Film Reviews: Wonder Woman 1984 needs more Soul

The following reviews contain spoilers of Soul and Wonder Woman 1984.

After my Golden State Warriors lost and skull-fucked my entire Christmas day NBA parlay before the late afternoon games even started, I decided to fix the hole in the drywall I kicked and tune out sports for the day. I then came across two streamable films that made their watchable debuts: Disney Pixar’s Soul and Warner Brothers’ Wonder Woman 1984. Holy shit, Soul was incredible—so beautifully deep and thought provoking, I needed to go for a walk and rethink my life. And my god, Woman Wonder 1984 was so terrible, so comically awful, so borderline thoughtless…I had to go for yet another walk to rethink my life.

Soul was one of the best animated films I have ever seen. By now, the cat’s out of the bag: Pixar has proven that every film they release is going to have flawless animation, a creative and colorful plot, as well as be seasoned with thoughtful and powerful underlying themes and messages that are relevant to everyone in the audience. 

Soul knocked it out of fucking the park. 

Jamie Foxx was the voice for the film’s protagonist, Joe Gardener, a middle school music teacher who felt that his life was unaccomplished and that he was underachieving for someone with his musical talents. So right then and there, the movie’s initial conflict is built on a pretty fucking relatable issue. Then, just when Joe is about to get his big break, he fucking dies. He falls into a manhole and the next thing you know, he’s dead, among other souls on his way to the “great beyond.”

I mean holy shit. 

First of all, yes, this is a kid’s movie. The silly humor, attractive colors, very lovable and fluffy characters, and of course the happy endings for the main characters all contributed to the notion that Soul was a movie made for children. 

Yet, its entire premise revolves around dealing with death, the afterlife, and how to live a fulfilling life while you’re alive. Never once altering anyone’s belief on the afterlife, the writers purposely left that blank as they literally depicted the great beyond as a bright white void, leaving the majority of film to focus on a creative setting just before the great beyond, where souls learn what it means to be human. The plot was near perfect and the characters were super well written and distinctly fresh. 

The “antagonists” of the film, other than death itself, were omniscient and immortal beings who controlled the infinite space before the great beyond, however they appeared as one dimensional looking drawings, thus symbolizing their attempt to make it easier for humans to comprehend their existence.

Fucking brilliant. 

One of the key messages of the film was the idea that the destination may not be as wonderful and appealing as the journey to get there; an assumed purpose and a career doesn’t have to be a finite and concrete concept, as all the twists and turns in life can reveal a paradise that many didn’t even know to look for. Life itself is beautiful, and there’s no reason NOT to enjoy every second of it, as you never know when it’s going to end.

Soul. A kid’s movie. I mean Jesus fucking Christ. Giving it the award of Best Picture wouldn’t even BEGIN to do the justice this film deserves. Give it the Nobel Prize.

And then I watched Wonder Woman 1984. Holy shit, what an fucking mess. 

Watching this movie felt like someone took a shit on a frying pan, smooshed the shit on the pan with a boot, and then hit me in the jaw with that same pan. The story didn’t make any fucking sense. Rather than using any fresh and new storytelling tropes, the writers brilliantly went with using a magical stone that grants wishes as the story’s main catalyst. How original. It honestly felt like I was watching the Walmart version of Disney’s Aladdin. Not the Robin Williams Aladdin, but a Walmart version of the live action Aladdin, the one where Will Smith was BLUE.

I literally felt more of an emotional connection with the one dimensional antagonists of Soul than I did with any human, that’s right, any human in Wonder Woman 1984.

The characters didn’t act like human beings. Yes, this story did take place in 1984, so I guess there was an element of some cheesiness that comes with a 1980s setting, but you gotta draw the line when the characters are so poorly written that they just stop acting like people. All of the characters in this movie acted like Mark Zuckerberg acts in real life: trying so hard to be human, but the inner robotic programming inside is exposed.

Also, why did this movie have to take place in 1984? This movie did not need to take place in 1984. You could have called it Wonder Woman 2020, and the shitty plot remains shitty. Hell, you’d probably save a few bucks not spending on the 80s costume design, and you could have used that money to hire better writers. 

The 80s setting did nothing to benefit the film at all. Nothing. All it did was remove the question of “Where are the other superheroes?” Batman and Superman were kids in 1984 so the Justice League couldn’t interfere and make this film more interesting. Instead, the writers just left us with this conveyor belt of catshit to focus on.

And it was also two and half hours long! It was so long that you felt like you had to watch it all the way through, just in case it got better, so that you didn’t feel like you wasted the $20 you spent on HBOMax. But it never got better. It just got worse. It was like I was drinking milk that got exponential more dated with every sip I take. Just when I think it can get any more sour, I find myself chewing the milk. 

This one was painful to watch. Not just because every conceivable frame of the film was abysmal down to its molecular level, but because us comic book nerds were beyond stoked for this film, and we were so disappointed with what we got. This movie didn’t generate one emotion other than the anger I felt as soon as the credits started rolling. Maybe this is a wakeup call that if a superhero film isn’t made by a company called MARVEL, don’t watch it. The message of Soul was to enjoy every second of life, as you never know when it will end. Thus, following the philosophical principles of Soul, don’t watch Wonder Woman 1984 unless you are knowingly willing to lose two and a half hours that you will never be able to get back. 

They should have called it Wonder Woman: Nineteen Ninety Never 


Woman Woman: Check me back into Rehab


Written by Henry Marken

I lost my pinky finger at age 4, but then found it again at a soup kitchen when I was 15. Survivor of a wild turkey attack (2008). I went to the University of Phoenix before it was cool to do college online. Currently in a lawsuit with Crayola after a devastating purple crayon incident.

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