Wonder Woman: 1984 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Predictably, many are focused on Wonder Woman 1984 underperforming. This is something that has bothered me since diving into the world of movies in greater depth> That these big budget movies have way too much pressure to make money. It’s all about making money instead of telling a good story.
Now many filmmakers will tell you otherwise. They need the big budgets so they have the “freedom” to tell their stories the way they want, so they can secure the biggest name actors, shoot in exotic locales, hire the best crew, pay for the fanciest CGI and effects, and so on.
Oceanfront property is available in Phoenix, Arizona, you know. Really, it is 😉
Also, it’s bizarre to suggest that a mere 377 critics can declare a movie that costs $200+ million either good or bad, but that’s how small the Rotten Tomatoes critic pool is these days to judge director and writer Patty Jenkins’ output.
Guess I’m sticking up for Jenkins in this post somewhat. Not because Wonder Woman 1984 is better than the critic reviews — it’s not, I thought the film was average at best, and a major step down from the first film — but because this is just a nightmarishly bad time to release a big budget film. Any film, really, regardless of budget, but those with more modest budgets will always, always, always have less financial pressure.
In these times, don’t you want your project to have less financial pressure?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Jenkins is personally responsible for the lacking script, much less solely responsible. It also doesn’t mean the only problem with the movie is its writing. The overwhelming majority of complaints about the movie, however, do relate to its writing and structure. For example, the often cartoony tone, the bizarre MacGuffin of the Dreamstone, the inconsistent fluctuation of Diana’s fleeting powers, and most definitely the disturbing logistics of Steve Trevor’s return.Wonder Woman 1984 Falls To Rotten On Rotten Tomatoes
So, I’m not going to pile on Patty Jenkins in this post. Seriously, to have two out of three movies received well isn’t easy for any director. Props to Jenkins. She’s better than her most recent film effort shows.
What does her record mean for Rogue Squadron and Wonder Woman 3? Probably the odds are against both of those films being well received, but we’ll have to wait and see. Honestly, I’m more interested in seeing what Jenkins can do with a Star Wars movie than another Wonder Woman film. What do you think?
Still, the reviews played in Jenkins’ favor for Monster and the first Wonder Woman, plus more importantly than movie reviewer opinions, both were better films. If we look at all three films, two out of three is still an amazing batting average (.667).
The more interesting angle for any new post here, besides talking about Rotten Tomatoes being flawed (again), is looking at the bigger elephant in the room:
Number of audience reviews.
I’m sure in time, the number of audience reviews will increase for WW1984, but my guess is the review score average will continue to trend downward, perhaps the audience being a little more forgiving than most critics.
The fact is that most people who watch movies don’t watch them for the same reasons that critics do. It’s not their profession. Average moviegoers are trying to escape their job, their life, to relax and simply be entertained. The expectations aren’t as high for the average moviegoer as it is for a movie critic, especially a professional who reviews hundreds of movies per year. This means, generally speaking, that audience reviews will be less judgmental for most movies. Therefore, those that audiences reject must be total trash.
Eventually the numbers on Rotten Tomatoes should balance more, but it’s obvious that many moviegoers aren’t reviewing movies in the same numbers they were pre-pandemic.
Like hundreds of thousands more reviews, in fact, if you look at the numbers. Sure, this is only one website, Rotten Tomatoes, and again I’m not suggesting the site is the cat’s meow for movie reviews, but it is often the one that most publications cite as a bellwether for a movie’s reception.
Given it’s only a few weeks since Wonder Woman 1984 was released, but the number of audience reviews emphasizes the much greater problem for the movie industry. At least the movie reviewing part of the business. Fewer people reviewing movies suggests less interest overall among moviegoers. Less movies being watched overall?
We know people aren’t watching movies in theaters, because many are closed and ticket sales domestically dropped 80% in 2020 over what they were in 2019, but are less movies being streamed? My guess is no, the same amount of movies are being watched, perhaps even more. For new movies, however, people don’t have the money lying around to pay $20 for PVOD and/or subscribe to multiple streaming channels, so they’re binging TV seasons on Netflix and rewatching older movies. They might be playing more videogames, too.
This has all the major movie theater chains worried. That people will become apathetic to the cinema experience. That they won’t return to watching movies like they were before. I’ve already debunked that myth.
I do strongly believe that moviegoers will return. Sure, it won’t be this year, and it certainly wasn’t last year, but give it some time once the pandemic fully subsides. Heck, they just pushed back reopening theaters in Washington State again, meaning we can’t see a movie in a theater until at least January 18, 2021, maybe. We’re still deep in the weeds here. Anybody saying differently is drinking, smoking or using something really strong.
None of this is that surprising given many people are out of work and are concerned about much more important priorities in their lives than movies right now.
My only advice for movie studios and filmmakers is the same I’ve been giving since starting this site and before we had any pandemic: keep the budgets down. Don’t make overly expensive movies. Yes, you need to keep creating, but art doesn’t need to be expensive to be good.
On this front, I know Patty Jenkins won’t listen to me. Her next two movies, if they get made, will costs a half a billion dollars or more. If that’s the case, and it probably is, she should be bashed for that. Hey Patty, here’s a real challenge, go make an indie film next. Don’t make Rogue Squadron or another Wonder Woman. Make something with a budget of less than $10 million that is fresh, inventive and entertaining. Call up Jason Blum. He has the recipe.