When a wish becomes a reality, we can find ourselves in surprising situations and dealing with unexpected consequences.
Decades after losing the love of her life, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) has taken a museum job in Washington, D.C., that seems to occupy her time when she's not, for example, stopping jewelry store robberies at the mall as Wonder Woman. The action scene comes only after a lengthy flashback/prologue from Diana's childhood designed to foreshadow the lessons of the film. The intro itself is entertaining, visually appealing, and unnecessary.
In the present (that is, 1984), it turns out that the jewelry store was a front for stolen antiquities, which were taken to the museum for analysis. Diana and her new, mousy coworker Barbara (Kristen Wiig) notice that one of the items is a stone with an inscription indicating it grants one wish per person. Neither of them really believe it, but they both make wishes. Diana wishes for Steve, and Barbara wishes to be as cool and capable as Diana, not realizing that her friend is a superhero.
Meanwhile, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal, playing a young Donald Trump analog for those who want to see him as such, or a stereotypical movie rich guy villain for those who don't) has been searching for the stone and persuades Barbara to let him borrow it. His wish? To become the vessel that grants the wishes.
Soon Barbara is beating up her own would-be attackers, Diana is introducing Steve to the modern world much as he did for her in the first movie, and Maxwell Lord is taking over the world one wish at a time. But it turns out that every wish comes at a cost. For Barbara to have Diana's powers means that Diana is gradually losing them.
So much of the two-and-a-half hour long movie is spent getting all the plates spinning that we don't see Diana as Wonder Woman again until more than an hour into the story. When we do, it's in a chase scene very reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark, except that it's entirely green-screened and lacks any of the other movie's sense of danger. Barbara never becomes a true threat, and Lord is too pathetic to be taken seriously.
Despite what you may have heard, Wonder Woman 1984's biggest problem isn't that it's political (debatable) or its misandry (the hatred of men, which is undeniable). No, it's that the movie is just plain boring.
"Nothing good is born from lies," Diana explains in one of the movie's lessons, the idea being that taking shortcuts to success is dishonest and becomes burdensome. Ironically, Diana develops new super powers as needed by the plot, entirely unearned. But we aren't supposed to think about that.
There's another, unspoken lesson here, too: be careful what you wish for. It's a lesson many of the fans of the first movie who wished for a sequel are probably learning the hard way. (Warner Brothers)