Women be Equal… in Objectifying Men.
WONDER WOMAN 1984, the sequel to 2017’s lauded, woman-empowering WONDER WOMAN, forgets how to ‘human,’ let alone empower women.
The movie opens on Barbara (Kristen Wiig), a shapely office blonde, who drops to all fours to pick up papers she just fumbled, and three guys walk past her without a second glance – because she wears glasses. The movie is set in 1984 (for the purpose of the outdated communication methods in the climax) – but it’s 2020 out here, and director/co-writer Patty Jenkins (who also directed the previous film, to the fist-up of feminists everywhere) now subjects us to the neanderthal trope of a woman being unattractive by being clumsy and wearing spectacles.
Hey, I’m not sexist – Patty Jenkins is.
The plot itself is a case study on non-human nature, involving an artifact called the Dream Stone that grants wishes. It arrives in a shipment to the Smithsonian, where Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is plying her day job. (During that dropped papers scene, Diana helps Barbara on all fours. No man notices. Not even an Askew Glance (that neckular angle that men have evolved in the arms race to view cameltoe and whale-tail and tight-skirted thigh without being discovered). Is this what “woman-empowerment” has devolved to? Pretending these women are “equal” to men, and therefore undesirable? Whether you subscribe to woman empowerment or are a total misogynist, that doesn’t negate basic human behavior.)
A failed businessman, Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), assumes the “villain” role as he absconds with the Dream Stone, turning himself into a granter of wishes, and grants everyone on Earth their wish. Chaos ensues worldwide. And Wonder Woman beseeches the world to recant their wishes, on the assumption that all were “selfish” (n.b. chicks, cash, and cock size). But did the writers (Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham, and Jenkins) consider wishes like “walking after being crippled,” “curing my baby of cancer,” “surviving a school shooter” or even the generic “world peace”? I’m presuming they did, because they build a negative into the wish – that there is a heavy price to pay for each wish granted. It is presumed everyone in the world is experiencing the maelstrom of disorder from their wishes granted. But I’m sure the cancer patients and cripples and parents of dead kids are mighty fine with a little caca after their lives have been resurrected from the toilet.
The movie digs itself into a pitch black hole. And then it digs deeper: everyone DOES recant. Non-human nature is built into the fabric of WONDER WOMAN 1984, which is defeated by shameful writing and the utter implausibility of this plot whose ramifications are too expansive to deal with in a 90-minute movie.
Diana herself has a morbid wish fulfilled, at the expense of losing her powers gradually – to be with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) again. And we’re meant to ignore that she must be pathologically damaged for pining over a guy she slept with once over 65 years ago. Her wish is granted, with the soul/spirit/essence of Steve Trevor taking over a random stranger’s body. That is: we see the stranger as Chris Pine, but if he looks in a mirror, he’ll see what his original body looks like – another guy. And not an iota of thought is given to this other guy’s existence: Does he not have friends or family that would realize he is missing? What about his bills, his workplace, phone calls, appointments? Does Jenkins think this is how women are empowered? By simply using a rando’s body while his brain and life are put on hold? Truly the most sinister, horrifying, morbid element in this kiddie movie, Kristoffer Polaha plays this unsuspecting male rape victim, and is credited only as “Handsome Man.” In other words, given credit for his looks only.
Hey, I’m not sexist – the writers are.
Barbara (Wiig) idolizes Diana, desiring to be as womanly and alluring as her. The Dream Stone grants her wish to be “an apex predator” – and turns her into a cheetah (which is technically not an apex predator, and technically not Cheetah’s DC Comics origin either). She doesn’t seem to mind, as she can now walk in high heels (because – woman empowerment), and becomes Max Lord’s bottom bitch for no reason.
Kristen does an excellent job in this silly role. She’s one of my favorite SNL alumni, and kudos to her agent for landing her a tentpole movie. Only problem is: this high-profile feature is excrement, and doesn’t give her any real acting (or comedy) to do.
If it’s not the stupid plot, it’s the lame effects: Wonder Woman runs in the street at super-speed – and it looks like she’s on a moving sidewalk being pulled along, because (as Gal describes it) she was being pulled along “as fast as Usain Bolt”… All these years later and we’re still faking Jeff-East-Running-Alongside-Train? Wonder Woman and Steve steal a jet, and she makes it invisible through, uh… magic who cares fuck you.
Speaking of magic, if all the other Dream Stone wishes are being magicked out of thin air, why can’t Steve Trevor be magicked in the same way? Why did they overrun Handsome Man’s unsuspecting body to assuage Diana’s obsessive ramrod fixation? And no, it’s not unhealthy obsession that she lusts after a guy she dicked down 65 years ago; it’s “true love” because she’s a woman, see.
Diana dons angelic armor for the final battle with Cheetah; armor that apparently belonged to a great Amazonian warrior, Asteria, who went MIA. But it’s simply for trailers and posters, as Diana shucks it off after Cheetah tears it to shreds… supposedly mythical armor is pretty useless if it can’t even survive an attack by the Target Lady. Besides, it was spending too much time covering Wonder’s regular bondage costume that teases with sexy combat positions just a peek-a-boo away from BAGINA.
Hey, I’m not sexist – the fight choreographer is.
Funny how they make everyone talk in Gal Gadot’s Austro-Czecho-Germano-Israeli accent. It could be seen as the Amazons being exotic and who knows what they sound like – but it’s more a case of, “What?! She can’t do an American accent? Jesus, we have to reverse-engineer everyone else around her to sound like that…” (Wouldn’t you have killed to have been in that producer meeting?)
Final scene cameos the original Wonder Woman – Lynda Carter as Asteria (the armor owner), still radiant, drop-dead stunning and salaciously irresistible–
Hey, I’m not sexist – Wonder Woman is.