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The first Wonder Woman film released in 2017 felt like something of a turning point in films with female superheroes and also launched its star Gal Gadot to worldwide superstardom.

Now the Israeli actress and director Patty Jenkins have reunited for a brand new adventure full of  – appropriately – wonder.

Following a rip-roaring prologue with a young Diana back on Themyscira with her Amazonian sisters, her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and now-dead aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), it is very clear that this adventure will be grand and sincere – with Diana set to learn some grave and defining lessons.

The main body of the film opens in Washington DC in 1984, with Diana Prince (Gadot) now working in a museum and befriending shy and dorky new colleague Barbara (Kristen Wiig). The pair are confronted by a strange artifact that soon begins to create some unexpected wish fulfilment.

Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman
(Image: Warner Bros/DC Comics)

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As the rather hopeless Barbara undergoes a metamorphosis into an increasingly adversarial personality, Diana is unexpectedly reunited with her dead soulmate, pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

However, the world is soon in grave danger as suave but struggling businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) attempts to use the artifact to sow the seeds of destruction and expand his own success and power.

Mostly abandoning the Greek mythology angle of the first film, Wonder Woman 1984 is appropriately titled with its themes being dominated by the period in which it is set and also with a focus on the truth that is so associated with George Orwell’s seminal novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Diana is reunited with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) in Wonder Woman 1984
(Image: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Just how has Steve Trevor returned to Diana's life?
(Image: PA)

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This yarn is packed with quintessential 1980s fashion, rampant consumerism, contemporary hit songs, the Cold War, and the apparent potential to achieve greater social mobility and chase your dreams.

Through these bold times, Gadot’s Diana is a noble constant, maintaining a majesty, empathy, but also a guardedness over the loss of her beloved Steve. The actress has really grown in the role over the four films she has appeared in as the Amazonian warrior, and here delivers her most emotional work yet.

Additionally, Pine once again offers huge charisma, likability, and sincerity as Steve Trevor, whose comeback provides comedy and moving romance – even if his character arc ends in a rather anti-climactic manner.

Diana makes a friend in Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig)
(Image: YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures)

However, Barbara is due to undergo her own villainous makeover
(Image: DC Comics and Warner Bros)

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Elsewhere, the villains are also a strength of the film as they feel thoroughly fleshed out – in a manner reminiscent of Tim Burton's Batman films.

Wiig is a winning and wicked presence as Barbara, maintaining a quirky essence but growing further confident and wicked as she becomes the predator Cheetah, while Pascal offers charm and understanding as a con-artist looking to better himself – at any cost.

Pedro Pascal stars as the villainous businessman Maxwell Lord
(Image: YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures)

What nefarious plan does Lord have for the planet?
(Image: YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures)

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It is easy to read into an anti-Trump message here with its focus on the need for truth and villain representing endless avarice, corruption, building walls, and selling lies to the disenfranchised. Maxwell Lord is also a businessman on the rise in the 1980s with a big suit and bold ambition, echoing Trump and the likes of Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone classic Wall Street.

Amidst this calling for unity, truth, compassion and being grateful for what you have there is still a flurry of action set-pieces – and a finale that is rooted in character rather than a huge CGI-heavy smackdown.

Diana debuts golden armour as she takes on new villainous threats
(Image: Warner Bros. Pictures)

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The film’s length is its major drawback, as it goes on for way too long and begins to feel a bit of a slog with its pacing during its second half, with some plot threads receiving short shrift.

Yet, ultimately it is always visually stunning, led by charming cast members, and feels especially needed in a time of discord and isolation.

Verdict

Wonder Woman 1984 is a colourful, exciting, and hopeful blockbuster and a worthy sequel, despite its overly lengthy runtime.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be released in select cinemas in the UK on December 16, 2020 and is available in the US on HBO Max and in cinemas on December 25, 2020.

Who is your favourite female superhero? Let us know in the comments below.