By Raine Lee (Vancouver)
Bravo! WW84, A Meaningful Sequel Reflective of Our Time
This film is not just cinematically beautiful, but its story is also emotionally impactful enough to make up for the tired trope of “be careful what you wish for.” This theme of wishful thinking being fulfilled and thereby wreaking havoc on the world at large while also having repercussions at the individual level, reveals its enticing quality when even Wonder Woman is at its mercy for much of the film. This attachment to get what one wants is so intoxicating that it quickly spirals into a crippling addiction that ends up costing one everything.
Between the personal struggles of Wonder Woman in pining for her deceased love interest, Steve Trevor, one sees the devastation across the globe due to the greed of political and business heavyweights. Maxwell Lord, the egomaniacal antagonist, who tempts people with, “You just have to want it,” so that when they rise to the bait, he, in return, takes what is most valuable to them. This portrayal pokes fun at the all too prevalent positive thinking and law of attraction often used to cover up wishful fantasies, which are actually rooted in selfishness and self-indulgence.
This film gives us the chance to see what reality can’t — undoing what is already done. Wonder Woman renounces her wish of bringing back Steve, as the wish initially seems harmless enough, but proves devastating all the same for it isn’t the truth: to get what you want rather than what already is. This tenet is echoed throughout the film as we are shown the high price one has to pay for realizing wishful fantasies. “You cannot have it all. You can only have the truth and the truth is enough,” is what Wonder Woman comes to realize before letting go of her selfish desires. As a result, she regains her godly powers in full to serve the greater good and better protect the world.
For a superhero film, it offers considerable depth, coherency, relevancy, and inspiration to our current world in crisis. Towards the end, the villains are fittingly asked, “What is it costing you?” At the cost of their future, as it will be for us, where the unhinged is at the helm and the rest in a frenzy with desires unchecked. The scenes of countries gearing up with nukes, Porsches speeding down the streets, and misplaced cows abound forewarn us of disaster in a topsy-turvy world. To realize a dream without integrity brings forth consequences that can’t be reversed, unlike in the film. It is the moment Wonder Woman is taught as a youngster that “nothing good is born from lies,” which sets in a motion a true cautionary tale, yet without being overly didactic.
One of the few flaws is that for a character as selfish and drunk with power as Lord, it is a wonder how he could be so emotionally-invested in his son that looks to be not blood-related at all. Left unexplained, that certainly makes Lord more benevolent than how he’s otherwise portrayed. More importantly, however, it makes the film steeped in diversity, which will surely help when awards season rolls around.
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