In terms of superheroes on the big screen, 2019 was the MCU’s year. There were two solid instalments in the ever-expanding franchise with Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far from Home, and then Avengers: Endgame proved to be the blockbuster of year by concluding (kinda) 20+ films of story. It was easy to forget that DC even existed, apart from some top-quality TV work with Watchmen and endless annoying Twitter-storms surrounding ‘The Snyder Cut’ of Justice League. The MCU has dominated my viewing habits so much that I’ve still yet to see the theatrical cut of Justice League, let alone have an opinion on some nebulous alternative version that may or may not exist. Nor have I seen Shazam, or Aquaman. The DCEU hasn’t called to me for a long time now; at least it hadn’t until I saw the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer. And now I can’t stop watching it.
I thought the trailer for Black Widow looked decent but I’ve not felt the urge to go back and rewatch it since it was first released online, despite my love of the franchise. Instead, all my attention has been pointed to the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 (which from here on out I’ll refer to as WW84 to give my fingers a break). It’s nice to be excited by a DC property again after last year’s MCU dominance and the WW84 trailer made me remember just how much I enjoyed the first Wonder Woman, and that it’s past time to revisit it. That first film was a breath of fresh air during a time where the DC franchise desperately needed one and, while telling an emotional and weighty story, opted for a sense of fun and, well, wonder instead of oppressive depressing darkness. And once again that’s what grabbed my attention the most about this all too brief look at WW84 we’ve gotten: It looks like so much fun.
I love the tone of the trailer and the way it has a different and yet oddly familiar feel when compared to the first film. Gone is the World War One setting and it’s been replaced with… the 1980’s?! When I first heard this news I was not onboard for that decision. It’s such a strange direction to take the series. I don’t need another war film with it set during the Second World War or anything too obvious but really, the 80’s? 80’s nostalgia is everywhere these days – Stranger Things has built a whole show around it – and I’m growing increasingly sick of it. I was born in the mid 90’s and so don’t have any personal nostalgic feelings for that preceding decade. Where’s my Netflix series featuring Furbies, Sunny Delight, The Crystal Maze, The Spice Girls and playing Snake on a Nokia? But somehow – I’m still not entirely sure why – the 80’s setting works. It might have to do with Pedro Pascal’s villainous Maxwell Lord, who in this iteration is a slick 80’s businessman with a televangelist/infomercial vibe who claims to be able to give you “everything you’ve always wanted.” It just so happens that he’ll take what he wants in return, as ominous as that sounds, like he’s running a shop called ‘Needful Things’ on the side. It seems like the film will be commenting on the rise and potential evils of consumerism, making the 80’s setting a perfect fit, even if that’s a potentially hypocritical subject for a highly commercial blockbuster to have.
So, if Maxwell Lord can give you everything you’ve always wanted, I guess that’s how Steve Trevor returns from the dead: as the answer to Diana’s wish to Lord. Resurrection is synonymous with superhero fiction and while hopefully Steve returning to the land of the living maintains the dramatic weight his death had, I am very pleased to see Chris Pine return for this sequel. While I love him as Captain Kirk, I think Wonder Woman was his best performance and he’s great in the limited footage we see of him in the trailer for the sequel. Yeah, his “it’s just a trashcan” line is a fairly generic man-out-of-time joke we’ve seen versions of in multiple films, but his delivery of the line made me chuckle. Although there’s no doubt that this is still Gal Gadot’s movie and she’s as charming and badass as ever. Maybe more so now that she’s donning some classic 80’s power suits. It looks like there’ll be a nice inversion of Diana and Steve’s relationship from the first film, with now Diana having to show Steve this new world after him being dead for the best part of 70 years. Oh, and Kristen Wiig is in the movie too which is fun. Although I’ve heard she’s playing the supervillainess Cheetah which gives me some cause for concern. After the disaster of Cats, I hope she doesn’t transform into an actual cheetah and we have to see that terrible CGI fur technology in action again.
The action in the film looks great too, and seems to continue the use of the Zack Snyder slow-mo flashy style of the character’s debut in Batman v Superman and the first Wonder Woman film. It’s a style that when done wrong, which is easy to do, or overused can be annoying but, whether it works in the movie or not, it makes for a great trailer. It’s weird that sliding has becoming the character’s defining action move but it does look cool. Although I don’t care what mythological island of goddesses you’re from, sliding your bare legs across mall flooring at high speed has got to hurt. While the style of action is reminiscent of the other DC movies in the franchise, I hope that’s the only connection to them we get in WW84. We don’t need a modern-day framing device with an Aquaman cameo, nor do we need a reference to the Waynes during the 1980’s. The film should stand alone and the DCEU should just die. Keep the Wonder Woman and Aquaman film series going but keep them separate. There’s no need for any team ups or extended universe ideas in the future. I want these films separate so they can focus on being good movies rather than mere stepping stones to another film coming down the pipeline. Hopefully the success of Joker has given DC the right message about standalone movies in the future.
But okay, I’ve delayed talking about it long enough, the true star of the trailer is the music. That’s why I’m pretty much addicted to the trailer and feel the urge to watch it every day. The film itself and the images we get look great but when combined with the music you get one of the best film trailers in years. I guess that’s another bonus of setting your film in the 80’s: great music. Sebastian Böhm’s version of New Order’s Blue Monday, with its strong bass and killer mix of electronic and orchestral, is a fantastic piece of music, made perfect when edited to images of the trailer. It works so well! I just can’t get enough. Oh wait, that’s a different 80’s song.
I find myself watching the WW84 trailer an awful lot these days. It’s been weeks but it still seems as epic and fun as the first time I watched it. The film looks great and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen, but the trailer itself is a work of art. I don’t know when the urge to watch and rewatch it will cease but I’m happy if it continues all the way until the film’s release in June. Are you addicted to the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer? What are your hopes for the movie? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.