HE to friendo: “Given that the original Wonder Woman (’17) was joyously celebrated and embraced by women everywhere, and that WW84 has a pre-opening woke pass (not to mention the Covid sympathy factor), I found it significant that a woman from a major outlet — Angelica Jade Bastien — wasn’t sold. In the current climate a major-outlet male critic would have had a fairly tough time if he’d written such a review.”

Friendo to HE: “I had mixed feelings about WW84. I actually thought the first one was better. I think it’s being overpraised in a depressing, boilerplate way that is totally about the woke factor.

“That said, if you read between the lines of Bastien’s review, it’s not really an anti-woke critique of WW84. It’s kind of saying that the movie, and all these movies, fail because they aren’t woke enough. It’s criticizing the idea that corporate blockbuster moviemaking, by going all diverse (black superheroes! women superheroes! transgender paraplegic possum superheroes!), thinks it’s ‘done enough’ to qualify as ‘progressive’, when it fact that’s just tokenism.

“My problem with WW84 is that [it has] a weird monkey’s-paw plot device (you’re granted a wish but you have to lose something in the bargain!) that never completely tracks, and a villain who seemed like Bill Pullman‘s goofball comedian brother.”

HE to friendo: “I thought Kristen Wiig (aka Cheetah) was the villain. Oh, you mean Pedro Pascal‘s Donald Trump-like figure (“Maxwell Lord“).”

Friendo to HE: “Wiig is actually the second villain. In that busy, overstuffed Batman Returns way.”