D.C.’s big Wonder Woman announcement gets mixed reviews from fans

When will a female hero get her own movie?

 

Aja Romano

Fandom

Published Dec 4, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 12:33 am CDT

DC Comics and Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, which features Ben Affleck as Batman, had cast a new addition to its roster of superheroes. 

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Wonder Woman still won’t be getting her own movie—but she will be in the next Superman flick, played by Israeli actress and former supermodel Gal Gadot.

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Like her predecessor, original TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Gadot is a beauty queen. Carter was Miss World USA in 1972; Gadot won the crown of Miss Israel in 2004 before going on to a recurring role in the billion-dollar Fast and the Furious franchise. 

But unlike Carter, Gadot has a wafer-thin physique that doesn’t really resemble the brawny Amazonian woman many people think of when they picture DC’s most popular female superhero. Around comics fandom, reactions swiftly moved to criticizing DC’s choice to go for, of all possible actresses, one with modeling origins.

A little irritated that Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. Sure, lets turn the strong and curvy character into skin and bones. Dumb. #WonderWoman

— Morgan Leigh (@mlhaa2024) December 4, 2013

On Tumblr, many users echoed the sentiment. “She’s good but I need her to add about 10-15lbs to be believable!!!” opined classicamericanvirgo. “Wonder Woman is feminine but muscular!! She’s an Amazon for crying out loud!”

Others, however, felt the negative comments about Gadot’s body type went too far.

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There is a lot of thin-shaming going on… #WONDERWOMAN

— Jesse A. Carp (@jessecarp) December 4, 2013

SMH. Is it hard to grasp that ACTORS WORK OUT/ BULK UP MONTHS BEFORE shooting scenes in super hero movies? #WonderWoman #GalGadot

— Capleesi (@Capleesi) December 4, 2013

Prior to the casting, Jamie Alexander (who plays the warrior goddess Sif in Marvel’s Thor franchise)  had been widely touted among fans as the perfect casting choice. While it was unlikely Alexander could have left her role in a Marvel franchise to switch to a role with its rival DC, the announcement saddened disappointed fans who wanted her to take the part. So far, the Superman sequel appears to be turning into a Justice League reunion, a move that marks DC’s tentative steps towards following in Marvel’s footsteps and pulling its films into the same overlapping cinematic narrative. 

And there’s the rub for fans: While it’s rapidly expanding its slate of film heroes, DC refuses to discuss the subject of a solo Wonder Woman movie, an issue that’s been hotly debated in recent months as rumors swirled that DC was instead planning a spate of new films starring male superheroes no one had ever heard of.

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Adding to fan debate is Superman director Zach Snyder’s track record. Many fans feel he won’t be able to do justice to a feminist icon like Wonder Woman, who originally lived as a warrior princess on an all-female Amazonian island. 

“Honestly, more than anything I’m upset with the confirmation that Zack Snyder will be the one bringing Wonder Woman to film,” complained thesentencetrailsoff on Tumblr. “The casting I can take or leave, But Snyder? We needed someone that isn’t a raging sexist and that actually has a handle on what it means to be a strong female character.”

Snyder also directed the high-budget flop Sucker Punch, which was roundly denounced as sexist and reviled by critics. Because Sucker Punch also starred an ensemble cast of women, however, it’s already been used as an excuse for DC to avoid making a Wonder Woman film.  

Because Hollywood’s Exclusion Myth blames the women in female-led films like Sucker Punch for their failure to perform, rather than blaming anything else that might have been wrong with the movies, this particular incarnation of Wonder Woman will be facing an incredible amount of pressure to live up to incredibly high expectations from both audiences and producers.

Calls are already sounding from pundits to give Gadot’s Wonder Woman her own film.  It’s a smart move—not only would it make legions of DC fans happy, but it would give DC a leg up on Marvel, which recently declared that despite a groundswell of support from Avengers fans, neither Black Widow nor any other Marvel woman would be getting her own movie for at least three more years.

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“The cynic in me suspects they’re putting her in this movie as a test balloon to see whether audiences would see a Wonder Woman solo film,” observed morganoperandi on Tumblr, “but i’m kind of okay with that as long as the character is done well (and as long as DC doesn’t chicken out from giving Wonder Woman the film she deserves).”

In the meantime, it looks as though fans will have to settle for the next Superman movie—not the Wonder Woman movie we need, but the one DC apparently thinks we deserve right now.

Photo via DC Comics

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*First Published: Dec 4, 2013, 7:14 pm CST