Wednesday night, I happened to see Warner Brothers’ big casting announcement: Israeli actress Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in the 2015’s still-untitled Batman vs. Superman film. The film will serve as a direct sequel to Man of Steel and will reboot the Bat-franchise with Ben Affleck as an older, more experienced Batman (which as you know received its own e-kerfuffle).
We don’t know exactly how Wonder Woman will factor into this film. We actually know hardly anything other than that this sequel is setting the stage for DC’s Justice League film.
I was shocked to learn Gadot’s casting has been met largely with hostility, particularly regarding her “look”.
I’m a fan of Gadot. I only know her from the Fast and Furious franchise (a franchise, by the way, that somehow gets better with each film that comes out), but she was terrific in that. My immediate and only reaction to the news has been excitement, so allow me to share 5 reasons I think Gal Gadot is going to be a perfect Wonder Woman:
1. She has the look
The most ridiculous and outrageous complaint I’ve heard (loudly and repeatedly) is that Gadot is “too thin” to pull off Wonder Woman. A message to all comic book nerds: knock it off. First was the shameful uproar over Shailene Woodley’s casting as Mary Jane Watson because she’s not pretty enough (?!?) and now this.
We do understand, don’t we, that comic books have a long history of drawing totally disporportionate women, many of whom wouldn’t even be able to function normally in real life. Sure, some of the books are getting better, but the whole point is that Wonder Woman isn’t real, and she’s been drawn (and portrayed) a hundred different ways.
Gadot is beautiful, she’s got the dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin. She can play Wonder Woman.
I’m ashamed this even has to be part of our conversation. You should be too.
2. She can stand against Batman and Superman
If you haven’t seen Fast 6, you really should. (I know. I hated the first two films and didn’t see any more of them until I was dragged to 5. Trust me. They get a lot better.).
Gadot played Gisele, one of only three women in the cast. As the third chair to Michelle Rodriguez’ Letty and Gina Carano’s Riley, Gadot owned every scene she was in. She spoke little, took action and took care of business. Easily the toughest of the three (and easily one of the toughest of the whole Fast 6 crew), Gadot’s Gisele commands attention and respect.
Furthermore, in Fast 6, Gadot shared the screen with Vin Desiel and the Rock, two pretty big box office stars. Granted, none of them was trying to upstage Charleton Heston or anything. But Gadot stuck out. In a fun, entertaining ensemble cast, she stuck out.
Gadot proved she can bring those chops to a character and she’ll bring them to Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman is part of the DC Trinity that includes Batman and Superman. Both male characters are well-established in both comics and film. In Batman vs. Superman, not only will Wonder Woman have to hold her own against the other heroes, but Gadot will have to shine against both Affleck and Henry Cavill (who proved himself to be a pretty good Superman).
I’m not saying Gadot is the best actress of her generation. She might be – we’ll need something a little more dramatically demanding than Fast and Furious to figure that out though.
I am saying she can handle an action film no problem and she’ll prove me right as Wonder Woman.
3. She can kick butt
Seriously, if you haven’t seen Fast 6, you need to. Gadot can kick serious butt. She’s every bit the action star as is anyone else in the film. Probably more-so since she is ex-Israeli military. Wonder Woman is a warrior. She needs an intensity and combat ability that seem more than practiced. She needs to feel at home in War.
Gadot brings a hard edge to her character. I definitely wouldn’t even think about messing with Fast 6‘s Gisele, and that’s precisely the vibe I want to see in Wonder Woman. Especially if she’s inhabiting the Nolanverse these DC films live in.
Gadot delivers on this count. She’s amazing in action sequences. Good enough to carry her own film franchise (hint hint!)
4. She isn’t American
I never understood why Wonder Woman wore red, white and blue. The comics have explained it various ways, but none of them felt all that compelling. Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of an ancient Greek matriarchal civilization. She should feel foreign. In a way, she’s the opposite of Superman – an outsider who isn’t trying to fit in with us.
Gadot is Israeli, and I hope she keeps her accent for Batman vs. Superman.
Let’s face it: DC needs some sort of trump card to catch up with Marvel at this point, and Gadot may be their ace in the hole. If they can pull off Batman vs. Superman, they’ll have the first successful strong female superhero. (Marvel may be including Ms. Marvel in Avengers 2, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the name-recognition of Wonder Woman.) And if DC’s Wonder Woman is also the first successful international superhero? All the better.