Back in August, James Cameron thought it would be a good idea—or at least a medium idea—to publicly go against the grain and declare that Wonder Woman was “a step backwards” for women in movies. He believed that the film’s positive reception was just “self-congratulatory back-patting” from “male Hollywood,” and he highlighted the actual feminist strength of Linda Hamilton’s Terminator character Sarah Connor (who happens to be from a movie he made). Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins later called him out, explaining that not all strong women have to be “hard, tough, and troubled” and that “we haven’t come very far” if we can’t “celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving.”
Now, Cameron is giving more information about his comments, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he stands by his assertion that Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman is an “objectified icon.” It sounds like his main issues are still with Wonder Woman’s outfit and with Gal Gadot herself, noting that “she was wearing a kind of bustier costume” and that “she’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous,” which he doesn’t think of as “breaking ground” because “they had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that int he ‘60s.” He also reiterates how great Linda Hamilton was in the Terminator movies, saying her portrayal of Sarah Connor was “if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time” because she was central to the plot and not just there to be ogled.
Cameron does walk back his criticism of Wonder Woman a tiny bit, saying it was “a good film” and that it was great that Hollywood let a woman direct a big tentpole movie like that, but he didn’t think it was anything special because Wonder Woman herself was still partly there as a sex object. Weirdly, though, one of the specific things he did like about Wonder Woman was that “sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character,” which he says “was fun,” so maybe he didn’t think this whole thing through.