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‘Wonder Woman’ sequel receives mixed reviews

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‘Wonder Woman’ sequel receives mixed reviews


The premiere of ‘Wonder Woman’ at the Pantages in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO

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Summary

  • Sequels are invariably a big letdown.
  • And so it was no surprise to hear that quite a few Gal Gadot fans found the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984 a disappointment. Or so the critics surmised.
  • Supposedly disheartened fans were said to be dismayed at the way their glorious Amazon-empowered Diana Prince was portrayed in the second installment of their favourite DC comic book character.

Sequels are invariably a big letdown. And so it was no surprise to hear that quite a few Gal Gadot fans found the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984 a disappointment. Or so the critics surmised.

Supposedly disheartened fans were said to be dismayed at the way their glorious Amazon-empowered Diana Prince was portrayed in the second installment of their favourite DC comic book character.

It seems that movie critics came out in droves to find the second installment of Diana’s alter ego’s performance ‘deplorable.’

Others didn’t have as much of a problem with the melodrama of Wonder Woman’s doomed relationship with the love of her life, Steve (Chris Pine) as with other aspects of the film.

In fact, like packs of hyenas, critics tore the movie to shred. Some claimed Patty Jenkins’ script was overly complicated, contradictory, and confusing. Others saw it as improbable (but then, isn’t improbability the essence of fantasy and comic books!).

And others simply disliked the premise of the storyline, which was about an ancient ‘wishing stone’ that had the magical power to grant someone’s wish for the asking, however large or small. But what a wisher doesn’t anticipate are the dire consequences that eventually result from that wish.

It was the geeky, awkward and insecure gemologist Dr. Barbara Meadows (Christine Wiig) who researches the stone and finds that over the centuries, its presence in every previous empire led to its collapse under the weight of too many conflicting wishes coming true at once.

It’s probably true that WW84 was trying too hard to be and do too many things, like be a love story, action adventure, fantastically feminist fantasy, and socio-political commentary all at once. But there could be just as many fans of the film who didn’t have the same media platforms on which to shout their praises of the super-heroine.

Fans may easily argue that the critics (most of whom are male) simply cannot cope with seeing such a powerful, high-flying woman clobber so many bad men. From the outset, we see her fly in out of nowhere (just as Superman and other male super-heroes do) and finish off petty thieves and male predators.

With her shimmering lasso of light, she swoops in to save small kids from being run down by military convoys and the most masterful conman, Maxwell Lord, who’s out to literally conquer the world and grab everything of value that is in it.

Max is a TV celebrity who persuades multitudes in American to buy into his get-rich-quick ponzi scheme. Max seems to have hypnotic power which he works on Dr. Meadows to have her give him the wishing stone.

Max’s mania is that he ‘wants it all’ but ‘all’ is never enough. To say that he turns into the most dangerous megalomanic in the world is not an understatement.

The fact that Max’s mania seems to correlate so closely with that of the out-going president of the USA is one feature of the film that some critics found most contentious. But these are also the observers who ignored the exquisite special effects of the film, especially Wonder Woman’s marvelous lasso of light.

Her weapon of choice is also her tool for flying high and eventually taking the tips given her by her soon-to-be-gone sweetheart, former pilot, Steve.

The final scenes from the film are most spectacular, since we see her flying above the clouds like a bird who soars, lifted by wind currents. It’s an image we often saw with comic book kings like Superman, so why be startled to see Wonder Woman fly just as high as they did?

Several scenes that troubled some feminists were the fighting sequences between WW and Dr. Meadows who had wished she could be as sexy, beautiful and powerful as Diana. Meadows had fallen for bad boy Max, so she was prepared to finish her former friend in an extended battle scene that saw Diana almost undone.

The other problematic that some people had was the way Wonder Woman was magically able to change outfits instantaneously.

The most stunning was the way she arrived to battle with Meadows who was prepared for a fight to the finish. WW wore gold armour complete with golden eagles’ wings. The wings served as a defense shield since she seemed to hide within their protective embrace.

In fact, evil nearly triumphs. It won’t be too much of a spoiler to say the end is inconclusive. But Wonder Woman survives to do battle another day.



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