Saturday Waffling (December 7th, 2013)
So. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
I’ll confess up front that I haven’t seen her in anything. The only one of the Fast and the Furious films I saw was the first one, which was a perfectly serviceable mindless action movie of the sort Vin Diesel is very good at appearing in. My only memory of it is the bit where the car drives under a semi. I assume the subsequent movies are memorable in exactly the same ways.
Which is to point out what everybody with a brain and a keyboard already has, which is that there’s nothing in her resume that inspires confidence. This is not in and of itself a problem – Lynda Carter had a thin resume as well, and she was phenomenal in the part. Everybody has a big break.
And I’m not one of the people who’s intrinsically down on the movie because it’s a Zack Snyder film. I like Snyder, and think he’s largely misunderstood. I liked Man of Steel. The problem is that everything I liked about Man of Steel is also a reason why it’s a terrible cornerstone to try to build a big DC Universe franchise out of. I liked Man of Steel for being a cynical take on Superman that was the first well thought out response to Grant Morrison’s stuff to date. And I still think it was that.
And it’s the director of Sucker Punch doing Wonder Woman. And I think Sucker Punch is a flooringly brutal, angry feminist film that was criminally misunderstood. It’s one of my favorite movies of the last decade. And while I don’t imagine the director of Sucker Punch is going to make a straightforward and iconic Wonder Woman movie, there are many ways in which the prospect of a Wonder Woman movie from him just sounds phenomenally exciting. I want to see his take on Wonder Woman.
The thing is, that’s not what this is going to be. Wonder Woman seems to be in the movie as part of a commitment to establishing a DC Cinematic Universe to rival Marvel’s. And Snyder’s the wrong guy to do that. He does angry deconstructions, where what you need here are the iconic, straightforward takes on characters carefully and well-executed. Man of Steel was, for me, a great Superman movie, but it’s an awful start to an ongoing Superman franchise. And I can’t help but fear Wonder Woman will end up in a similar position here. And given that she, unlike Batman and Superman, doesn’t have a history of coming back again and again in film, that’s worrisome, because as many have pointed out, this is probably the only chance we’ll get for ten or twenty year.s
But all of that has little to do with Gal Gadot, who is taking on a role with a lot of expectations. I hope she nails it. And while I have no reason to think she will, I also have no reason to think she won’t.