'Wonder Woman 1984' is barely about Diana as story of Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord overshadows everything
Steve Trevor and Maxwell Lord dominate 'Wonder Woman 1984', leaving very little room for Diana herself and this, in fact, is extremely unfortunate
Spoilers for 'Wonder Woman 1984'
Villains are an important part of every superhero movie and an underdeveloped villain can make the hero's story that much less interesting. There is such a thing as overdeveloping a villain, however. While Max Lord's (Pedro Pascal) story was a compelling one, it completely overshadowed everything else in the film, making Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) a secondary character in her own movie.
Max Lord's bizarre journey from big oil con man to wish-granting god is a story grounded by Pedro Pascal's amazing performance, but unfortunately, it becomes the focus of the entire film. The biggest theme of 'Wonder Woman 1984' appears to be trying to find an easy way out — getting what you want no matter the cost, or no matter the kinds of shortcuts you have to take to get there. While that's a valuable lesson, it's hardly one that applies to Wonder Woman, but one that's extremely pertinent to Max Lord — and, to a degree that's less focused on, Barbara Minerva (Kirsten Wiig).
The fact that Cheetah's role is relegated to one of a minor henchwoman for Max Lord is further proof of how much Diana's storyline is diminished in this film. Cheetah is meant to be Wonder Woman's nemesis — the Joker to her Batman, the Lex Luthor to her Superman — but Diana and Barbara's relationship is barely touched on in this film, and their one action scene a blink-and-you'll-miss-it CGI mess that only serves as a prologue to Diana's confrontation with Max Lord.
Even the scenes we DO get that focus on Wonder Woman are almost entirely focused on the return of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). From the moment he returns, the movie becomes all about his fascination with the future. It's about his wonder, his dreams, his passion. By the end of the film, we have no clue whatsoever what Diana's feelings about 1984 are or all the time she has spent in the decades since we last saw her. All we know of her life is that she doesn't get out much, that she has apparently made no new connections and has just been waiting for Steve to return.
It's disappointing to see a film about Wonder Woman fail to progress Diana's story in any meaningful way, especially since the character's own future is uncertain. We don't know when Wonder Woman will be seen next, as 'Wonder Woman 3' is no guarantee, and the future of 'Justice League' amounts to nothing more than reshoots from a film whose depiction of Wonder Woman is one that fans already dislike. It's unclear where fans will see 'Wonder Woman' again, and if 'Wonder Woman 1984' is her last adventure, it's a disappointing end.
'Wonder Woman 1984' is now available to stream on HBO Max.