Gal Gadot is Our New Wonder Woman

by Aaron Einhorn

Well, DC and Warner Brothers certainly aren’t being gunshy about casting unpopular choices for their upcoming Man of Steel sequel. First there was the announcement that Ben Affleck would be Batman in the film that is already being called Superman vs. Batman in most fan circles. And, of course, the internet went into a rage over that bit of casting.

Yesterday, DC announced that Fast and Furious star Gal Gadot would be appearing as Wonder Woman in the film. Ladies and gents, I give you our next on-screen Wonder Woman.

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And, of course, the internet has once again gone nuts.

“She’s too short!” “She’s too skinny!” “She doesn’t act like Wonder Woman!”

And so on, and so on.

I have to say that I am, once again, in the “wait and see” camp. Would Gadot have been my first pick for Wonder Woman? Absolutely not – but that is in no small part because I’ve never seen her act. She has quite an impressive list of Israeli films that she’s been in, but in the U.S., I’ve never watched any of the Fast and Furious franchise (and am unlikely to), nor have I seen her on Homeland or Entourage.

Which brings up an important point.

I also was not in the room when she auditioned.

Casting directors, as a general rule, don’t want to make bad casting choices. They know that their jobs are on the line if a multi-million dollar film fails and it can be blamed on a bad casting choice. They’re looking for something in the audition room, and presumably, Gadot delivered. Have we ever seen Gadot “act” like Wonder Woman? Well, no. But she also hasn’t been playing Wonder Woman, so we shouldn’t have.

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“She’s too short! She’s too thin!”

Yes, Gadot is definitely on the slender side. This makes a certain degree of sense – she has a background as a model and former Ms. Israel. And it’s certainly true that Wonder Woman should have a sense of physical power and musculature to her. But here’s a pre-Superman Henry Cavill, a pre-Wolverine Hugh Jackman, and a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth.

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Not exactly muscular powerhouses. After a few months of diet and exercise with a personal trainer…

EXCLUSIVE: Henry Cavill On The Set Of 'Man Of Steel' hugh jackman shirtless wolverine

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And that’s only three examples. You can find similar before and after images for Chris Evans, Toby Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Affleck and others.

Now, women’s bodies are different than men’s, but do you think that Warner Brothers won’t be throwing a ton of money and trainers and dieticians at Gadot to prepare her for this role? Of course they will. I do like that Gadot is Mediterranean (Israeli instead of Greek, but at least the right region), because while Wonder Woman is rarely drawn that way, she should have a bit of that swarthiness about her. I also like that Gadot has experience in the military and from other action films, so I’m sure she can handle herself in the action sequences.

As for her height? Well, Hollywood has been working around the height issue for years. And she’s hardly short. Gadot stands 5’9”, compared to Cavill’s 6’1” and Affleck’s 6’4”. Put her in heels and do a little forced perspective, as I am absolutely certain they will (because they probably don’t want Batman to be taller than Superman), and I’m sure that the relative heights will even out.

Like I said above, Gadot would probably not have been my first choice. But I’ve also seen no reason to think that she will be a terrible one. Would I have liked to see Jaime Alexander or Gina Carano? Sure thing (incidentally, both of these actresses are the same height or shorter than Gadot). But I think the only fair thing to do is to wait and see. It is far too early to say that she’s going to be the death of this film.

Especially since there are plenty of other areas where DC/Warner Brothers could drop the ball. I remain plenty skeptical of this film for reasons totally unrelated to the casting of Gadot or Affleck, but entirely related to my belief that the company no longer understands the emotional heart of their characters and what makes them resonate with audiences (as I described in my previous post regarding the casting of Ben Affleck).

So, I’m ready to give her a chance. And rest assured, if I’m dissatisfied, I will be quick to say. But it doesn’t seem like the time to criticize her casting is now – before we’ve seen anything of her performance.

justice_leagueBut it’s also possible that her casting could help turn the Man of Steel sequel into the beginnings of a Justice League film. And if that’s the case, we should all be excited as fans – not criticizing an actress who we shouldn’t be ready to judge yet.

I’m not advocating blind fandom. I’ve ripped superhero films apart in my critiques, even ones that I really wanted to like. I think we have an obligation to ask that our favorite characters be adapted to film well. But we shouldn’t start that criticizing before we see what we’re going to get from the studio. Fans hated the casting of Keaton as Batman, of Evans as Captain America, and of Heath Ledger as the Joker. Fans were excited about the idea of Halle Berry playing Storm and Kevin Spacey playing Lex Luthor.

Judging at the time of the announcement is just too soon, that’s all I’m saying.

 

Comments

  1. It’s not like the only two choices are “love” or “hate” anyway, especially as you pointed out before we’ve seen her work. Calm down everybody! And 5’9″ is 2 inches taller than me, she’s not short. In 2-3″ heels she would tower above a LOT of women and men.