wonder woman trailer breakdown

We were blessed with the first official Wonder Woman 1984 trailer this weekend, and it instantly reminded us of how much we loved Patty Jenkins‘ sincere and aspirational vision of the Princess of Themyscira. Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, now a longtime citizen of Earth who has been living amongst and saving humans for nearly 70 years. But the colorful ’80s don’t quite inspire the same excitement in her, and Diana finds herself pining for her first and last love: Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). But to her surprise, Steve suddenly comes back to life, and Diana must make sense of his return while dealing with two new villains, the ambitious businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and the powerful Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).

Let’s dive into our Wonder Woman 1984 trailer breakdown.

“My life hasn’t been what you probably think it has.”

We’re introduced to Diana’s apartment in what looks to be the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. — a setting that will play an important part in Wonder Woman 1984, which takes place in D.C. and seems to have a politically motivated villain. Diana’s apartment is pristine to the point of being empty, with the only personal touches being two old pictures on a table alongside the broken watch given to her by Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Through the window we can see Diana heading out in her Wonder Woman outfit, getting ready to save the day.

It’s clear that Diana still feels the loss of Steve Trevor, keeping his old watch and framing a (badly photoshopped) newspaper clipping of her first love after he sacrificed himself at the end of World War I by detonating a bomber full of poison gas, with him inside.

“Have you ever been in love?” Kristen Wiig’s mousy archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva asks Diana, who responds cryptically, “A long, long time ago.” When she asks the question back to Barbara, she answers, “So many times. A lot – a lot of times.” It’s a awkwardly funny moment that in one line delivery captures exactly the kind of person Wiig’s Barbara will be: meek, insecure, and probably a little envious of Diana’s easy charm and grace.

Diana and Barbara are coworkers at a D.C. museum, which I’m guessing is the Hirshorn Museum of Modern Art that we see the exterior of later. We can see the rooftops of the D.C. skyline the bar that Diana and Barbara are sitting at, in a shot that looks like an ad for every rooftop bar in D.C.

You can’t have a Wonder Woman movie without Diana crashing a party on a mission. Though here she is not the crasher but an invitee who gets quite a shock at the party.

Here’s our first look at Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord, a businessman and entrepreneur known for his infomercials advertising a “better future.” In the comics, Maxwell Lord is an ambitious businessman who helps found Justice League International before his nefarious schemes are uncovered. The character first appeared in Justice League #1 in 1987 as an ally to the Justice League. But Lord would soon turn villain after he gains mind control powers — powers that perhaps could play a part in the “product” that he is advertising in this informercial?

“Welcome to the future. Life is good, but it can be better,” Maxwell proclaims in his informercial playing on dozens of televisions in a shopping mall. “And why shouldn’t it be? All you need is to want it.”

It looks like Diana has embraced her persona as a public superhero, flying in to a shopping mall that has been attacked by two armed robbers. The shopping mall — a major fixture from the ’80s — is the most period-appropriate touch from the trailer thus far, filled with bright colors and latex-clad aerobics instructors who flee the scene during Diana’s stand-off with the criminals.

It can’t be a coincidence that Maxwell Lord, with his bright blonde hair and tacky suits, bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain current President of the United States. That, paired with the film’s D.C. setting and the 2020 release date, seems to be suggesting quite a politically charged storyline for Wonder Woman 1984.

Wonder Woman is using her tiara as a throwing weapon! A beloved and frequently used magical article that Diana uses as a sort of throwing star meets boomerang, the tiara didn’t get much use in 2017’s Wonder Woman after Hippolyta gifted it to Diana. But now in Wonder Woman 1984, it looks like Diana will throw it during her battles (in this case, to disable some cameras), as it was meant to be.

“Think about finally having everything you’ve always wanted,” Maxwell’s words echo over a shot of Barbara working late one night at the museum (though it’s unclear if she’s an archaeologist or a scientist, based on the equipment around her). From the reflection in her glasses, Maxwell’s infomercial is playing, promising this miracle to her — which is probably quite tempting for the timid, mousy Barbara. I wondered before if Maxwell was selling a product that gave people their innermost desires, but perhaps the infomercials are a form of the mind control the comic book character is known for.

Suddenly, an omen: Steve’s watch moves on its place on Diana’s mantle. It should be noted that the watch is placed in front of a picture of Diana at Trevor Ranch, which seems to suggest that Diana visited Steve’s family after his death. “I can save the day, you can save the world,” echoes Steve’s final words to Diana as we see a man walking up to Diana at the aforementioned party.

“Steve?” Steve Rogers suddenly appears, handing Diana a watch — not the same watch that he gave her back in 1918, but a new digital watch.

Which brings us to the big question: How is Steve Trevor back? The lazy theory would be that he froze in an iceberg and was somehow resuscitated (unlikely, considering he exploded and there was no ice anywhere nearby). But the strongest theory goes back to Maxwell Lord and the mind-control properties of his comic book counterpart. Now, I’m not sure if the film will be so strict in adapting that version of Maxwell Lord, but it’s clear that he has some part in Steve Trevor’s return.

Speaking of Maxwell Lord’s plans, this brief shot of a satellite dish seems at first to be fairly innocuous, but could be a hint at a larger plot. Insider makes the guess that the satellite is a reference to Brother Eye, an A.I. satellite initially created by Batman to monitor superhuman activity on Earth in the 2005 comic book series The OMAC Project. Maxwell Lord hijacks Brother Eye in his bid to destroy the Justice League. The name is also a reference to Big Brother’s all-seeing eye in George Orwell’s 1984, which would neatly tie it into Wonder Woman 1984‘s setting.

“Now, I take what I want in return. Everyone will see,” Maxwell says, sounding and looking decidedly more frazzled than he has before. In the most intriguing shot of the trailer, Maxwell Lord holds a mysterious crystal, which could be a Chaos Shard, a rare mineral forged on the world of Apokalips. Chaos Shards, when fully charged, have the ability to rewrite reality and grant wishes — a power that fits perfectly with the promises that Maxwell makes in his infomercials. But there’s one major issue with Chaos Shards: they can only be safely used by gods. Since the big twist in Wonder Woman was the reveal of Ares, could Wonder Woman 1984 repeat that reveal with Maxwell Lord? I doubt it, which is where Diana probably comes into play.

Diana and Steve arrive in downtown D.C. to find the streets in chaos, cars overturned and people being wheeled away in ambulances. In the far background sits the U.S. Capitol Building, where there seems to be hoards of people gathered in front — in protest, perhaps?

But that isn’t where Steve and Diana are heading: We next see them in the White House, fighting security guards whose bullets Diana easily deflects. Why is Diana at the White House? Will we see Wonder Woman face off against Ronald Reagan? Yes, please.

In what’s sure to be the standout sequence of the film, Diana unloads the cartridge of one the guard’s guns and deflects the bullet with her wristguards. Why she feels the need to deflect a useless bullet is beyond me, but it sure does look neat.

The trailer has been keeping Barbara on the down low, despite being the apparent villain of the film. But here we see her completely changed from her initially mousy demeanor, wearing a slinky black dress and entering what looks to be the very party where Diana first reunites with Steve. It’s a transformation that recalls Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman evolution in Batman Returns — which Wonder Woman 1984 is likely doing purposefully, considering the shared feline nature of both characters. This is Barbara on her way to becoming Cheetah, one of Wonder Woman’s most fearsome foes.

In the comics, Barbara Ann Minerva transforms into Cheetah after she discovers a fabled lost city on an expedition to Africa, where she encounters a dormant god that imbues her with cheetah-like powers, along with a cheetah-like thirst for blood. This version of Cheetah seems to have a very different origin story, likely tied to Maxwell’s mysterious powers.

The jet! The invisible jet! Wonder Woman’s famous invisible jet was long rumored to appear in Wonder Woman 1984, and this shot seems to support those rumors, with Diana and Steve watching the fireworks from within the cockpit of a jet.

What is the significance of the year 1984, aside from being a coy reference to the George Orwell book and an excuse for director Patty Jenkins to make the most of ’80s fashion? The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is still raging on, as is the Soviet-Afghan War, which the U.S. was involved in from 1979 to 1989. Diana and Steve seem to be taken on a mission to Afghanistan, possibly in connection with the war.

Another shot in Afghanistan: a wall crumbles. Does this have any connection to Maxwell Lord and Barbara back in D.C.? Who knows?

“You know what you need to do,” a disheveled Steve tells Diana, both of them looking a little worse for wear after some battle. Will one of them be forced to make another sacrifice? Can our hearts handle it?

In a flashback to Themyscira, we see the Amazons participatng in what looks to be an Olympics-style competition. We know that all the sequences in Themyscira, for which Robin Wright and Connie Nielson are set to return as Antiope and Queen Hippolyta, respectively, will take place in the past, as Diana is no longer allowed to return to her home after having left back in 1918.

Well, what is happening here? Maxwell Lord is bathed in some sort of blue light, presumably from an energy from above. Could he be inside Brother Eye, harnessing the satellite to control the Chaos Shard in his possession? Will he use this to try to gain superhuman strength that could rival Wonder Woman’s? We’ll have to wait and see.

One of the big reveals of the trailer is Diana in her Golden Eagle Armor, that boosts Wonder Woman’s strength and durability, and gives her the ability to fly — though we’ve seen in the previous films that she already has that ability. First introduced in 1996’s Kingdom Come #3, the Golden Eagle Armor was created in Themyscira, which the film’s flashbacks will probably give us an explanation of. It’s unclear as of now why Diana dons the suit, but we can see her wearing it while standing underneath the Big Eye satellite — perhaps she needs it to battle with an empowered Maxwell Lord and Cheetah.

Wonder Woman is swinging from lightning! Aside from being a very cool shot, this has some significance as well: Wonder Woman has been depicted in the comics as being able to ride lightning, a benefit of being the daughter of Zeus.

We’ve been pretty serious for this whole trailer, and Patty Jenkins uses the final few seconds to give us that sweet romantic-comedy sensibility that made us fall in love with Wonder Woman in the first place. Diana excitedly gives Steve a tour of modern America, showing him D.C. Hirshorn Museum, where she declares everything there to be “art.” A confused Steve (wearing the heck out of that fanny pack!) stares at a trash can, trying to make sense of its artistic value, before Diana explains that it’s just for trash. It’s a delightful reversal of Steve and Diana’s fish-out-of-water relationship, and a promise that Wonder Woman 1984 will be as funny and charming as the first film.

***

This is a fantastic trailer that hits all the beats that we want in a Wonder Woman sequel trailer: fresh, funny, and full of electric chemistry between Gadot and Pine. The ’80s setting makes for a fun backdrop to the film, but it doesn’t quite explain why Wonder Woman 1984 is set during that year yet — except for the funky aesthetics. But the hints of plot intrigue and sneak peeks of our two villains are tantalizing, if not very informative. However, I appreciate the first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 not showing too much just yet — just let us bask in seeing Gadot and Pine back together again.

Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters on June 5, 2020.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: