The Sloppy, Heavy-Handed Politics of Wonder Woman 1984

 

 

I took a look at some reviews of Wonder Woman 1984. Mind you, not many liberal leaning critics are even willing to come close to addressing what political elements occur in it, but they’re there, and from the look of things, even if the negative metaphors for Donald Trump aren’t the most heavy handed, Ronald Reagan still ends up victimized here, maybe even more, in a latter day example of liberal Hollywood not willing to forgive a right-leaning POTUS of his time for daring to oppose their far-left beliefs. But amazingly enough, if you want an example of a critic at a potentially left-leaning paper willing to tell what’s wrong here, it’s at the San Francisco Chronicle:

 

 

 

 

One of the mild sources of fun in “Wonder Woman 1984” is the way it evokes the styles of the period. There’s a visit to a shopping mall, where there’s a B. Dalton bookstore. The long-lost Steve comes back from the great beyond and is outfitted in a Members Only jacket. The movie is true to the ’80s, but then blows it entirely, when Lord insinuates himself into the White House and takes a meeting with the president of the United States.

If it’s 1984, the president is Ronald Reagan. But it’s not Reagan. It’s some guy played by Stuart Milligan. He has the Reagan hair, but he’s shorter and looks nothing like him, and when Lord asks him what he wishes for, the president says he wishes for many more nuclear weapons, so as to intimidate the Soviets. That’s nonsense. The real Reagan would have wished for the elimination of all nuclear weapons — that’s what he campaigned on, and what he proposed to Mikhail Gorbachev. The movie tries to split the difference, by making the president sort of Reagan and sort of not. But no president of the United States — at least no 20th century president — could ever have been that stupid.

 

It doesn’t even sound like the Reagan stand-in was mind-controlled, which would make this one of the most extreme jabs at Reagan in the history of fiction employing real life figures in-story. It’s honestly amazement when a left-leaning paper’s even willing to pan the film for its poor crafting. On the right-leaning end of the spectrum, Christian Toto also noted this:

 

“Wonder Woman 1984” even sneaks in a slight against a President Ronald Reagan stand in. The year is, you guessed it, 1984, and the on-screen president is trying to put out the fires set by Maxwell’s wish brigade.

Yet when Maxwell grants the Reagan stand-in his own wish, he asks for MORE nuclear weapons to outgun “Russia” (didn’t we call it the Soviet Union at the time?)

Three-plus decades later, Hollywood is still slamming Reagan as a war monger.

 

And to think they’d choose a cheap plot device like a magic gemstone as the basis for this whole tale. Even a critic writing for the Times of Israel was disappointed, and what he says about where the film goes, in location as much as politics, is also eyebrow raising:

 

Lord decides that an avenue to riches is through petroleum, so he uses his new evil wish-manipulation powers to grab some oil fields. He doesn’t go to Texas or Edmonton, Canada, but, instead, to Egypt.

Here he meets “The King of Crude,” Emir Said Bin Abydos (Amr Waked), whose dream is to rid his ancestral area of heathens. When Lord grants his wish (in exchange for oil) a giant wall appears, causing mayhem in the region. There follows a big action scene, and Diana, in full Wonder Woman garb, must do battle against him and his goons, some of which are Arab heavies.

But as the military jeeps go racing down the dusty highway — oh, no! — two young Egyptian children are playing soccer in the road. Wonder Woman is able to swoop down and save them, just in the nick of time, cooing to them in Arabic as she holds them in a tender embrace.

It’s certainly a nice moment to see Gadot, who is regularly pummeled online with anti-Zionist sentiments, basking in the glow of peace and harmony with Israel’s neighbors. Keep in mind that 2017’s “Wonder Woman” was banned in Lebanon because of the lead actress’s nationality. (If you were wondering, these scenes were actually shot in Spain.)

 

 

No doubt, some effort was made – and taken too far – in trying to please literally everyone. But, it’s quite likely the script whitewashes Islam despite what’s told, and depending how you view this scene with Arabic dialect, one can just as easily wonder why they didn’t put in a scene where WW could save some Israeli women and kids in danger from jihadists, or why the filmmakers didn’t think a direct nod to Gadot’s homeland would make a good moment.

 

 

I’ve noticed many missed opportunities over the years for Hollywood to prove they’re not opposed to favorable views of Israel in settings, which seems to have been the case since the mid-70s, and this could just as easily be one of them. And of course, does this excuse any anti-Trump metaphors? The simple answer is “no”. (By the way, when they speak of WW in full garb, do they mean Gadot dressed modestly for the scene? If that’s the case, I find that pathetic pandering to “cultural sensitivity” mindsets, here being the notion not to offend Islamists. I wonder if that’s why she has armor in this movie?)

As the film was being released, suddenly, Gadot for one, clearly aware of the criticism that came about over the political metaphors, insisted it’s not an anti-Trump movie during an interview with Variety (via Newsmax):

 

Is it a political movie?

No, I don’t think it’s a political movie. I think there’s some political elements just because it’s the nature of the world and we’re dealing with some subjects that can easily be connected to politics. But the movie is not about politics. The movie is about something that is much more simple. It’s about truth and the power of truth and hope.

What’s your reaction when hear people say that Maxwell Lord is Donald Trump? Even one of his lines is “I’m not a con man. I’m a television personality and a businessman.” How could we not think it’s Trump?

It’s interesting because when we shot it, we didn’t really think about it until we got to the White House. And then we’re like, “Hmm.” Maxwell Lord has so many different versions in the comic books. And I think that Patty and Dave [Callaham] and Geoff [Johns] — the writers — really took Gordon Gekko’s personality. The thing about Maxwell Lord in our movie, unlike the comics, is that he’s more complex because he’s not just an evil villain. He is a regular person who wants to be all these things that you would see on TV. I know from Pedro while we were shooting the movie, that at a certain point, he just focused on the page and what was there. And along with Patty, they just created this character. But we never tried to mimic anybody else. We never tried to mimic Trump or anything.

 

Unfortunately, that just doesn’t suffice. They say he’s given a seemingly sympathetic moment, but that still doesn’t explain why he has to be stereotyped as a US businessman greedy for fuel resources. And lest we forget, the above doesn’t explain why Reagan has to be made out to look awful.

 

Also note the strong hint she’s not familiar with the Justice League material from the late 80s-early 90s, where Lord was far from characterized as a criminal in any capacity. I find that hugely disappointing, as it makes Gadot another Hollywooder who’s not really versed in the comics’ exact history, and co-writer Johns – the same one who co-wrote the Countdown tale where Lord was turned forcibly evil – clearly didn’t keep her up to date on the real history.

And, it’s crucial to note that a far-left writer at NBC pointed out:

 

The egotistical, oleaginous and ostentatiously blond-haired Max Lord is an obvious stand-in for Donald Trump. (Director Jenkins says Trump was “one” inspiration for the character.) Like Trump, Max presents himself as a successful businessman, but he is basically a con artist, with a flair for self-promotion and ingratiating falsehoods. As befits a parody of a reality TV star, the film climaxes with Lord broadcasting to everyone on Earth, bellowing “Why not more?!” like a combination self-help guru and supervillain. Diana, dressed in golden armor and wielding her lasso of truth, pierces this veil of bloviation. The message is clear: If you toss aside truth, you toss aside your soul.

 

Even the Wash. Post, in all their blatant leftism, reminded everyone of this. Obviously, the criticism against the screenplay’s characterizations was such that the filmmakers had to do damage control. But it’s too late. They could’ve minimized the damage long before by not basing it on Lord’s modern retcon, nor on Trump himself, metaphorically or otherwise. Instead, they came off looking like they don’t have the courage to apologize.

 

 

If there’s something good Gadot did do of recent, she defended her casting as Cleopatra in an upcoming project, following obnoxious SJW/cancel culture reactions primarily from Arabic anti-semites, this despite the ancient Egyptian monarch being of Macedonian descent. It remains to be seen if this’ll have a positive effect going forward, recalling Scarlett Johansson, also mentioned in the above link, just plain dropped a role for playing a male transvestite when hit with similar backlash. If Gadot can stand firm on her choice of role, then anybody like Johansson must too. But it still doesn’t excuse whenever they reach for extreme politics when it’d be better to avoid it, and come to think of it, when Gadot and Jenkins wrote up the screenplay for the WW sequel, they threw away a chance, much like many other left-wing filmmakers today, to craft a metaphor for combatting Islamic jihadism wherever it dwells.

 

Something tells me they wouldn’t even be willing to tell the recent history-making occasion of Israel and the UAE signing accords. Hollywood, and also the comics industry proper, have been throwing away chances to confront challenging issues out of pure cowardice and political correctness, and WW 1984 is pretty much one of those results. Just a few days ago, Jenkins stated she’s uncertain she’ll be trying to make a 3rd WW movie. It’s probably just as well. When you have a case where art is held hostage to PC, it’s hardly worth it to spend as much as $200 million to make a sequel where you can’t make use of topics that can make people think for the right reasons.

 

Update: if there was any comics writer telling what he thought whom I could find, it was Jim Zub. And what he says here about Chris Pine’s take on Steve Trevor returning via possession of another man’s body may be worth some pondering:

 

 

He’s disappointed with the story, and it seems he spotted a double-standard in how some can be “taken advantage” of with the opposite sex. If a woman had returned from the afterlife in another woman’s body, and any kind of sexual relation were conducted with a male lead, then in the eyes of the PC/SJW crowd, that would’ve been inappropriate. But if it’s something involving a man and a female lead, it’s okay in all instances? Well, I guess that’s leftist Hollywood for you.

 

Certainly, there’s what to think about here regarding the whole matter, but what can one expect when you have these kind of leftists running the store, making men look almost inherently dreadful apart from Steve himself? Based on the politics of those involved, it should be no surprise when the feminist ideology they employ ends up making an embarrassment of the whole sci-fi plot.

Update 2: John Nolte at Breitbart’s also noticed and written about the disturbing double-standard the WW movie sequel’s got on sexual assault.

 

 

 

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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