If there’s a word to describe Wonder Woman 1984, it’s “arbitrary.” It is so weirdly bloated with problematic, nonsensical, pointless elements, and somehow Patty Jenkins was like, “Well, I can’t cut anything from this two-and-a-half-hour movie,” telling Collider that she only cut a single scene about hailing a cab. We need the lengthy flashback prologue that offers next to nothing. We need Wonder Woman to Tarzan swing around lightning bolts, because… we’re confusing her with Thor? We need Wonder Woman to invoke a new invisibility power solely for a reference to her old invisible jet. It needs to be… an American holiday? Also, instead of Steve just sort of appearing after the Dreamstone wish for him to return, his soul needs to possess another man so that it’s sort of fucked up and rapey. These things all had to happen, and it just so happens to take 150 minutes for all that.
You know, what? Fuck the rest of it. Let’s just look at that jet part for this brief review. That’s when it really goes into being borderline insane—swinging from its casual A to B to C logic like Diana from lightning, which is of course one of her powers.
It starts off with Diana and Steve—the latter now with greying temples, to show that he aged a bit since being reincarnated?—heading over to the Smithsonian Archives, where historical planes are inexplicably kept all gassed up and ready to take off from a fully manned and lit but otherwise dead runway. They get in a jet and start their takeoff, and some security guards in old pickups give chase. For some reason this is treated like a very big concern. Luckily, Diana has a plan: she will simply make the jet invisible.
As she hastily, casually explains, her father made a city invisible, and she’s spent 50 years trying to figure out how he did that (hint: it involves rubbing your hands together and that is it). She’s only managed to do it once with a coffee cup, but now, like an old guitar she only learned a single chord on, she’s going to now, in this time of crisis, pick it back up and try to play a whole song. She will use invisibility to hide the plane from radar! (The invisibility apparently also works for radio waves. Honestly, why not?) Unsurprisingly, she succeeds, and with the jet hidden, these schlubby security guards can no longer somehow intercept them in their 1980s trucks. Phew!
So now they’re off to Cairo, and Steve is lovin’ modern air travel, when, abruptly, there’s a large-scale fireworks display. Saying what we’re all thinking, Diana and Steve openly ask what the fuck is going on at this point.
As Steve marvels, acting like fireworks are somehow a modern invention, Diana figures it out.
“The Fourth! Of course…” Why not!
“The Fourth of July!?” Steve is incredulous. He has never heard of this strange tradition of lighting fireworks for the Fourth of July, even though we’ve literally been doing that since the first Independence Day of 1777.
Why does WW84 make this arbitrary, midway grab at being a Fourth of July movie? Who can say! But our clever pilot immediately uses the opportunity to fly directly through the bursting fireworks. How many times does this asshole have to die in a plane explosion before he’ll get the fucking hint?
This scene is interminable. It just keeps going, with Diana girlishly tittering as if she hasn’t seen several lifetimes of shit way more impressive than colorful sparks.
Finally, Steve says, “I got an idea,” and it’s admittedly a pretty solid one: flying OUT of the fireworks. Good one, Steve!
Don’t worry, we still aren’t done with the fireworks, though. Turns out, the point of this was just to now get above the clouds, so that the bursts below would look more nebulous. Good one, Steve?
The thin rationale for this scene likewise comes to hazy light when Diana starts going on about how Steve’s gift for flight is the onnnnnne thing that amazes her. She’ll never understand it! Steve begins to explain how flight works, in case we need it further spelled out that this is hamfisted foreshadowing for Wonder Woman learning how to fly.
At least it’s over now, though—leaving us to wonder how and where the hell they’re going to land a stolen US military craft in Egypt.
Wonder Woman 1984 ends up being its own tale of not understanding how to fly, leaping at these lofty notions and crashing to the ground at every go. Tonally, it’s a mess; the leads are all acting in different movies, and Gadot isn’t acting at all. As a superhero movie, it’s painfully regressive; after dodging the formulaic “hero just fights an evil version of themself” origin story, Jenkins for some reason loops back around to hit that trope hard here. It doesn’t even work as a period piece. Did the costume department’s research consist of watching a rerun of The Goldbergs? It’s the ‘80s as a cartoon but not even a fun one. At least Batman Forever’s sequel about a bespectacled comic actor going from put-upon loser to villain knew it was goofy. This is just unwittingly tedious.
Pedro Pascal was pretty good though.