Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Wonder Woman 1984

(WW84, 2020)

It was streaming for free on HBO Max, but only for thirty days. I (once more) broke my resolve to not watch any more superhero movies because I liked the first part of Wonder Woman and because the notion of an all-female world, like the notion of an all-black hidden community in Black Panther, seemed to offer an interesting alternative to the over-crowded movies from both the DC and Marvel universes. And what did I get? About the same. I quite enjoyed the first two-thirds, and the concept underlying it all was interesting … for a while. It centers around an artifact, the Dreamstone, that seems to have been created by the Ancient Olympian Gods of Themyscira, the domain of the Amazons. It will grant one wish to anyone.

Diana unknowingly wishes that he lover, Steve Trevor, who died in 1918 in the first film, was alive. His soul appears in another man’s body. He is suitably awed by the world of tomorrow, which is fun. Another bit of fun is Kristen Wiig as Barbara Ann Minerva, who works with Diana in the Smithsonian as an archaeologist. She replays her ditsy character from Bridesmaids, socially awkward, so insignificant that people forget all about her as soon as she leaves the room. She, too, accidentally gets her wish granted: to be like Diana, not knowing that Diana is Wonder Woman. Suddenly she is charismatic, deft, and hugely strong. But soon this power goes to her head, and in dispensing some street justice to a potential rapist she gets quite brutal. The third wish is granted to the Ponzi scheme bad guy, who knows what he’s doing, and asks to become the Dreamstone. That means he can grant wishes, which he does, at first to dig himself out of a lot of trouble. But soon he and Barbara are seduced by the dark side of the stone. Diana’s only hope is to persuade them to renounce their wishes. But Barbara has no intention of going back to being a mouse, sides with the bad guy, and eventually transforms into a Goth bad girl, and eventually into Cheetah, complete with spots and whiskers and a tail, who I learn is Diana’s nemesis from the comic books.

Like I said, all that is interesting, but as the bad guy loses more and more of himself he grants wishes with no thought of the consequences, and the world slips into anarchy. And from there it descends into the kind of over-the-top crap that is standard issue for these comic book movies.