Set over half a century after 2017’s Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984 catches up with the titular hero in a time of shoulder pads, crimped hair, and jazzercise. The sequel sees Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) reunite with her long lost love interest Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), and come up against new characters Barbara Ann Minerva (Kirsten Wiig) and Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal).
It’s a fun film, and a decent night in. Even so, Wonder Woman 1984 raises numerous troubling questions that are never satisfactorily answered — with significant ones revolving around one character only listed in the credits as “Handsome Man.”
We’re going to be talking about some major plot points from here on out, so consider this your big ol’ spoiler alert. You’ve been warned.
Early on in Wonder Woman 1984, Diana encounters an ancient artifact that claims to grant people’s wishes. While she doesn’t believe it actually has any power, it does give her an opportunity to consider her wish: that her long dead boyfriend Steve was alive and .
Of course, it turns out that the mysterious stone does have power, and Diana’s desire brings Steve back to life for a romantic and emotional reunion. She’s overjoyed, as you would be if you managed to necromance your first and only boyfriend.
However, there is a pretty glaring issue with this that the film glosses over, and which both Diana and Steve completely ignore amidst their superheroics.
What the heck happened to the guy Steve possessed?
While the magic stone can conjure nuclear warheads out of thin air, giving Steve his own flesh and blood body is apparently beyond its god-given powers. (Sounds fake, but okay.) Instead, Steve’s consciousness is crammed inside a random man (Kristoffer Polaha), straight up hijacking his body with no view to return it — and presumably without the guy’s consent.
To be fair, neither Steve nor Diana had any say in the manner in which he returned. But they aren’t terribly bothered by it either. In fact, Diana explicitly states that she wants to keep her undead lover like this. The only reason she gives him up is because the whole world is in peril, which implies that otherwise, she would have been perfectly fine with Steve just taking over this guy’s life permanently.
It’s pretty uncharacteristic, considering Wonder Woman 1984 otherwise takes great pains to show Diana refusing to kill anyone.
We also don’t know what’s happening to the real Handsome Man during this whole ordeal, by the way. He could be dead. He could be in a coma. He could be trapped as a prisoner in his own mind, screaming for control as he watches Steve use his body like a hand puppet. Either way, the star-crossed lovers spare no thought for him, opting instead to raid his closet and sleep in his bed with no qualms.
Fortunately, the “I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream” horror scenario probably didn’t happen, as the poor man doesn’t flee in terror when he sees Diana after regaining control of his body. But even if he was just temporarily indisposed, that’s still several days of his life gone from his memory. Not only that, it was several days during which a huge global incident nearly tore the world apart — an event he completely missed. There is absolutely no way that wouldn’t freak him out.
This isn’t even mentioning the man’s personal matters. We don’t get much information about Steve’s meat suit. But he probably has a decently paid job, considering he lives alone in an apartment not far from the Smithsonian. It’s reasonable to assume he has his own life going on as well, with bills to pay, friends to see, and potentially even family to look after or a date to impress.
Yet all of this is unceremoniously shoved aside so Steve can claim squatter’s rights to the guy’s body. From everyone else’s perspective, Handsome Man just stopped going into work or talking to his friends with no explanation. From his own perspective, he suddenly woke up in the middle of a riot with no explanation of how he got there or what he’s been doing for the past few days. Diana should have made sure he got home safely at the very least.
Troubling ethical issues are admittedly less spectacular than seeing Gal Gadot punch Kirsten Wigg’s fursona in the face. Even so, the whole body stealing issue definitely deserved more attention. Diana’s failure to see a man when she’s literally staring at his face is a substantial oversight, especially considering her focus on love, compassion and truth.
Wonder Woman 1984 is out now in theatres and on HBO Max.