As someone who mildly enjoyed Patty Jenkins’ first cinematic outing with Wonder Woman in 2017; I actually found it to drag a bit at times and the 141 minute runtime could have used some trimming as far as pacing is concerned. That being said, Wonder Woman 1984 is ten minutes longer and doesn’t feel it for a second. Patty Jenkins has shifted tones in this superior sequel and it embraces humor much in the same way that Thor: Ragnarok did to outshine it’s predecessors. I really admired how DC Comics president Geoff Johns and screenwriter David Callaham (Godzilla) managed to encapsulate the spirit of Greg Rucka’s run in the Rebirth books and weave it with Jenkins’ original story idea so smoothly. Cinematographer Matthew Jensen and Production Designer Aline Bonetto are a match made in Themyscira as their dazzling eighties aesthetics pop off the screen like neon fireworks on the 4th of July in an alternate history.
The film opens with Young Diana being reunited with Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and Antiope (Robin Wright) in an athletic competition that provides a valuable lesson to our young heroine before we are whisked away to 1984 where Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) now an anthropologist is continuing to seek Justice as Wonder Woman. A vibrant shopping mall sets the scene for a spectacular action sequence that’s pure delight from beginning to end. The remarkably talented Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor in a clever way after honorably meeting his sacrificial demise in the previous movie.
The most essential ingredient that makes this a higher-level sequel is the empathetic way it handles it’s two intriguing villains. Kristen Wiig delivers her finest performance to date as Barbara Minerva aka Cheetah and Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) is a hammy delight channeling Gene Hackman’s Lex Luther on steroids.
Patty Jenkins has delivered a stand-alone treasure to the DCEU and if the slate ahead continues this upward swing in quality than this Universe might be in the same league that Marvel has been in the last thirteen years. WW84 is a wonderful gift for the holidays at the end of a very glum year and should be embraced like a warm hug in a miserable storm.