SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984. If you have not yet had the chance to watch the film, continue at your own risk!
In the run up to every comic book blockbuster there is always a great deal of secrecy, and that secrecy is always well intentioned. After all, it’s always far more fun to watch an exciting surprise play out on the big screen rather than read about it in an article or on a message board. The hope for every fan is simply that the films live up to the hype produced by keeping its cards close to the vest – and this is a department in which Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 is delightfully successful.
Those who obsessed over the various trailers for Wonder Woman 1984 may have thought that they knew about everything that the new film has to offer, but the actual experience of watching the full thing blows that perspective to smithereens. There are many things in the DC Extended Universe title that fans were given no inclination were coming, and each one is as wonderful as the last. In this feature we’ll celebrate seven of the best, and while it’s not a ranked list, we’ll start with what is the best surprise of all:
The Invisible Jet
Existing as one of the sillier aspects of superhero lore, Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet long felt like something that could never possibly get the live-action treatment… but here we are in the wake of Wonder Woman 1984 talking about it! You don’t really think much of it when Diana (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) manage to get into the cockpit of a fighter jet (he did fly during World War II after all), but the magic kicks in as soon as the heroine remembers the existence of radar. Then, using the same energy that cloaked Themyscira from the world, she is able to turn the entire plane invisible – and it’s a squeal-inducing moment for comic fans.
The History Of The Dreamstone
When the above screenshot played in one of Wonder Woman 1984’s early trailers, it was made fairly clear that the rock being held by Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) was the source of the mystery in the film. As it turned out, the movie reached down deep into the DC Comics canon and pulled out the Dreamstone. It’s backstory is changed, tied to Dolos, The God Of Treachery And Mischief, but the idea of dreams manifesting in reality is kept consistent, and it’s a device used to great effect in the plot.
Steve Trevor Doesn’t Actually Look Like Steve Trevor
One of the biggest mysteries in the run up to the release of Wonder Woman 1984 questioned how it was possible that Steve Trevor was back following his death in the first Wonder Woman. It wasn’t terribly hard to figure out that it had something to do with the machinations of Max Lord, but the mechanics weren’t clear at all. So here’s the question: did anyone guess that his spirit would be brought back from the afterlife into the body of a man of the era? I doubt it. It’s a fun surprise, and on a certain level it also manages to be a Quantum Leap reference, which is always appreciated (even though that show didn’t premiere until 1989).
Wonder Woman Can Fly!
Wonder Woman has been “rebooted” many, many times in the decades since she was first created by William Moulton Marston, and one fluid aspect of the character has long been the way that she gets around in the air. As noted earlier in this feature, sometimes she pilots an Invisible Jet, but in other volumes she has the natural power of flight. Part of what makes Wonder Woman 1984 so fantastic is that it gets to have its cake and eat it too. Not only is it powerful to watch Diana soar through the sky like the Christopher Reeve-era Superman, but it’s beautifully orchestrated so that the ability being unlocked is directed linked to her emotional growth over the course of the story.
Total Global Chaos
When a movie exists as a prequel in a larger franchise like Wonder Woman 1984 does in the DC Extended Universe, it can sometimes feel like there are macro rules to play by – specifically that the story can’t do anything too world changing because it could mess with the established continuity of the “present.” That’s a rule that Patty Jenkins’ movie bends if not totally breaks, however, because the third act of this film is what is totally bonkers. As everyone in the world becomes connected with Max Lord and gets their wishes granted, total chaos is erupts, and the scale of it all really is something else.
Wonder Woman Finds A Peaceful Resolution With Max Lord
One of the most shocking moments in the history of DC Comics played out in 2005’s Wonder Woman #219 – an issue featuring a notorious showdown between the titular Amazon and the megalomaniac Max Lord. Wonder Woman 1984 borrows a lot from the arc, featuring Max using an advanced satellite to spread destructive mass influence, but where the two deviate is in their respective endings. In the comics, Diana lassos Max, and he tells her that the only way to stop him is by killing him… which she proceeds to do by snapping his neck. In the film it appears for a moment that the story is going down a similar path, but it ultimately takes a turn for the optimistic instead, and finds a non-violent resolution to the conflict.
Lynda Carter As Asteria
It was officially announced at DC Fandome this past summer that Lynda Carter – the star of the original live-action Wonder Woman television series from the 1960s – was going to be featured in Wonder Woman 1984, but just because that was confirmed didn’t stop all manners of speculation about what role she would play. As it turns out, she plays Asteria, a legendary Amazon warrior who helped her sisters escape to Themyscira, and not only is it awesome to see her in close-ups during Steve Trevor’s Lasso Of Truth-inspired flashback, but her bit in the end credits is fun too.
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