After the DCEU started with a whimper as fans fought over whether they wanted grimdark superhero tales or ones more in line with the spirit of the comic book characters they portrayed, Wonder Woman finally did it right.
It looked like the DCEU would implode on itself after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice severed the fanbase into two distinct factions, but Wonder Woman reunited everyone and reminded fans what a real hero looks like.
Could Wonder Woman 1984 repeat the task?
Wonder Woman proved one thing in her first movie. She was the best of them all. She wasn’t an angsty Superman, and she wasn’t a broken Batman. She was a sign of hope in a world that needs that one thing more than anything, especially in these trying times.
Wonder Woman is someone who would run across a battlefield to save innocents and never think twice about it.
In Wonder Woman 1984, that is who returned once again.
It had been decades since Diana lost Steve Trevor, as he helped save the world on the brink of destruction during a war full of hate. In that movie, it was Steve that sacrificed himself to help Diana win in the end.
In Wonder Woman 1984, Diana lived alone and did nothing but work, which she did at the Smithsonian. Having a job there allowed her the privilege of unearthing and discovering things that were lost to time. One of these was the golden armor that Artesia used to help ensure Diana’s people could escape and live in peace in Themyscira.
That would come into play later in the movie.
However, what you should note is that Wonder Woman 1984, just like the original Wonder Woman, is a story about one woman, the best of them all, showing others how to be heroes and do the right thing. She does it this time in a much more personal story. This is not about stepping in and battling the god of war; it is about helping people see their own humanity.
Maxwell Lord is a shyster. He is like any other television evangelist or late-night infomercial host. He is good, though, and got lots of people to invest in his oil companies, none of which were striking gold. However, he was also very much aware of his failings and was willing to do anything to dig out of his hole.
That is where an ancient artifact made by a god came into play. While he was not aware of the god, he only knew that the artifact gave any person their wish, and he realized a way to use it that would help him achieve his goals.
He wished to be the artifact itself and took that power into his own body. He could grant any person one wish and then take something of theirs for himself. See, when a person gets their wish, they lose something of themselves. Usually, it is what the artifact wants. By the time Max became the artifact, it was whatever he wanted, and that was the world.
Sadly, when people in the world get their wish, it is usually based on greed, destruction, or a mixture of them both, and Max was destroying the world.
There is one other bad guy here named Barbara, who has lived her entire life being ignored and shunned and pushed aside and abused. It is clear what her wish is for, and it ends up transforming her into Cheetah, losing her sense of goodness.
Diana also had a wish, and it brought back Steve Trevor but at a high cost to her.
The movie sets out to show what a person’s wishes and self desires are really worth, and if getting what you always wanted in life is worth giving up something of yourself in exchange.
Wonder Woman is the best of us all, but is this something she can teach to the world?
Do you even need to ask?
Wonder Woman 1984 gives Diana a second chance to show the world what a real hero looks like, and once again, Gal Gadot was perfect in the role. She is a true hero in a DCEU full of false gods.
Once again, this is a movie that shows what it means to be a good person, and that is all it takes to be a hero.
It should also be noted that Kristen Wiig as Cheetah and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord are much more nuanced villains that DCEU fans are used to. In a world of megalomaniacs, killer clowns, and tyrannical aliens, both Max and Barbara are real people. They are given real stories that make them sympathetic, even as they devolve into their worst.
The MCU has done this with Loki and Killmonger, and now the DCEU has proven that they can create villains that are real people and not mustache-twirling lunatics.
Wonder Woman 1984 does almost everything right and is a sign of hope and goodness in a world that seems devoid of it in 2020. Just like the first movie, Wonder Woman is the hero we all need.