3/10 Some of the most anticipated films of 2020 sure did end up disappointing and right before a garbage year’s end, we get a garbage movie, which is such a shame considering I gave “Wonder Woman” an 8/10 back in 2017 and that film was a much needed boost for struggling DC films. I actually saw this movie at a pre-screening a year and a half ago (it kept getting delayed due to the China Virus) and I had to sign an NDA so I couldn’t reveal how disappointing this follow up was in detail until now but the overall reactions from those test screenings were overwhelmingly negative. Add the fact that Emma Stone turned down the role of Cheetah (which went to Kristen Wiig) because I can only assume she read the script and said, “I am an Oscar winner. Why the Hell would I sign onto this?” With more time to reshoot and edit this due to its multiple delays, you’d think they would have listened to the test screen audiences who gave such negative feedback but apparently complaints like mine fell upon deaf ears and this was 97% the same movie I saw a year and a half ago with only very minor changes. So why is this movie so bad, you ask? Well for starters the first film was more serious and darker, involving World War I and entire villages being gassed. There was nothing wrong in wanting a more light hearted and more fun follow up but this movie is extremely cheesy. And not in a fun way, but in a painful way. Right off the bat we get a mall heist scene that feels like it watched “Stranger Things” season 3, enjoyed the 1980s mall elements in that show so they ripped it off for this movie. Then you have a moment where Diana (Gal Gadot) throws a bad guy through a giant “Virginia is for Lovers” drum and he comes out the other end spinning around in circles, which just came off as embarrassing. Without giving anything away, the movie’s ending has the entire world doing a good deed and basically everyone holding hands, singing Kumbaya. The tonal shift from the serious and exciting first film to the absolutely cheesy and over the top sequel is enough to give you whiplash if you watched both movies back to back like I did. Speaking of over the top and cheesy, Pedro Pascal, a fine actor when given a decent script, wasn’t given one here and he was so over the top that they should have had him playing a pole vaulter. He channels Nicolas Cage but not “Adaptation” or “Leaving Las Vegas” Nicolas Cage. I’m talking every straight to DVD title and “The Wicker Man” Nicolas Cage. He gives an awful performance that was as two dimensional as the comic strip it originated from. The movie is so poorly written, full of plot holes and massive coincidences. Diana and Steve (Chris Pine) are easily able to not only steal a jet (classic pre 9/11 security) that happens to be gassed up and ready to go but Steve, who is only used to flying WWI era planes is easily able to fly this modern (for them) aircraft without a hitch. They make it all the way to Egypt, we don’t see where they land, we don’t see how they refuel or how they make it back to the States afterwards. The screenwriters must think we are dumb enough to not question the basic lack of logic here. I haven’t seen a character magically get from one country to another in a superhero movie in such an unexplained way since “The Dark Knight Rises”. Barbara (Wiig) gets attacked by a mugger and runs into her homeless friend one night and then later on in the movie, just so happens to conveniently run into both of them again within minutes of each other. Elements of the plot in this movie completely contradicts the events of “Justice League” which takes place over 30 years later. You would think the film makers would have cared about things like continuity since even the most basic of film fans can spot these glaring issues a mile away but they were too lazy to care apparently. Diana was a very interesting character in the first film, discovering who she was while leaving the Amazon and having to adapt to a completely different world and a new kind of evil, while falling in love along the way. Here, she mopes around and even though it has been 70 years still hasn’t gotten over her old lover who she didn’t know for that long and once he comes back, her personality just consists of being in love with him. Her character arc was boring and a step down from the previous film. Speaking of taking a step down, even the action in this movie pales in comparison to the first film. None of the action impressed me here and the fight scene in the White House just made me want to watch the White House fight scene from “X2: X-Men United”…or “Olympus Has Fallen”…or “White House Down”…or a heated argument in “House of Cards” for that matter. Anything was more inspired than what we see here. There are a few positives but not enough to make you forget about the awful script and weak story whose plot only exists to bring Steve Trevor back to Diana. Gadot and Pine do have great onscreen chemistry together, the opening Amazon scene was the highlight of the movie, the fireworks scene in the jet was visually stunning and Hanz Zimmer delivers a powerful and memorable score. These positives don’t make up for how disappointing this is, especially compared to the first film which was heartfelt, enjoyable and well balanced. Here we get perhaps the cheesiest movie of 2020, a weak plot with over the top villains, a boring lead, forgettable action and an overly long running time. Warner Brothers has already greenlit a third movie in the franchise but unless Patty Jenkins hires some real screenwriters for the next movie, I don’t see this downhill slide slowing down anytime soon. Jenkins has proven she can direct but her writing here shows she is no screenwriter as she delivers her worst movie yet. There is nothing wonderful about this woman or this movie. Go rewatch the first one instead.
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