Over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. released their first image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The image was met with a surprising amount of mixed reviews, with a lot of people are claiming that Gadot just doesn’t have the look. To the people who are taking to comment sections across the web to voice their disapproval, I have one thing to say to you:
If you don’t think that this is how Wonder Woman is supposed to look, then you don’t know Wonder Woman.
First of all, let’s look at the aforementioned picture:
Pretty badass. Sure, she isn’t 6 feet tall, but that’s not a huge deal. She’s proportional, and looks tough, which is far more important. Yes, the costume is a bit more bronze than the colorful outfit we’ve seen in the past, but that’s to provide a contrast to Superman’s blue and red and Batman’s black to allow her to stand out. Costumes are also constantly evolving and often take big shifts from the pages to the screen. All the core elements are there.
What really strikes me about this picture is how much Gal Gadot really looks like Wonder Woman. A lot of people disagree with that, saying that Wonder Woman is supposed to be quite a bit more muscular, with powerful thighs and a waist that isn’t so tiny. They say that Galdot’s arms need to be bigger, more defined, as if she should look like someone who’s bench pressing every day. To prove my point though, I’m going to take a look at some of the Wonder Woman designs over the years. Where’s a better place to start than the beginning?
Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston in 1941. She first appeared in All Star Comics #8 and became so popular that she was the lead feature in Sensation Comics when it debuted its first issue. Like all super heroes, she has changed a lot since that first appearance, but some of the seeds planted there carry today, and that includes many elements of her original design.
While only parts of this original design exist today, we can see that Wonder Woman’s physique was never designed to be that of a body builder. The outfit has changed a lot throughout the years, but the tiny waist and slender arms were there at the beginning. She’s not overly thin, but her body is proportionate, giving a sense that this is a well built woman. The Amazons were designed to be beautiful, with their looks causing doubts that they had the strength to take down just about any man. This body type that was first seen in the 40’s would persist in to the 80’s with George Perez’s design…
…to Alex Ross’ take in the 90’s…
… and in to the animated universe where Wonder Woman appeared in shows like Justice League and Young Justice.
This was also the approach taken in the life action Wonder Woman television show where Lynda Carter played the Amazonian princess.
That show didn’t feature a muscled out body builder type, but a woman with a small waist and tiny arms, and people look back fondly at Carter’s portrayal, choosing to forget the much campier elements. Sure, the outfit may have been a carbon copy of the comics (which also proves that it may not be the best approach), but I would argue that Gal Gadot looks far more like Wonder Woman.
And what about today? In a culture that is growing more progressive in the way that women are portrayed in the comics medium, we’ve seen female heroes become less sexualized and more functional. It’s a long road that is not yet done, but changes like Batgirl’s new costume and the popularity of books like She-Hulk and Black Widow show that we’re making progress. What about Wonder Woman? Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang have taken the Wonder Woman book with the New 52 launch and made it the stuff of legends, and this is their Amazonian:
She’s not bulging with muscle, or walking around on thighs that could crush a walnut without a thought. She’s a proportional woman, ready to kick some ass. If you ask me, Gadot looks like she walked right out of this panel of Azzarello and Chiang’s run:
I believe my case has been rested. If you want to go off of looks, Gal Gadot has hit all the points that need to be hit. Call off all your hate and go pick up a Wonder Woman book, actually learn about the character. If you really want to be worried about something with this movie, then be worried that David S. Goyer will have a too much influence.
She looks like Xena.