Wonder Woman 1984 recently released all over the world, to a solid box-office performance, keeping in mind the state of theaters at the moment. On the critical front, the film was less successful, racking up some of the lowest scores ever for a DCEU movie on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. The film’s director Patty Jenkins took to Twitter to respond to one of the most criticized aspects of Wonder Woman 1984, but her response has left fans more confused than ever.
The controversy arose regarding the depiction of consent in Wonder Woman 1984. Warning: Spoilers Ahead. In the movie, Princess Diana aka Wonder Woman wishes upon a magical artifact known as the Dreamstone, which brings her long-lost love, Steve Trevor, back to life.
Unfortunately, Steve does not come back in his own body. Instead, his consciousness takes over the body of another random man. Diana and Steve then proceed to get hot and sweaty together, all the while Steve is in the body of a complete stranger who has lost control over his mind and his body, and who is in no position to be able to give his consent to the sexual activity his body is being used for.
The movie ends with Diana revoking her wish, Steve leaving the stranger’s body and the stranger shown to have no memory of the time he had spent with Wonder Woman. According to critics, this amounts to a violation of the stranger’s right to consent, something that the film does not directly address, and the whole thing is played for a laugh.
On Twitter, a fan posted a defense of Diana and Steve’s actions, which Jenkins retweeted with the words, “Hahaha. Exactly!” According to the fan, the storyline in question was playing out a trope that was often seen in ’80s movies, that of the “Body Swap”, where characters switch bodies and that leads to sexual results, like in the Tom Hanks movie Big.
According to the fan, Wonder Woman 1984 was pointing out the problem with the body-swap genre with the whole “Steve in a stranger’s body” storyline. Additionally, the movie ends with the Dreamstone revoking all wishes, which means the whole arc between Diana and the Stranger never technically happened.
Despite Jenkins’ endorsement of the fan’s theory, critics are pointing out that just because the Dreamstone revoked Diana’s wish does not mean she did not perform those actions in the first place. Also, in Big, it was still Tom Hanks in his own body, just a grown-up version of it, while in Wonder Woman 1984, Steve had taken over another man’s body who had no say in the matter.
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The film sees Wonder Woman facing off against the combined might of Maxwell Lord and The Cheetah. Wonder Woman 1984 is currently in theaters and on HBO Max.