I’m a little late to the party, but I finally watched Wonder Woman 1984. I was excited to see it, but a little apprehensive as I’ve seen several reviews on social media and other internet outlets stating that this movie was horrible. Nevertheless, I pressed on. I will say that the first movie was better than this one, but one thing became more apparent for me while watching it. While this movie provides lessons in truth and excess, it seemed overtly political. The director, Patty Jenkins, and the star, Gal Gadot, insist that this is not political and is not meant to be an anti-Trump allegory. I beg to differ. If you have not seen the movie, please stop reading now as there are scenes I will refer to that could potentially spoil the movie for you.
Maxwell Lord is one of the villains in Wonder Woman 1984. He is described as trickster in the business of selling you all your hopes and dreams. He becomes drunk with power after finding a stone that grants a wish to whomever touches it, embodying its powers and becoming an evil genie if you will. Obviously, the stone’s power is fantasy, but the character traits of Max Lord reminded me a lot of Trump in the 1980’s and beyond. We all know Trump was a businessman that would (and still does) speak in hyperbole as most salespeople do. An article I read described Max Lord as a “desperate, self-obsessed fraudulent entrepreneur who runs a business selling the American Dream.” Some would argue it’s a distinct similarity between the two. Max Lord was conning people into a business that had not gotten off the ground, making him a fraud. There are some that would say Donald Trump is a fraud, which isn’t necessarily true, but the way in which he would speak to potential customers within the real estate sector in New York came with some exaggeration of his product, I’m sure.
There is also a scene in which Maxwell Lord is speaking with a Reagan-esque president in which he states he wants to have the power just like the president. This sounds all too familiar of the trajectory of Donald Trump to the United States presidency. This scene particularly made it evident for me that most of the inspiration for this character had to be our current president.
Pedro Pascal, the actor who portrayed Max Lord, has said that some of the inspiration for this character was in fact Donald Trump as well as Bernie Madoff, Gordon Gecko and Lex Luthor. As stated earlier, Patty Jenkins has said in interviews that the “movie is not being political, nor does it have an agenda”. Oh, please. It’s hard to believe that the movie isn’t making a political statement with the omnipresence of our current president in the film. There is a scene towards the end of the movie in which Wonder Woman lassoed Max Lord, insisting for him to relinquish his wish for power and excess as the truth is all-important. We know our current, outgoing president has an aversion for the truth; is this just liberal Hollywood messaging to its “villain”? In addition, he has made a name for himself as the definition of excess. Who else has golden toilets in their apartment?
If you really want to dig deeper into this movie’s symbolism, Cheetah’s affinity for Max Lord in this movie could be taken as a metaphor for those that are fans of Trump both before and during his presidency. While Cheetah really wanted everything that Wonder Woman/Diana Prince had, including brains, looks and essentially her power, she takes a liking to Max Lord as he is a sweet talker whose intentions are indeed selfish in the end. Max Lord also asks Cheetah in the movie about what she wants as she is developing into the anti-Wonder Woman. Cheetah wants to be the “apex predator”, which she becomes towards the end of the movie. It reminded me of what was promised by the Trump campaign and presidency in the 2016 election.
I know there are several superheroes that have made political statements in the past, including Captain America and Superman. However, I really want these movies to be for entertainment purposes. I don’t want to be slapped in the face about how much Hollywood really hates Trump. That’s been said over and over since he began running for president in 2015. If there are any political statements to be made by any means by any superhero movie production, whether this be Marvel or DC, please make sure it’s subtle. I want to be entertained, not lectured to about ad nauseum political beliefs.