James Cameron Calls Wonder Woman a ‘Step Backwards’, Patty Jenkins Explains Why That’s Dumb

The director of 'Aliens' called Wonder Woman 'an objectified icon,' and the director of 'Wonder Woman' fired back.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Audiences across the world flocked to see Wonder Woman this summer, celebrating the film’s inspirational hero, Wonder Woman, and the film’s inspirational filmmaker, Patty Jenkins, who directed the hell out of one of the best superhero movies on record. Critics acclaimed, records broke… and James Cameron, the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic, wasn’t particularly impressed.

“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided, James Cameron tells The Guardian. “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. 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!”

There are a lot of things that are misguided and/or flat-out wrong about James Cameron’s statement. Sure, he’s entitled to his opinion but even though he’s directed several classic films with iconic female heroes – like Aliens and, again, Terminator 2: Judgment Day – he’s putting himself in a position of authority for female representation in Hollywood, ahead of actual women, like Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, and that’s not a strong position to take.

It definitely doesn’t help that, after being asked why Hollywood movies are still having trouble portraying genuinely powerful female protagonists, he responds with an “I don’t know” and then openly asks how many times he has to tell “women in power” in Hollywood how to do their jobs.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

“I don’t – I don’t know. There are many women in power in Hollywood and they do get to guide and shape what films get made, James Cameron says. “I think – no, I can’t account for it. Because how many times do I have to demonstrate the same thing over again? I feel like I’m shouting in a wind tunnel!”

Rather than respond in detail, we’ll simply yield the floor to Patty Jenkins, who (again) actually directed Wonder Woman, and who said everything that needs to be said about James Cameron’s comments on Twitter.

And let’s just leave it at that.

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.