Updated: Feb 23, 2021
I went into watching the sequel to the successful 2017 film with high hopes, the previous film had been one of the most enjoyable films from the DC Universe since Nolan's original batman trilogy. In my opinion WW84 failed to capture this even with Hans Zimmer's take on the score.
The film opens with a further glimpse into Diana's past, growing up on her island with the Amazons, this section of the film was very enjoyable. Zimmer really showed that his sound is still top of the game. The sequence revolves around some kind of athletics games event, with young Diana competing against women at least twice her age. The sequence is a way for her to learn, the hard way, that cutting corners doesn't reward.
Zimmer keeps us gripped through this from the first frame, you can really feel the effort that's gone into this. It feels bold, courageous and has that rhythm which he delivers so well. At points I think I was even hearing rhythmic techniques I haven't heard from him since his 2004 score to Thunderbirds. Overall this sequence is gripping and musically engaging, it had me excited for what the rest of the film had to offer.
Then 1984, this is where the problems started for me. We find ourselves witnessing an attempted robbery in an American shopping mall which is foiled by Diana in an almost cartoon fashion, I mean I'd expect more engaging scenes from an episode of Kim Possible. I'm afraid even the score feels comical at this point and just feels completely detached from what we were seeing in the same film 5 minutes before. I'm sure audiences will thoroughly enjoy watching Diana have her work cut out stopping a few city criminals after effortlessly clearing trenches and saving French villages in the first film.
The film goes on and for a moment we look like we are going to resume the original style, if the introduction of Kristen Wiig's Barbara felt a little reminiscent of Electro in The Amazing Spider Man 2.
A short while later, after a little wishful thinking we are reintroduced to Chris Pine's Steve Trevor. This allows Zimmer to start brining Diana's emotion fully into the film, which is done masterfully. I feel as if Zimmer is taking influence from the romantics of some of the cinematic greats of the mid 70s and 80s, but well it's Zimmer, I think he's allowed to do that whenever he likes. We get a few nice moments with Diana and Steve with some nice music to accompany them but I feel the film tries to force in too much comedy with Steve when his awe of the 1980s does this naturally and much more effectively.
A few scenes later we find ourselves in Cairo with Diana in pursuit of our main antagonist, Maxwell Lord. We finally get to see her using her strength in the way we would expect and zimmer masterfully brings back Rupert Gregson-Williams main theme back for this, working it into the main theme. I was extremely glad when this happened as I was beginning to think Zimmer might've been ignoring the thematic material from the previous films. However, no worries, the theme is back with a new Hans Zimmer Makeover (unlike how they brought back Yoda's Theme in The Rise of Skywalker). This theme is bigger, stronger and more powerful. Which actually feels weird given how she's weaker and loosing her power but I'll gloss over that as this scene is the Wonder Woman I want to see. Again Zimmer delivering all at his best.
I'm afraid to say that the rest of the film did disappoint me. From then on it seemed to loose sight of what had made the last film such a hit. The pacing started to feel inconsistent and at times just out of place. And forgive me but I'm done with the big dumb CGI fights at the end of films where we all clearly know the outcome, its just not that engaging. It's such a shame as upon listening to the score in isolation after I've found Zimmers work consistently strong throughout. It seems another case like his work for X-MEN Dark Phoenix where the score far outdid the film itself.
The emotional end for both Diana and Maxwell Lord felt a bit weird. Maxwell openly loving his son was heartwarming but seemed out of tone from the rest of the film. Especially with his backstory being dropped in only the last 5 minutes.
I was disappointed at how this film was put together, it didn't seem to continue the strength and engagement of the previous instalment. It felt inconsistent in its tone and therefore just like another forgettable DC film. I can only hope that the next film in the Wonder Woman series manages to capture some of what the original brought back to the DC Universe.
I can however say that the score stands out alone and shows that Hans Zimmer still delivers as one of the top composers of our time.