The film opens on the island of Themyscira, the secret home of the Amazon warriors. Young Diana (Lilly Aspell) is competing in a series of athletic competitions. Given her age and inexperience, she is doing surprisingly well against her older and more skilled competition, at least at the start. Approximately half way through the competition, Diana loses her horse, and to compensate for the loss, she uses a shortcut, to beat her fellow competitors. Dianna is on the cusp of winning, before her Aunt Antiope played by Golden Globe winner Robin Wright (House of Cards), stops her, much to the dismay of a disconcerted Dianna. Antiope, and Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), tell her that if she won by cheating she would have achieved nothing. They both let Diana know that her time will come in the future. (As an aside: Actress Lilly Aspell, who plays young Diana, performed all of her own stunts).
Many years into the future, Diana Prince, portrayed by Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), works as an anthropologist for the Smithsonian Institute. No one who works there, or with her, knows that she is also secretly Wonder Woman. One day, Diana, while performing an act of kindness, meets Barbara Minerva. The part of Barbara is played by Oscar nominee Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids). The two become friends, and are brought even close together when Barbara is assigned to work on antiques that were stolen, and that the FBI would like more information on. (As an aside: Gal Godot won the Saturn Award for Best Actress from the Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films, USA, for her role in “Wonder Woman” (2017). The Saturn Awards have been given since 1973.)
Entering the picture is the seemingly successful Maxwell Lord portrayed by Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian). Everything about him is a front or is fake with the exception of the love he has for his son Alistair (Lucian Perez). Lord, at the beginning, is not a bad man. He is someone who has simply run out of time with his investors who want to see his oil rigs begin to make a profit. Despite the upfront flash, Lord is broke and there is only one thing that might save him.
Among the antiques that Barbara is studying is a stone known as the ‘Dreamstone.’ According to legend, whoever possesses the Stone can look deep into its jewels and have their greatest wish come true. Diana and Barbara both wish for things: Diana for her long lost love Steve Trevor, played by Emmy nominee Chris Pine (Star Trek), to come back to her form the great beyond. Barbara, meanwhile, wishes to be exactly like Diana, not even knowing that she is secretly Wonder Woman. Barbara gets more than she bargains for. Oh, she gets Wonder Woman’s strength, speed, and fighting skills, but the problem is, that over time, she begins to turn into a human Cheetah.
As it turns out, Maxwell Lord has made a sizable donation to the Smithsonian and has personally asked for Barbara to show him around. He knows that she is the one working on the ‘Dreamstone.’ While she is otherwise engaged, he takes the Stone from her office and makes his ultimate wish, to actually become the Dreamstone. The power he now has coursing through his body comes with a steep price. Can his wish granting, which in part escalates the nuclear weapons tensions between Russia and the Untied States be stopped? And if Lord can be stopped, what price did the world have to pay prior to it happening?
“Wonder Woman 1984” was directed by Emmy nominee Patty Jenkins (The Killing). In addition to directing, Jenkins co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Emmy nominee Geoff Johns (Stargirl); and Dave Callaham (Zombieland: Double Tap). The screenplay was based off of a story co-written by Jenkins and Johns, which was further based off of characters originally created by William Moulton Marston. The film was released to theaters and for streaming on HBO Max on December 25, 2020. Parts action, adventure and fantasy, the movie has a runtime of 151 minutes.
Trivia buffs take note: The first appearance of Wonder Woman was in the December 1941 issue of All Star Comics # 8. The role of Cheetah was first offered to Oscar winner Emma Stone (La La Land), but she passed on the role. After Stone declined to take the part, Jenkins offered the role to Wiig, who had always been her first choice to play the part. Furthermore, this is the first live action appearance of Cheetah. Prior to that, she had only appeared in animated television shows and films. Jenkins and Johns wrote the character of Max Lord with two fictional characters in mind: Gordon Gekko, who was portrayed by two time Oscar winner Michael Douglas in the 1987 film “Wall Street” was one of the two; the second one that inspired the Max Lord character was the villain, Lex Luthor, played by two time Oscar winner Gene Hackman in the 1978 film “Superman.” This is the second time that Pedro Pascal has been involved in a Wonder Woman project. The first time, however, unlike the current film, it wasn’t a success. In 2011, a pilot episode was produced for NBC television, in the hopes of starting a new Wonder Woman television series. The show, if it had come to fruition, would have starred Adrianne Palicki (The Orville) as Wonder Woman / Diana Prince. Pascal would’ve played the part of a main character named Ed Indelicato. The show was never broadcast.
This was a fun, popcorn film. I was glad, thanks to HBO Max, that I was able to enjoy it at home. In another few months, if the vaccines are making a dent in the reported cases and life begins to get back to normal, I would love to go see a movie in the theater again. Leaving aside Gadot, who I knew was coming back. I thought Wiig and Pascal did excellent work with their respective roles. The film, given its length was well paced. Furthermore, the film’s music, both that which was composed and the songs from the soundtrack, was spot on when it came to helping to move the film forward. The film was slated to be a summer blockbuster, but, due to Covid, was released on Christmas Day. Given the kind of year 2020 was, I would’ve welcomed it no
t matter when it was released.