Monday, December 16, 2013

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

While Marvel has also been doing some cool experiments with their mythos and attempting to bring their comic universe to the big screen in a unified way (and featuring superheroes that generally wouldn't be considered), DC has chosen to ride the Batman and Superman horses until they're dead, reanimate them, ride them until they rot away to so much wind chime material, and then see how much father they can drag the bones before they disintegrate in their hands.

DC has made 9 Superman movies, and 5 animated movies (although the Justice League movies certainly count since he's sort of their leader, and the Superman/Batman movies count for both Superman and Batman, obviously.)

DC has made 10 Batman movies, and 6 animated movies (although, again, the Justice League movies could certainly count--especially Justice League: Doom, and the Superman/Batman movies count for both of them).

DC has made one direct-to-dvd animated Wonder Woman movie in 2009.

In 60 years of films being made, Wonder Woman has had one shot to herself.

There was big-big-big news recently when it was announced that, for the first time, we will see a Wonder Woman on the big screen in a big budget movie. It will not, however, be in her movie. She will be featured in the Batman vs. Superman movie.

This is troubling because they say that they have to do her right, that they really have to try, but from what I understand, Wonder Woman's animated film was received very well. And yet, the Green Lantern got his own cartoon series after a failed movie, while Wonder Woman's solo career remains at one animated film.

At this point, it's just embarrassing. The one argument that could have been even feasible would be that audiences wouldn't respond well to a non-traditional superhero with such a complicated mythology and background--all of the gods and goddesses and magic might be confusing to them.


So then, what is it about Wonder Woman that's so hard to create in a movie?

Conventional wisdom is that female led movies don't make money, they can't make money, nobody will go see them. They'll point to Elektra and Catwoman as examples, despite the fact that those movies were absolutely godawful.


So, we finally have a person cast as Wonder Woman, the relatively unknown Gal Gadot.

Gadot hasn't been in a lot of films. She's most known in the States for being a supporting character in the Fast and Furious franchise. She's not a very big name to be cast as one of the Holy Trinity of DC. Then again, people didn't expect Michael Keaton to be a very good Batman, and Hugh Jackman is so far removed, physically, from the Wolverine of the comics that it's almost laughable.

With Gadot's casting, people have revved up their waaambulances and really gone to town, bitching about everything: her race, her accent, her nationality, her beauty, her modeling career, her body shape and size--fucking everything!

For my money, Gadot seems to be choice casting. For one, she's Middle-Eastern--specifically Israeli. This is nice casting because Wonder Woman is very often depicted as white, which is a bit disingenuous since, according to Wikipedia, the Amazons (the race of warrior women that Wonder Woman comes from) could have been located in Ukraine, Asia Minor, or Libya. I know cultures and races aren't interchangeable, but it's just nice to see someone who isn't white cast.

Because she's not American, nor is English her native speaking language, she does have an accent in her interviews. Again, Amazon. This makes sense. Also, I've heard Christian Bale's accent. If he can put on a convincing American one, I'm sure she can if she has to. And she has to have decent acting chops or she wouldn't have been cast in a multi-million dollar franchise like Fast and the Furious

While she'll certainly be conventionally attractive--she was Miss Israel 2004--she was also in the Israeli Army! Are you fucking kidding me?! That's so bad ass! Who seems more fitting to cast as a warrior princess from another culture: a soft Hollywood actor-type, or someone who was in the fucking Israeli Army?!

One of the most baffling things I've heard people complain about is how "waif-ish" Gadot is. And she is certainly thin. But just like we shouldn't body shame larger built people, you shouldn't body shame a celebrity that's naturally thin either. 

However, there is a certain amount of casting that just makes sense, I guess. Justin Long isn't necessarily going to be cast in an Andre the Giant biopic, right? And Wonder Woman has often been shown in the comics as muscular. She has hips and thighs--and boobs! So a lot of people are bitching and moaning that Gadot is too small and dainty for Wonder Woman.

You know who needs a lot of bulk to be played to remain true to the comics? Batman. Here he is depicted in his current comic as well as his representation in the Justice League TV show.

Now for a guy to properly represent Batman as he is presented in the comics or in the cartoon, he'd have to be a ripped son of a bitch. 

I'm curious to see how much working out Ben Affleck will do to portray the role. He looked like he'd gained a little extra weight in Runner Runner that wasn't exactly muscle. I'm sure he'll slim down for the role. One thing for sure, though, is that Ben Affleck certainly has the build for the role. At 6'4, Ben Affleck is a fucking giant. He's 4 inches taller than Christian Bale, and 3 inches taller than Henry Cavill.

See, Ben Affleck makes sense physically for the role. It's not like we've cast a skinny guy to play Batman before...

Oh, right. Christian Bale was a beanpole in The Machinist in 2004, and he managed to bulk up okay for Batman Begins in 2005.

See, this is where I get annoyed. You don't think Gadot's a good actress? Okay. People bitched about Affleck being cast as Batman, as well. You don't like the movies she's been in? I'd say tough shit, but whatever. If you're going to judge actors based on their past failures, you're going to run out of actors to watch in movies. Actors are in bad movies sometimes. It happens. And when you're starting out a career, you take whatever jobs you can get. But the people that are bitching about Gadot's body? For real? C'mon, son, pay attention to the words leaving your facehole. Look at the previous Batmen. Tell me you're not that clueless.

Sadly, there is a lot of pressure on Gadot to be a spectacular representation of Wonder Woman. The way the industry works, this character has one shot. If Gadot's performance is lackluster, or if she has a shit script, if anything goes wrong...we'll likely never see a Wonder Woman movie. They'll point to this and say, "See? We tried. You guys didn't like it." 

Even though Joel Schumaker put out two of the absolute goddamned worst Batman movies I've ever seen, Batman still got three more movies and a fuckton of animated features. Man of Steel got a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes and it's getting a sequel! But if Wonder Woman fails, it will be blamed on her gender--which is absolute horse shit.

All I can say, is I hope Goyer writes a Wonder Woman with the kind of charm and chemistry of Marvel's Black Widow or Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. And I hope Gadot pulls out all of the stops in her performance. Because it's about damned time we get a female superhero movie. It's about damned time we got a Wonder Woman movie.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman photoshop from teagone on Deviantart.