‘Wonder Woman 1984’ delivers a double punch of romance and excitement

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Gal Gadot and Chris Pine in ‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ Warner Bros.
  • “Wonder Woman 1984” is as exciting as it is feel-good.
  • Director Patty Jenkins proves she has a unique talent to tell emotional stories within big blockbusters.
  • “Wonder Woman 1984” opens in theatres and available on HBO Max on December 25.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After years and years in development “Wonder Woman” finally opened in theatres in 2017 making Gal Gadot an international star and showing that director Patty Jenkins has the rare talent of being able to direct an action movie that also pulls at the heartstrings.

Three years later, the duo return for “Wonder Woman 1984” and deliver a sequel that will thrill and romance the audience in equal measure.

“Wonder Woman 1984” takes us back to, you guessed it, the ’80s. Diana Prince, who is living in Washington D.C., is spending her days secretly helping people who are in peril while longing for Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), her lost love.

Working at the Smithsonian, Diana befriends archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig), who is shy, lacks confidence, and is taken by Diana’s confidence.

The plot kicks in quickly when a collection of artifacts that were being sold on the black market is bought in by the FBI. Barbara and Diana discover one in particular, which, according to the ancient writing on it, grants wishes. And that’s when things go haywire.

Both women reveal their deepest wishes to the artefact — for Diana it’s to see Steve again; for Barbara, it’s to be like Diana — and before you know it Steve appears and Barbara is kicking butt.

Then the curve ball appears in the form of Max Lord (Pedro Pascal). A charismatic businessman who is part Gordon Gekko, part Donald Trump, who gets Barbara to let him borrow the artefact and then uses it to build an empire that is more powerful than the government. That leads to complete anarchy around the world.

Now it’s time for Wonder Woman to choose: Saving humanity or staying with Steve.

Wonder Woman 1984 Warner Bros
Gal Gadot in ‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ Warner Bros.

Why you should watch: The movie has a strong, emotionally-charged story

Jenkins not only directs the movie this time around but also came up with the story and wrote the screenplay. So the pressure was certainly on her to deliver, and she did. Not just with exciting action sequences, but with an emotional story.

All Diana wants in the world is to be rejoined with Steve, and to be honest, fans like me weren’t through with watching those two together. So Jenkins came up with a clever way for them to be together one last time. In fact, a lot of “Wonder Woman 1984” is focused on the relationship between the two.

Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t action. Wonder Woman is riding lightning with her lasso and her powers of invisibility are revealed. But as we know from the countless superhero movies before this, you can’t just have mindless action to draw in an audience.

The movie very much has a “Superman II” energy to it. The 1980 classic delved deep into the relationship between Superman (Christopher Reeve) and Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), including him eliminating his superpowers to profess his love for her.

But unlike “Superman II,” the villains in “WW84” aren’t just fantastic but relatable. Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and General Zod (Terrence Stamp) are pure evil, and that’s it. Max Lord and Barbara (who turns into the villain Cheetah) are layered so by the end we even have a soft spot for them as well.

Jenkins manages not to lean into the 1980s traps. Though set in a decade we love to go nuts about, there are pretty much zero needle drops of the music of the decade and outside of a fun montage, even the colourful fashion of the era isn’t given an unnecessary focus.

Wonder woman 1984
‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ Warner Bros.

The bottom line: The movie excites but also leaves you feeling good

The movie has a two-and-a-half running time, so there’s a lot of film here. But with that length, Jenkins is able to really delve into the characters and give each main character their time to shine.

DC Comics movies have received the knock for being too gritty. But Jenkins has shown with her contributions to the universe that she’s going another direction. She knows the power of big blockbusters and is using it to push out positivity and inspiration. That’s certainly the case with the end of this movie.

If you need something uplifting, but set around action, this one is worth watching.

“Wonder Woman 1984” will open in theatres and be available on HBO Max on December 25.

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