Much like Barbara at the beginning of this movie, the film seemed to be trying a bit too hard, stumbling around in its own shoes.
First of all, it’s set in Washington DC in 1984 (hence part of the title), and there are constant reminders throughout the movie to let you know this is the 80s. But I didn’t understand why it had to be set at this point instead of later or earlier.
The two main themes of the movie were “how to grieve like a superhero” and “don’t try to cheat the realities of life.” After the loss of her love, Steve, Diana has cut herself off emotionally from the people around her, even though she is still moonlighting as a superhero and works in a museum as an anthropologist. When a crystal surfaces that starts granting wishes, she is reunited with Steve but at a big cost. She then has some very hard decisions to make.
Outside of Diana and Steve, the new characters that are introduced didn’t have a lot of depth. Barbara fit the stereotype of the nerdy, awkward museum employee. Max Lord is a washed up entrepreneur who would give anything to be successful, forgetting the things that are most important. But that’s about it. Each makes a wish that they don’t want to give up, but their development is abrupt and confusing at times.
Then, there is the amount of information dumping that happens. The backstory of the crystal towards the beginning of the movie, all the way to the backstory of Max Lord towards the end (which I wasn’t sure if it was his childhood or his son’s for a minute). None of it really helped me understand or care about these new characters. They seemed like props to help move the story along.
The only two characters with any depth were Diana and Steve, but that was because of the previous movie. Here, they are just echoes of who they were before. Diana’s sacrificial choice towards the end was heartbreaking, but the emotions tied to that scene seemed to die with that scene. As the plot continues on to the final battle with the big bad, the monologue at the end that is supposed to reflect the transformation of Diana’s character is overshadowed by the weird info dump of Max Lord’s backstory.
I didn’t hate the movie. There were funny parts and emotional, sweet parts. I can see how they were trying to zero in on Diana’s humanity since the first movie was more about revealing the god-like part of her character. It seemed like they only had time to focus on either the special effects or the story. I just wish they had chosen to develop the story more.
There is profanity in the movie. Sexual content includes some kissing, including kissing in bed. There is a small possible trigger warning of Barbara being sexually assaulted in the park. Other violent content includes gun fire and fight scenes which are par for the course in superhero movies.