Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Wonder Woman 1984
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Written by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham
The 2017 Wonder Woman film hit a lot of right notes, but ended up faltering in the end. You can read that review here. This film is set in the 80’s and it doesn’t really seem to fit the period and time other than a few retro visuals, but largely doesn’t feel authentic. Of course Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, is back again with her flawless hair (even in battle she gets to whip her hair). Patty Jenkins also serves not only as the director, but does double duty with working the screenplay. Yet with three writers on this film…it falters again in so many ways.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens with a young Diana competing with other Amazonian’s in a competition and during which she tries to take a shortcut. As she is about to win, she is pulled aside by Antiope who explains that anything worthwhile must be obtained honestly. Now we have the overall lesson of the film established. Remember this for later.
We then get out 80’s retro fix with shopping malls, and other visuals that are on display to invoke nostalgia. Wonder Woman stops a robbery and the artifacts of the robbery become the focus of the film as one artifact is a Dreamstone. Capable of granting one wish,the failed businessman, Max Lord is after it in his last effort to wish himself success. A shy and somewhat quirky geologist named Barbara Minerva is an expert of such antiquities and the FBI comes to her at the Smithsonian to help them figure out the value of the artifacts. Max uses his charm to lead Barbara on to get closer to the stone. Once he gets it he wishes to become the Dreamstone so he can grant wishes. Yet this comes at a cost to his health and the demands of never having enough. This also begins to cause world wide problems as the wishes begin to get more and more complex.
Diana get to make her wish to have Steve Trevor back. He died heroically at the end of the previous film. The way this film brings him back is to have his spirit inhabit the body of another man. Sort of creepy and in a weird way rapey considering their off camera sex scene? Double standards here I guess? If this was reversed to be a woman I bet there would be outcries from the public. Yet hence why the double standards exists. Moving forward Diana gets her wish but at the cost of her superpowers. Barbara who has been envying Diana wishes to be like her and inadvertently gains her superpowers.
They track down Max in the Middle East as he grants another wish that plunges the world into chaos. Battles and stunts ensue to further the mess of a story so far. Next we are at the white house as Max gains access to a top secret base which has the capability to broadcast to the entire world. Max’s intent is to open himself to the entire world of wishes so he can grow more powerful. Diana lose sin her fight against Barbara who is now changing to become Cheetah. Diana and Steve have a final scene where he tells her she must let him go and revoke her wish so she can gain her powers back and save the world. Diana fights Cheetah and defeat her this time. She goes on to lasso of truth Max and show him the world he is creating for his son. A world where his son doesn’t have a father. She shows him his childhood and how he didn’t have a good father and his deepest wish is to be a good father to his son. He revokes his wish and therefore destroying the Dreamstone.
With all of that being said I will knock the screenplay writer’s on a flawed message of female empowerment…again (they missed the mark in the first film). The film sets up a message of honesty in the first scene, but never really comes back to it in regards to Diana and Barbara. A scene or two bringing the message back would bring home the message and not make the entire competition sequence wasted time.
Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.