2017, Warner Brothers Pictures et al
It took long enough to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen, but with the seemingly endless parade of big-budget superhero movies marching into theaters, it was all but inevitable. Although much was made of the fact that it was directed by a woman, I'm not prepared to debate the point, other than to insist the accolades she earned are well-deserved.
At first I wasn't all that keen on Gal Gadot, but she grew on me. I was actually much more taken by Chris Pine's fine performance as Wonder Woman's ill-fated mortal paramour; he seemed perfectly cast as a period hero, and I sincerely hope we'll be treated to more of him in similar roles. Getting back to the subject at hand, the film is technically almost flawless; my only relatively minor gripes would be somewhat uneven pacing, and a strangely less-than-thrilling climax—as the credits rolled, I recall thinking, "That's it?"
Wonder Woman 1984
2020, Warner Brothers Pictures et al
I had really high hopes for this film. For starters, the first one was quite enjoyable; and then the advance reviews of WW84 were glowing. So it was with considerable enthusiasm that I popped the disc in the player (I even went with the 4K version) and settled in for a fun ride.
But then it was with considerable disappointment as I watched my bowl of ice cream get ruined with a sack of saccharine and silliness. The introduction, showing a young Diana compete in the Themysciran Olympics (performed with exceptional aplomb by Lilly Aspell), dragged on interminably, and the moral of that story was about as subtle as an atom bomb.
Unfortunately, things got much worse when we cut to the film's present day (1984), as Diana tackles a bunch of classically inept thugs robbing a store in a shopping mall (think the old Batman TV series—yup, that bad), interspersed with thoroughly ridiculous interactions with children. Kristen Wiig embarrasses herself as a nerd-come-evil-creature Cheetah. And Pedro Pascal is equally difficult to watch as the Chief Bad Guy, Maxwell "Max Lord" Lorenzano. Even Gal Gadot was somewhat disappointing, but I suspect this was more the fault of the script and direction.
The only thing that saves this film from the crap heap is Chris Pine, reprising his role as Steve Trevor. Pine is utterly delightful as he takes in 1984, having last seen planet Earth back in 1918, and their flight through a fireworks display is the highlight of an otherwise waste of 151 minutes. I really must question director Patty Jenkins' goal here, as it seems impossible the same person directed both WW films. Meanwhile, a third installment is in the works; one can only hope this is another case of even-numbered ones being turds (although I doubt I'll live long enough to find out).
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