After numerous delays, Wonder Woman 1984 will finally arrive on HBO Max and in theaters this Christmas, and it's no doubt a triumphant moment for the film. The Gal Gadot-led sequel was supposed to come out last June, but the pandemic forced the film to delay its eventual release to October, before finally settling for a December premiere.
Despite the release date shenanigans, the hype for Wonder Woman 1984 never wavered thanks to consistent reveals from the cast and crew led by Gadot and veteran director Patty Jenkins in the past months. Jenkins has been vocal about the upcoming sequel on social media, providing fans with behind-the-scenes photos as well as addressing the unprecedented streaming release of the film on HBO Max. This has been on top of the occasional rollout of promotional materials to tide fans over.
Wonder Woman 1984 will be the first DCEU film to concurrently release on a streaming platform and in theaters, and it will be interesting to find out how this strategy pans out in the coming weeks. Still, early reactions for the DCEU sequel are overwhelmingly positive, with critics mostly praising the impressive performances of Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig.
Now that the review embargo for the film has been lifted, here's what the critics are saying about the much-anticipated film ahead of its release.
“Wonder Woman 1984 couldn't have arrived at a better time. Overflowing with heart, the sequel gently reminds viewers that there is hope for humanity after all, even at one of the darkest moments in our history.” — Meagan Damore
“This Warner Bros. sequel is the opposite of resting upon one’s laurels, especially considering the undue pressure still placed on big-budget female-led fantasy flicks. It’s a visually dazzling melodrama that has to hide its relative disinterest in super powered showdowns, again showing that DC Films is a brand where “anything can happen.” — Scott Mendelson
“A chunk of the movie doesn't have major action sequences, but the characters are all so engaging and likable you won't get bored. And when the action comes, it's a delight.” — Sean Keane
“Jenkins goes all-in on the ‘80s, a decade that was very all-in on itself. The bright, shiny production is deeply attentive to that sense of time and place, which is especially satisfying in a genre that can often feel vague in that regard (Jenkins’ previous film being a notable exception).” — Mary Sollosi
“Gadot remains a charismatic presence who wields the lasso with authority, even tethering lightning bolts in some arresting moments. However, I missed the more hand-to-hand gladiatorial aspect of so many fight scenes in the first movie. There's a disarming romantic touch in Diana acquiring the ability of flight through Steve's explanation of its rudimentary principles. ” — David Rooney
“Director Patty Jenkins, who also cooked up the screenplay this time with Geoff Johns and David Callaham, really jacked up the action set pieces too, with one spectacular excuse after another to see Wonder Woman go at the bad guys in every way imaginable in order to save earth from itself as, among other things, it stands to blow itself up with nukes.” — Pete Hammond
“Whether it’s some silly moves in an action set piece, a reprisal of the character’s iconic electronic theme song, or some spoiler revelation, there are several scenes that make the film worth the price of admission on their own (in your case, an HBO Max subscription). Even if it’s just for a few seconds, Jenkins knows how to get the hairs on your arm standing up and presses that button every few minutes helping to keep you excited and engaged.” — German Lussier
“Diana is indestructible in some ways, surprisingly brittle in others. Jenkins’s camera is captivated by her resilience, as it lingers on adoring shots of Diana in action. Every brazen beat of Wonder Woman 1984 feels like it’s arrived to pulverise this miserable year into dust.”- Clarisse Loughrey
“In the end, Wonder Woman 1984 delivers an impressively cinematic superhero experience, with the necessary heart and emotional storyline to keep it grounded. It's a well-rounded movie experience and would no doubt benefit from being seen on the biggest screen possible in order to get the full effect of Jenkins' directorial eye.” — Molly Freeman
"For all its constant callbacks to the ‘80s, Wonder Woman 1984 remains distinctly contemporary in runtime; like so many modern comic book flicks, it runs past the two-and-a-half-hour mark. While this doesn't feel egregiously long, it also doesn’t feel warranted, and the opening hour certainly isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.” — Matt Purslow
"Great Hera! Wonder Woman 1984 is an epic dose of heart and vibrant escapism that proves there are still unexpected thrills to be found in superhero cinema."
Along with the review, the official rating of the DCEU sequel from Rotten Tomatoes is 89%. Only two DCEU films currently have higher Rotten Tomatoes scores: 2017's Wonder Woman (93%) and Shazam! (90%).
Bird of Prey (78%) and Aquaman (65%) are the other "Fresh" DCEU films on Rotten Tomatoes.
It's clear that the long wait for Wonder Woman 1984 was worth it.
The positive reception from critics is a good indicator that the sequel will live up to fan expectations, and this essentially bodes well for Warner Bros. regardless of the film's release pattern.
A good chunk of the reviews generally acknowledge the perfect timing of Wonder Woman 1984's release amid the pandemic, and it looks like the film will give a sense of hope to everyone. It's fitting that a film like Wonder Woman 1984 being led by an inspiring hero will serve that purpose, especially after an uneventful year full of loss and despair due to the ongoing health crisis.
Despite the positive comments, the sequel still had its flaws, and most critics agree that the film's lengthy runtime is at fault. The complaints mostly came from the film's shaky attempts at world-building and the usual “there's so much going on” criticism. Still, Wonder Woman 1984 delivered on other aspects, and it's safe to assume that it's an enjoyable movie in its own right.
All in all, the clear winner of the positive reviews of Wonder Woman 1984 are the fans, and this will no doubt boost their excitement when the sequel arrives this Christmas.