Wonder Woman 1984: A Deep Analysis and Review

Wonder Woman 1984: A Deep Analysis and Review

Lenora Lee, Writer


We all saw the intriguing trailer, heard the captivating music, and witnessed the tempting HBO advertisements (and for the most part gave into a subscription). The real question is, was the subscription worth it? Wonder Woman 1984 began streaming on HBO and hit available theatres on December 25th. With its predecessor smashing the box office and raving with good reviews (especially for a DC live-action movie), the curiosity for the sequel was inevitable. With COVID-19 forcing fun outings to be canceled or at home, the need for a blockbuster film was greater than ever before and heavily rested on Diana Prince’s return

Although the pressure posed to some as a consequence of its reviews, I can assure you that Wonder Woman 1984 had substantial thought and endeavor put into every aspect of its creation. Starting with the beginning, I enjoyed the newly-added aspects of the typical Wonder Woman story. Not only does Diana now work at the Smithsonian, but she forms a friendship with her coworker Barbara who later erupts as the “Cheetah”. The villain title however is not solely the Cheetah in retrospect, as it is Max Lord, a misunderstood failed businessman who just wants to be successful for his son. Originally, the Cheetah is a fellow Amazon who is extremely jealous of Diana’s recognition and abilities. In this movie, the Cheetah is but a limited fantasy to an awkward woman that wants to be as strong as Diana. It is a nice change of pace to see two extremely intelligent women working together to solve the mystery of an ancient artifact or the Dreamstone. Very straightforward, right? You can guess what it does. Of course, eventually, their friendship is on the rocks due to the evil woes of the Dreamstone. 

I would definitely argue that the most interesting part of this sequel is the building of events after the “wishes” are made. Ordinary Barbara gains superhuman strength and Steve is alive?! I have to admit that I was eagerly anticipating the explanation of Steve’s resurrection. I presumed his foreseen trailer occurrences to be either Diana’s illusions or some crazy soap opera-type coincidence where Steve miraculously survived the plane explosion. However, he did in fact die, but his soul was brought back to earth and was placed in someone else’s body. At first, I considered Diana’s extreme attachment to Steve to be very corny. I thought: this woman is an absolute powerhouse God and she is wallowing day to day about Steve? Sure that’s something a teenage girl would do but Wonder Woman? I truly pondered why this was so important to her development because isn’t the point of Wonder Woman that she “don’t need no man”? However, I soon realized that Steve’s purpose was not just to be some missed man-candy, but instead was Diana’s only true connection to ordinary human life. He is her source of true emotion. Specifically, the happiness and pain of love. She may have unbelievable superpowers and the title of a God, but she still has raw emotions like everybody else. 

Modern Superhero movies are progressively changing the old persona that superheroes have to avoid their feelings to be robust. Instead, the truth has been unveiled that the strongest heroes use their feelings and traumatizing pasts to be better people and to have emotional connections to the world they are protecting. We’ve all seen the new additions of the male counterparts destroying toxic masculinity. For example Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Iron man… What do they all have in common? Well, the obvious similarities are that they are all orphans and that their superhero names end in “man” (how original), but more significantly, older versions of these characters hid their emotions away because it was once thought to be “unmanly” to deal with pain. But in the remodels, their pasts make them vulnerable, but they’re also stronger than ever before because they use how they feel as an advantage. 

I honestly have not seen this in any female hero movie until now. One, because Wonder Woman was the first female-hero blockbuster movie to exist and two, women are still constantly trying to prove that we are just as strong and capable as men and contain more depth than the idea of constantly being too “emotional”. Let me just say, it was an absolute relief to finally see the true strengths of a woman’s emotions, especially in someone so important and diligent as Wonder Woman. We all have grasped at this point that women are not weaklings or damsels in distress. It has been repeated numerous times, including in the first movie. And now, Wonder Woman 1984 is conveying that the toughest of women do not have to be stone cold and heartless either. Because the price of the Dreamstone wish is that it takes away your greatest strength, Diana lost her superpowers in response to Steve. To save the greedy world that was in turmoil, she had to revoke her wish to save billions of people. Losing Steve (again might I add) was obviously heartbreaking, but her grief inhabited resilience, courage, and the utmost selflessness to save everyone else. Love is a pretty powerful force no matter how gushy you might think of it. 

Even though this movie was contrived for women’s empowerment, its message was for everyone. The Dreamstone gave everyone what they craved, what they envied. However, its consequences in the main characters evidently prevail the fact that being happy and successful in life is not based on what you have materially. Max Lord was not a better father because he was the most powerful man on the planet, Barbara Minerva was not a better person because she had superpowers, and Diana was not happier with Steve because not only was his presence not real, but it was costing her the ability to save everyone else. She wears the infamous Asteria golden armor in the end as a symbol of selflessness. After all, they both are incredible warriors. I do think this detail was unnecessary because the suit didn’t give her any abilities she didn’t already have, but it was a good connection I suppose to her roots and helped her understand the true meaning of being a hero. In the end, your life is what you make it. You can have everything in the world, but it is your qualities and your true morals that mold who you are as a person and paves your destiny. Everyone has temptation and wants, but would possessing what you yearn offer you true satisfaction? The answer is no. Don’t fool yourself. A great life is not a gluttonous one. Love, benevolence, and perseverance are all examples of what makes a “Wonderful Life.” Seen that movie? I recommend it.

In summary, did Wonder Woman 1984 live up to expectations? In my opinion, it did. Sure, parts of the plot were cliché, but what superhero movie doesn’t have aspects of that? I will agree with the majority consensus that the first Wonder Woman movie was superior, but that is how sequels are supposed to play out. The first movie was an awesome historical fiction set in World War I (which always captures the eye) and had a huge plot twist in the end with a somber death. It was like dynamite! I certainly was not expecting the sequel to be of this magnitude. Yes, the plot could have been deeper than a costly stone. In comparison to the first movie, however, I thought Steve’s departure in this movie was more sentimental and heart wrenching because Diana had the choice of keeping him there or letting him go. I had welling tears in this movie but not in the first one.

Many are judgmental or petty because of changes they made like Kristen Wiig’s new “Cheetah” or Chris Pine’s “Steve” still ultimately being dead, but I focus more on the purpose of the movie than some of the pointless content. At least this movie has a great message for everyone. Some critics put too much pressure on movies such as Wonder Woman simply because it has a female lead role and because it is a rare circumstance where it has an amazing female superhero, it must be superior in every way and have no flaws for it to be acceptable. Why am I surprised? Sadly, anything that is headstrong with a female correlation is always subject to criticism. Let’s be honest. There have been countless awesome male superhero movies with crazy action scenes and comedic jabs that receive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, but not all have a brilliant message like this movie. So, let’s give Diana Prince a break. After all, most of everyone did not get the movie theatre experience and instead was cranky at home with cabin fever. Wonder Woman rocked it like she always does and for sure is set to return with another hit with Gal Gadot’s extraordinary portrayal. I cannot speak for everyone, but I positively will be waiting.