James Cameron continues ‘Wonder Woman’ criticism

Director says he was 'shocked' about the controversy surrounding his original comments

James Cameron has continued his criticism of Wonder Woman.

In August, the filmmaker described the superhero movie as “a step backwards”, claiming that its lead character – played Gal Gadot – was “an objectified icon”.  He contrasted Gadot’s character to his Terminator protagonist Sarah Connor – portrayed by Linda Hamilton – who, according to Cameron, “was not a beauty icon”.

“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided,” Cameron said at the time. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing!”

The film’s director Patty Jenkins responded to Cameron’s criticism by saying: “James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman… I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman.”

Cameron has now reiterated his views on the film in a new interview, arguing the apparent sexism of Gadot’s “bustier costume” and saying that he was “shocked” that his original comments caused controversy.

“I’ll stand by [the criticism],” Cameron has told The Hollywood Reporter. “I mean, [Gadot] was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s.”

“It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what Linda created in 1991 — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].|

Cameron added: “Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated… She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film.”

“As much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, ‘letting’ a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman,” he continued.

“I thought it was a good film. Period. I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is.”

“Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.”

Meanwhile, Cameron has started production all four upcoming Avatar sequels, with a combined budget of over $1 billion.

Avatar 2 will be released on December 18, 2020, followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021, with the remaining two Avatar films released on December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025.