Film & Television

Gal Gadot: Not the Wonder Woman I Imagined, But the Perfect Wonder Woman for the Big Screen

As a self-described hardcore comic book fan, I have a certain view as to what I expect my favorite super heroes to be drawn as or look like should they be adapted into a big screen adaptation. Because of this my view as to what certain characters should look like and what Hollywood wants them to look like sometimes doesn’t quite mesh. For the most part I have agreed with or have understood the casting decisions that have been made for these characters. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man… perfect. Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman… great. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Hulk… okay, he may be a bit older, but I liked it. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman… I totally called it that he would nail the role. (So take that all you Bat-fleck naysayers!) Famke Janssen as Jean Grey… I didn’t see it at first but I love it now. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine… this one grew on me fast as he was almost unknown when he was cast but he fit the role perfectly. I get that Hollywood has to cast characters in a way that makes sense to them even if it may upset what visions some fans may have with regards to the character.

For me, one casting choice in recent memory that had me in a bit of a huff was that of Gal Gadot as Princess Diana/Wonder Woman in the DC Cinematic Universe. There was no denying that Gal Gadot was a picturesque image of beauty, but initially that is all I believed she was cast for – being the eye candy in the DCCU. But, after seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and seeing all the trailers for the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League films, I have been forced to swallow my words and state that casting her as this iconic character was the right choice after all. She won me over in Batman v Superman, but seeing her again in these new trailers and how comfortable she seems in the role and how amazingly she is portraying the character on screen; I am glad to admit that I was wrong.

When I first heard that Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman, I knew she was beautiful and I erroneously assumed that she was going to be nothing but eye candy as I couldn’t foresee how much she would bring the role to life and really make it her own. In my mind, she was a pretty face but I couldn’t see her filling in the image that I had in my mind as a Greek Amazonian warrior. I always pictured Wonder Woman as a tall and muscular character, as she has been drawn by the likes of Alex Ross or even George Perez. I imagined her as 6 feet tall with toned but defined muscles (as her comic bio usually suggest). Not overly muscular like a body builder but something in line with that of a female MMA fighter or professional wrestler. Think either Katya Kavaleva or even former WWE wrestler Chyna – even though Kavaleva stands at 6 feet 5 inches and Chyna was a bit more muscularly defined than I imagined; but you get the idea. That was the image of Wonder Woman I had in my mind.

Wonder Woman as drawn by Alex Ross (left) and George Perez (right).

 

Gal Gadot is nearly 6 feet tall, standing just shy at 5 feet 10 inches, but I didn’t see that defined warrior look that I had envisioned all those years. Gal Gadot looks more like the Mike Deodato Jr. or Jim Lee’s version of Wonder Woman – and that’s not a bad thing, I like Deodato Jr. and Lee’s version of Wonder Woman… it just isn’t what I had imagined her looking like should she ever be portrayed in a film. I always saw Deodato Jr.’s version of Wonder Woman as eye candy and I was afraid that when Gal Gadot was cast that was all she was going to be because of her looks. Be it what it be, there is no denying that Gal Gadot is one of the beautiful women alive today.

Wonder Woman as drawn by Mike Deodato Jr. (left) and Jim Lee (right).

But as time went on and some early images of Gal Gadot donning the Wonder Woman costume started leaking onto the internet as the Batman v Superman film neared its release date, I started warming up to the idea as her being cast as Wonder Woman. Then the first trailer featuring her in the role was released and I saw a woman confident in her role as this heroic warrior; but it was still just the trailer. Finally, when Batman v Superman hit theaters and I finally got to see Wonder Woman brought to life on the screen, I was completely taken aback by not only the beauty that Gal Gadot brought to the role of Wonder Woman, but also the regality she gave the character and the strength that showed through during the climactic final fight scene alongside Batman and Superman. Not only did she make the character seem like their equal, in some ways she made her seem as their better.

And now with all the trailers and images being released in preparation for the releases of the Wonder Woman and Justice League films, if I wasn’t already sold on the idea of Gal Gadot as the Wonder Woman character (which I am, by the way) but this only solidifies my changed opinion that she was the perfect casting choice for the role. In fact, for the life of me, I can’t see anyone else portraying the character other than Gal Gadot. And for that I am happy to eat my own words from so many years ago, questioning and criticizing the cast of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She may not be the Wonder Woman I had in my mind but she certainly is the Wonder Woman perfectly suited for the film versions – and rapidly changing my mind completely as how I personally pictured the Wonder Woman character.

I don’t often apologize or change my mind when it concerns my fandoms and how I perceive them, but I do so with humility and reverence this time around. I admit that I was wrong.

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