So, that happened. WW84 dropped in theaters and on HBO Max on Christmas Day, and to say that the reception has been divisive is an understatement. There’s no denying that it’s a movie featuring some…odd creative choices. Social media right now is a figurative viper pit of negative reviews about the movie currently, so I thought I would shake things up a bit by discussing its redeeming qualities, or at least the things that I appreciated about it. So here, as far as I’m concerned, what WW84 got right.
- The themes: The movie emphasizes Marston’s original themes for the character of truth, love, and redemption. The last one is especially notable, since both of the movie’s villains are offered second chances and survive until the end. Maxwell Lord, especially, realizes the errors of his ways and recognizes what’s truly important about his life by the end. The entire movie is a 2.5 hour dig at Trumpism, which feels so cathartic right now.
- Mission of peace: One of the major issues with the last movie (and far too often the comic books) is the mistake that Wonder Woman must adhere to traditionally masculine forms of combat in order to be cool. In her previous film appearances in the DCEU, she wielded a sword and talked about “killing” a lot, while the aspects of the character that have historically made her special since her inception, specifically her mission of peace and her magic lasso, were set aside. This film saw those elements restored in the character. She uses her might to protect people and defuse hostile situations without killing her opponents and the phallic sword is nowhere to be seen.
- The Lasso of Truth: As referenced above, Diana hangs up the sword in order to embrace the Lasso of Truth as her main weapon, and its used in all its glowing, wild glory. The lasso’s length, dexterity, and function are nebulous, emphasizing its magical nature. Diana also uses her tiara as a boomerang, a fun call back to her older appearances and the ’70s TV show.
- Asteria: Speaking of the ’70s TV show, seeing Lynda Carter in the stinger as Asteria was a fun surprise, and Asteria’s armor, which Diana wears during the climax, was just freakin’ cool looking.
- The action: Seeing Cheetah slash away at Diana’s armored wings was intense, the car chase scene (with Wonder Woman notably on foot) was thrilling, and the White House and mall fights were fun as hell.
- The acting: Gal Gadot was enchanting as always, Chris Pine was charming, Kristin Wigg was magnetic every time she was on screen, and even Pedro Pascal’s manic interpretation of the Trump-ish Maxwell Lord was a pleasure to behold, as he managed to convey that the character is multifaceted throughout.
- The humor: The movie elicited plenty of genuine belly laughs from me, and that felt wonderful. Of particular note, “well shit, Diana” and the little bit about losing an invisible coffee cup.
- The colors!: Even at its most boring parts, the movie feels more vibrant and alive than most blockbusters, adding to it a sense of fabulousness and levity.
My ultimate assertion is that the movie is incredibly flawed, but not irredeemable. There are parts that are utterly cringe-worthy and the body-hijacking element in particular was gross and had me distracted throughout most of the movie, but I would be lying if I said, that despite all its undeniable mistakes, I didn’t have a good time regardless. I can honestly say I had fun watching it.