Wonder Woman 1984 Expects Me to Believe That THE Wonder Woman Has Spent Six Decades in Mourning and That Doesn’t Sit Well With Me
Why can't Diana enjoy things without a body-snatched boyfriend on her arm?
Spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984.
There’s a scene in the first Sex and the City movie where Carrie Bradshaw is left at the altar by her abso-fucking-lutely on-again, off-again boyfriend Mr. Big. It leads to a montage of her letting the days go by, unaware of the passage of time as her friends whisk her away to Mexico (where the honeymoon was going to be) in an attempt to lift her spirits. Carrie instructs them to close all the blinds for maximum sad girl hours, but eventually, she learns to laugh again.
When I finished watching Wonder Woman 1984 with my wife, I realized that Diana was Carrie Bradshaw, a shell of her former self because of a man. The reasons are different, of course, since Steve Trevor died instead of getting cold feet and engaging in six seasons worth of relationship drama. My point is that the state of depression is similar for both women, but where Carrie was able to move forward thanks to the power of female friendship, Wonder Woman 1984’s Diana has zero friends, nor is she really interested in them, or anything else, including her own accomplishments, and has been living like that for decades as far as we know. There are old mementos in her house that we see as she leaves to sit alone at a restaurant, mournfully watching as a waiter clears the extra plate, solidifying her status as a broken-hearted woman
Why has she ceased to enjoy anything until Steve’s unnatural (and highly suspect) return 6 decades later?
It’s interesting, really, because one of the biggest complaints about the DCEU in the past was how grimdark it was. The first Wonder Woman film was praised for being a counter to how bleak previous DC movies had been. On the surface, Wonder Woman 1984 is a brightly colored trip through the 80s, but beneath that, it’s just … depressing. I’m supposed to think that this Steve/Diana reverse fish out of water scenario is cute, but it’s marred by the fact that this is a woman who’s completely isolated herself from society for over 60 years save for working a 9 to 5 and the occasional secret crime-fighting, but she doesn’t even relish in that.
And Wonder Woman is someone who should, most definitely, be relishing in it.
Like. A lot.
In Wonder Woman 1984, Diana only finds joy again when her dead boyfriend takes over another man’s body, EVEN IF she’s clearly done some pretty cool shit on her own (more on this later). She finally moves on when HE tells her she’s doing entirely too much because, well, it’s not ACTUALLY him, so they’ve kiiiiinda been screwing with someone else’s life. And body.
Oh, and the wish she made is slowly draining her of her powers, and she doesn’t care.
Um … yikes?
60-some years of society leveling up and there’s nothing that moves her? Women’s suffrage? The Civil Rights movement? The Stonewall riots? A man walking on the moon? Disco? Drive-in movies? Star Wars? Atari? There HAS to be something, yeah?
I guess, maybe, break dancing?
Oh, wait that’s only when Steve returns and is in awe over it.
And even after he gives the okay to move on (which, ugh, SHOULD NOT BE UP TO HIM HE IS DEAD), she says she’ll never love again and ARGH WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WHY IS SHE STUCK IN LIMBO LIKE THIS?! How did we go from, “I’m new to this world and it’s amazing, let me try and figure out how a revolving door works,” to, “Nothing matters if there’s not a fighter pilot in a fanny pack by my side.”
Before y’all destroy me I too appreciate Chris Pine and his fanny pack but even he was out here like, “Sis, please, let me go.”
And it shouldn’t have taken that long, you know? If you really wanna bring him back fine, I guess (though I think the movie would’ve been fine without him in exchange for a more fully developed Barbara, tbh), but WHY couldn’t she enjoy a damn thing AT ALL until he showed up? Are you seriously telling me in that long gap of time she hasn’t done what most of us women would do when missing a loved one and PRACTICE SELF CARE or SEEK COMPANIONSHIP WITH OTHERS? And I don’t mean relationship-wise, I just mean friendship. She comes from an island of women, some form of sisterhood should be in her core somewhere.
She speaks of her sisters so much in other forms of media, but for some reason, in this movie, she only longs for Steve.
I’m struggling to figure out what this interpretation of Diana likes about this world she, at the end of her first adventure, felt so much compassion for … even after she lost Steve.
All I have to go off of is the one crime-fighting scene (which she’s keeping secret), her job (where she barely engages with her coworkers and I’m not entirely sure what she even does for a living and why that’s the job she went for), her apartment (which she barely spends time in), and a single lunch with Barbara (which brings up Steve again). At least in Batman v Superman (I can’t believe I’m referencing this movie), she looked like she ENJOYED kinda flirting with Bruce Wayne and beating the shit out of that mutated mess I refused to acknowledge as Doomsday.
Hell, even after leaving HER ENTIRE CIVILIZATION in the first Wonder Woman she took a second to smile about ice cream and babies.
There was none of that here.
Again, I ask, why?
It’s mind-boggling that in a superheroine movie we don’t see or hear anything about what Diana’s been up to superpower wise until Steve shows up. I mean… she can make an entire jet INVISIBLE and has apparently been practicing on coffee mugs? Um. Can we get a cute scene of her trying to further develop her powers before work or something? Also, Diana tells Steve that she’s been trying to figure out flight. Guess we can’t see that scene either, huh? Not even her jumping away from the mall fight and trying to float in the air before she gets home? Alas, we don’t see Wonder Woman achieve this remarkable ability until Steve’s lesson and his death, or rather, her releasing the unnamed man from her wish and leaving him in the middle of a riot.
And then there’s … Asteria.
Diana casually tells us about Asteria after Steve discovers the armor in her office which, by the way, she’s got all sorts of monitors rigged up to watch what’s going on in the city. Why is this the first we’re seeing of … nevermind.
What’s extra infuriating about this Asteria mention is that Diana tells us that she’s been searching for this golden Amazonian heroine for a while now, but only managed to find the armor. We don’t know what finding Asteria would mean to Diana, why she decided to look for her, or why she decided to collect the armor. Is she trying to reconnect to home? Is she trying to prevent others from finding and misusing it? Does she just … WANT some badass armor? I have no idea because this all comes up past the halfway point of the movie and is never fully explored.
Why isn’t this what we’re seeing in the movie? Why isn’t this woman’s quest to find the ultimate Amazon THE movie? Do we HAVE to do the magic wishes that resurrect Steve Trevor? Actually, let me back up, if our main plot point is wish-fulfillment, does Diana’s wish HAVE to be Steve Trevor at all? We know she still has love for him, the first movie is her reminiscing about her life thanks to a photo Bruce Wayne sends her that has Steve Trevor in it. How does Wonder Woman 1984 have a Themyscira flashback and a legendary Amazon that leads to a mid-credit scene instead of a fully fleshed out plotline?
Because it’s determined to have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, remind us that Diana’s alone.
And the real hard truth to swallow about that is how she’s willingly doing it to her damn self.
It’s such an outdated portrayal of love, especially for women, because it’s not just that Diana misses Steve and won’t move on, it’s that we don’t see her acknowledging anything new and worthwhile that she’s done until he comes back, she’s fine with losing herself as long as he’s there, and it takes his prompting to get her to move forward.
Assuming she actually does.
Because she’ll never love again.
Listen. Just because Diana misses someone doesn’t mean she has to be this detached from the world. Women, even superhuman ones, are allowed to have lives after the death of a loved one. No one says you can’t mourn the loss, but … 60+ years of sad girl hours and an unwillingness to celebrate yourself in any way is entirely too much.
A third Wonder Woman is already in the works, but I implore those who are involved, if you’re really making another one of these movies PLEASE let Diana enjoy things WITHOUT having to see an airplane or wristwatch first.
(Image: Warner Bros. Pictures)
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