James Cameron is standing by his comments that Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman is a "step backwards" for women, and that Gal Gadot is an "objectified icon."
The Oscar-winning director had argued that the "self-congratulatory back-patting" for the hit blockbuster—now the most successful superhero origin story of all time—was "misguided," and that it was just another product of "male Hollywood."
When asked whether he still stands by his remarks—which Jenkins has argued against—Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter: "Yes, I'll stand by that.
"I mean, she [Gadot] was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She's absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.
"To me, that's not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the '60s. It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor—what Linda created in 1991—was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don't think it was really ahead of its time because we're still not [giving women these types of roles]."
Cameron had previously argued that Wonder Woman doesn't stand up as a feminist icon against Terminator's Sarah Connor, played by Hamilton in his own Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Responding to director Jenkins' response that not every woman character has to look "hard, troubled, and tough to be strong," he suggested that Hollywood still thinks about teenage boys when it comes to making commercial films with lead women.
He also said his comments had been in context with his claims that Hamilton's Sarah Connor was a breakthrough in its time because she wasn't "ogled at" or "treated like a sex object."
"Linda looked great," the Avatar director continued. "She just wasn't treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. She wasn't there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film."
"So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, 'letting' a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn't think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman. I thought it was a good film. Period. "
He admitted that while he was "shocked" about the reactions to his comments, they may have been "simplistic."
"I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement," he went on. "It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn't get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they've got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is."
"Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I'm not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun."