Back in December 2013, when Warner Bros. announced that Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot would portray Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was a big stink within the fan community. And this stink still lingers, nearly a year after the announcement. What are the complaints about Gal Gadot? She’s too skinny. She started as a model. And let’s not forget those people who, for some reason, think it’s still 1977, and continue to compare Gal Gadot to Lynda Carter (TV’s Wonder Woman), complete with Lynda Carter memes. Judging from these lingering reactions, you’d think that someone cast a black guy as the Human Torch (oh, wait a minute…).
“Gal Gadot is too skinny.” Come on, let’s face it. Wonder Woman is a comic book character. She got her powers from the ancient Greek gods, not from working out three hours every day. According to dc.wikia.com, Wonder Woman is 6’0” and 130 pounds. Do you know what that makes her Body Mass Index (BMI)? 17.6! That puts Wonder Woman in the “underweight” category! And, judging from Gal Gadot’s Facebook page, she is working out. On the other side of the coin, I can imagine the flak Warner Bros. would have gotten had they actually cast a female wrestler/bodybuilder type? It would have put the current brouhaha to shame.
“Gal Gadot used to be a model.” This is a two-pronged criticism – and I addressed the size issue in the previous paragraph. The other prong of the criticism is a model’s acting ability. Many fine actresses started off as models, such as Rene Russo and the Oscar-winning Charlize Theron. Even the late Lauren Bacall was a model before she started acting. Furthermore, we’re not talking about Lady Macbeth here. As long as the action sequences are great, the plot not too confusing, and the story interesting, acting really isn’t that much of an issue when it comes to a superhero movie. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are great actors, but at times, not even they could fix some of the flaws in the X-Men movies.
“She’s not Lynda Carter.” This is purely a case of nostalgia, especially in light of the “skinny” complaint – Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman was built like a 1970s TV star. My memories of sitting in front of a giant wooden console TV watching Wonder Woman on Saturday nights are as fond as anyone else’s. But the TV show has likely been more of a hindrance than a help with regards to a modern screen interpretation of Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman may be the resuscitation the character needs, similar to how the 1989 Batman movie saved Batman from Adam West, and how the later Dark Knight movies saved Batman from George Clooney. And it would be great if this could lead to the “powers that be” realizing that superhero movies with female leads (including the slated Wonder Woman solo movie) can be financially viable.
I can’t wait to see my favorite superhero grace the big screen, and I think that Gal Gadot will make a fine Wonder Woman. This means that I will finally buy a ticket to see a DC comic film made in the past decade. I just hope that the other elements of Batman vs. Superman click into place, and show that Wonder Woman can be a valuable movie property. Wonder Woman deserves that much, because nearly 75 years after her comic debut, it’s about time.
Lynne a.k.a. Poprocker 1