The sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman origin story, Wonder Woman 1984 is again directed by Patty Jenkins and this time from a screenplay by Jenkins, veteran comic book writer Geoff Johns, and Dave Calahan. It stars Gal Gadot as the titular character, brings back Chris Pine as her love interest Steve Trevor, and introduces Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal as two new villains. I had a big grin on my face for much of the first act in what started as a lot of huge, campy fun, but devolved into utterly bad writing. The screenplay was definitely the biggest, most glaring issue with the film. It fails to manage basic characterization for any character other than maybe two of its four leads and the unsubtle, corny dialogue plagues the whole film. All of the performances are certainly likable at some point or the other, but there’s no overcoming the poor material they are given to work with. Again, in the first act, the characters of Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva both showed fun potential, especially given the talent of Pascal and Wiig, but they’re handled and balanced so sloppily over the course of the lumbering, 2 and a half hour runtime. The main positive, the occasional exciting, escapist set-pieces, either descend into corniness or get muddled by the out-of-left-field and incoherent political angle (or a host of other problems and unresolved subplots crammed in here). The film felt like a huge disappointment following its far superior predecessor, especially considering the potential provided by the new setting and cast members.
Wonder Woman 1984 sees glimmers of the moments of well-crafted, genuinely exciting action and sincere character beats that made the first so great, but these moments are lost among its overstuffed, poorly written screenplay.