Why Maxwell Lord's Powers In Wonder Woman 1984 Make No Sense

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Why Maxwell Lord's Powers In Wonder Woman 1984 Make No Sense
Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

“Wonder Woman 1984” is the sequel to 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” the solo film for Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince, who first appeared in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” As far as DC Extended Universe films go, “Wonder Woman” stands out as the best received one to date (via Rotten Tomatoes). So when “Wonder Woman 1984” was announced with Patty Jenkins returning to direct, it seemed as though it could be another well-received character-focused win for DC — although that’s not exactly what happened. “Wonder Woman 1984” received only 58% approval from critics and 73% from audiences, with CCN reviewer Brian Lowry noting issues with the main villain of the film: Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal).

In “Wonder Woman,” Diana fought in the trenches of World War I, even going hand-to-hand with a super-enhanced German general, Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston), and eventually facing off with Ares, the God of War himself (David Thewlis). To go from fighting a highly intelligent and powerful leader and a God to having the main villain be a failed businessman who found a powerful Greek relic is a little different, although both Lord and Barbara Minerva, aka Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), are iconic “Wonder Woman” villains.

In the comics, however, there’s much more to Lord than what is portrayed in “Wonder Woman 1984.” He came from money, created his own Justice League, and even had the ability to manipulate the minds of others (via DC Comics). Here’s why his powers in “Wonder Woman 1984” make no sense.

The Dreamstone leaves too many contingencies

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Why Maxwell Lord's Powers In Wonder Woman 1984 Make No Sense
Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

The God of Treachery’s Dreamstone is the cause of all of Wonder Woman’s problems in this film. Essentially, the stone giveth and it taketh away. For example, with Barbara, that meant giving her Wonder Woman’s powers but taking away her kindness, humility, and empathy. When Lord gets his hands on it, he determines how to get around certain aspects of the rules of the stone but leaves a few things open that are a little hard to believe.

First of all, when Lord begins benefiting from the wealth and health of others through their wishes in minor ways, as pointed out by CBR, he could’ve thought bigger, possibly even getting someone to wish that he would never decline in health, or perhaps even be immortal. Then that problem would’ve been solved easily and efficiently. It’s also unlikely that when he broadcast his message to the entire world, nobody wished harm upon him, preventing him from reaching his goals.

Most notably, after all the frustration and harm that he likely caused other people over the years from his scheming business, it would make sense for at least one person to wish bad things on him, no matter how terrible that may be. Or it could simply have been an intelligent person who figured out the chaos the wishing seemed to be causing and tried to stop it by wishing Lord would stop. Either way, there seem to be plenty of ways to get around the limitations of the Dreamstone.

The powers of the stone don't have lasting consequences

Why Maxwell Lord's Powers In Wonder Woman 1984 Make No Sense
Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

As we discover throughout the film, the only way for the chaos to subside and for things to return to normal for someone who made a wish on the stone is to rescind it aloud. Heartbreakingly, Diana has to do this and lose Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), the love of her life, for a second time. It would likely be hard for anyone to rescind a wish they made if they could ask for anything, even with negative side effects if they deem them manageable enough.

It’s interesting that the God of Treachery left the opportunity for humans to rescind wishes and that there were then no true consequences afterward if they were to do so. It would make sense and also be more of a brutal lesson if the wish were unreturnable, leaving the wisher to recognize the beauty of what they had and how careful they must be of what they long for.

Every person in the world ends up doing this at the end of the film due to a plea from Wonder Woman, who is able to show the people of the world its beauty and what will become of it if they don’t. Although this is incredible and heartfelt, it’s highly unlikely that every person would do that. People aren’t always thinking outside of their own needs, even with Wonder Woman’s call to action.

Maxwell Lord never wished for abilities

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Why Maxwell Lord's Powers In Wonder Woman 1984 Make No Sense
Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

Although he did wish to become the stone itself, after everything that Lord had witnessed with Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, it’s surprising that, given his lust for power and wealth, Lord never wished for abilities or asked anyone to wish it for him. He was likely intrigued by the power and skills of both women and possibly figured that if he were the stone and could grant infinite wishes, there was truly no need to have any kind of special abilities to combat threats. Since Lord seemingly remains alive and outside of federal custody at the end of the film, it will be interesting to see if he retained any abilities to manipulate (like in the comics) through the stone in future films.

Although “Wonder Woman 3” is currently in the works with Patty Jenkins set to direct for a third time, it’s unclear when in the timeline it will take place, or if Maxwell Lord will even show up again.

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