Parsing the response to Wonder Woman 1984

Following how the critical consensus around Wonder Woman 1984 has evolved over time has been a treat. After months of delays, speculation and an impromptu revolutionary up-ending of the ‘traditional release model’, the world at large saw the Patty Jenkins-directed sequel to the 2017 Wonder Woman on Christmas Day. Which is when things got quite interesting because the initial glowing praise pouring from major critics ahead of the release turned sour essentially overnight.

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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Love them or hate them, the early DCEU films had some kind of personality about them. They weren’t completely driven by the overarching desire to build a constellation of stories working towards a big team-up event film, but rather by a common visual aesthetic. It is an open secret that Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were partially propelled by the vestigial momentum left behind Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy too. In fact, it is a matter of public record that at the very outset of this project the leading voices driving its evolution were openly trying to distance themselves from the immensely successful MCU by opting for a gritty and dark tone as well as a hyper-stylized visual toolbox brought to the table by Zack Snyder.  

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Cinemas must be saved!!!

I wasn’t intending on offering my two cents to the debate regarding the recent news about all Warner films slated for release in 2021 being made available to stream on HBO Max concurrently to their theatrical runs. After all, I feel I have already touched – if only in passing – upon this subject on at least three occasions (you will find them here [1], [2], [3]). However, seeing how the discourse surrounding this news is evolving needs some commentary.

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Wonder Woman, Christopher Nolan, and the Death of Hollywood

Following months of delays and all-encompassing uncertainty, Warner Bros have announced recently that their newest addition to the beleaguered DC Cinematic Universe, Wonder Woman 1984, would finally see the light of day this Christmas. Interestingly however, in contravention to widely acknowledged norm, it will be simultaneously released in US cinemas (where it is safe to do so) as well as on HBO Max, where it will be available to stream from the comfort of your home. This immediately invites a question: what does this mean for the future of theatrical experience?

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