Wonder Woman 1984

The up-front summary: I enjoyed Wonder Woman 1984 but I was disappointed. I don’t regret signing up for HBOMax¹, because #WW84 was worth the $15 (cheaper and safer than going to the theater) but I really do wish the film had been… y’know… better.

WW84 movie poster featuring Gal Gadot in the golden helmet and armor.

The good: there were lots of fun moments in the film, and everyone turned in great performances. It was fun seeing Chris Pine again, and Pedro Pascal chewed scenery like a guy who spent his last big feature hidden behind a helmet.

The bad: the 1980’s-ish visuals (especially the titling and the credits) did not evoke nostalgia, and the metallic-neon-rainbow palette felt out of place. It felt to me like someone said “I want it to look like Thor: Ragnarok meets Stranger Things” without considering that the palette and the cultural touchstones were not actually what made those two things successful.

And that means that the central conceit of the film—it’s a prequel, set in a glitzy-because-we-don’t-know-it’s-trash-yet version of 1980’s USA—was baggage rather than a selling point. It was something the film needed to buy, rather than currency it could use to sell me other stuff.

I can’t talk more about the things I did or did not love without spoiling stuff, so I’ll leave it at this (which I first shared in a tweet.)

WW84 was a big can of trail mix, with some amazing bits, some ordinary bits, and some rancid nuts, and then you stand back and ask “why am I eating trail mix?”

¹ HBO Max, as a streaming service, has gotten some really scathing reviews. It worked fine for us, but we’re running gigabit Ethernet cable straight to our Roku box. The HBO Max app has crashed me out to the Roku home screen twice in as many days, but that hasn’t yet happened during a program.