Major Wonder Woman 1984 spoilers ahead.
The Wonder Woman cinematic universe has yet to show any real interest in men who are not Chris Pine, and honestly, can you blame it? The Best Chris is right there, doing his Best Chris stuff, with the blue eyes and the slightly greying hair and the respectful touching and the little white T-shirt.
The “One Chris Pine to rule them all” mentality continues unabated in Wonder Woman 1984, during which we learn Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince/Wonder Woman has spent decades mourning the loss of her first, and only, boyfriend, WWI pilot Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine, a man whose affection for dressing like a bowl of sherbet, buying from independent bookstores, and working with female directors has earned him the right to always be called by his full name). In 1984, Amazonian demigod Diana is an anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who lives in a staggeringly large apartment decorated with black-and-white photographs of and newspaper clippings about Steve. Again: No one can fault her for this. The man looks like Chris Pine.
It’s not a surprise, then, that when a magical stone grants Diana her most desired wish, Steve reappears, his soul transported from what sure sounds like heaven (“someplace” that Steve “can’t really put words to,” but “it’s good”) back to Earth. And with Steve back in the picture, Diana feels again. Yes, she’s been fighting crime this whole time: One of the film’s first major set pieces is Diana foiling a jewelry heist at a mall, transporting two little girls endangered by the ensuing melee to safety before dumping the robbers onto a police car and #savingtheday. Newscasters call her a “mysterious female savior.” But really living? Diana hasn’t done that since she had near-constant access to the icy jewels stuck in Chris Pine’s eye sockets. Is it sort of weird at this point to think that Diana has spent this long grieving a dude she only knew for a few weeks? Yes. But let’s move on.
The real issue I’m here to discuss is that Steve Trevor doesn’t exactly come back to Earth in the hunky body of Chris Pine. Because that body blew up in an aerial explosion in the year 1918. But Chris Pine’s non-exploded body features heavily in the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer, you might be saying. Sure, here’s the thing: We (the audience) see Chris Pine because *waves movie magic wand* when the soul of her long-lost beau returns in the skin sack of another man, Diana claims she can only visualize the man she fell in love with all those years ago. Everyone else in the film, though? They’re not seeing Chris Pine. They’re seeing a man who looks a lot like Hallmark Channel regular Kristoffer Polaha. Because that is exactly who plays the poor nameless human Steve unapologetically possesses to return to Diana’s loving arms.
Not even Chris Pine’s cute and utterly unnecessary fashion show in WW84 — in which he demonstrates how to correctly wear neon tank tops, parachute pants, and fanny packs — can distract from the fact that in order for Diana and Steve to continue their romance in a misguided sequel, an innocent engineer with questionable taste in clothes is sacrificed with absolutely zero pomp or circumstance. One minute he’s living his nameless life (his character is credited only as “Handsome Guy”) and the next he’s just … no longer living at all? Because Steve’s soul zoomed back to Earth courtesy of a wish upon a mystical rock and Wonder Woman, mysterious female savior to literally everyone else, doesn’t even feel a little bad about it? Where did Handsome Man’s soul go when Steve’s took over? Were his parents or friends worried about him when he stopped calling? We know the world eventually goes to shit in this DC version of the 1980s, but surely someone was concerned about his wellbeing. Right??
Listen, should we be surprised that WW84’s approach to character development is as sloppy as its grasp of Middle Eastern politics? No. But good god, it’s difficult to forget that, while Steve and Diana are taking tours of the Smithsonian and cavorting around the White House and flying through fireworks and taking a vacation in Egypt, they are just using a man’s body — a man whose eyes are not nearly the crisp blue of a melting glacier! Do not ask two miracles of me: to both suspend belief long enough to think Diana could ever mistake Kris for Chris and to callously disregard the life of Handsome Guy.
Now, I am not attempting to diminish the power of another Hollywood Kris. Polaha, sufficiently fine looking in his own right, was on Life Unexpected with Shiri Appleby, and Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and that bizarre Rainn Wilson vehicle Backstrom, and the actually pretty good TV version of Get Shorty with Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd that no one is watching because it’s on the alleged channel Epix. He’s had a good go at things and this really has nothing to do with him. I’m more concerned for fictional Handsome Guy, aka the former owner of the pile of bones Steve rented in order to once again bang his superhero girlfriend.
I guess I should be happy that (big spoiler!) Steve eventually relinquishes the body after Diana disavows her wish. But don’t forget: She did that in order to regain the superpowers she unknowingly sacrificed in order to make the wish in the first place. Nobody cared that doing so might return Handsome Guy to his Handsome Body! Absolutely nobody.
The worst part is that later, when Diana and Handsome Guy run into each other one snowy morning and she, for some reason, praises his ugly scarf-blazer-leather-belt outfit, he sincerely accepts her compliment, having no memory of her grievous offense. He just gazes wondrously at the snow beside her and then moves along his way, presumably back to his gigantic closet of ’80s costumes and a life of not looking like Chris Pine. Zack Snyder wishes he were this dark.