Wonder Woman 1984

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With a whopping 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, “Wonder Woman 1984” was extremely disappointing to many. Sequels have a pretty notorious bad reputation, but this film seriously underperformed. The film’s predecessor killed it at the box office back in the summer of 2017, and was an almost perfect combination of sincere performances and flashy CGI fight scenes. The backdrop of World War One was fascinating and horrific all at once.

While “Wonder Woman 1984” paled in comparison to the original, there were quite a few aspects of the film I truly enjoyed. Pedro Pascal shined as Maxwell Lord, a corrupt businessman who utilizes an ancient magic stone to succeed. It’s rare to see three dimensional fully developed villains, especially in action movies, so his performance was a high point. The score, composed by Hans Zimmer, was another high point, especially in the opening scene. I believe a score can make or break a film, and this score definitely saved a few underwhelming scenes.

One of my biggest qualms with “Wonder Woman 1984” was the lack of setting awareness. “Wonder Woman” did a good job with period-accurate costumes, music and language and surprise surprise, “Wonder Woman 1984” did not. Aside from the scene where Steve tries on various outfits and the scene where Diana stops a robbery in a mall, the costumes were almost modern. Nostalgia is a huge market, and the success of shows like “Stranger Things” showed the widespread appeal of the decade. There was not a single 80s song in the soundtrack, and the language and speech patterns were straight out of 2020.

One of the aspects of the 80s that I did not expect to be bought back was the aggressively negative stereotypes of Middle Eastern people. The only character that spoke was named Emir Said Bin Abydos and acted as an exaggerated version of a Middle Eastern leader. He speaks about wanting to “take back his land” from “heathens.” During the 1980s in Egypt, there was an influx of Islamic conversions, and this line is very thinly veiled islamophobia. He also speaks about his “subjects” in derogatory ways. Somehow, the writer was able to convey stereotypes about both the oppressor and the oppressed.

All in all, while the film was lazily written at times and stereotypical, it wasn’t unwatchable.