'Wonder Woman 1984': Pedro Pascal's Maxwell is the tamest villain we have seen in a film adaptation of comic
Maxwell Lord is a popular DC Comic villain well known for being manipulative and shrewd
Spoilers for 'Wonder Woman 1984'
'Wonder Woman 1984' is nothing like its predecessor and that is clear merely minutes into the movie. Time is the 1980s and Diana is not wide-eyed as she was before. She is now used to living among humans and is in fact working at the Smithsonian. It is while cataloging rare items for the FBI that Diana ends up making a wish that brings Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) back but the stone that grants wishes is blessed by the God of Lies. Now this stone ends up in the hands of the most shrewd and manipulative businessman Maxwell Lord. No! He is more desperate than shrewd, less smart than he is desperate, and nothing like the comic book villain that we are familiar with.
Yet, if you watch with an open mind, you might get used to his desperation because desperation really is key to the destruction that he brings upon the world. It does work momentarily. Especially the scene where Maxwell flies to Egypt to meet the King of Crude (oil) and grants him a wish, after having consumed the wish-granting stone in a strange turn of events, is proof of how desperate he must have been to succeed if he was okay with starting a war. As he begins to realize the power that he holds in his hands, he ends up using more people and granting more wishes to clear his path. Of course, this affects him adversely as his health goes for a toss.
To ensure that he regains his health, he ends up plotting a more evil plan and that is granting wishes to thousands of people and in return, he uses their life, youth, vitality to become better himself. This sounds like great villain material on paper, but on screen, it doesn't translate too well because the Maxwell that we met is wishy-washy in his attempts to rise to the top of the business world. For instance, when Maxwell manages to cop a meeting with the president, what should have been a powerful and scary scene, is more a comic one. We see him grant the president's wishes for more nuclear weapons and of course, once they appear on the radar of the Russians, the US faces an attack. To have more nuclear weapons did not exactly end up making the US more powerful. Instead, it opened the country up for brutal attack.
The only person who can stop all of this is none other than Wonder Woman and as these events took place, Diana also does her best to get ready and face the villain. Only, the villain that she faces and the one that really brought upon the war are two different people. As Diana faced Cheetah in CGI heavy fight to uphold the truth and justice, Maxwell got richer and healthier. The more energy he sucked off of people, the better the confrontation would be is what we thought. Instead, what we got is a Wonder Woman forgiving his transgressions so that he can arrive several hundred miles away magically to save his son from a mob. Yes, that's what she did. If you wonder what happened in the comic, ending Maxwell was one of Wonder Woman's highlight episodes as she choked him brutally.
If you are a fan of the moment and expect something similar then we are sorry to say that you will be disappointed. If you are not aware of this moment in the comics, then we are still sorry to say that this villain is just not worth your time.
'Wonder Woman 1984' can be streamed on HBO Max from December 25.