Culture

The Weirdest And Cringiest Things Critics Have Said About ‘Wonder Woman’

From "superbabe-in-the-woods innocence" to "c-grade cosplay malarkey"!

Wonder Woman, the amazing female-led superhero film that premiered around the world last weekend, has certainly garnered a great deal of attention. The film kicked ass at the box office this weekend, as well as earning a great deal of critical praise from reviewers and the public.

Sadly, some reviewers still struggled with the prospect of reviewing a movie made by and for women without sounding like a pack of asshats. Because sure, criticism is criticism, and it’s important — but criticism that leers at Gal Gadot is not good or useful.

In light of this rather depressing but also kind of hilarious fact, we have collected a number of the best/weirdest/most shocking lines from the worst of the Wonder Woman reviews. Enjoy! … And also weep, I guess.


David Edelstein for Vulture

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“The only grace note in the generally clunky Wonder Woman is its star, the five-foot-ten-inch Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, who is somehow the perfect blend of superbabe-in-the-woods innocence and mouthiness.”

Vulture‘s Edelstein is definitely the most talked about so far and his review has at one point been labelled a “masturbatory crime”. The review is sexist, condescending and leering — the devil’s threesome!

Edelstein begins his pervy piece by noting that the film’s only saving grace is “the five-foot-ten-inch Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, who is somehow the perfect blend of superbabe-in-the-woods innocence and mouthiness.” First, it is deeply relevant how tall Gadot is? Second, “superbabe-in-the-woods” will haunt me forever.

As an extra bonus, Edelstein also called Israeli women a “breed unto their own” — proving once and for all that the words “women” and “breed” should NEVER be combined.

The fallout from this review has actually been pretty epic; Vulture and Edelstein have both been taken to task for publishing the sexist review but commentators on Facebook, Twitter, and by several news outlets. For his part, Edelstein responded with a doubly oblivious statement stating, “It’s weird to be pilloried for writing a sexist Wonder Woman review. Weird and infuriating.”

Edelstein’s rather tone-deaf response picks apart the criticism of his criticism in a pretty amusingly punitive fashion, before concluding, “Right now I think the problem is that some people can’t read”. So, I guess, lesson learned?


Steve Rose for The Guardian

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“Confusingly, Diana later explains that ‘men are essential for procreation but when it comes to pleasure, unnecessary’.”

Oh, buddy.


Leigh Paatsch for Herald Sun

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“Those in the market for an empty-calorie entree before the main course of DC’s all-star Justice League is served in November will dig the experience.”

Paatsch, News Corp’s famously tough reviewer, followed up his pithy verdict “Perhaps you shouldn’t send a Gal to do a Woman’s work” by calling the film an “empty-calorie entree” (because women and body image, geddit???).

And that inspiring opening to the film, with a matriarchy of women warriors fighting and training together? Paatsch judges it to be “c-grade cosplay malarkey”, and reduces the Amazons’ paradise island to a place “populated exclusively by demigoddesses in designer leather tunics, most of whom spend their days thumping each other in the name of advanced combat training.”

Remember, there’s nothing attractive about women in battle; no longer graceful, fierce and furious, they’re simply “thumping each other”. Hmmm.

Paatsch ends his review praising Chris Pine: “Luckily, the day is continually saved by a lively, hardworking Chris Pine as Wonder Woman’s wisecracking second banana and occasional love interest. Without him, it wouldn’t just be a long movie. It would be a long dull movie.” Um, I am THE FIRST person to praise a Hollywood Chris, but in no way does he “save the day”. Pls calm down, Leigh.


Andrew Bridgman for Dorkly

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“She’s a superhero, so shouldn’t her jugs be way bigger????”

Hoo boy. OH. BOY. This review is so utterly revolting that the publication has since had to publish a retraction/apology/non-apology for the big mess their Big Man Review caused. Behold, this review entitled “She’s pretty hot but there were no nip slips, like not even one”.

The reviewer, Bridgman, gives the film 2/10 because it only gave him “half a chub” and complains “she’s a superhero, so shouldn’t her jugs be way bigger????”. He also calls Diana’s paradise island an “island full of lesbians or something”, and “Lesboville, USA” which, just, eternal eyeroll. (I mean, tbh, Wonder Woman has a rich and exciting queer history, but this is just leering and offensive.)


Armond White for The National Review

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“A tomboy superheroine designed for our PC times.”

Here it is, the official Worst Review. White does what few other confused critics have done in his review of Wonder Woman, blame the whole thing on Political Correctness.

While calls Gadot a “tomboy superheroine designed for our PC times”, which is wrong on several levels: a) feminist Wonder Woman originated in the 1940s, long before “PC times” was a slur or even an idea; second, I don’t think a woman fighting with perfect curls around her beautifully made-up face could be considered a “tomboy”. But whatever, the worst is yet to come.

White also drags Jenkins for not being an action director (as if no male director has ever turned his hand to an action film with no previous experience). “One cannot ignore the fact that Wonder Woman was made under cultural pressure,” White writes. “Jenkins is not an action director; clearly, she was hired only as a politically correct token.

“The best action sequence follows a bullet hurtling to its fatalistic destiny, recalling Snyder’s breath-baiting image of a bluebird fleeing the talons of a hawk in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole. But Jenkins’s Amazon warriors rappelling down cliffs and shooting arrows against German rifles lacks the daring, visual extravagance of Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall. In all film history, Leni Riefenstahl and Kathryn Bigelow remain the only women to exhibit proficiency at kinetic filmmaking.”

Good. Bloody. Lord. I just can’t.

Matilda Dixon-Smith is Junkee’s Staff Writer. She tweets at @mdixonsmith.