CBR writer Renaldo Matadeen declared that the upcoming The Invisible Man film starring Elisabeth Moss is “more toxic and dangerous” than Todd Phillips’ Joker film.
In his article titled “The Invisible Man Is Already More Toxic Than Todd Phillips’ Joker,” Matadeen makes his argument solely based on the film’s first trailer.
To give you some background, The Invisible Man is an adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel. In the novel, a man named Griffin invents a way to become invisible and concocts a plan to reign terror in England using his newfound ability. His plan is foiled by a Dr. Kemp and Griffin is savagely beaten to death by a number of villagers who corner him.
In the upcoming film, the trailer reveals that Cecilia Kass, played by Elisabeth Moss, flees from a secluded mansion seemingly in fear for her life. There is even a shot of her partner, Adrian, punching in a car window as he attempts to track her down. While this scene is being played out, a lawyer reveals that Adrian committed suicide by cutting his wrists. According to his will, Kass will receive $5 million if she is not ruled to be mentally incompetent.
However, it appears Adrian is actually alive and has found a way to become invisible. He uses his ability to toy with Kass in an attempt to make her feel like she is losing her mind, and that those around her believe her mental stability is deteriorating.
Matadeen takes issue with what the trailer shows us of the plot describing it as a “misogynistic.” Matadeen adds:
“This is a movie about controlling a woman and gaslighting her to the point where she thinks she’s insane. It’s very tone deaf given the male-dominated, and at times chauvinistic, society we live in where some men do seem to think they have ownership over women’s bodies. We see it in brands, the corporate and business world, and the entertainment industry, which is known to objectify women’s bodies. So why should a man like Adrian own Cecilia’s mind? It’s another distasteful plot of a man wanting to have power over an innocent woman.”
— The Invisible Man (@TheInvisibleMan) November 7, 2019
However, the trailer actually shows Moss’ character is not mentally deranged, it’s just the people around who believe she is. It also shows that she believes Adrian is not dead and is taking steps to thwart him. In fact, the opening scene of the trailer shows Kass fleeing Adrian and escaping his abusive behavior.
In an attempt to regain his power over her, Adrian resorts to faking his death and turning himself invisible. Matadeen actually takes issue with this plot point.
“Faking a suicide to create an situation where everyone starts viewing the female protagonist as insane is a pretty extreme direction for the studio to take the movie.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Mr. Matadeen did not see Gone Girl, you know the movie where Rosamund Pike’s Amy Dunne frames her husband Nick Dunne for murder and then eventually murders Desi Collings.
That film was pretty successfully. The Numbers reports it brought in $167.7 million at the domestic box office and $368.5 million worldwide. The reported production budget was $61 million.
However, these two issues were not the only ones Matadeen had with the trailer. He writes:
“Not to mention, Cecilia having to fight being deemed crazy by the authorities in order to pocket the inheritance means she’s basically selling her mind and safety for the sake of a bank account.That’s a very toxic spin, and it’s anti-feminist because men shouldn’t be looking at women like possessions in this manner. Universal has reduced Cecilia’s intelligence and very being down to a figure on a check book.”
— The Invisible Man (@TheInvisibleMan) November 7, 2019
First and foremost, she’s being granted $5 million through what looks like a will from an alleged deceased person. She’s not selling her mind for the money. It’s being given to her. It’s very different from Indecent Proposal where John Gage offers $1 million to spend a night with Diana Murphy.
Also $5 million is an amount like that could literally change the course of 99% of people’s lives. Thirdly, anyone who knows anything about women coming out of abusive relationships knows for a FACT that normally they are left with little to no resources due to the manipulation of their partners and those around them. This is something I’ve witnessed first hand myself both personally and my own volunteer work within my community.
Matadeen then takes issue with the idea of an Invisible Man story saying it “has always been problematic.”
“That said, the concept of the Invisible Man has always been problematic, most notably in the movie Hollow Man from 2000. The character stalked victims, even committing sexual assault, so why should a man who wants to subjugate a woman and make her his mental slave not be treated with the same disdain in this day and age’s more politically correct times. After all, Adrian’s not obsessed with heists that lead to him stealing physical objects, but he is violating a woman’s mind and stealing her freedom in more ways than one.”
One wonders if he knows the story is based off a successful novel written by H.G. Wells back in 1897. I wonder if he also takes issue with the character being included in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman or the countless TV and film adaptations of The Invisible Man.
Matadeen concludes writing:
“This is a very dangerous example Hollywood is setting for men who harbor anti-female biases. By making a woman’s inheritance contingent on her sanity, Universal’s not just being disrespectful to the female gender, but to those who struggle with mental health on the whole.”
I’m sure Universal is quaking in their boots at this accusations especially considering the box office receipts for Joker. The film has earned $322.7 million domestically and over $1 billion at the worldwide box office according to The Numbers.
The Invisible Man is directed and written by Insidious: Chapter 3 director Leigh Whannell. It stars Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Choen, Harriet Dyer, Storme Reid, and Aldis Hodge. The film hits theaters on February 28, 2020.