Wonder Woman 1984
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig
2017’s ‘Wonder Woman’ came as a pleasant breezy surprise, refreshingly free of the clutter and murk of the DC adaptations that preceded it, with star Gal Gadot radiating a similar combination of warmth and disarming sincerity as Christopher Reeve in ‘Superman the Movie, a picture that director Patty Jenkins was clearly looking to for inspiration.
This sequel, also helmed by Jenkins, starts promisingly enough with a flashback in which Diana as a little girl is competing in a tournament with other Amazonians on her native island of Themyscira, leaping over various huge obstacles to thrilling, vertigo-inducing effect. The story jumps forward to the titular year where in a fun sequence Wonder Woman foils a jewellery store heist at a shopping mall.
It emerges that the store was front for a black market racket for historical artefacts. One of them, which has wish-giving properties, is purloined from under the nose of Diana’s mousy new archaeologist colleague Barbara Minerva (Wiig), by slick media businessman Maxwell Lord (‘The Mandalorian’s’ Pedro Pascal). Thanks to their proximity to the item, Diana’s lost love, the dashing WW1 pilot Steve Trevor (Pine) has returned, and Minerva becomes more assertive and develops strange powers.
After a strong start the film, which sports an unwieldy two-and-a-half hour running time, gets bogged down in plot machinations with our heroine disappearing for long stretches, only picking up again with an exciting chase sequence midway in which Wonder Woman and Trevor attempt to retrieve the item from an armoured car convoy.
Eventually the cavalier approach to the storytelling and internal logic renders the film all but incoherent, which coupled with a lack of rhythm, makes it feel simultaneously overstuffed and underdeveloped.
Gadot continues to impress as Diana struggles with diminished powers and a ‘Superman 2’-style ethical dilemma, and Wiig does her best with her rather rote character of a lonely outsider imbued with superhuman powers. Pascal however, obviously relishing his chance to emote without a helmet, is increasingly irritating as the obnoxious power-drunk baddie.
Wonder Woman 1984 is released on 16th December
Follow David at @DWill_Crackfilm