Wonder Woman 1984 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Wonder Woman 1984.

Story

It’s very much a DC Comics movie, lots of angst, lots of grim-dark, and very little humour. There are only two characters that show any form of compassion or common sense. Wonder Woman seems to now care about as much about collateral damage as Superman and goes out of her way to confront the villain at the worst possible time only to give us an action sequence.

A lot of movies set in the 1980’s have a nostalgic sheen. There’s no nostalgia here, more of a deep loathing. The movie spends a lot of time setting up how greedy and hateful humanity is and how even those who know they are hurting others don’t care. It makes the ending feel cheap and un-earned.

The movie recycles tropes from other superhero movies from the “evil oil guy” to “nerd with glasses feels entitled and goes evil” and doesn’t add anything new to them.

The ethical issues of her boning some dude who’s possessed by her ex made me uncomfortable the entire movie.

Score: 0

Characters

I have a hard time with Diana’s obsession with Steve. He’s handsome and he was a genuinely awesome guy. But she was pining (pun intended) for 70 years? It feels like a stretch.

I really find the body possession to be one of the worst ethical issues. She played dress-up with a possessed body and did other things. She effectively raped a man. Yuck.

Steve was posted in London during the First World War. He has seen a subway before. He’s seen a garbage can before. Other than to mock modern art, why would he not be able to tell a garbage can from art but somehow be able to fly a fighter jet? When he was alive, they didn’t even have cabin pressure, but now he just feels how to fly?

The villain was a Trump stand-in with a child, so you know he’ll be redeemed in the end by his love for his kid. It’s so cliché as to be insulting. Especially to those of us who grew up in “broken homes”.

Selena, Willow, Harley, uhm… Barbara is the typical super-nerd who people ignore for some reason. She’s a female Daniel Jackson without the allergies or alien theories. I’m not sure if she’s a male wank fantasy or just a power fantasy. It’s an old trope that hasn’t gotten any more interesting or less insulting.

Score: 0

Dialogue

Other than some over explanations and condescensions, the dialogue was okay. Steve was funny and loveable and the rest was meh.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

We had some technical issues with the streaming service so we didn’t get this in full 4K and the music was stuck in stereo instead of full 5.1 surround.

That being said, the beginning on the island was spectacular. I wasn’t a fan of the filter they used for the 80’s faux look but overall it was a beautiful movie. The CGI on Cheetah was pretty bad though.

The music was fantastic. It elevated certain scenes that could not hold up otherwise. I was disappointed we never heard the full Wonder Woman theme.

Score: 1

Fun

The beginning of the movie and the end credit scene were awesome. There were some interesting bits in the middle but overall it was a little boring. Neither of my kids sat still for it.

Score: 0.5

Overall

All the grim-dark expected from a DC movie. The non-redeemable set of villains that are magically redeemed with a pretty speech. The action set pieces seem overly destructive and add nothing to the plot. The glossed over possession and rape is played as cute and romantic instead of horrifying. Overall, this movie gets lost in it’s hate for the 80’s and humanity and forgets to get to a point.

Final Score: 2 stars out of 5

Sexism in Gaming

Yesterday I read an Tumblr post that made me deeply uncomfortable. Go read the article but be warned it’s disturbing.

Ok if you don’t want to read it it’s an account of how abhorrently women are treated in the gaming community; specifically tabletop, Pen & Paper, and miniatures/strategy. Not just heckling or general sexism but multiple forms of assault.

It made me sick to my stomach and a little part of me was glad I’d never experienced it. (In case you’re just tuning in; I’m a thirty-something, white, cis, male.) As I sat there thinking how it might turn me off gaming completely, and how sad that would be, I remembered a game I ran once.

It was the mid-2000s and Lost was every geek’s favourite show. Narnia had burst onto the big screen and I was running a game for three other guys. They were my first gaming group and they had a strict no girls policy.

The game was set on an Island (of course) and had Halflings that rode polar bears into battle (what game doesn’t). The overall theme of the game was racism, I’d based the story vaguely on the real life story of boxer Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter. (I was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan at the time.) Only he was a Halfling Colosseum fighter.

The group was ridiculously cautious. They’d spend 20-40 minutes per decision trying to plan for every contingency. (Probably my fault, a polar bear had killed their character in the jungle when they’d foolishly run ahead alone.)

After several sessions of them literally doing nothing and then getting pissed that I wasn’t moving the story along fast enough I introduced a new character; an impulsive human female Ninja, with shady motives. The idea was to have a character that could move the plot forward without a player fearing for their characters’ lives.

I’d done it early with an, “enemy of my enemy” style bad guy and they’d followed him straight into a trap. They still liked him afterwards.

They hated the Ninja from the start. At first I thought it was the impulsiveness (ten years later I think it was the gender). It wasn’t too bad at the beginning but when I started having her assert opinions like, “You’ve been arguing about going through this door for 30 minutes, I’m sure they’ve heard you.” Or “Shut up and stab something.” They started to verbally abuse her both in game and out of game and she was renamed, “The Bitch”.

At one point, in the middle of a puzzle, I tried to give them a hint through the Ninja. One of the players told her to shut up and let them work. I snapped and asked through the character, “What the hell is your problem? I’ve saved your life, fought monsters beside you but you still treat me like shit.”

The answer was, “You’re an NPC.” (Non-Player Character) Which I would believe if they hadn’t had the epic bromance with the last NPC. Then the player added, “Plus I just don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.”

The rest of the group burst into laughter as if it was the cleverest joke they’d ever heard.

If it sounds familiar, it’s a quote from South Park that specifically makes fun of a character for being sexist.

The game fizzled out shortly afterwards. It had made me deeply uncomfortable. At the time I thought it was because I was doing something wrong in running the game. I thought the hate and vehemence was aimed at me.

I’m sure some of it was aimed at me but most was aimed at the character who dared to be female and not be a love interest, damsel, or incompetent.

It’s the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing the sexism women deal with every day and it sucked. It’s nothing like the stories in the article but my experience does illustrate how deep seeded the sexism in gaming is, that a fictional character played by a man was treated poorly just because I wrote down F instead of M on the character sheet.

Since then I’ve played with dozens of people and have had great experiences. I’ve built up my own community of players that aren’t jackasses and I’ll re-post what I said on my facebook yesterday:

Let me be completely clear: Books End, FADDS, and any game I run is a safe space. If you EVER feel uncomfortable you let me know and it will be dealt with.

This sort of behaviour is unacceptable, deplorable, and will result in being permanantly banned. I also have no qualms with calling the police if things are bad enough.

Gaming is about having fun and imagining other worlds. It’s not exclusive to one gender, sex, race, class, ethnicity, language, etc… It’s meant to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

 

Be Excellent to each other!

Éric