God I really really wanted to like WW84. I saw it was getting terrible reviews and I thought, “That can’t be right, surely, the first one was so damn good.” But… nope, they’re right. Three problems:
[big spoilers ahead]
1. (the most unimportant problem) it’s way too long. This could have easily been split up into two movies. There was no dang reason for it to last two and a half hours.
2. Everything about Cheetah/Barbara. I thought Kristen Wiig’s performance was really good considering what she had to work with, but the implications of her story are so squicky. Her wish “to be like Diana” which kicks her turn to evil off, that wish is made in response to her getting sexually assaulted. (Diana does not offer to walk her home after saving her from the sexual assault either, jeez.) And then she almost gets sexually assaulted by the same guy again, but her beating him up is presented as a bad thing rather than justified considering the circumstances. Add to that the fact that her initial behavior towards Diana reads more like a romantic crush than anything, and add to that the tired old trope of the dowdy girl who wants to be sexy but that makes her evil as well … it’s just a hot mess.
…and by the end she looks like an extra from Cats. I’m sorry. She does.
3. Oh boy. Okay. So yes, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor appears in this movie, because Diana wishes him back with a magic rock. Except when Dead Steve returns it’s in the body of an already existing person, a person who has their own apartment and job and presumably a life, and this is just…never mentioned. Diana, our heroine, is absolutely not concerned in the slightest that her getting her boyfriend back condemns an innocent stranger to death. When she eventually gives up Steve it’s to get her powers back, not because of the aforementioned. Again, she does not care about this at all and is willing to go to almost any lengths to keep Steve. (Yep, the famously feminist Wonder Woman does very little in this movie not involving her boyfriend.) Oh, and Steve doesn’t really seem too bothered about this either, despite the fact that by following Diana into battle he risks death or injury to a body that isn’t his. The guy Steve possessed shows up at the very end of the movie alive and well, which okay that’s good but…
This movie shows Diana and “Steve” in bed together. Assuming they had sex, which is a pretty fair assumption, Diana slept with a person who had the ghost of a dead WWI pilot possessing his body and thus could absolutely not consent. This movie didn’t just make Diana a cold obsessive throwing her morals away for a man, it also made her a rapist.
So yeah, I can see where the bad reviews are coming from.