Small wonder

WW84 (12A, 150 minutes)

I could have done without the 1980s. It was all horrible sounding snare drums with reverb turned up to 11, worse clothes, Reagan, Thatcher, cruise missiles, miners strikes and poll tax riots.

So it’s pretty obvious that those on a nostalgia kick for the rolled up suit jacket sleeves generation with shows like Stranger Things and the new adventure from the saviour of DC’s cinematic universe, Wonder Woman, didn’t actually have to go through it first time around or they would know better.

WW84 is only the second major cinema release since the pandemic took hold in March and it’s ironic that after a five month delay, within 24 hours of its release, many of the few cinemas still allowed to stay open had to shut up shop again.

Which is a great shame, because this is the sort of escapist spectacle film-starved mainstream audiences lap up.

Patty Jenkins’ 2017 money-spinner remains the best of the DC superhero films by an amazonian mile because it had both style and substance.

But while this sequel has its moments, much like the decade it’s set in, unfortunately this has too much of one and not enough of the other.

What it does still have in its favour is the genius casting of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince. She glides regally through the two and a half hours like a catalogue model in search of an ancient stone which grants whoever holds it one wish, including Diana herself, who has spent the 66 years since the end of the previous film “pining” for her lost love Steve Trevor.

But every wish granted comes at a price and the price here is a clumsy screenplay that fails to match up to hopes and expectations.

The villains of the piece are far from the criminal masterminds one associates with DC Comics. Conman failure Maxwell Lord, played by star of The Mandolorian, Pedro Pascal, cuts a rather pathetic figure and Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva aka The Cheetah is as much a victim as she is a foe.

There’s a warmth about the first film that is sadly absent here, although that in itself is somewhat fitting as by the 80s all innocence had been lost forever in a blast of sequenced basslines as two tribes fought it out on a Frankie Goes To Hollywood video set.

In setting this sequel during the most vacuous decade in modern history instead of, say, the 1960s or even the present day, rather than maintaining the momentum created by it’s predecessor, WW84 is more closely aligned in tone to Christopher Reeve-era Superman 3 and 4.

If you’ve never seen those, consider yourself lucky.

RATING 5/10

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]