“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 know it in 1984.
Apparently, the Dream Stone that grants wishes was created by Dolos, the Greek God of Lies. So, making wishes and lies are inevitably intertwined. Writer and Director Patty Jenkins captivates in this narrative reveal, nearly halfway through the 2 and half hour movie.
Really, “Wonder Woman 1984” is about “What do you wish for?” and “What are you willing to give up for it?” There’s a profound cost when we live in the past, not moving forward. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine poignantly define the sentence of love and its infinite possibility. Gal and Chris are authentic in humanity and selflessness. Her Diana cries, “Why can’t I have this one thing! I can’t say goodbye.”
In this classic battle of good and evil, Diana gets, “You can only have truth. Truth is enough.” Amen. So, amidst some killer martial arts eye candy with Diana and spectacular desert chases, WW84 defines in truth.
In the movie’s best scene, Diana and Steve soar into the night sky in a fighter jet. The cinematography is sublime. Diana quietly asks Steve what he loves about flying. He says, “Flight is the wind, the air…” It’s freedom. Perhaps, the greater truth is freedom, free to be. That’s the distinct charm of “Wonder Woman 1984”. Yes, it has its flaws. Yet, it has truth, too.
Watch the trailer:
This post was previously published on The Good Men Project.
About Jon Ochiai
Jon Ochiai has been a Satellite Systems Engineer for nearly 30 years. Jon was born and raised in Pearl City, HI before moving to Los Angeles after graduate school at the University of Hawaii. He is also an Aikido Instructor, 4th-degree black belt. A great movie fan, Jon has written over 400 movie reviews on imdb.com. Author of Living With Love: The Way of the Warrior.
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