Contains some SPOILERS for Wonder Woman 1984.
Sorry, internet, I enjoyed this movie.
I’m going to keep this short because the internet’s haterade really doesn’t deserve that much attention. Anyway…
- You don’t like that this movie was campy, cheesy, and unrealistic? Wonder Woman has never been realistic. She’s aspirational.
- You don’t like that there’s a disposable man we don’t learn much about in this movie? Oh, you sweet summer child. There have been disposable women in action movies for decades. In one franchise, disposable women have a name: Bond Girls. I think people feel bad for Handsome Man because most Western media has conditioned them to see male characters as people and female characters as objects. WW84 flipped that narrative.
- You don’t like that Diana’s night with Steve implies a lot creepy things, since Handsome Man (Steve’s host body) didn’t technically consent to it? Well, I don’t like those implications, either, and I don’t want to see anything that creepy in future Wonder Woman installments. That said, the creepy stuff with Handsome Man is a drop in the bucket compared to the sexual harassment and assault of women in works that focus on male characters. Oh, and the way those male characters harassment is played for romance just as much as Diana’s night with Steve/Handsome Man was. And it’s happened many times over the years in many different genres. You can visit the Pop Culture Detective Agency for more information on that horrifying trend. I wonder if Diana’s relationship with Steve/Handsome Man was supposed to be some kind of response to that trend. If it was meant as a response, it needed to be better handled than it actually was in the film.
- Also, I think part of why Diana chose to sleep with Steve/Handsome Man because she’s fallen for the lie that the Dreamstone enacts once someone makes a wish. The Dreamstone gives people what they want, but also exacts a horrible price. It takes Diana’s powers away, but it also causes her to make a crappy choice that she probably wouldn’t make otherwise, and she’s too caught up in her feelings for Steve to see how awful it is.
- You don’t like the Dreamstone because it’s “lazy storytelling?” Tough. Macguffins have driven plots for ages, and the Dreamstone is present because this movie is something of an action-parable. It’s about how everyone getting what they wish for doesn’t just ruin their lives, but ruins the whole world. It’s more of a sociological take on “be careful what you wish for” because the wishes ruin international relations, people’s access to water, and many more big-picture things. Usually, these types of tales just focus on one person and the immediate world around them, but WW84 puts this idea within a larger scope.
- “The Themyscira sequence with the Amazons has nothing to do with the plot!” It doesn’t, but it delivers a major part of the movie’s themes: trying to bend the rules and get things the easy way isn’t fair and it doesn’t end well. I know that seems so simple, but after four years of being gaslit by Donald Trump, who’s glided through so many crimes and scandals, I think we need a simple reminder like this movie. This is particularly true because even though he lost his reelection bid, there are politicians out there trying to court his base (like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who is shady AF, and I say that as a Missourian). We need to remind people that that kind of behavior is bad to help wash away the stains of that particular brand of awfulness.
- “There are so many continuity errors in this movie.” LOL. Do you think we’re in the MCU? The DC Extended Universe was thrown together in just a couple of years to keep up with Marvel and to satisfy Zack Snyder’s “vision”, which has mostly been thrown out, I think. (Spoiler alert: Zack Snyder isn’t a great filmmaker, and the infamous Snyder Cut of Justice League probably won’t be much better than the theatrical cut.) He got a “Story By” credit for the first Wonder Woman movie, and that movie’s third act has his fingerprints all over it. Thankfully, Patty Jenkins is ignoring that and just giving us fun (if flawed) escapism. Hopefully, the third confirmed WW film will allow Diana to return to Themyscira, since her exile is extremely arbitrary and doesn’t have much basis in the comics. As long as this film doesn’t undo the events of Aquaman and SHAZAM!, any existing continuity departures are fine.
- One major reason that people are bagging on WW84 and tearing it to shreds is good old-fashioned sexism. And it’s not an overt form of sexism, like when men catcall women or randomly tell them to smile on the street. It’s an expectation that all major films starring women and minorities must be perfect and unproblematic in a way that films starring straight, white, cisgender men don’t have to be. That’s because they have to make straight, white, cis men feel comfortable, but they’re never going to feel comfortable with escapist blockbuster films that cater to women and minorities. It makes me think of how Roxane Gay wrote in her book Bad Feminist that the fate of all female-led comedies rested with Bridesmaids in 2011. If that movie didn’t do well, female-led comedies were over (they aren’t, though). Similarly, I’ve seen at least one meme on social media that points out how men are allowed to like schlocky things all the time, but when women like something schlocky (Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey), it’s treated like the worst thing to ever happen to Western culture. Of course, that’s not true at all. Western culture will still move on and exist. But women and minorities should be allowed to have less-than-perfect works of fiction made for them. Because nothing humanity makes is ever truly perfect.
- About the mid-credits stinger: It made me spin around in my living room TWICE.
- Overall, I can sum up my feelings towards this movie with this quote from my (female) cousin-in-law: “Not everything has to be the final season of Breaking Bad to be worth watching.”
So those are my thoughts about Wonder Woman 1984. It’s enjoyable, but not perfect. And that’s perfectly fine.