Destroy All Monsters: Wonder Gal

Matt Brown, Columnist

Is it fair play to discuss Gal Gadot's casting as Wonder Woman (announced last week for a role in Zack Snyder's untitled Batman vs. Superman project) in terms of body type? On first blush the immediate conversation around the size of Gadot's breasts seemed both crass and ridiculous. It was an online caricature of the fanboy archetype, writ large; to say nothing of being the exact sort of commodification-based categorization of female performers that runs riot across the film industry. After getting in a few slap-fights on Twitter last Wednesday night, I gave up and went home.

To an extent, though, the critics pointing to Gadot's slender frame are raising a valid point of contention against the visual personality of the character she's playing. Depending on who you ask, Wonder Woman is somewhere above six feet tall, curvy, and - well - Amazonian. Gadot doesn't, on first blush, fit the bill.

I don't think there's a clear decision on how closely a piece of casting needs to adhere to the established look of a comic book character. One cannot imagine Warner Brothers casting a man of Tom Cruise's stature as Superman, for example, no matter how much muscle mass he could accumulate; and when Joss Whedon insisted that Alan Taylor include a gratuitous shot of Chris Hemsworth's naked upper body in Thor: The Dark World, he certainly understood how to deliver on the fantasies of a sector of his audience. (I've seen the film twice; audible gasps both times.)

But in the best cases, you cast the actor first and build towards a clear take on the character - brilliant if it's Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (an admittedly close visual match) or Michael Keaton as Batman (further afield of the lantern-jawed hero of the comics); less brilliant if it's Keanu Reeves as John Constantine or Jennifer Garner as Elektra. Those latter examples were in more trouble, filmwise, than just their casting, but they speak to a failure to "get it" on a basic character level that extends beyond the performer's look. The casting, alone, suggested something rotten in the interpretation as a whole.

It would be lovely if Wonder Woman were a tertiary character like Constantine or Elektra (or even pre-movie franchise Tony Stark) with which Warner Brothers and DC could experiment and develop a take on the character, but at the end of the day, she's Wonder Woman. Her status as the premier female comic book character - and coming at the tail end of a year which somehow managed to become the ne plus ultra of just how male-centric-to-the-point-of-'roid-rage the American blockbuster landscape could become - there is an inevitable, larger conversation here around the way the character is being treated in this case, which extends far beyond her (likely) relatively small part in Batman vs. Superman.

Concerns around Gadot's casting might begin (for some) with the actress' look and relative lack of experience, but they extend to a failure to pass a basic sniff test on Snyder, Warner Brothers, and DC's intentions as a whole for the character.

Snyder's involvement in developing the character is problematic. The limp ninja schoolgirls stuck in the elaborate death fantasy of Sucker Punch notwithstanding, the gender politics of his visual presentation of characters like Queen Gorgo, Laurie Jupiter, and recently Faora in Man of Steel, are troubling. Snyder consistently seems to be attempting to articulate an internally-held notion of strong women, which nonetheless never seems to escape his commercial-director's penchant for having his visual porn and eating it too. He creates exquisitely art-directed cosplay babes with the means to kill, but no onscreen density that gives them the ability to transcend their costumes.

(To be fair, the same can be said of most of his men. Gerard Butler's pecs in 300 are more memorable than his performance. Rorschach was a brilliant literalization of the comic book's Rorschach. Kevin Smith is on the record with his glee regarding Ben Affleck's Batman costume for Batman vs. Superman. Snyder should have been a costume designer.)

The most troubling indicator for the new movie's treatment of Wonder Woman, though, has nothing to do with the actress or the director, but simply with the project as a whole. I blame this entirely on Warner Brothers. In a single shot (and a few months after having declared Wonder Woman "tricky"), the studio has announced to the moviegoing world at large that Wonder Woman is not a character in her own right, but an adjunct to a larger fistfight between two popular male characters. Warner Brothers' cinematic universe is a man's world, and Wonder Woman's only shot at big-screen badassery is to play second fiddle in it.

Wonder Woman's curious status as the Smurfette of the Justice League is nothing new, of course, and speaks to a baseline exclusionism that runs throughout the mainstream comic book universe. Superheroes are male, and then get their female equivalents - and notably, for every Wonder Woman or Ms. Marvel, there's a diminutive Supergirl or Batgirl, straddling the line between anima and cute teen sidekick. They're part of the system that assigns foils and protégés to the male leads, not leads in themselves.

This basic assumption, that "normal" is white and male and heterosexual, and everything else - everything else, from gender to sexual identity to race to religion - is an "alternate," is the pre-war rule set that the comics industry (and, let's face it, most of the rest of popular media) has stalwartly failed to remedy in its 80-year history. What's astonishing is that the market itself is now directly affirming to studios like Warner Brothers that their rule set is out of date: within weeks of the Gal Gadot announcement, two female-lead blockbusters had gobbled up the market share of the month of November. In both of those cases, they were great movies - which are always a safer bet for profitability than crappy ones - and not demographic-baiting base hits. But they suggest that the audience doesn't approach the studios' content with the same biases with which the studios create it.

For Batman vs. Superman, the status remains very much quo. Women in superhero stories rarely get to be women, in the sense of an adult female character with an internal psychology, agency, and purpose all her own. Here, we can see why casting the pixie-cute Gadot fits in line with the strategy of not just the movie franchise, but the entire comic book landscape. Warners' decision to roll out Wonder Woman as the only girl in the clubhouse speaks to the whole history of superhero stories, and every single thing that is wrong with them.


Destroy All Monsters is a weekly column on Hollywood and pop culture.

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  • Pat

    FANTASTIC ARTICLE!!!
    Although I thinks Gal Gadot's casting as Wonder Woman is actually really smart considering she's actually middle-eastern, and that she'll be playing an Amazon. I would of hired an ACTUAL Greek or Turkish Actress but let's not get picky.

  • I love that someone has gone through this thread and downvoted every single one of my comments, apparently as some sort of matter of principle. Heh.

  • Don

    The whole idea of sending the message that Wonder Woman is an afterthought not worthy of her own movie strikes me as "assuming facts not in evidence". Production companies have one goal above all others. Make movies that will make money. They aren't out to empower women or oppress them. Show them something that will make them lots of money and they'll be on it in a heartbeat. Hence the reason for including Wonder Woman in Superman Vs Batman. To gauge the level of interest and potential profit to be made. I take this as a good sign. That they are clearly considering the idea and are making a move in the right direction.

  • Mr. Cavin

    I think your sentence would be more accurate if it read "Show them something that will [convince them it will make] lots of money and they'll be on it in a heartbeat." Because, honestly, when they make these movies they are taking a gamble on what they think will fly. And it is in this way that is it profitable for us to suspect them for their prejudices.

  • Dave Baxter

    The direct result of a decision can be considered a "fact in evidence". The fact that they chose not to give Wonder Woman her own movie but instead put her inside a two-male-super-hero movie (and only their names are on the marquee, hers is not) has a specific result. That result is as much a fact in evidence and the decision itself. Remember, analysis and evaluation are HIGHER forms of thinking than knowledge or comprehension (which are the bare bones lowest).

    As Matt clearly suggested in the article: no one had to "introduce" the Hunger Games heroine in Harry Potter. Nor did they introduce Superman in the Batman movies after the disastrous Superman Returns fiasco, which had "proven" that Superman could bomb and bomb big. There are too many "facts in evidence" in recent history to logically derive that the only question as play is "can it make money" with no other bias included. "They did it to make money" is not a catch all reason that explains absolutely everything. There is also the question of WHY they assume something will make money or not, and where those beliefs come from.

  • Erick the Redd

    I think it is unfair and irresponsible to make accusations as to why they are putting her in this movie, without knowing anything other than she is in the movie. I felt the same with the last third of the article. I know we can use Snyder's past history to make assumptions, but thats all they are. She could be no more than what Nick Fury was in Iron Man 1, a cameo used to set up future films, of which she may have her own already in the works. Or she could be the sense of reason that make these 2 men realize they are all 3 on the same side. She could have a large role or a small role, we have no idea. This is why most fanboys right now are bashing the look and size of Gal Gadot... because right now that is ALL we have to go on.
    Believe me the fanboys will complain if she is used irresponsibily, and I'm not making a case that its okay for them to complain about her looks or her... size. But they also know that they haven't seen the film yet, and cannot bash HOW she is being used until they know more.
    As far as my opinion, they are not including her because she's a woman, they are including her because Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are the big 3 from DC, and they want to get to JLA as fast as they can. If Flash was as big as Wonder Woman he'd be in there instead, but he's not. Along with Batman, she will help set up the DCMU because she is known and loved among comic fans.

  • On the 'why' question, I think a fundamental one is not something I would term deliberate prejudice but one of selection bias amongst the people with the power to green light. You know how they always try to select a jury from a cross section of races / genders / etc to create a blend of perspectives and voices? That's not the case in the movie biz where the VAST majority of creative execs are white, male, and from the same basic economic background. This is not quite as extremely true in the indie world as the studios (though it is very much the case at XYZ, I must say), but even in the indie world it skews overwhelmingly this way.

    And when that's the case, the people making the decisions need to be VERY deliberate and proactive in looking for projects to support from viewpoints other than their own or else they simply green light things that appeal either to male teens (the stuff they loved themselves growing up) or male adults (what they love now) which is awesome if you're a white male but sucks for everyone else.

    I don't believe these sorts of decisions are fueled at all by conscious sexism or racism. I've been in enough of these meetings to know that people genuinely want to reach as many people as they possible can. I do believe, however, that there is very, very definitely a lot of passive selection bias.

    The other big 'why' answer, of course, is that there's also a MASSIVE amount of case history that says Film X will perform at Level Y within 95% accuracy 90% of the time. When you see these reports from the studios they're based on a huge amount of evidence and they're freakishly accurate when you go back and look at them again after the fact.

  • Dave Baxter

    Definitely, I'm with you on the meat of this, though I don't entirely think there's as important a divide between conscious and unconscious -isms (sexism, racism, etc.). Conscious -isms are generally quite rare, especially when compared to how much unconscious examples are at play every day. While the conscious examples are the ones no one should ever tolerate for a single second, it's the unconscious examples that are actually the core and focus of the struggles against these -isms.

    The unconscious examples are the ones that have allowed -isms to remain so entrenched in cultures even after they're legally and even socially spoken out against. In this sense, the fact that the -isms are largely unconscious is kind of the point - it's understood as not being malicious, per se, but makes it all the more important not to settle for it, because while it's hard to justify conscious bias, unconscious bias will be fought tooth and nail and will never be addressed until the issue is forced, and repeatedly.

    I'd also tweak the point about the freakishly accurate reporting of product performance - this goes back to my argument about needing to ease consumers/audience members into any new approach or idea a la why the low risk approach for all niche films will therefore never find a consistent mainstream audience. The studio reports are so accurate, in part, because the system is so rigid. When the selection is limited, over a long period of time, audiences grow accustomed to the system, and the selection, and the limited range, then within that range the performances remain consistent, as both studio and audience are acting consistently within a very shallow (and completely understood on both sides) pool.

    That means yes, the system works. But if we're ever going to change it, it will take a strategic and long form approach. Some might argue that intro'ing Wonder Woman is part of such a long form approach, but I'd disagree. It's part of A long form approach, maybe, but it's not one that actually eases in anything new, and sets a troubling precedent wherein women have to be introduced by men before they get to be more than back up arm candy. And I'd like to think we already have enough evidence from recent femme-led blockbusters that this approach, which sucks, simply isn't necessary for the desired result.

  • I agree, though I think we're using terms a little differently. I wouldn't just say the vast majority of people calling the shots aren't 'consciously' sexist, they're not sexist at all. They're just taken overwhelmingly taken from one demographic and when you put a bunch of people who are basically the same in a room and one of them asks the others, "I like this, what about you?" most of the others will probably say yes, where when they get to something that falls outside their experience they simply don't know how to judge so that stuff slides. The bias is a systemic one because the pool of decision makers is too uniform - not because anyone is making active decisions against anything. They just don't have enough people with the taste and skill set to choose FOR other perspectives within the process.

    Bias is a tricky, loaded word ...

  • Dave Baxter

    It is (loaded and tricky). Using it in your way (or I'll attempt to, may fail, mea culpa) I suppose you could say some of the public wants to use the sexist/racist card as a cudgel for change, as using it has a shaming effect and the -isms do actually exist in the final product, whatever the reason they're in there, so maybe it's an apt card to play. Basically telling them: you can have any system you'd like, but it needs to start including A, B, and C. You're smart movie people, you'll figure it out, but get it started already, because this is too unenlightened for what many of us consider to be the modern world.

    From my own viewpoint, though, I think sexism/racism is an effect as well as a mindset. We've done a decent job pushing the mindset into the boonies, but the effect is something that plagues us since our society isn't actually set up not to incorporate it. It makes sense to me, then, that we have to tackle the effect, too, and call it as a sexist/racist, no matter the mindset that brought us there. Though technically you could also argue that not noticing the effect, and/or not caring, is a bias of its own, which brings us back to bias....

  • Yeah, I agree with all of this. My personal shorthand goes like this:
    1. Have I done anything wrong by joining a group of like minded guys and trying to make movies? No.
    2. Do I have some sort of moral obligation to create opportunities for others not like me? Having worked in a couple of affirmative action environments and seen first hand the sort of hostility that creates I waver on this one but ultimately end up on no again. Obliging people doesn't work, nor does demonizing them for doing nothing more than liking the things they like and trying to make things they like and are proud of.
    3. That said, if I take these issues seriously should I take advantage of opportunities to give people unlike myself opportunity? Yes, I should.

    4. And all times all people should be on the lookout for and speak against policies or decisions that are clearly exclusionary and apply any sort of double standard.

  • Well, obviously I disagree, but I agree with your point that I'm assuming facts not in evidence. I can only speculate about the conscious (and unconscious) motivations of the studio in this case. I'm more concerned with the message their decision sends, regardless of how the work in the film itself turns out.

  • DavideCoppola

    Great article! I think she is way more beautiful and certainly less vulgar than the cartoon Wonder Woman.

  • TheGhostOfGriffinMill

    Again, great, great column. Sorry you burned time wasted on Twit-wars because the main body of people reacting negatively to this casting are the exact wrong group to survey and almost, to a one, the wrong gender.

    My best friend is a producer who specializes in young-female quadrant films. This casting is ALL about grabbing some traction in that quadrant with BvS; or, more accurately, NOT LOSING traction with that group.

    The long-running DC version of Wonder Woman -- Glamazon to the max -- will make girls 8-18 run with all due haste from the theater; and, in fact, will NOT attract the young male demo many out there seem to think gravitate toward that incarnation.

    As both the pre-release tracking and box-office results on SUCKER PUNCH indicated, hyper-sexualized, powerful female characters terrify boys 8-25. They are just coming into their own identities, hormones going crazy, and the last thing they respond to is something they internalize as a challenge to their as-yet developed sexuality. SP was thought of by everyone involved as a homerun for that demo and that demo was second to last in attendance, beating only that age-demo on the female side.*

    (* a quick notation - the pure percentages were higher on young male than older male, but the RATIO was way, way off from projections)

    Much like the boys in the young quad, girls do not want their sexuality challenged by iconography on screen. Ironically, they are also challenged by the FEMALE icon rather than the male (the male, ala Chris Hemsworth, they view as a safe fantasy on screen to be internalized privately). What throws them is a sexually aggressive woman who is seen as either a domina or a slut, neither thing they want to relate to. In addition, breast size throws them into a despair spiral when it is fetishized and not a by-product of the actress.

    We can see the long-term trend confirmation of these facts in a number of success stories. Ripley, Sarah Connor, Buffy, Hermione, Katniss -- these are female warrior archetypes that have either succeeded or, at the very least, not FAILED with those young male and female quads. The failures are myriad, so take your pick.

    (The outlier in some ways appears to be Xena, except that the numbers on that show rested 80% in the upper-two age quads).

    In order to create a Wonder Woman that has a chance of not crashing-and-burning like SP, CATWOMAN, ELECTRA or LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER with that female demo, Gal Gadot is an excellent choice. She comes across on screen -- at least to me -- as strong, intelligent and sexy but NOT sexual.

    The only thing they need to do now is figure out the costume.

  • Bill Clay

    tl;dr

  • I love all of this but would question the idea that Sucker Punch failed because it had powerful female characters. I would suggest it failed because it had cardboard cutouts being moved around in front of the camera as substitutes for powerful female characters.

  • Leslie Williams

    Kneel before Todd :D

  • THIS

  • TheGhostOfGriffinMill

    Character issue in SP is totally valid, but is - imo - an additional failure that is mutually exclusive from the issue of the degree of (hyper)sexualization in these types of characters/films in general and to SP in particular. The "power" of the characters was married-to and imparted from their babydoll sexuality and that proved to be an albatross dooming that project (as always, imo).

    (Did not mean to imply that powerful female characters are a negative -- they aren't. It's the sexual-sourcing of the power that may seem like a smart/sexy idea in development but almost always craters with the intended audience/s.)

    While the various data sets I've seen over the years were not done for SUCKERPUNCH, they certainly apply to it and I would hold that film (and things like the DANGER GIRL comic) up as the Platonic- cave-version of what should not be done with female characters if you want a large audience to tune in. I think WB do want that for WONDER WOMAN and this casting is a good first step.

  • Cheers for the thoughtful in-depth response!

  • J Hurtado

    My only problem with this column is the use of "on first blush" twice in the first two paragraphs. Far less egregious that some of my own writing gaffes, however. Good stuff!

  • Drat. ;)

  • Kurt

    In terms of 'moulding' the actress to the look in a similar fashion as Tobey McGuire in Spider Man or Hugh Jackman to Wolverine), according to the mostly accurate IMDb, Gadot is 5"10", which is certainly above average height for a woman and even a smidgen taller than the saint-ified (in-terms-of-TV Wonder Woman) Lynda Carter. If she is physically trained to put on some mass (admittedly, not the norm for actresses but not completely unheard of -- see Linda Hamilton in T2) and shot in a clever way with good costuming, suspension of disbelief is entirely possible -- for me, anyway.

    All that being said, I wholeheartedly agree that in the hands of Zack Snyder is far more the issue than the cosmetics or acting chops of Gadot, something that was assuredly lost in the initial conversation last week, and happily remedied here.

    Question: What's the over-under for Wonder Woman having more than 10 minutes of screen time in the film?

    As always - Good column.

  • billydaking

    The problem with comparing Gadot with McGuire is that (a) McGuire was right for the role of Peter Parker personality-wise, and (b) McGuire, as a male, could bulk up easier and faster than Gadot because of gender differences in body chemistry. When Linda Hamilton trained intensely for Terminator 2 for year, she actually didn't bulk up all that much. Casting a waif-like actress as an Amazon seems to be digging a hole deeper than you need to.

    And considering that Lucy Lawless was 5'9", I don't think Gadot's height is a problem. It's more of a charisma and physicality issue.

  • TheGhostOfGriffinMill

    Yeah, I think she radiates a good bit of charisma on screen. The FnF franchise is all charisma and she held her own with a ton of male wattage on screen.

    Also, while Hamilton did tone to the max for T2, that was to reflect the evolution of a character -- Sarah Connor was no "stronger" a woman in T2 than at the end of T1 and, in fact, was probably weaker for her mania and inability to love/trust.

    I think what the challenge is proving for people already familiar with Wonder Woman/Diana as a character is this: the definition/expectation of what an "Amazon" is is going to be necessarily changed for cinema. To that end, I think Gal could be a great direction.

  • billydaking

    With Hamilton, I simply was using her training as an example of the problem with the idea that Gadot can bulk up for the role like McGuire bulked up for Spider-Man. Hamilton spent a year preparing for Terminator 2, and while the physical difference from the first film was huge, she honestly didn't add a lot to the frame she already had.

  • I'd be curious to know what the stated goals of Hamilton's training were. I don't think - and never really did - that they were trying to add bulk. Strength yes, but never mass. She trained to cut down radically on her body fat ratio and succeeded to a degree that is borderline unhealthy, which I always thought was an intentional move to reinforce the paranoia of her character.

    I also kind of question the need to really be bulky to play this role. Anybody looked up a photo of Linda Carter recently? She was never what you'd call buff. Or particularly buxom, frankly. The bustier took care of that ...

  • TheGhostOfGriffinMill

    And I would add this: with Linda Hamilton, her physique for T2 was a result of her character -- a normal, HUMAN character -- feeling the need to be as physically peak as possible, knowing what was coming in the near future.

    For the character of Diana/WW, she is -- by definition -- a MAGICAL creature/person. Her physique can be anything the producers choose it to be, but it certainly does not need to follow a Hamilton or Tom Hardy as Bane route.

  • billydaking

    Bane's kind of an extreme example, isn't it? Don't think anybody's expecting (or wanting) Wonder Woman to look like that....

  • billydaking

    According to Hamilton herself, the ideas was to add both muscle and strength to make her look like a warrior that's been hardened, so I'd say it was a little bit of both. And yeah, her body fat was down to about zero, which was done on purpose for the reasons you guessed..

    I think the bulk question comes from Gadot's appearance of fragility. She simply is very thin, and in the Fast and the Furious films, at least, she doesn't come across as physically strong, which is probably where the hope that she can change her appearance similar to the way McGuire and Jackman did, but they added weight to help sell their performance.

  • TheGhostOfGriffinMill

    Yes, Bane is an extreme example (but no moreso than Jackman -- did you see the HGH veins he sprouted everywhere in THE WOLVERINE?), but I wasn't suggesting it as a map.

    I think we just differ (and I am guessing) on how much transformative work Gadot will need to do to her physiology in order to be a good Diana/WW. I don't think she needs much (certainly not on the order some sites have been screaming for) but maybe your mention of Maguire is a good analog, certainly as good as any!

  • How much do you know, exactly, about Gadot's personality? And how do you know it?

    And as has been pointed out elsewhere, Gadot served two years in the Israeli military where her duties included the physical training of other soldiers. Physicality is not an issue.

  • billydaking

    By personality, I'm talking about her onscreen persona. Sorry I wasn't clear. And based on what little I've seen of her (she hasn't done a lot), I simply don't see it, regardless of her military background. There's a difference between acting in a fantasy and living in reality, and some people, no matter how they really are, can't transfer it to the screen. And so far, that's what I see as Gadot's problem. I haven't been impressed with her as an actress yet. Granted, perhaps it's simply a matter that she hasn't been given the proper material to do so.

    Edit: Which brings up the bigger issue that the article points out: it's questionable Snyder will give her that material.

  • I think it's too early to judge her on screen. So far we're really talking only about a single character so we really have nothing to base any speculation of whether she does or does not have range on. It'd be like pre-judging Hugh Jackman when he was cast as Wolverine because until that point he was mostly known as a song and dance, musical theater guy. It may be that she hasn't been given material, it may be that she's not particularly good, but nobody really knows at this point at all.

    I completely, 100% agree with you about Snyder. In my opinion it's his treatment of the character we need to worry about - his track record makes it pretty clear what directions he likes to push his women - far moreso than the casting.

  • David Romero

    In an interview Gadot said she went through two, secret weeks of rigorous auditions with Affleck, after which she was chosen from the three actor short list, so combined with everything that's known about GG (looks, performance in F4/5/6, army service as fitness instructor etc), Snyder had a first hand view of her acting ability & compatibility with Afflec (which alludes to a larger then expected role in the movie and explains Snyder's high confidence in his choice), leaving GG's petite, slender frame, the only outstanding concern...
    I think WB & GG with her fitness background, will do just fine in buffing up WW.
    With so much money/cultural capital/emotions involved in resurrecting the WW franchise, (including plans for future WW lead role movies) WB wouldn't cast GG with out being damn sure it's an excellent choice.

  • Matt Zimmermann

    Sorry, whats your problem with Faora? She had great presence and was a more interesting villain than Zod was...it seemed to me that the character was nonexistent as written and it was in the execution on set that she became interesting.

  • I think you just said what the problem is: She's written as essentially non-existent other than as a prop, which is the case for the vast majority of women in the vast majority of Snyder's films. They're only in there to be a prop hanging off the arm of a male character or - in the case of Sucker Punch - to pander to male fantasy. He's shown no interest at all in women as women at any point in his entire career. If anything beyond that level happens with a female character in a Snyder film it is - as you yourself allude to - because the performer is good, not because of anything Snyder is doing.

  • Hiroaki Johnson

    It's been a bunch of years, but I remember the women being fine characters in Dawn of the Dead. Sarah Polley was the lead in my mind.

    Edit: Bleh, didn't see Kurt's comment below.

  • She's specifically why I said the majority.

  • Hiroaki Johnson

    Ah sorry, I was reading on my phone and missed the qualification.

  • Matt Zimmermann

    So you acknowledge the problem in the writing yet lay none of the blame at the feet of the writer. You know what I've noticed? Everyone I've ever talked to, male and female, thought she kicked ass in the movie, whether they liked the movie or not. The only times I've ever heard anyone complain about is when they're trying to shoe-horn her into a column about gender roles in Snyder films. And in all instances, no blame is placed at the feet of Goyer. It weakens the argument when you ignore sources of blame and try to force examples that do not apply to your thesis.
    "Not because of anything Snyder is doing"...bullshit. He directed the actress(who kicked ass in the role) and elevated a character from a nonexistent henchman slot to most memorable villain with the least amount of material to work with. Anyone who doesn't think the director had nothing to do with that, doesn't understand what it is that directors do. I'm not even here to defend Snyder, I just find this whole argument forced, it stinks of male writers trying to curry favor with female readers by being like "Look! These strong female characters aren't even that strong because in the movie they are also dressed sexy! Look how feminist I am!" You place a problem with Hollywood as a whole at the feet of one filmmaker working within it and act like somehow his version of strong female characters, whether they succeed or not on film, is somehow worse than not bothering to have any at all.

  • Oh, Goyer certainly shares in the blame. But he was hired to write what Snyder wanted him to write. It was Snyder's show, not Goyer's and all the power and ultimate decision making rests with the director - and, in this case, Chris Nolan as well to a degree - so the bulk of the blame rests on the guy calling the shots and setting the direction. And this particular direction is one that Snyder has gone down repeatedly. Snyder directs for iconic images and striking still frame shots - it's the commercial director in him, which he's never shaken - and he certainly makes everyone LOOK good. He does not, however, direct for personality or depth of character. If that's there, it's dominantly the actors bringing it to their readings of the lines while hitting the marks to maximize the lighting, which is what Snyder seems to be mostly interested in.

    [I also think he's crap at men, FYI, but nobody ever talks about that because he is at least pandering to male fantasy so the guys in the audience have something to occupy their time.]

  • Mr. Cavin

    Well, it isn't as if Christopher "doggy-style Catwoman" Nolan's track record has been all that spotless of late, either.

  • Kurt

    Snyder did a pretty excellent job with Sarah Polly in the remake of Dawn of the Dead (albeit that might have been the screenwriting of James Gunn), and I was quite happy with the screen time, agency and overall arc of Silk Spectre II in Watchmen. Sucker Punch is the most egregious of the bunch, and I chalk it up to Snyder's tin ear for satire or failure to articulate the deconstruction modus operandi if that indeed were intentional and not simply ret-conned into the narrative about talking about SP.

  • TheGhostOfGriffinMill

    Totally correct. One can hope that with their sights on a feature down the road, WB will steer the character into something more worthy of Gal (or any actress) than what would come of it wholly in Snyder and, frankly, David Goyer's hands.

  • Man, great piece. Absolutely nailed it.

  • Thanks Todd :)

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