After over a year of delays and release date shifts, Wonder Woman 1984 will finally be released both in theaters and through HBO Max on December 25, 2020. Reviews are starting to come in for the highly-anticipated DC film, and so far, they’ve been relatively positive, making it sound like Wonder Woman 1984 is the big-budget spectacle we need to wrap up this crazy year.
As of this writing, Wonder Woman 1984 has received 81 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, giving the film an 89% approval rating. Meanwhile on Metacritic, with only 27 critic reviews, the film has a 67 out of 100. Yet on both review aggregate sites, the reviews for Wonder Woman 1984 are generally positive. For comparison, 2017’s Wonder Woman received a 93% on the Tomatometer after 461 reviews, while Metacritic placed it at 76 with 50 critic reviews.
Alex Abad-Santos’ 3/5 review of Wonder Woman 1984 at Vox says that Wonder Woman is more human in this sequel, but that “WW1984 is three movies rolled into one,” and that only two of these three movies actually work. Alonso Duralde’s review in The Wrap states, “this sequel shares the significant flaw of its predecessor: Both films graft and unwieldy and effects-heavy finale onto a movie that has managed to create relatable characters and situations, even when both are larger than life.” In her B-rated review, Kate Erbland of IndieWire said there are “some big swings, and not every single one lands, but the ones that do are joyous and genuinely worth pondering.”
Not all the reviews of Wonder Woman 1984 have been generally positive. Angelica Jade Bastién of Vulture says, the disappointing sequel highlights not only the dire state of the live-action superhero genre in film, but the dire state of Hollywood filmmaking as a whole.” The Playlist’s Rodrigo Perez says Wonder Woman 1984 is “fundamentally ill-conceived, poorly written, and missing most of the basic charms that made the original Wonder Woman such a delight (minus the last act).”
In the first year without a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2009, DC has used this to their advantage, building some exciting buzz around their various characters, films, and television shows. Earlier this year, DC released Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) to strong reviews, despite a meager box office return, and now the year will end with a bang with Wonder Woman 1984.
This year has also seen the first trailer for Matt Reeves’ The Batman, the announcement of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, on HBO Max, big casting announcements from The Flash and The Suicide Squad, and Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar win as Arthur Fleck in Joker. With Birds of Prey and the animated series Harley Quinn both getting a solid critical reaction, and now Wonder Woman 1984 likely to end DC on a strong note this year, it seems as though 2020 has been a year for DC to catch up with Marvel.
While fans only had to wait three years for Wonder Woman 1984 after the release of the first film, they might have to wait a bit longer for a third film. Director Patty Jenkins is currently prepping the next Star Wars film – Rogue Squadron – for a Christmas 2023 release, so it seems unlikely we’ll see a third Wonder Woman film before then. Yet Jenkins has said there is a Wonder Woman spin-off in the works, focusing on the Amazons of Themyscira. It might be quite some time before we see the Wonder Woman trilogy wrap up, but at least there are plans to return to this world, even if it is without Diana Prince.
Wonder Woman ended its run as the 31st highest-grossing film of all-time domestically, making it the third highest-grossing DC film ever. It seems unlikely that Wonder Woman 1984 will reach those types of numbers when the film is released on Christmas, due to COVID-19 restrictions and the film also releasing on HBO Max the same day it comes to theaters. But in terms of the film’s critical reactions so far, Wonder Woman 1984 looks to be right in line with the first film at this point.