Saturday, December 26, 2020
This week at the movies, it finally happens: a blockbuster superhero movie goes straight to streaming and not because it is totally shitty. It's actually pretty good, with a few shitty elements.
You can also see it at area theaters (more details below). Along with Wonder Woman, you can see other great female performances from Aubrey Plaza and Carey Mulligan in career best work.
Your movie roundup:
REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984
Now playing at Roadhouse Cinemas and Harkins Tucson while also streaming on HBO Max
This year, for Christmas, you didn’t have to leave the house to give your family a blockbuster opening-day treat. I mean, you could’ve, because Wonder Woman 1984 has been released simultaneously streaming on HBO Max and in theaters.
The movie is definitely a big screen spectacle, so reducing it to home theater size, while not totally a detriment, hurts the film. It screams for a big screen or IMAX, even when the CGI takes a tragic downturn into pitiful.
Fortunately, the character portrayals and moral struggles work fine on either screen size so WW84 winds up being a superhero sequel that falls somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to cinematic goodness.
The good: Gal Gadot continues to be all kinds of wonder as Wonder Woman, Amazonian goddess forced to go through history without her true love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who died in the first movie. It’s 1984, and while hair is big and pants are parachuting, she’s timeless. And the script, cowritten by director Patty Jenkins, gives Gadot a chance to go deeper with the character, and she straight-up shines.
As Barbara Minerva and, eventually, Cheetah, Kristen Wiig makes for a great villain: sensitive, funny and, when appropriate, totally depraved. Pedro Pascal is good as Maxwell Lord, a sort of combo of Donald Trump and Tony Roberts who gets ahold of a wishing stone that, while granting a single wish, also makes you pay for said wish.
Steve Trevor coming back ties into the wishing stone, as does Barbara becoming Cheetah and Max gaining world power. The stone is a good enough premise, but there are a lot of moral ambiguities when it comes to Steve. Bah…no matter. It’s good to have Pine back in the saddle.
The film is set in the ’80s, which plays great for the opening shopping mall sequence, but then sort of drops into the background and doesn’t play for much of the movie. The finale involves some ’80s nuclear war paranoia, but it also involves a terrible looking, fully formed CGI Cheetah that almost derails all the good that happened before she appears. Almost.