Respected Critics Are Coming To Wonder Woman 1984"s Defense - And I"m Here For It

  • The harsh criticism towards Wonder Woman 1984 was overblown, lacking context and nuance.
  • The streaming release impacted viewer perceptions, highlighting the shift in theatrical trends due to the pandemic.
  • The controversy surrounding the movie misunderstood its plot, with the Monkey's Paw storyline raising moral issues that were actively explored.
It's time to admit that Wonder Woman 1984's critical reception was way too harsh. Even now, 4 years on, Patty Jenkins' period-set DCEU sequel attracts the kind of criticism traditionally reserved for the bottom rung of turkeys, flops, and theatrical busts, and it's a little uncalled for. Was Wonder Woman 1984 a perfect movie? No. It has some pretty glaring flaws, and held up against Wonder Woman, it is weaker, but the level of vitriol fired at it since release has been uncomfortable, frankly.
That reactions were extreme is perhaps unsurprising. There has been an increasing shift away from assessing movies for what they are, or for the individual experiences they offer, towards bemoaning what they aren't or how they stack up to the increasing number of sprawling shared universes. Nuance has been replaced with a race to declare everything either the best or the worst release, with gleeful mob reactions enjoying Madame Web's quality almost as much as they enjoyed No Way Home's at the other end of the spectrum.
The DCEU came with its own elevated circumstances that made all of that worse for Wonder Woman 1984 (and pretty much every DCEU movie, in fact). The narrative had already been established by this point that the DCEU was a "lame duck", with every successful exception ignored as inconvenient context. Wonder Woman 1984 also came after Birds Of Prey and countless bad faith hot takes on its wokeness, which hardly helped. But it was never the movie its criticism suggested, and it deserves another look.


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