“Wonder Woman 1984” — What Do You Wish For? What Do You Give Up for It?
By Jon Ochiai
Director Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot as Diana return in “Wonder Woman 1984” (WW84). This time streaming on HBO Max in the COVID-19 era. Too bad, I couldn’t see it in the theater. Too bad, WW84 isn’t as great as the original “Wonder Woman” (2017). Still, “Wonder Woman 1984” is good enough. Surprisingly, the screenplay by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callahan is a narrative kluge. The fact that Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor in 1984, when he died in the exploding plane in World War II, nearly “jumps the shark”. Nearly.
That being said, amidst the messy plot and tangential storylines, I still liked WW84, because of Gal and Chris. Both are beautiful and vulnerable. Kristine Wiig is dangerously compelling as Barbara Minerva, Diana’s socially marginalized anthropologist assistant at the Smithsonian Museum.
The Smithsonian attains possession of the mythological Dream Stone. Those who possess the Dream Stone can have whatever they wish for. Yet, there’s the tragic cost. Max Lord, played with lying charm by Pedro Pascal, is the failed oil Ponzi scheme TV celebrity. As a Smithsonian benefactor, Max knows of the Citrine Dream Stone’s powers. That’s a real narrative stretch. Possessing the Dream Stone, he grants people what they wish for, what they want most in life.
Hero Diana befriends the plain introvert Minerva. She confides in Diana, “I’ve never been popular.” She asks, “Have you ever been in love?” Diana was. But the true love of her life died many years ago. Keep in mind: Diana is an Amazon Warrior. She’s also the daughter of the Greek God Zeus. So, she’s immortal.
What poignantly lands: Beautiful, smart, confident Diana has been alone for over 70 years, and wishes she could have Steve back. Minerva wishes “to be like Diana”. With Max possessing the Dream Stone, their wishes come to fruition. Steve comes back to Diana, for the most part. Minerva gains Diana’s Wonder Woman prowess. However, she uses her powers for evil, instead of good, arising as Supervillain Cheetah. In the convoluted narrative, Diana and Steve must retrieve the Dream Stone from Max; thus, saving the world as we…