Patty Jenkins retweets a defense of WW Steve Trevor body swap – using a 33 yo movie

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Spoilers For Wonder Woman 1984
I’ll be honest, I had so many issues with WW84, the issue with Steve Trevor inhabiting another man’s body and sleeping with Diana didn’t occur to me until after the film. For anyone still reading who doesn’t know, Diana’s wish on the Dreamstone was to have Steve back, because she’s still not over him… 60 years after he died. WW84 fulfills this by putting his soul? essence? being? into another man who slightly resembles Steve in height and coloring. So Diana and the world around them sees this generic Bill Paxton knockoff but the movie-viewer sees Chris Pine because we loved him so much from the first film, Patty Jenkins just had to put him in this second one, even if it made no sense whatsoever. Even though Diana sees the knockoff, she *knows* it’s Steve so she fully embraces his return, replete with sleeping with him in the guy’s apartment and accepting that Knockoff will never be allowed to live his life so she can play house with his shell and Steve’s ghost. It’s weird, even if Pine delivers some of the only funny material in the film. But just because I didn’t see how problematic this was during the film doesn’t mean others were as clueless as I was. Plenty of people told Patty her choice was not cool and painted Diana in an abusive light. Many who liked the film defended Patty and the body swap trope. Patty herself chose to retweet one defender’s arguments, using the film Big as an argument, as well as Diana’s ultimate renouncement of her wish as the abuse ceasing to exist:

@DustyDontshoot’s argument written out is:

1> I’m linking the Wiki to the Body-Swap movie genre; if you can’t see that Patty Jenkins was playing with that trope, and even intentionally pointing out that the problematic nature that all these movies have to skirt around, then I think you need to re-examine beloved fantasy movie like ‘Big’ with Tom Hanks… where he (as a 12 year old by in an adult body) has sex with an adult female; making her a statutory rapist by default. Also…

2. The movie implies that if you revoke your wish, than much of the impact of your wish is revoked. Hence, even the sex Diana had with the guy possessed with Steve may have actually been eradicated from the movie’s fabric of reality

[From Twitter]

I don’t know anyone who defends that sex scene in Big, though. I know some adults in the 80s, when the film came out, who thought it was funny. But statutory rape in the 80s was still being blamed on the adolescent female for what she wore. Adults weren’t that enlightened. When my kids asked to see Big, we discussed that scene before we got to it and how much it disturbs us. As for Patty “playing” with the body swapping trope, I don’t buy it. She spoon-fed every single aspect of this film with such a heavy hand it was insulting to the audience. So I am hard pressed to believe she made this subtle wink to a problematic movie trope in a movie that felt the need to spell out every single other “message.” As for part two, that sounds like justification for date rape. So if the victim doesn’t remember it, it’s okay? Diana clearly remembers, and Patty made sure we knew that when she placed Diana and Knockoff on the street together, wearing one of the outfits Steve modeled. Patty really dropped the ball on this one. She picked the wrong way to bring Steve back and trying to defend it like this is making it worse.

Defending bad takes isn’t the only problems the film faced last weekend. The domestic box office saw a 67% drop-off due to the fact that middling reviews convinced folks to watch it at home rather than risk a theater for this installment. However, HBO was having issues as well with many subscribers complaining of stuttering playback, even though all their other content played just fine. Maybe that was just Patty Jenkins playing with the convention of how movies were played at home 30 years ago. Or something.

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Photo credit: Avalon and Twitter

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34 Responses to “Patty Jenkins retweets a defense of WW Steve Trevor body swap – using a 33 yo movie”

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  1. SarahCS says:

    The more I read about this movie the less I want to watch it. I’m SO disappointed! I was hugely excited that there would be a follow up (having watched the first one a few times now, flaws and all) but even I have to draw the line somewhere. Ugh.

  2. Lucy says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, so I can only give my take on what I’ve read here. I don’t know that I’d consider it problematic of all things, but I do think it sounds…stupid. Like, just plain bad scripting/storytelling.

  3. Millenial says:

    Sorry, duplicate comment.

  4. Millenial says:

    I liked that they brought Chris Pine back, but I don’t know why he needed to inhabit another person’s body. Why not just have him show up in the elevator or something and not know how it’s possible? It’s the wish stone after all, the audience has already suspended it’s disbelief.

    • Snazzy says:

      Yes exactly! I don’t see why they had to explain it. I mean it is a Superhero movie, so who cares!

    • H says:

      THIS! I mean the Dream Stone could do a lot of things, including turning Barbara into Cheetah (a cat-like creature), so why not bringing back Steve in his own body? However, OT, Chris Pine looks totally bangable in that suit!

    • Mgsota says:

      Yes!!! If the wish stone could do all those things…why not fully bring him back in his body?!?

  5. teresa says:

    The problem was it was pretty hokey, like the TV show in the 70s, and the story, while it could have been great, it was wrecked by hokey stuff, like the Steve Trevor body switch and a complete misuse of Pedro Pascual by turning him into a clownish image of evil. I will say, Kristin Wiig was great in her part and I was somewhat surprised, but I think she carried the movie, she made her character a full character.

    • FHMom says:

      Kristin was good, but she wasn’t even given a scene to transform. It was a missed opportunity and a waste of her talent. I really couldn’t stand WW1984.

  6. FHMom says:

    I always thought the sex scene in Big was cringey. It kind of ruined the movie for me. But Big was so long ago. In 2020, Patty should have known better. She comes off like Trump retweeting conspiracy theories that fit hier agenda.

  7. Oh_Hey says:

    Patty, sweetheart, it’s okay to say that somewhere along the way you lost the plot. Literally and figuratively that seems to be what happened. I love Chris Pine. He is the best of the white Hollywood Chris’ hands down and he saved this movie from being a total waste. With that said the body snatching thing was weird and rapey and being a millennial (currently early 30s) I found that the first thing I thought was “doesn’t this other guy have a job and friends? Did he consent to this? Yeah. No. It’s gross.” That sort of thin may have been fine for Gen Y or X folks like Patty but younger people have been raised on consent. Sorry girl.

    • Amy Too says:

      Picking up on a tangent here, but aren’t millennials Gen Y? Is there a generation between gen X and millennials? The kids after us are gen Z, aren’t they? Wouldn’t that make us Millennials Gen Y?

      • Oh_Hey says:

        Ooo you’re actually right. Millennials are gen y but I think, for some reason, they just stopped calling us that.

    • AB says:


      I notice that both men and women are more likely to address a woman they disagree with as “sweetheart”, “love” or “honey” than they would to a man they disagree with.

      You pride yourself on being more woke on consent but I am afraid that you fall down badly on patronising sexism.

  8. Sigmund says:

    I was pretty desperate for a new movie after the lack of films coming out in 2020, so I saw this knowing about the body swap. If you can look past that and the not-great writing, it’s fun enough. I’m glad they’re doing a third one. Male directors have made bigger f*ck ups than this and come back from them all the time. Hopefully Jenkins can make something more like the first film.

    But yeah, the body swapping choice is not defensible. It’s problematic AF and just because we wouldn’t have recognized it as so in the 80s doesn’t make it better. Jenkins needs to stop trying to double down on her bad take and acknowledge the mistake.

  9. smcollins says:

    I don’t get the Big comparison since it wasn’t at all the same thing. Unless I missed something the boy in Big wasn’t inhabiting another man’s body, it was still him just adult-sized. Yeah, the love scene was a little uncomfortable because *we* knew he was actually just a kid but she didn’t know that. When she learned the truth she immediately pulled away from him literally putting him arms length away. I don’t know what would be a better comparison but Big isn’t it.

    • whateveryousay says:

      Thank you. I rolled my eyes at her the other day. Big was not him in another body, he was grownup and then went back to being a child.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      I think the problem lies outside the story, not within it: Casually having a 12-year old being sexually awkward/active for the audience’s giggle. It’s not something we as a society should be amused by, not then, and definitively not now.

  10. SophieP says:

    Why not stick to what she does best? Patty is a good director, so she should focus on that? And leave the screenplay to a competent screenwriter. At least, this is my view on the whole trainwreck of a movie that was WW84.

  11. chimes@midnight says:

    How about “Steve spent time on Themyscira in the first film, where the Amazonians are immortal. He hasn’t aged since he left the island and has been working as a government agent since and keeping an eye out for the kind of threat that would attract WW’s attention.”

    Now you get Chris Pine without any Prelude to a Kiss nonsense.

  12. DS9 says:

    I didn’t hate this movie but look, it wasn’t good. It was a multi episode arc of a old school 80’s super hero show with every problematic trope from that era. So I’m not surprised she’s using Big as a defense.

    I was hella excited she was making a Star Wars movie but now I’m concerned. Throw backs are nice but you have to tackle the stuff we understand better now.

    This movie was regressive.

  13. Barbiem says:

    Hubby fell asleep after 30 minutes.
    I suffered through to the “cats” vs “voltran” ending.
    Chris Pine was best thing in movie and thats not saying much.
    Kristen was awesome until she wasn’t.
    And the main “villain” wt heck.
    The body swap was stupid but seriously the whole movie was silly.
    If a 3rd one comes out I will watch that as well. I watched Thor and that wasn’t exactly Gladiator material so I’ll support my female films. Silly or not.

  14. whateveryousay says:

    The movie was bad. Seriously. Between this, the whole wish thing (Ugh), not using Kristin Wiig efficiently, not having any type of 80s music or even it really being 80s beyond the clothing montage scene. Let us not get into the mess of how Jenkins portrayed brown people and how there were only blink and miss them scenes with black people.

    • KHJ says:

      Convenient to blame the FEMALE filmmaker when she didn’t write the script

      She’ll probably get thrown in director jail like all the woman directors who have 1 bomb & studios use it as an excuse to never hire a woman again.

      • Elizabeth says:

        The director has far more power than the scriptwriter. Scripts are often rewritten for the director or star. So yes, although she serves the studio / producers, this is Patty Jenkins’s film and she’s responsible for it and she’s happy with and defending it.

        The film as a whole was messy and overlong and I say that as someone who WANTED to love it. I expect more from women in 2021, period. Especially when they’re directing stories about major female cultural figures, it would be just fantastic not to have to deal with moronic half-developed rapey shit.

      • Rose says:

        Patty Jenkins wrote the script actually. She co-wrote it with Geoff Johns.

      • Xaviersx says:

        She cowrote it

      • bobafelty says:

        She refused to come back and direct unless she was allowed to be the co-writer! The studio was so happy with the first WW, they gave Patty Jenkins much more freedom to make this movie her way….and her way created a really bad movie.

      • Gunna says:

        She co-wrote the script.

  15. Veronica S. says:

    I found that trope weird even before this movie, so I’m surprised they went with it. You would think the wish would’ve just…brought him back in his own body or something, which would have easily avoided that entire issue. I think the only story I’ve seen that work with was “The Lovely Bones,” and that’s because it leaned heavily into the unsettling supernatural elements of the story and consequently the complexity of human sexual dialogue. (The book is much bolder than the movie examining that issue.)

    Haven’t seen it yet, but reviews have been mixed from people who saw it. I’m not totally surprised because the first movie was good but not great, so following it up was going to be tough. Going high camp is really tough without losing story quality at times, so I’ll see how I feel about it when I sit down and watch it.

  16. vesper nite says:

    Umm so I think there is a lot of overthinking on this issue, but that tells me that we have perhaps entered a more enlightened place as consumers. Patty Jenkins is problematic because she assumed her viewers were dumb enough to not see through her use of a bad film trope. I recently rewatched the body swap film “The Change” with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, and I cannot begin to tell you how problematic that film was/is to watch today. The rampant sexism, misogyny and blatant racism and abilist bullshit. I was screaming #METOO at the screen. My 18 year old daughter was appalled at the film. Funny, but I just remembered a funny film, but I was totally mistaken, or my mind has clearly evolved. I think the collective consciousness of humans has grown and we are no longer amused by this type of humor and tropes used at the expense of marginalized groups or anyone in a position of vulnerability. That is not entertainment, unless used in the proper context of the discussion on the issue.

  17. The Recluse says:

    It wasn’t great, but it was diverting.
    I really enjoyed seeing DC again. I’ve missed that place. And I am worried about what is going to happen there tomorrow.

  18. Xaviersx says:

    If you don’t want to drive headlong into what can be seen as controversial, then you don’t write it that way. So many problems with movies and how characters advance the plot with stupidty or morally questionable actions could just be written differently. Was there a reason that it had to be a body steal, not swap right since it took renouncing to undo…..? Just create the body out of nothing, or a store mannakin . . . . As for old movies, there is much cringe that should be acknowledged as part of its time and not right/write today … whether aging kids to adults doing adult things, or body swaps and consent, or amnesia and taking advantage of false narratives….

  19. Emily says:

    Anyone watch Ghost Whisperer? JLH’s husband dies and he goes into the body of a man who just died. For the rest of the series (except when he looks in the mirror) we see the original actor. At least the writers had the decency to body snatch from a dead person.