Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

I waited for what seemed like a decade for Patty Jenkin’s directed movie “Wonder Woman 1984” to make it to virtual theaters across the world.

But off the bat, I feel as if there was a lot left to be desired to this sequel. Perhaps it was the world of COVID that diffused a bit of the fire, and yet, maybe it was just the overall scope of the movie that I wasn’t able to watch on the big screen.

All said, Kristen Wiig as Cheetah stole the show.

But did everything else rise to the occasion? 

Here is my review:

'Wonder Woman 1984'
6.5 out of 10

Wonder Woman theatrical poster HBO Max

Synopsis: Rewind to the 1980s as Wonder Woman's next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

So admittedly I let a little bit of time pass before I decided to write my review for “Wonder Woman 1984.”

First off let me say how appreciative I am that a female director Patty Jenkins was the strong force behind the movie and it was great to see strong female actors dominate and carry this film.

But there was a missing element throughout the construct of this film and I struggled for a while to identify my disdain.

Let me start off by saying I did enjoy the movie. I marveled at the great special effects and appreciated the creation of the iconic invisible jet introduced into the movie. But I continued to find a lot of weird faults and inconsistencies that bugged me.

In the film, Wonder Woman, also known as Diana, played by Gal Gadot and Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, fly in a jet that Wonder Woman turns invisible with her powers. They then fly through fireworks about Washington, D.C. and look with wide eyes as they pass through them, as they were lighting up the sky. Considering jets fly about 700-800 miles an hour, the fireworks in the jet would have been visible for a moment or two.

And before I venture too much further, I have to comment on the opening scene where Wonder Woman arrives at the scene of a jewelry shop heist in a shopping mall. If I have to be honest, I found it super corny.

I internally groaned when she saved an overly cute kid and they share a “I’ll save you little kid moment” and they both look at each other with a corny wink and a smile. I just wasn’t feeling it. It was a bit dorky.

This film was missing its edge that was so sharp in the first film. The first film had an air of grittiness and real struggle, life and death. The stakes in this film did not seem as dire, even though the world was on the brink of destruction due to the selfish nature of Maxwell Lord, played by Pedro Pascal (you may recognize the name due to his starring role in “The Mandalorian.”)

Kristen Wiig as Cheetah was an exceptional addition to the movie. She is one of my favorite actresses and I truly love what she brought to the film. She was funny, quirky, relatable and believable as a nerd, who then turns into a supervillain.

Gal Gadot did a good job as Wonder Woman and I bought it. Chris Pine coming back after all those missing years was a funny addition, but I really just felt the whole explanation behind him coming back was weird and disjointed.

The film told the story, but it was just the storyline overall that left me feeling a little left out.

What was missing?

The film just left me wishing for something completely different. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll do my best.

Perhaps the world between the two films seems so far away. The first movie was pre-COVID and I wasn’t relegated to my computer with the only access to the film being on HBO Max. I really wanted to see it on a large IMAX movie screen and I would feel comfortable in asserting the film would have been a little better had I seen it on the big screen.

I was watching this highly-anticipated sequel through the eyes and senses of long-existing COVID pandemic exhaustion.

I found the film to only attack things from the surface. I did not feel the depth of emotional investment or venturing.

I had longed sorely for an emotional connection but didn’t have any.

The movie for all of its magic, for all of its blazes of glory, for all of its special effects, fighting choreography and stunt work, left out the biggest element of all: emotional connectivity to each other as fellow human beings.

Side note: It was nice to see a brief image shoutout to Gene Brave Rock who appeared as Chief in the first movie when showcasing photographs Diana had in her apartment.

A review of HBO Max

HBO Max
9.5 out of 10

My quick quote: “A great streaming platform. At first glance, there is a world of great content offerings on the platform to include a massive catalog of DC Universe content. Well worth it.

HBO Max is the sole platform where interested movie watchers could get their hands on “Wonder Woman 1984.” But is it worth it?

A look at review sites state HBO Max still is going through a bit of growing pain considering the lack of compatibility with Roku and Amazon Kindle - but I just use my PC and can’t really attest to that. Let me know your thoughts.

But at first glance, there is a world of great content offerings on the platform to include a massive catalog of DC Universe content to include the massively anticipated Zack Snyder’s cut of the Justice League. I am waiting with bated breath to see it.

The platform also has the entire list of Harry Potter films, The Lord of the Rings, the Cartoon Network, Looney Tunes, Sesame Street, and a ton more movie genres and TV shows previously offered on HBO and are still wildly popular.

I would like to see a little more in terms of searchability, and I’d like to see a little more in terms of scrolling through the platform because it seems like the scrolling feature ends after ten rows of films before you have to do a key term search.

But I love the amount of content.

The platform is a little higher end in terms of cost at $14.99, but in my view is well worth it.

You don’t have to log in to see what they offer you can visit https://play.hbomax.com.

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Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor at Indian Country Today. He enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics, and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. TikTok @VinceSchilling. Email: vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com.

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