December 31, 2020 – The latest Wonder Woman movie takes a softer approach to the feminine superhero without all the blood and guts one sometimes gets in these kinds of movies.
Patty Jenkins, who directed the successful 2017 Wonder Woman movie, also directs this sequel, which takes a less masculine approach to the story. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, reprising her role from the 2017 film) is seen rescuing people and rounding up criminals like Superman (she even uses a superman pose when she flies later in the film).
But Wonder Woman is emotionally vulnerable, pining away for her long lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine of “Star Trek”) who died during World War I. Inadvertently, Diana Prince (Wonder Woman's secret identity) brings Trevor back to life by a wish made on a magic crystal which works a lot like the genie in Aladdin's magic lamp.
Although the spirit of Steve Trevor magically inhabits the body of another man, Diana is able to see him, not as others see him, but the way he looked during World War I. Trevor enjoys himself immensely in 1984, not just for being with the woman he loves, but in his endless discovery of how much things have changed over the decades.
Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig of “Ghostbusters”) a colleague of Diana's also gets her wish, thanks to the same magic crystal. She wishes to be like Diana, not knowing that she is also getting a lot more than beauty, but also amazing strength and speed.
It turns out that the magic crystal that grants wishes is a lot like a mischievous jinn (genie) or “The Monkey's Paw” (a short story by W. W. Jacobs which is specifically mentioned in the movie). The crystal grants wishes, but there is a catch, or two. You have to give up something to get your wish, and your wish may lead to a lot of bad unintended consequences.
When Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal of “The Mandalorian”) gets ahold the magic crystal, he makes a very unusual wish. In effect, he becomes like a powerful jinn, and as such, he causes no end of trouble.
A series of escalating problems leads up to a point where Wonder Woman is fighting against powerful foes in a desperate attempt to stop World War III. In more masculine films, the answer to a crisis of this sort is found in brute force and violence. Here, the answer is found in love, truth, morality, sacrifice and self-denial. Here, the superhero showdown scene turns this superhero cliché on its head.
I suppose it is naive to expect some people to accept an unconventional superhero confrontation like this, but I found it both satisfying and refreshing, especially after the lousy year we just endured with way too many selfish villains who lack these redeeming qualities. At 2.5 hours, this film is long, but it held my attention throughout.
Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal all give strong performances in this film, and there is plenty of action as well. The full complement of big budget special effects is also put to good use here. This movie rates a B.
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