James Cameron, the director behind such films as Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Avatar, has spoken out against one of 2017’s biggest blockbusters, criticizing Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman as a symbol of “male Hollywood doing the same old thing.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Cameron said that Hollywood has been too self-congratulatory with itself over Wonder Woman, a film that has been championed by many critics as not only a great superhero blockbuster, but a film with a powerful feminist message.
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided,” Cameron said. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards.”
Specifically, Cameron compared the representation of Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, to Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton in his own Terminator films, arguing that Connor didn’t need good looks to be a feminist icon.
“Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female,” Cameron said.
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has responded to Cameron’s criticisms in a post on Twitter, arguing that he has an “inability to understand what [Wonder Woman] is or stands for.”
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 25, 2017
Additionally, Jenkins earlier this week expressed her hope that Wonder Woman’s success would open doors for other female filmmakers. “I hope the success of the film will lead to change and lead to other people getting opportunities. I hope women become a diverse, easy hire for all sorts of jobs in the future,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.