No matter what it is–sports, Santa Claus, Twitter feeds about cute doggies–they somehow find a way to shoehorn the politics in, much like Igor stuffing the abnormal brain into Frankenstein’s monster, taking something you used to like and twisting it into some horrible hybrid. Then, all of a sudden, the popular culture is less “Girls Just Wanna Have Fu-un” and more “Girls Just Wanna Smash the Patriarchy and Hillary Clinton is Just the Hammer To Do It.” How depressing.
This is especially true for movies, which can no longer be seen as mere entertainments, but must now be viewed in terms of how they give voice to the marginalized and advance the cause of social justice. While this approach might be fine with flicks like Manchester By the Sea and Moonlight, it’s a bit of a heavier lift for the popcorn munchers. The PC Police, however, are nothing if not relentless–which is why the all-female Ghostbusters remake got such a boost from the usual suspects on the progressive left: Women are just as funny as guys! Women can carry a big budget action-comedy! This one will be even better than the original!
The the trailer dropped, and people hated it:
My reaction to it was pretty much the same as most people: “If this is supposed to be all the good parts, the rest of the movie must really blow chunks.” YouTube collected more negative comments on the trailer than any other movie in recent memory. But, rather than accepting the possibility that the picture might be a stinkeroo, the progs all got into gear and insisted that there was a darker, more nefarious reason for all the hate.
That’s right. Sexism!
Now I’m not sure if this was a spontaneous thing that got dreamed up on social media, or of the studio realized they had a disaster on their hands and decided to whip up a viral marketing campaign aimed at guilt-tripping people, but from that point on it was pretty obvious that people were being urged to see it as a way of taking a stand against sexism. In the end, though, Ghostbusters still flopped and the studio took a $70 million loss–pretty much because, in spite of all the social engineering, the movie really did blow chunks. It’s awfully hard to overcome an obstacle like that.
Which brings us to the latest cause célèbre de cinema, the upcoming release of the latest entry into the DC Comics Cinematic Universe, Wonder Woman:
This one has also been getting a lot of love from the progressive left, not to mention the critics (but then I repeat myself). The movie has scored an incredibly impressive 94% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is almost unheard of for a superhero movie. Of course, there’s a rather important difference between this movie and the Ghostbusters reboot. Wonder Woman actually looks like it’s good.
After a brief prologue set in modern-day Paris (presumably shortly after the title character’s encounter with Batman last summer), the movie plunges into flashback, when the young Amazon princess Diana is living on an idyllic island called Themyscira with her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and secretly training with the fierce Amazon general Antiope (Robin Wright). When a handsome World War I pilot crash-lands offshore, Diana — played as an adult by Gal Gadot — rescues him, which leads to a battle with German forces who are ultimately felled by the women’s acrobatic swordplay, superb equestrian skills, uncanny aim with flaming arrows and all-around badassery.
It’s a stirring, almost giddy scene, all these sisters doin’ it for themselves in gladiator sandals and messy fishtail braids.
As a scene-setter for DC’s upcoming “Justice League” movies, this installment points up the fundamental need for smart, tonally lively scripts executed with both chops and an eye for pictorial depth and beauty. “Wonder Woman” has raised the bar. Now let’s see if the boys can clear it.
There’s even a “she persisted” sucker punch Hornaday tosses in as a pre-dig against any sexist conservatives who might try to derail Wonder Woman’s wonderfulness–but here’s the funny part: everybody seems to have nothing but love for this movie. It doesn’t seem to matter much where you are on the ideological spectrum. Wonder Woman has charmed–and, more importantly, knocked the socks off of–just about everyone who has seen it.
It’s rare when we have that kind of unity, which is why I would prefer that the progressives keep their political mitts off of this one. This is, after all, the Justice League, not the Social Justice League–and movie is well on its way to becoming a huge hit without the SJW crowd running interference. Perhaps it’s just something we should all enjoy together, while we also enjoy a respite from all the bickering.
I can certainly think of worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.