Fans came to expect mixed bags when it came to villains in superhero movies. You’ve got your top tier, like Michael H. Jordan in Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Thanes, Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus in Black Panther, a few types of Joker.
After you get your mid-range deficit (think of Thor Kate Blanket: Dr. Strange, Ragnarok, Mads Mickelsen, and many others) who do the right thing, and then the pure Dodds (sorry, Malekith, Stephenwolf, and Yellowjacket) become impossible at once. Stay calm in mind.
But Wonder Woman 1964 brings us something more interesting with the villain Maxwell Lord playing Pedro Pascal. From the start, I saw that I wanted to win Max – because that’s what would cause the problem – and the film apparently agreed with me, giving the character the ultimate rare happy ending for a superhero buddy.
In fact, Off Max is a fairly sympathetic personality. Desperate to turn his fortunes around and to impress his son, Bhanbane is a billionaire with all the styles and no substance, and no other actor could have been plagued by acting money. In Pascal’s hands, however, Max is warm and desirable – very impressive and at the top, but extremely glamorous.
This is far from Pascal’s current role as Disney + ‘s masked Mandorian character, and somewhere near his autobiographical (and doomed) Oberin Martel in Game of Thrones, but seriously, Max feels weak in contrast to both of these figures, an underdog. His sinister plan is not imposed on his personal army, his superpowers, or his doomed device – instead, it is his skill and adaptability that takes him to the top.
When Max holds Dreamstone’s hand, a mysterious object that gives the holder a wish at a terribly personal price, he doesn’t just want it for money or influence – he tells others to become Dreamstone by taking his will-giving power.
In principle, this may seem like a strange move – it’s not that he achieves more good wishes, he just presents them to others – but Max understands something deeper, which takes our heroes Diana and Steve (Gal Gadot and Steve Trevor)) R to notice. The real significance of the Dreamstone is not what it gives, but what it takes.
Pedro Pascal Wonder Woman starred Maxwell Lord (here with a dream) in 1984 Warner Bros. / YouTube
Accordingly, Max gives the man what he wants – but even after his own will dries up, he cleverly encourages himself with the strength, influence, and health of the people around him. And again, oddly enough, I found myself throughout most of this scene. It is extremely satisfying to see Max outsmarting the impressions of excelling and exclusive claimants, even if his overall goals (a relentless pursuit of wealth and excessive power) are boring.
It wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t for the fun in Pascal’s role, but the intense energy he gave to Max really made everyone shine off the screen. It was a top-notch, almost insane performance that again met with complete disagreement with his restrained work on Mondorrian – but as Pascal revealed in the interview, that’s the point.
“With Wonder Woman, (co-stars Gal Gadot and Kristen Wig) doing the action, Babu, and I’m scum-acting!” He told EW. “I’m hammering it!”
Later, at a press conference for the film, he seemed more nervous about how he was out, joking that he could take credit if fans responded well, but if they didn’t like it, they should take the director to Patty. Jenkins – but he doesn’t have to worry.
This version of Max Lord is perfectly accurate in a 1960s brush, day-global stereotype, and in a film so focused on its extreme events, and even when he’s dealing with villains trying to fight Wonder Woman or stinging Steve, it’s not hard to warm him up.
After all, in the final count, Max is the protagonist of the whole movie. At the climactic finale of Wonder Woman 1984, Max experimentally controlled the U.S. government system for broadcasting a message worldwide, “touching” everyone at once and greeting them, creating chaos around the world.
Diana Max can’t stop defeating the cheetah (wig) around her, because only she can connect him to the truth, Diana shows her life to the fullest – her abused childhood, school bullying, how she fought for success despite her difficulties – and then His own son, who left his office to pursue the matter. Crazy dream of world domination.
“You can save him, Max,” Diana tells him – and she does. Like a workaholic father at the center of a classic Christmas movie (which is Wonder Woman 196, however), Max realizes what really matters, abandons his will, and brings the world back to normal. In one final scene of the film we see Max happily reuniting with his son, telling him that “you never have to make any wishes to love me.”
Max (at least onscreen) doesn’t get his curiosity, is banned in the Phantom Zone or is not thrown around his neck by Superman. He was not dusted by the Infinity Zone, thrown into the Quantum Kingdom, or stumped by giant monsters. Instead Max gets his happy outcome after learning an important lesson about his priorities.
If Wonder Woman 1984 is a film about wanting all this and realizing you can’t do it, then it’s Max’s film like Diana’s – maybe more. As Diana had to learn to leave Steve and move on to connect with humanity, Max had to reformat his entire drive and principles. Diana re-learned a lesson she already knew, when Max had a tougher path to knowledge, forcing her to give up some of the work she had done over the years in the interests of her son.
In short, there must be an argument that Max Lord is the protagonist of Wonder Woman 1984. If nothing else, this is his happy ending when the credits roll.
Wonder Woman 1984 is now selected in UK and US cinema halls and HBO Max in the US. Want something else to see? Watch our complete TV guide.