Earlier today, the internet had its breath taken away by the news that Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman/Superman team up film, Batman and Superman: Friendship is Magic (until I am told otherwise, that is what I am calling it.)
Naturally, the response was all over the place, with the intrinsically good urging patience while offering support and the usual parade of froth mouthed fanboys (and girls) putting forth the opposite of a measured and respectful response, supplementing their cries of outrage with promises to boycott Batman and Superman: Friendship is Magic. (Which is SO un-magic.)
What I’m saying is, while it wasn’t quite the Affleckian abolitionist movement from a few months ago, there were grumpy faces all across the internet landscape, so, hey sad bear, we took a moment to address four concerns about the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and/or a nerd war criminal.
Read it, share it, live your life by it in a vaguely Eat, Pray, Love kinda way.
She’s doesn’t look right!
“She’s too thin!”
“She’s too fat!”
“She’s just right… but I wish her boobs were bigger”
Oh internet, sometimes it seems like you are hellbent on serving up a bowl of body dysmorphia porridge to any woman who passes your judgey eye, but to a degree, I understand why there are cries about Gadot’s slenderness as she takes on the mantle of Wonder Woman, because I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone else.
We all have our view of what Wonder Woman should look like when we close our eyes, and unsurprisingly, Gal Gadot doesn’t exactly match up (as of right now). But really, who could?
Wonder Woman is a fictional amazonian warrior princess. This is a character that was conceived in the imagination and born onto paper with pencils and ink. Our view of what she should look like is heavily based on what we have seen in comic books throughout the years, and there really isn’t an actress in Hollywood who can duplicate that aesthetic adequately.
Superheroes usually don’t look like regular people, so we really shouldn’t be surprised when regular people don’t look like them.
It’s also worth noting that Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavil could all be called “skinny” or even scrawny in comparison to the classically musclebound portrayal of Superman in comic books. So that’s an example of the whole double standard/unrealistic expectations thing.
She’s a bad actress!
I don’t know if Gadot has the chops to pull this off. I saw Fast and Furious 6 and she held her own while kicking a little ass along the way, but really, it isn’t fair of us to judge an actress off of a handful of roles that didn’t really give her much to do.
Let’s see her in the costume, lets see her standing next to Batman and Superman, holding her own (or not) and then lets judge — because whether we scream now or then about this being a “FAIL!” or “terrible” or something more colorful but equally disdainful, it won’t change the fact that Gadot will be Wonder Woman.
Who will Wonder Woman be, though? Honestly, the material matters more than the manifestation, and while it’s important to keep the faith and assume that the character will not be minimized or over-sexualized, that isn’t guaranteed.
By the way, I don’t think Gadot’s selection tips Zack Snyder’s hand in any way with regard to how Wonder Woman will be presented, and I don’t think it’s fair to assume that Gadot’s beauty queen past means that she is being brought aboard to play eye candy. Homegirl was also in the Israeli army for two years. People have layers, yo.
Wonder Woman deserves her own movie!
Eh, hard to argue with this one, but despite the success of female led genre fare, Warner Bros. still seems to think that we need to be hand-held into female superhero worship.
It doesn’t really make sense, but it’s the reality of a moment that will hopefully pass with the help of this performance. Unless it doesn’t.
If this fails, no one will make a female superhero film!
Again, I can’t argue with this worry, because there is some merit to this concern.
Wonder Woman is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most well-known female superhero and this will set the tone.
If Gadot does a bad job or Snyder botches this introduction, some could view that “failure” as evidence against the viability of female comic book heroes in a market that is allegedly dominated by men.
I’m someone who believes that women are an under-represented, under respected, and vital entity when it comes to selling a superhero film. At minimum, women usually account for 40% of the audience for these films, so while I worry that studios might use a DOA Wonder Woman to classify an expansion toward more gender diversity in these films as a risk, I don’t think that a bad Wonder Woman bow would keep women (or men) away from a Captain Marvel or She-Hulk film.
I also don’t think that Gal Gadot will be the last person to ever play Wonder Woman. To be frank, while I hope she does a good job with it, we’re on our fifth Batman, our second Spider-Man, our fifth Superman (counting TV), and our third Hulk since the late 80s. Gadot’s casting and the confirmation that Wonder Woman will be in Man of Steel 2 (or whatever it’s called) represents the long awaited on-screen rebirth of this character, but fizzle from Godot doesn’t represent the death of Wonder Woman as a exploitable property for Warner Bros.
If she sucks, they’ll replace her, so calm down.