in television! (link here)