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Wonder Woman 1984 reviews: 'Massive' & 'nostalgic' movie is too much of a good thing, but critics don't seem to mind
At long last, Wonder Woman 1984 will be making its way to an audience — be it on television screens at home, courtesy of Warner Bros.' decision to release the film onto HBO Max, or even on the big screen at whichever theaters are still open for business.
The sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman, a movie that cemented a whole new generation of fans for its titular hero, sees the return of director Patty Jenkins at the helm, and Gal Gadot as the Amazonian Princess Diana Prince. Joining her are The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal as scheming businessman Maxwell Lord, Kristen Wiig as gemologist-turned-villain Barbara Minerva (aka Cheetah), and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Diana's mysteriously returned love interest.
As the movie's title indicates, the film takes place in 1984, with Diana now working at the Smithsonian, while also saving the world in her spare time, being careful to keep Wonder Woman's existence a secret. However, the discovery of a magical stone that grants wishes leads to all kinds of trouble as people start wishing for their deepest desires — all with no thought to their consequences. It's soon up to Diana (as Wonder Woman) to take on both Lord and Cheetah, while also doing her best to right whatever wrongs might be unfolding in the world at large.
With only days to go before the movie, which clocks in at two-and-a-half hours, hits screens the world over, critics reviews have already been coming in. And as of Dec. 15, the film holds an 89% rating on Rotten Tomato's Tomatometer, just four percent shy of the first movie's impressive 93%.
Want to know what everyone's saying? Well, we've grabbed our lasso of news and put together a nifty roundup:
"It takes some time to get to the major action set pieces (other than the prologue, which is gorgeous), but it's too much of a pleasure to live in this well-realized place, populated by a quartet of capable and charismatic stars, to care. Once the action does ramp up, though, the cracks begin to show under the weight of the massive movie. At a certain point, the film goes from saying something true about human nature and American life to devolving into a largely empty spectacle ... Perhaps inevitably, Jenkins herself did not prove immune to the excess that she spent her ambitious 150-minute-long movie denouncing; that runtime alone is more than a little self-indulgent. But hey, if this year has taught us anything, it's to give each other a break — and to allow ourselves our indulgences. Maybe Wonder Woman will be the one to save us, after all." — Mary Sollosi, EW.com
"There's so much going on in Wonder Woman 1984 it's almost ridiculous. Different tangents get woven in and out, everything begins to escalate, and all the while themes of selflessness, hard work, bravery, and optimism are seeded along the way. Sometimes that gets lost in the weeds but by the end, you finish Wonder Woman 1984 with a nice, uplifting sense of hope and the feeling of gluttonous satisfaction—the fact that it was a little too long and a little confusing along the way is basically wiped out. Wonder Woman 1984 is an enjoyable, engrossing (sometimes to a fault) experience that will leave a smile on your face, partially because of the circumstances, but mostly because of the movie, flaws and all." — Germain Lussier, io9
"Like Jenkins' original Wonder Woman, this sequel spins out of control once the villains gain their full power, shifting from engaging character-based comedy to eye-crossing, CGI-bloated super-battle. (Cue Hans Zimmer's typically overzealous thunder-score.) Jenkins is an enormously talented filmmaker on whom the studio took a chance — one that's seldom questioned when conferred upon men — and she proves her worth by never letting the spectacle drown out the performances. Unlike so many of DC's impossibly chiseled leading men, the undeniably gorgeous Gadot makes Wonder Woman's qualities seem relatable — and therefore worthy of aspiring to themselves. Much as Wakanda stands for a land free from the strictures of white supremacy in Black Panther, Diana Prince represents what any woman might achieve, if elevated outside the patriarchy." — Peter Debruge, Variety
"Wonder Woman 1984's fight scenes are beautifully choreographed, though infrequent, and there are some amazingly striking visuals and quirky nods to the comics, not all of which have been spoiled by the trailers. Once Minerva finishes her evolution (devolution?) into Cheetah, her glorious smackdowns with Diana are absolutely worth the price of admission (an HBO Max subscription?), while continuing the movie's somewhat underdeveloped theme of 'strong women will always inevitably fight each other.'" — Seanan Maguire, Polygon
"What happens when a movie about '80s excess gets bogged down in, well, too much excess? The answer can be found in Wonder Woman 1984, a fun, but messy follow-up to the Amazonian superhero's 2017 re-introduction starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins. There's a lot to love in WW84: bold performances from a delightful cast, fantastic costumes, Jenkins' fast-paced direction. But it's in service of a plot that loses sight of what makes the character so great in the first place." — Esther Zuckerman, Thrillist
"Wonder Woman 1984 is a film with a heart full of hope and love; a nostalgic look back to a beloved time that provides escapism from an exceptionally difficult year. The adherence to a more classic superhero template means it is lacking in any genuine surprise or outstanding innovation, but this approach is always filtered through Jenkins' contemporary lens, which lends it distinct humanity amongst the '80s cheese. A notable improvement on its already great predecessor, Wonder Woman 1984 is exactly the kind of bright and hopeful movie the character's legacy deserves." — Matt Purslow, IGN
"What's most clear in Wonder Woman 1984 is that Patty Jenkins truly recognizes the power of the imagery she's committing to the screen: what it means to see a young girl be an action hero; the resonance of a power-hungry businessman broadcasting on White House comms; the majesty of Diana ascending skyward in the pursuit of changing the world for the better. These moments are so potent that it already feels like they have a life beyond the screen. Wonder Woman 1984 not only delivers the blockbuster thrills that 2020 has been missing — even more thrilling is the feeling it leaves you with: the hope that we too can propel ourselves into a brighter future." — Ben Travis, Empire Magazine
"WW84 is at its entertaining best in the early sequences. As she did in the last installment, Jenkins opens by returning to Diana's childhood (she's played with appealing pluck by Lilly Aspell), bringing back Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright, respectively, as her mother Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, and her mighty warrior aunt and mentor, Antiope..." — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"Both Wiig and Pascal are allowed to go exuberantly over-the-top in a movie that, at two and a half hours and with extended jaunts between Egypt and Washington, D.C., can seem as excessive and unwieldy as the decade it's satirizing. But aesthetically and conceptually, Wonder Woman 1984 holds together. The '80s decor (courtesy of production designer Aline Bonetto) is by turns cheeky and earnest, celebratory and satirical. The greed-is-bad moralizing feels both era-specific and pointedly contemporary. Gadot and Pine give great pillow talk, and their easy screwball rhythms provide not just levity but ballast: They ground a movie in which time, for all its malleability, always feels like it's slipping away." — Justin Chang, L.A. Times
Wonder Woman 1984 flies onto HBO Max and into select U.S. theaters on Dec. 25.