The Sunday Mail
To all intents and purposes, “Wonder Woman 1984” is likely to go down as DC Comics’ or the DCEU’s better offering.
And given that its competitors comprises such forgettable films like “Man of Steel”, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, “Justice League” and the flop that is “Suicide Squad”, the bar has never been that high in the first place.
However, this is not to say the film was bad or lacked potential.
In fact, it was very bad, but it possessed a lot of potential
Maybe, in a couple of months DC could give it the Snyder treatment — go back to the dressing room and come up with a better release.
It is against this background that I have decided to flip the script a bit and rather come up with a routine review just to point out some of the areas that need a nip/tuck here and there — Give it the Snyder treatment, if you will.
Let me start with the basics.
‘Snyder treatment’ is a recent coinage of mine – patent pending – and is loosely based on the upcoming “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” due for release later this year.
The 2017 “Justice League” underwent a difficult production with the script changing many times before and during shooting, after which director Zack Snyder stepped down before the movie was completed.
Joss Whedon, another director, took over, making numerous changes and reshooting key elements of the film, but after it debuted on box office, it got slaughtered by critics.
A presumably different take, one based on Snyder’s earlier works, is due for release in March, and will be affectionately known as “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” or the ‘Snyder’s cut’.
Another film that could profit from such progressive thinking is “Wonder Woman 1984”.
The film picks up in the eighties, 66 years after the first, as Diana (Gal Gadot) looks to have settled into her new life as a senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, specialising in ancient Mediterranean civilisations.
Mouthful title aside, she moonlights as the vigilante Wonder Woman, all the while still pining for her lost love, Steve Trevor.
While on her day job, she comes across an ancient relic that grants wishes and asks for the return of her lost love.
The wish is granted, but the stone also finds its way into the hands of a lonely and envious shy girl by the name Barbra Minerva (Kirsten Wiig) and a greedy and ambitious businessman Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) whose wishes put them at odds with Diana, aka Wonder Woman.
While not as detailed as it should be, that is basically the gist of the film, as one wishes to be more like Diana, which, in turn, sees her ending up with superhuman strength and power.
The plotline is very lazy, especially considering the fact that this film also acted as a Cheetah, or Barbra Minerva, origin story.
For a character that is supposed to be Wonder Woman’s greatest rival — the joker or Lex Luther to her Batman or Superman – the end product is very anticlimactic.
Throw in the terrible CGI, a short and one-sided fight that one has to wait almost two hours for, and you have all the makings of a cinematic disaster.
It’s no wonder this film did not receive the Covid-19 push, or extension, like most blockbusters of 2020.
I did a little reading into the Cheetah character and there are so many options DC could have taken with the character, instead of shoehorning the story into this disappointing film.
There is the rich Priscilla Rich who is driven by jealousy, but rather than possess any superhuman strengths of her own, she schemes her way into Diana’s inner circle and comes up with elaborate schemes to bring her down.
There is also Minerva, whose powers come from African rituals, and another more tragic incarnation cursed by a god into coming to blows with Diana.
Any one of these could have made for better cinema, and would have given an actress of Wiig’s talent a lot more material to feast on.
Wiig does a decent enough job as this DCEU version of Barbra Minerva, but the tragedy of her situation is that she plays second fiddle to Pascal Pedro’s Max Lord.
A couple other footnotes.
The Steve Trevor and Diana romance is played out now, and DC dropped the ball in the first movie.
We don’t care anymore.
The CGI is terrible and Wonder Woman should never run like that ever again.
Wiig and Pedro did a terrific job and deserved a lot more material to showcase their acting chops, especially the former.
Either one of them could have carried the movie.
Also, 151 minutes is too long a runtime, especially if you waste most of it on a romance.
No one cares about fleshing out characters that lack depth.