Wonder Woman 1984

 

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Gal Gadot finally returns as Wonder Woman in a mediocre shambles that refuses to make 

sense.

 
Wonder Woman 1984

What a Gal!

 

Wonder Woman may be able to save the world, but can she rescue the multiplex? Probably not. Even being the only superhero of the year, her presence in a ho-hum express ride saddled with far-fetched antics and a jaded premise is unlikely to up her ante. Following the mandatory prologue – in which a young Princess Di (Lilly Aspell) learns the importance of truth – the film cuts to 1984, for some reason. This was the year of the first untethered spacewalk, the nomination of the first woman as a vice-presidential running mate, the Tory conference bombing in Brighton and the release of James Cameron’s time-bending The Terminator.

 

Diana Prince is now working as a senior anthropologist at the Smithsonian in Washington, putting her knowledge of several hundred languages to good use. But, in spite of her natural grace and preternatural beauty, she is a lonely soul. She is still pining for the one love of her life, Steve Trevor, the World War I pilot who died at the end of the last film. So imagine her surprise when he materialises in the form of another good-looking hunk (Kristoffer Polaha) at a fund-raising reception. Asked how on earth he got there, he replies: “I don’t know.” Well, that’s the truth for you. Now this should be the fun part. There’s a dressing-up montage in the tradition of Pretty Woman, in which Steve – now played by Chris Pine – dons a variety of silly ensembles. He also marvels open-mouthed at the wonders of a moving staircase, breakdancing and modern art, but soon pretty much takes everything in his stride. He even gets to master the controls of a high-speed military jet – just like that.

 

If this makes Wonder Woman 1984 sound rather silly, you ain’t heard nothing yet. The movie’s villain is a Trump-like narcissist who pines for world domination and so turns himself into an ancient artefact that can bestow anybody one wish of their dreams. So be careful what you wish for. Accordingly, WW84 plunges into Aladdin territory where the semantic paradox takes everybody by surprise, including the villain, Maxwell Lord, played with smarmy, cackling glee by the Chilean-born actor Pedro Pascal. Lord – lording it to the max – not only has his eye on the White House but, as he keeps on reminding everybody, he used to be a TV personality.

 

As Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot retains her infinite poise and gives the impression that she’s above all this nonsense. But the gravity-defying stunts, unstinting CGI and dog-eared narrative tropes cannot save her. Yet, having pocketed $20 million from Netflix for the upcoming action-comedy Red Notice, Gal Gadot might yet be rescued from the multiplex.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha, Natasha Rothwell, Ravi Patel, Oliver Cotton, Lucian Perez, Gabriella Wilde, Shane Attwooll, Wai Wong, Colin Stinton, Lynda Carter.

 

Dir Patty Jenkins, Pro Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and Stephen Jones, Screenplay Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns and David Callaham, Ph Matthew Jensen, Pro Des Aline Bonetto, Ed Richard Pearson, Music Hans Zimmer, Costumes Lindy Hemming, Dialect coach Roisin Carty.

 

DC Films/Atlas Entertainment/The Stone Quarry-Warner Bros.

151 mins. USA/UK/Spain. 2020. Rel: 16 December 2020. Cert. 12A.