It started when Zack Snyder announced that Wonder Woman would be appearing in the sequel to his Man of Steel, the highly polarizing Superman movie from 2013.
As eager as fans may be to see their favorite costumed heroes showing up on the big screen, they are seemingly ten times harder to please. The moaning and wailing reached a fever pitch when Snyder announced Ben Affleck (whose last superhero movie Daredevil was not even close to a blockbuster) would be playing Batman.
Now the moaning and wailing has a sexist component — is Gal Gadot, known for her recurring role in The Fast and the Furious series, too skinny to play the Amazon princess of Themyscira? Really? As if this is the only question that matters given fans have been clamoring for a Wonder Woman movie for years, only to have Warner insist that “female leads don’t carry movies”. Now that Frozen and The Hunger Games movies have met with blockbuster success, maybe that tired old excuse will finally be put out to pasture where it belongs. But no. The fanboy contingent thinks of themselves and their male gaze first, when Gal Gadot’s height, presence, dark hair and strong features pretty much paint a picture of a proud Amazon. Never mind she’s already had a presence in an action franchise. Is she too skinny?
She certainly doesn’t think so — her response to critics has been simple, honest, and with the right amount of wit for someone who can bounce bullets off her bracelets. She’s already indicated she’s begun a workout regime to take her from svelte and willowy to the more muscular build people expect of Wonder Woman. And as for filling out the red-and-gold bustier? Gadot’s response is, “Breasts? Anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels.”
Good for her, I say.
The double standard she is facing is that fans, women and men alike, want someone who will do the role justice from an acting standpoint — they want a Diana who is going to be able to stand intellectually and philosophically toe to toe with Batman and Superman . Unfortunately the fanboys — the noisy ones — also want someone who “looks the part,” which means living up to the T&A art style so many comics have embraced. If she doesn’t look like some kind of skin mag fantasy with a gyroscope between her pelvis and spine, they’re going to be so disappointed. Sadly, we know well whose opinion Hollywood tends to value more.
All I can say to that is that people balked at Michael Keaton as Batman, only to be surprised by his performance. Nobody complained about his looks.
People balked at Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man.
I will be happy as long as she’s present.
In a television interview, Famke Janssen described her role as Jean Grey in the X-Men movies as “having to look intent and holding my hand up a little.” In the same franchise, Halle Berry is notorious for having insulted Storm fans by describing herself as “reduced to” having to play Storm. It is widely agreed that she counted on her incredible beauty to carry the role and pretty much phoned in the performance. Anna Paquin, who played Rogue in that same franchise, found herself cut from the upcoming Days of Future Past, which means roles of substance for women in hero flicks are becoming harder to come by.
I will be pleased with whatever Gadot ends up looking like as long as she knocks it out of the park performance-wise, and write off any whinging about her cup size to fanboy immaturity.