Superhero movies have evolved from being fist-fights between typically good and bad men to a lens through which we can look at humanity in different ways. The first Wonder Woman film was an all-round victory lap for the long-due portrayal of a female superhero on screen. Not only was Gal Gadot’s portrayal remarkable for the ease with which it repelled comparisons with her male counterparts, but also how the character was weaved through the relatable emotions of love and loss.
Wonder Woman 1984, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is the sequel that etches another layer into the superhero’s character, making her even more human than before, all through the irresistible joy of a nostalgia trip and the nerve-wracking action that no one can have enough of. It’s everything you want from a summer blockbuster. Here are five reasons why Wonder Woman 1984 should be on your weekend watch list:
A nostalgia trip through the ’80s
Can anyone get enough of the ’80s? The heavy suits, the bell-bottoms, the sneaker revolution, the satchels, the music, the cars, the over-the-top hairstyles – everything about the ’80s seems illuminated by the yearning for a simpler time. This was after all the era just preceding the internet and mobile phone. People still socialised and celebrated the little things. Identity was a singular narrative, not inspired, say by something that goes viral or is popular.
Even popularity for that matter had to be earned which placed a premium on building relationships. In summary, everything had some thought put to it. WW84 cleverly reproduces a period where the sight of a firecracker lighting up the sky could still leave people in awe, neighbours ushered in the festive season together, and there seemed to be a sense of harmony around the idea of contentment. It’s a trip worth taking given the time we are all going through.
Kirsten Wiig’s dark side
So who could have thought of casting the impossibly charming and funny Kristen Wiig in a role where she must carry the sinister veneer of a nobody who has just come onto significant power. It sounds like a pipe dream, because even in her role as the Gadot’s nerdy coworker Wiig is so effortlessly magnetic and funny it is hard to see how she could transform into the frighteningly vengeful Cheetah.
Wiig has essayed so many quirky and wickedly funny roles, her transformation from the office paperweight to a feisty, animalistic villain is a treat for both her fans and people who like to box actors into types. It’s also one of the more inspired castings in recent memory, asking Wiig to retrace her somewhat familiar streak of playing the ignored loser and urge her to transform into something stubborn and fearsome. Her transformation, especially her portrayal of the angst she carries within is a worthy contestant to Wonder Woman’s aura of sanity and wisdom.
Gal Gadot’s effortless grace
To say Gal Gadot’s personality, her captivating grace, is what has lent Wonder Woman it’s distinct identity in the pantheon of superheroes is an understatement. Gadot has, in fact, changed how you view and consume action sequences. She brings a certain poise to these marvellously choreographed sequences that turns explosions into concerts of her power, movement, and energy.
Also Gadot does the heavy lifting with wide-eyed clarity, unlike most male superheroes who just grumble and scream incessantly. Masculinity has conditioned our idea of the superhero to the image of the brooding male, bursting at his seams. Gadot instead centres her anger, and relays it through her lasso with such finesse it comes across as a radical detour from the pulpy, brutishness of everyone else. It’s refreshing, and thrilling all the same.
There is nothing like love
The Wonder Woman series is perhaps one of the only franchises that rather than do lip service to relationships, has built its narratives around them. Chris Pine and Wonder Woman’s chemistry is one for the ages, and not just because Pine plays the humble sidekick to an alpha partner, society usually considers the weakest, but because they seem genuinely in love.
In this sequel, Steve returns as a happenstance that lasts, like a fond getaway until things get serious and both realise the price they must pay for setting the world right. There are several sub-plots in the film, but it is Pine and Gadot’s chemistry that proves to be the wind in the film’s sails. It’s a toast to the idea of love being both eternal and un-detachable from the concept of superheroes and supervillains. Nothing’s bigger, the film says.
A scathing review of humanity
In Wonder Woman 1984, Pedro Pascal plays Maxwell Lord, a doomed oil guy who happens to get hold of a stone that allows him to grant everyone’s wish. Desperate, Lord jumps onto the opportunity as a means to take over the world. Let’s just say, he learns his lesson soon enough.
It’s in the wishes that many people make that Lord grants that the film essays the social fissures that most of us tend to fill with greed or hate. It’s a scathing criticism of humanity, where even when granted the wish for anything, most wish for pain and suffering for others. Though it philosophises a film where many may just expect action sequences, it makes for fascinating practical commentary on the condition of mankind, something that you should watch and give thought to, even after the film ends.
Of late, we’ve all been complaining that our weekends look the same. Wonder Woman 1984 will make sure that that doesn’t happen. Wonder Woman 1984 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.