Unless you’ve been exploring some deep, remote part of the Earth this week the news that Wonder Woman has been cast in the upcoming Superman Verses Batman film isn’t going to be a shocking revelation. Even if you have very little interest in comic books themselves, super hero films have become massive blockbusters that squeeze your pockets dry all year around, but especially in the summer months. And Nolan’s Dark Knight Series was certainly the beginning of a new wave in super hero films, marking a transition from quirky, slapstick made for a small audience to something deeper, darker and appealing to the masses.
Like or hate Nolan’s Batman, before his films, Fox’s idea of making the X-Men more modern was to give the team dark, leather uniforms. Now they are adapting the comic book story Days of Future Past, an intense, character defining insight into the destructive potential of the human condition, and are planning an sequel which will focus on Apocalypse, a vicious, century old mutant who corrupts and controls his victims. Even the most recent Wolverine film, The Wolverine, while not especially realistic, did more to explore the ideology of the character than X-Men Origins: Wolverine ever did.
Admittedly, it doesn’t work with every character and one character that does not need a modern, gritty update is Superman. The very spirit of optimism and restraint, he is an ever vigilant guard for the Earth. The reason Superman is super isn’t because he is an alien or because he has powers beyond that of a normal man. Superman is better than man because he will not succumb to evil and temptation as man will. They had enough Christ imagery in Man of Steel but they didn’t seem to understand the underlying motif. This isn’t about Superman killing Zod. If pushed to the limit, it makes sense for Superman to kill Zod because Zod isn’t your average villain. But you don’t give Superman ultimatums. If there is anyone who should be able to find a third option, it is Superman because he can be what man cannot.
So I worry about how Wonder Woman will be depicted. Wonder Woman has been notoriously difficult to get on to screen. There have been numerous attempts to get the Amazonian on to film or televisions over the years but all of them have fallen through, usually because the studio was never satisfied with scripts. Even when Whedon wrote one. Arguably the only reason that the studio has even green lit her appearance in this film is because they believe they can fall back on the market appeal of Batman and Superman, in the same film no less, if the character flops.
Actually, Gal Gadot is probably my most favourite casting for this sequel. Henry Cavill was decent as Superman in Man of Steel but on the whole I found his performance rather uninspired. Oh, he most certainly looks the part and the actor seems completely at ease in the role but, and perhaps this is the script’s fault, I never found myself getting lost in his performance. He just never enraptured me in that way and if there is anything that this sequel needs but likely won’t get it is that need to be drawn deeper into the Superman character, both through performance and the writing.
Ben Affleck, on the other hand, appears to have been cast as some kind of deal for Warner Bros. so that they can produce and distribute Affleck’s own movies for the foreseeable future. So Affleck gets a platform for his own films and all he has to do in return is don the Bat suit and growl a bit. To say I’m wary of how Affleck’s Batman will come across in this sequel would be an understatement. But I have high hopes for Gal Gadot.
Best known for her role in the Fast and Furious franchise (R.I.P. Paul Walker), Gadot is an Israeli model turned actress who hasn’t done a whole lot with her career. But, having been in three of the Fast and Furious and the film Knight and Day, she actually has more experience in big action films than her main competitor Jaimie Alexander, whose main role outside of the Thor films was Kyle XY. I like Kyle XY but high octane action it ain’t. I was somewhat surprised that the role didn’t go to Gadot’s Fast & Furious 6 co-star Gino Carano. Carano’s experience in film is perhaps only slightly more extensive than Gadot’s but she does have the advantage of being a trained in Muay Thai. I always prefer when my action heroes have legitimate martial arts backgrounds. However, they probably choose Gadot at least in part for sex appeal. One of her most memorable scenes from the Fast and Furious franchise was the scene where she uses her bikini to get a duplicate of the villain’s hand print.
Having made a good choice in terms of actress, depicting the Wonder Woman character on screen will likely be the hard part. Not because writing strong female characters is hard but rather because Wonder Woman’s back story is just kind of weird. In this modern world, it would unlikely for her to come from an undiscovered island of women. For her to be created out of clay and brought to life by the gods seems a little far-fetched for this realistic setting too, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they went this way and simply replaced god with technology. However, given the success of Marvel’s Thor, I do think that they might go the modern route and just let her be a demigoddess. This may explain also further explain why they didn’t pick Jaimie Alexander; they didn’t want the association with another god-like character. The rest of her story is largely, like Captain America, about World War II and fighting Nazi’s but it would be a stretch to fit that into the already packed Superman Verses Batman.
Time will tell whether Gadot will be the perfect pick for the role as I hope she will be or whether the character will be crushed beneath the massive weight of what is looking to be an overloaded movie. While you’re waiting why not consider picking up a copy of my first novel, I PLAGIARIZED THIS BOOK FROM MYSELF, available on Amazon. And if you’ve already got a copy, remember to rate and review it and tell all your friends and co-workers. Or got a comment/opinion on my book or the above Wonder Woman article? Then please, don’t hesitate to make use of the comment section below or fire me a tweet. Otherwise, until next week, thanks for reading.