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My “Wonder Woman 1984” Review: An (Imperfect) Emotionally Charged Wonder

We’re at a point with superhero movies where the bar has been raised to such a degree that we can’t just call them a passing fad anymore. Love them or hate them, superhero movies have evolved. They’ve developed a complexity and nuance that few genres ever gain, regardless of medium.

Plus, they make billions at the box office. Let’s not forget that. It’s why the Bill Mahers of the world won’t stop whining about superhero movies anytime soon.

Forgetting the whiners and petty nit-pickers of the genre, superhero movies have a higher threshold to achieve to be considered successful. It’s not enough anymore than to just put a famous actor or actress in an iconic costume and replay famous scenes from comics. The story, characters, and themes have to be refined and compelling.

That’s a challenge for any movie, but one that felt far more daunting for “Wonder Woman 1984.” After the success of the first “Wonder Woman” movie, which did a masterful job of establishing Diana’s origin and building her superhero persona, this sequel is tasked with building on that foundation.

As someone who loved the first movie and made it a point to watch “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max with my mom on Christmas day, I had high hopes for this movie. I wasn’t expecting “The Dark Knight” level of quality, but I was hoping for a worthy follow-up.

Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll say without hesitation that it succeeded. This movie was a beautiful, emotionally driven cinematic experience and a worthy successor to the first “Wonder Woman.”

I say that knowing that some reviews were quite scathing in their assessment of the film. As is my general rule, I never read reviews before I see a movie. As I saw withNew Mutants,” that can wrongly color your perspective. As was also the case with that movie, I was genuinely surprised by the criticisms levied against “Wonder Woman 1984.”

However, I’m not going to waste my time responding to those criticisms. I’m just going to offer my take on why I thought this movie was a worthy follow-up to the first. Like any sequel, its primary goal was building on what the first movie established. In that sense, this movie did succeed.

The setup for the movie is a dazzling spectacle. Like the first, we get a brief glimpse of Diana’s youth on Themysicra. We see her living and growing amongst her Amazon sisters, showing the kind of power and potential that lies within her. It’s a true sight to behold and one director Patty Jenkins fleshes out meticulously.

Within that setup, though, is an important theme. It highlights the importance of truth and doing things the right way for the right reasons. You cannot and should not take shortcuts to achieve your goal. Doing so will always come at a price and incur consequences. It’s a simple, but necessary lesson that kids and adults alike often learn the hard way.

That leads us directly to the main antagonist of the movie, Maxwell Lord. Played by Pedro Pascal, he comes off as the very antithesis of this lesson. He’s a con-man and a huckster, always looking for a shortcut to get what he wants. That includes tampering with the forces of the gods, which puts him in direct conflict with Diana.

At the same time, this conflict ties closely to another unfolding with Diana’s new friend, Barbara Minerva. Played by Kristen Wiig, she comes off at first as the very antithesis of Diana. She’s a nobody. She has none of Diana’s power, grace, or skill. She’s basically invisible, only ever getting attention from people she doesn’t like.

This is very much in line with the characterization of Barbara Minerva in the comics. She’s Wonder Woman’s chief rival, but she started out as a friend. She’s even sympathetic to some extent. She’s not looking to become a villain, like Maxwell Lord. She just wants a taste of the power and prestige that she sees in Wonder Woman.

She ultimately gets her chance, as does Maxwell Lord. When Barbara stumbles upon the Dreamstone, a relic imbued with the power from Dolos, the god of lies, that can grant wishes to those who wield it. However, like a typical monkey’s paw narrative, every wish comes at a price.

It closely mirrors the lesson young Diana learned in her youth, as depicted in the movie’s opening scenes. Taking any shortcut to get what you desire will come at a price. You can try to avoid the consequences all you want, but it eventually compounds. The more you try, the worse it’ll get.

Maxwell Lord thinks he has a way to avoid this. He thinks he can get everything he wants by simply making the right kind of wish. That ultimately causes a great deal of destruction. I’d go into detail, but I’d rather not reveal too much. All you need to know is that it’s not the kind of destruction Wonder Woman can stop with her fists and her sword.

What happens with Barbara Minerva is even more impactful. Like Maxwell Lord, she’s unwilling to give up any power she gains. Unlike Lord, however, she’s willing to pay any price to keep it. That’s what sends her down a dark path. It’s also what turns her from one of Diana’s friends into a truly tenacious foe.

These conflicts become very personal to Diana because she too is unable to resist the temptation. She may give so much of herself to others, but she also has desires and wishes of her own. That’s where Steve Trevor, played again by Chris Pine, enters the picture.

His death and heroic sacrifice in the first “Wonder Woman” movie was so powerful. That whole movie really sold the love that blossomed between him and Diana. Even as the years go by, his death still burdens Diana. She cannot let go of that love. She wants nothing more than to have it back.

It’s sad, but understandable. If ever someone deserved a consequence-free wish from all her heroic acts, it’s Diana. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around it. She still tries. She gets her chance to be with the love of her life again. As with everything else, though, it comes at a price.

That’s the biggest theme of this movie. Getting what you want by breaking the rules or cheating will always come at a price. Even if you’re willing to pay that price, it does cause damage to yourself and others. It’s a painful lesson and one that gives “Wonder Woman 1984” so many emotional overtones.

It’s because of those overtones that this movie works so well. Wonder Woman, by her nature, is a very emotionally driven character. Her love, compassion, and heart are among her greatest traits. They’re as strong as her fighting spirit. The first movie revealed this and “Wonder Woman 1984” builds on that.

Her greatest struggles always have an emotional weight to them. It’s not just a matter of her beating up the bad guy to save the day. One of those foes was once her friend. Another is someone she can’t defeat simply by beating him up. She has to use that uncanny compassion and heart to win the day. That’s what makes her Wonder Woman.

I would argue that’s the most important aspect of her character and this movie captured it perfectly. I really did feel for Diana as she went through these emotional upheavals throughout the story. It brought out her greatest strengths, as well as her greatest weaknesses.

Now, speaking of weaknesses, this is where I also have to levy some criticisms of my own against “Wonder Woman 1984.” I promise they’re not nearly as petty or overblown as some of the other reviews to this movie. Some have complained about the length and tone of the movie. I honestly think that sort of criticism is misguided.

I’ll still say outright that this movie was not as good as the first “Wonder Woman.” This movie was not as concise and polished, in terms of story. There were a number of “and then this happened” moments that made the story seem a bit jumbled at times. In some cases, it relied too heavily on contrivances and suspension of disbelief to move things along.

I get the sense this was done to keep things moving forward from a plot standpoint. I also think there were some difficulties in revealing the ins and outs of godly magic, which is considerably harder to do in a movie when compared to a comic.

None of these shortcomings kept the movie from working overall. Gal Gadot once again carried her role as Wonder Woman with grace and grit. She, Steve Trevor, and Cheetah all had well-developed characters that played their roles well throughout the story. In terms of the most important elements to a good Wonder Woman movie, “Wonder Woman 1984” got them right.

If I had to score this movie, I’d give it a 4 out of 5. It has some noticeable flaws, more so than its predecessor. However, Gal Gadot is still an amazing Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins is still a great director, and this world they explored together was full of dazzling wonder.

For a year that has been so bleak and dire, it’s just what we needed. For that, I thank “Wonder Woman 1984” and all those who helped make it happen.

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New Comic Book Day December 16, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

As a lifelong comic book fan, I like to think I’m easy to shop for on the holidays. Pretty much everyone in my family is aware of just how much I love comics. I also make it a point to send them lists of books I want, where to get them, and which are the least expensive.

They appreciate that a great deal. It also helps that most of the books I ask for are rarely more than twenty bucks. Those on a budget, along with those who are just cheapskates in general, love that my needs are so simple.

It makes the holidays that much more enjoyable. I’m just a simple man with simple tastes. I don’t need big, fancy gifts anymore. I can buy my own game consoles and gadgets. Just get me a stack of comics to read on Wednesday mornings with my coffee and I’m a happy guy.

New Comic Book Day around the holidays only makes me happier. It means I can both enjoy new comics and read them under the light of a Christmas tree. It’s as joyous a feeling as anything that doesn’t involve eggnog, candy canes, and gingerbread cookies. I encourage everyone to enjoy it.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, this is as good a time as any to supplement your comic reading with some festive tidings. To help, here’s my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Aquaman #66

Batman #105

Captain America #26

Deadpool #9

Fantastic Four #27

Immortal Hulk #41

Iron Man #4

Killing Red Sonja #5

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #17

New Mutants #14

Power Rangers #2

Savage Avengers #16

Star Wars: Darth Vader #8

Superman #28

Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #2

X-Force #15


My Pick Of The Week
Superman #28

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New Comic Book Day December 9, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

We all have our own unique rituals for enjoying a particular experience that we’ve come to love. One of my siblings had this weird thing where he could only watch “The Sopranos” in the basement, with all the lights off, while sitting on a bean bag chair.

I don’t get it, either. It annoyed the hell out of me most of the time. Then again, who am I to judge? I’m the same when it comes to reading comics, especially in December.

I love reading comics on New Comic Book Day at every point in the year, but that doesn’t stop me from using the holidays to enhance the experience. For me, that involves turning on my Christmas lights, starting a fire in my gas fireplace, brewing a cup of coffee, and laying back in my recliner with an iPad full of new comics.

It’s basically comic book and holiday nirvana. There are no words to describe the joy, comfort, and relaxation I feel when I’m in that state. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week. It’s also one of my favorite experiences, in general.

For all my fellow comic fans out there, I’m sure you have a New Comic Book Day ritual of your own. During the holidays, you may even mix it up a bit. I encourage everyone to embrace that. When you can combine comics with the holidays, then joy of every kind will surely follow.

With that in mind, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #54

Captain Marvel #24

Detective Comics #1032

Grimm Fairy Tales: 2020 Holiday Special

Guardians Of The Galaxy #9

Juggernaut #4

Marauders #16

Mighty Morphin #2

S.W.O.R.D. #1

Star Wars #9

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1

Venom #31

Wonder Woman #768


My Pick Of The Week
S.W.O.R.D. #1

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New Comic Book Day December 2, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I am so ready for this year to be over. I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way. I don’t think I need to remind everyone why.

As awful as it has been, we should take some comfort that we made it all the way to December. We have both the holidays to look forward to, as well as the start of a new year. That’s promising. It’s an objectively good outlook to have.

We still have to make it through December, though. There’s still plenty of time left for something awful to happen. Aliens may or may not invade, but if an asteroid struck tomorrow, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

In the meantime, the best we can do is find a way of making it through this final month. For me, comics have always been a great way to endure tough times and extract a little basic joy from life. They helped me get through high school. They also helped me get through some dark, unpleasant times in my life.

For that reason, and many others, I’ll always be grateful. Given how much my spirits have been crushed and maimed by 2020, I’ll need them more than ever to make it through this final month. Thankfully, the fine publishers of the industry are still hard at work and I gladly patronize them every Wednesday. I encourage others to do the same.

To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy and hang in there people! We’re on the final lap.


My Pull List

Batman #104

Batman/Catwoman #1

Black Widow #4

Champions #3

Daredevil #25

Fantastic Four: Road Trip #1

Hellions #7

King In Black #1

Red Sonja #22

Savage Avengers #15

Thor #10

X-Factor #5


My Pick Of The Week
Batman/Catwoman #1

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New Comic Book Day November 25, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is always extra special. For me, it’s like an appetizer before the appetizers. It’s a mini-holiday before a major holiday, which only serves to make both holidays even better.

Does that sound complicated and weird? I don’t doubt that it does.

Does it make me love it even more? Absolutely!

New comics are a like a hot meal for my soul. They inspire and invigorate me like my mother’s famous pumpkin pie. Knowing I’ll be able to dine on actual pumpkin pie the next day only makes them more delicious. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Whatever your Thanksgiving plans are this year, tempered they might be, today is a good day to work up an appetite. Before you start slaving away in the kitchen, take a step back to enjoy a nice stack of new comics. It’ll make you feel like a hero when dinner is served.

To that end, here is my pull list and pick for this beautiful Thanksgiving Eve. Take care and I wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


My Pull List

Action Comics #1027

Batman Beyond #49

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #2

Batman/Superman #14

Daredevil #24

Amazing Spider-Man #53.LR

Doctor Doom #9

Excalibur #15

Fantastic Four: Antithesis #4

Justice League Dark #28

Rick and Morty Ever After #2

Shang-Chi #3

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #6

Wonder Woman #767

X Of Swords: Destruction #1

X-Men #15


My Pick Of The Week
X Of Swords: Destruction #1

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New Comic Book Day November 18, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I feel like the week before Thanksgiving is always one of the busiest weeks of the year for me, regardless of whatever work I’ve got going on. In high school and college, this was usually the week when most projects were due. In most of the jobs I’ve had, this was usually the week where most major deadlines fell.

In terms of timing, it makes sense. Most people want to get stuff out of the way so that they can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday in peace. I’m certainly like that. I don’t want to have any lingering work looming over my head while I indulge in turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It makes this week extra stressful. It also makes new comics extra necessary.

When I get stressed, I tend to rely heavily on the things that bring me joy and comfort. For most of my life, that’s exactly what comics have given me. They’re a simple, concentrated dose of pure joy at a time when everything around me is going too damn fast. For that, I thank every major comic publisher, comic shop, and Comixology.

I need a nice influx of awesome comics more than usual. As a result, my pull list is a bit larger than most weeks. I make no apologies for that. I’ve got a rough couple of days ahead of me. Here are my pull list and pick for the week. Quality comics will help me get through and I hope it helps others in the same way. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #53

Aquaman #65

Batman #103

Cable #6

Captain America #25

Catwoman #27

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5

Fantastic Four #26

Hellions #6

Immortal Hulk #40

Juggernaut #3

X-Force #14

Nightwing #76

Spider-Woman #6

Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black #1

Venom #30


My Pick Of The Week
Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black #1

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New Comic Book Day November 11, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Today is a uniquely special day. Yes, it’s New Comic Book Day, but it’s also Veterans Day. I find that wonderfully fitting. That means we can spend part of our day appreciating our favorite fictional heroes and the rest honoring the real heroes who serve in our armed forces.

There’s a lot to appreciate on a day like this. Fiction heroes, after all, are embodiments of our highest ideals. Things like honor, duty, respect, loyalty, comradery, and altruism are all qualities we cherish in our favorite heroes. They’re also traits that our brave men and women in the military aspire to uphold.

It’s a beautiful thing and certainly worthy of a holiday or several. Even if you’re not a fan of comics or superheroes, it’s still something to celebrate. If you can, try to do more by either volunteering for a Veterans organization or donating to a veterans charity. Both real heroes and those in comics need and deserve our support.

Keep that in mind as you read about and admire your favorite heroes today. I certainly will. For much of my life, comic books and superheroes have given me a strong appreciation for these high ideals. We may think they’re impossible to achieve in the real world, but they’re still worth striving for. As part of that effort, here is my pull list and pick for the week.

To all the men and women out there who have served their country or are currently serving, I salute you. Happy Veterans Day to all and here’s to a very special New Comic Book Day.


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #52

Champions #2

Detective Comics #1030

Excalibur #14

The Flash #765

Hawkman #29

Iron Man #3

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #16

Marauders #15

Power Rangers #1

Savage Avengers #14

Superman #27

Taskmaster #1

Wolverine #7

Wonder Woman #766


My Pick Of The Week
Power Rangers #1

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New Comic Book Day November 4, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

We did it, America!

We made it through Election Day. I understand that can still change, but we still made it. That’s progress, in my book. I also doubt I’m alone in being relieved that we’ve finally made it through.

Now, I realize that there’s still plenty of post-election drama to unfold here in the United States. I may end up talking about that at some point. For now, I’d rather focus on something that brings objective joy to the world, namely comics.

The day after such a contentious election is the perfect day to indulge in some comic fueled awesome. I am not just ready. I need this and I suspect many others burned out on politics feel the same. The real world has been objectively awful on so many levels in 2020. An escape has never been more necessary.

That’s exactly what comics provide us. They are a simple, inexpensive joy that takes us out of this crazy world for a brief moment and into one full of wonder. I love every New Comic Day, but this particular day has never been more cathartic. To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Avengers #38

Batman #102

Black Widow #3

Captain Marvel #23

Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3

Dark Multiverse: Batman: Hush #1

DCeased: Dead Planet #5

Deadpool #8

Hellstrom: Marvel Tales #1

Marauders #14

Mighty Morphin #1

Red Sonja #21

Star Wars #8

Thor #9

Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #1

X-Men #14


My Pick Of The Week
Avengers #38

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New Comic Book Day October 28, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

The week of Halloween is a fun week. I don’t care how old you are. If you can’t have fun on a week dominated by candy, cheesy horror movies, and women dressing in slutty costumes, then you’re just being difficult. Even if you don’t go out trick-or-treating, Halloween has a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Add a stack of new comics to the mix and it’s like adding an extra layer of icing to a cake. It just makes everything so much sweeter. Now, it used to be that comic companies would often create Halloween special issues. While that still exists for some publishers, namely Zenescope, most have moved away from that.

Even without those specials, you can usually find a few comics that fit right into the Halloween spirit. Sometimes, it’s a simple Hulk comic. Sometimes, it’s Blade or John Constantine. It doesn’t have to be horror themed, but if it’s bloody, brutal, and has lots of elaborate costumes, it’s often close enough.

New Comic Book Day is festive enough. Add a little Halloween candy and a pumpkin latte to the mix and you’re really in the spirit. This year may suck, especially for Halloween parties, but there are still ways to celebrate. Comics and candy are as good as any.

In that spirit, here is my pull list and picks for the week. It may still be a bit premature, but I’ll say it anyways. Happy Halloween!


My Pull List

Action Comics #1026

Amazing Spider-Man #51

Batgirl #50

Batman Beyond #48

Batman: Three Jokers #3

Black Widow: Widow’s Sting #1

Detective Comics #1029

Dr. Doom #8

Fantastic Four: Antithesis #3

Immortal Hulk #39

Justice League Dark #27

Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn #3

Rick and Morty #1: Ever After

Shang-Chi #2

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5

Wonder Woman #765

X Of Swords: Stasis #1


My Pick Of The Week
X Of Swords: Stasis #1

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New Comic Book Day October 21, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

There’s a lot to love about the current era of comics. I don’t deny the industry is in a precarious place right now. Then again, you can say that about a lot of industries in 2020. This year has just been that awful for so many sectors.

On the creative front, though, I believe the state of comics has been phenomenal. From the big two at Marvel and DC to indie comics funded through crowdsourcing, there’s a lot to be excited about. These worlds are evolving in bold new ways. As someone who has followed comics since grade school, I can’t recall a time that had so much to offer.

It’s not perfect. It never is. Overall, this is a great time to be a comics fan. Whatever your preferences or politics, you’ll find something to enjoy. You’ll have a reason to wake up at 4:30 in the morning every Wednesday. It may mess up your sleep schedule, but that’s the price you pay for awesome comics. During times like this, it’s a price worth paying.

This year has been so bad on so many levels for all of us. As such, we all need to find some silver linings here and there. For me, this exciting state of comics really helps carry me through. I love it and it gives me the hope I need to keep enduring a year like this. In the interests of sharing that hope, here is my pull list and pick for the week.


My Pull List

Aquaman #64

Batman #101

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #1

Catwoman #26

Daredevil #23

Excalibur #13

Fantastic Four #25

Guardians Of The Galaxy #7

Iron Man #2

Justice League #55

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #55

Rick and Morty Go To Hell #5

Spider-Woman #5

X-Men #13


My Pick Of The Week
Rick And Morty Go To Hell #5

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