Is this what we have been waiting for?

Is this what we have been waiting for?

In 2020, the world needs a superhero. We are looking for someone to save us through all of the trials and tribulations of this year. COVID has taken so much from us, but one noticeable change is studios’ inability to release any of their films, especially ones that involve superheroes. Until now, our hopes are coming true with the long-delayed opening of Wonder Woman 1984.

As an eternal being, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) has moved on from her adventures in the war-ravaged European conflict of World War I and has now taken residence in Washington DC in the early 80s. She operates in the shadows to ward off evil as her powerful alter-ego, while remaining a relatively non-conspicuous senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution. Within the museum walls, she comes in contact with her newest work colleague, Dr Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig), who seems to be Diana’s antithesis. Despite their differences, they become friends, until Barb comes in contact with one of the newest artefacts to arrive at the museum, the Dreamstone.

This unknown relic seems to hold special powers for one wish to anyone who holds the antique. Still, for the person who asks something of the rock, they eventually pay a high price for their request. Museum investor and inspirational businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) has a keen interest in getting a hold of this unique stone as an attempt to harness its powers. Yet, before he can get his hands on it, Barbara manages to wish for strength and beauty to rival her new friend. While Diana unwittingly wishes for her long-standing desire to see her past love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Even though each person gets their wish, the repercussions prove to wreak havoc on their relationships and the world’s security.

As a follow up to her successful original, director Patty Jenkins proves to the world that it was time for a female superhero while making Gal Gadot a household name. In an attempt to erase the memory of the Justice League debacle, the production team decides to take this adventure back to the era of big hair and leg warmers. Sidestepping the inclusion of her DC alumni and allowing Diana to see if she can independently make her way in theatres. Tapping into the iconic fashion trends, music, and politics of the 80s makes for a nostalgic narrative reminiscent of that decade’s comic book films. Powerful beings with enough cheesy dialogue and a knowing wink for audiences to get a laugh. Also, allowing audiences to look past any possible logical story considerations. Come on, do fighter planes really need any petrol, mostly when they are inexplicably made invisible? Not if you are Wonder Woman…

Even though Gadot does prove that she is worthy of wearing the famous red bustier, the rest of the story tends to crumble under expectation. Wiig and Pascal do their best to inhabit the villainous roles they represent. Still, in the end, they come dangerously close to cancelling each other out and never get held to account for their crimes against society. To miraculously reintroduce Chris Pine seems to be a touch of brilliance initially, but eventually turns into an example of overreach. He even appears to walk through this film like he is confused by his very existence in this film. These are three examples of good actors’ wasted potential in roles that fail to amount to much of anything of value in this production. This leaves Gadot with all of the heavy-lifting in the plot category. Still, it means that things move towards a rather anaemic conclusion full of monologues instead of setting the standard for an example of robust female empowerment.

Pure escapism to a bygone era might be just the thing people are looking for as this year limps towards the finish line. Wonder Woman 1984 has a multitude of editing, writing and character development issues. Yet, most fans may be willing to look past these issues for the sake of inspiration and hope. Wonder Woman may be the very thing everyone needs this year and might prove to be the saviour for theatres in 2020.

REEL DIALOGUE: This world is broken and needs fixing. We need a superhero, right?

Watching Wonder Woman 1984 is like seeing an object lesson in the depravity of humanity. A big question that came to mind during the film was ‘What is God doing to fix this world?’ Especially when Wonder Woman cannot seem to do it. By telling people that God has a plan in amongst their pain is not comforting, but tends to have an opposite effect. The answer to the violence in this film seems to be more violence. In the end, all hope seems lost. Is that the case?

“All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:12

It is a significant question that can be answered in the person of Jesus. Who proves time and time again to be the true hero to mankind. Not that it is a simple question to answer, but not until you look into his life and death will the answer be evident. Pick up one of his life accounts and see how God answers this multi-layered query with one man.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

Wonder Woman 1984 is in cinemas now.

Russ Matthews

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