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How The First Lines Of Dialogue In Wonder Woman 1984 Set Up The Whole Movie

Wonder Woman 1984 has finally arrived, hitting theaters and the HBO Max streaming service simultaneously on December 25, 2020. Fans have patiently waited years for the next installment in this DCEU series, and while it's facing mixed reactions, this sequel has a lot going for it. Its vibrant, eighties color palette and performances by franchise newcomers Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal — who portray Barbara Minerva AKA Cheetah and Maxwell Lord, respectively — garner plenty of attention, but they're not the only positives in WW84's corner. You simply can't count out the inspiring undertones to its narrative that director Patty Jenkins plants the seeds for, right out of the gate.

Wonder Woman 1984 starts with a flashback of a friendly yet intense Olympics-esque sequence between a young Diana (Lilly Aspell) and a handful of her fellow Amazons. They all go through a gauntlet of rigorous challenges, and Diana manages to pull ahead to the spot lead via a shortcut. Disappointed, Antiope (Robin Wright) doesn't let her decision to take the easy way out slide, holding her niece back from taking first place and upsetting her greatly. 

Despite her tears, she learns some valuable lessons from her aunt and mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) that are paramount to the story's emotional core: "No true hero is born from lies," as well as "Greatness isn't what you think," and "You can't see what you're learning until you come out the other side."

Wonder Woman 1984 is a story of truth versus lies

The aforementioned quotes represent a similar arc that Wonder Woman 1984's main characters take throughout the story, as they struggle with their self-perception versus their realities. For instance, Diana (Gal Gadot) puts on an assertive, commanding face, but is actually socially distant and lonely, her life seemingly void of close connections. Barbara (using the Dreamstone) steals Diana's strength and likability, hiding her own lack of social skills and self-esteem. Max Lord creates an image of himself as a wealthy oil magnate, but is truly a penniless fraud. Finally, obviously, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is walking around in another person's body.

As the film goes on, three of these four people use the Dreamstone as a proverbial shortcut to their wildest dreams, and they suffer individual penalties for it. Diana's Amazonian powers whither away in exchange for Steve. Barbara loses her warmth and humility by becoming an "apex predator." Max's health grows steadily worse as he becomes more successful off of the Dreamstone's abilities. They start to physically feel their lies, and soon understand they can't be the hero — to themselves, or others — that they desire. Their attempts at greatness, or living their greatest lives, turns out to be a farce.

However, in the end, they come out the other side, to learn the true value of themselves, and to abandon their pursuit of riches, glory, and lost love. Diana, in one of Wonder Woman 1984's most emotional scenes, finally lets Steve go, and starts to emerge from her shell. Barb regains her humanity and finds comfort with her genuine self. Max reunites with his son, promising him he'll be the good father he set out to be from the beginning. 

Little did we know at the time, but those Amazonian words of wisdom, at the very beginning, encompassed everything WW84 had in store for its diverse cast of characters.