Saturday, 26 July 2014

Zack Snyder's Wonder Woman - The Initial Reaction

About six hours ago, at this little shindig down in San Diego that everyone gets pretty worked up about, director Zack Snyder tweeted this:
(High-res version available here, for those of you who need more detail to whine about)

The internet has come abuzz with critiques of the costume, brief reports from io9 and Variety, and the usual truckload of schlock on Facebook as all of the disgruntled fanboys who couldn't score SDCC tickets strive to one-up each other. I won't touch on comment threads much more than what I've just written, because they enrage me. The stupid burns brightly there. However...

...much of what I've been seeing has been along two lines of critique: 1) "Her body is wrong", and 2) "She isn't American/modern enough". So, let's talk about that a little. I'm more than a little disgusted to see a portion of the comics community vehemently protesting that Gal Gadot's boobs aren't big enough, her thighs aren't full enough, she's too skinny, or her nose looks funny, and "Do you even lift, princess?" You know how many shits Gadot gives about what fans think Wonder Woman should look like on screen? Zero. Absolutely none. Cinema Blend released this article a month ago, your standard "9 Things" internet fare, about the actress, in which she's quoted talking about her combat training regimen (which, as ex-Israeli military, she's no stranger to) and building the body-image of the character. She acknowledges the warrior's need for body mass, which she'll be putting on over the next few months, and cracks a joke about historical accuracy and the Amazons cutting off one breast. She can take the criticism and return the favour. I'm proud of her, in a you-don't-know-this-person-but-they-seem-pretty-rad kind of way.

"WHERE ARE THE STARS??", the fanboys cry in chorus from grease-stained keyboards the world over. "Why is there no colour?" "Why doesn't she look American?". Why doesn't she look American? You know what, that is a terribly hard question to answer. I bet it has something to do with an intricate backstory twist, or an alternate reality, some pseudo-anti-patriotic crossover that Snyder is endorsing. I did hours of research, pored over dusty tomes in secret vaults looking for hidden clues to this mysterious foreigner...

Guys, it's because she's not American.

I think at this point everyone knows that this film is going to incorporate Wonder Woman's origin, one way or another. Snyder hasn't exactly handed us a world flush with heroes who have been operating for decades and formed leagues with space station bases (though, if he threw continuity out the window and dropped a movie on us set forty years after Man of Steel with a fully-formed JLA, I would be thrilled. T'would be a bold move. But it's DC, so that will never happen.). He's handed us a franchise that will be releasing a blockbuster origin story every two to four years for a long while. I'm going to quote myself, from this morning's reaction to initial flood of bullshit:
"I like the Greco-Roman look. It fits her origin, and this is gonna be an origin story. This isn't, "I've been a hero in Metropolis for thirty years, and I wear star-spangled boy-shorts"; this is, "I was formed from mud by the hands of Zeus to be a warrior for Truth, and bitch, I'm here to kick your ass in armour smithed by Hephaestus himself." 
Eloquent, no? I'll stand by most of that statement. The character's background is well-known. She's amazonian royalty. She's either a Greek demi-god by birth or formed from mud and imbued with life by the gods, depending on the backstory you hold to. She protects herself and those around her with armour and weapons forged by Hephaestus (Vulcan, if you're of a Roman mythic disposition); you know, the guy who made Hermes' helmet, and Achilles' armour. Now, American fans, what part of any of that gives you the impression that you are entitled to see your patriotic motifs draped over her body? Maybe it's the fact that the actress is Israeli and you're paying a shitload of foreign aid money, wait, that's a different story.

"It's how I was raised, Hephaestus." 
Art and costume design by Cliff Chiang
These answers are straightforward. Why doesn't she look American? Because she's not. Why does she look archaic and mythical? Because she is. Other answers may be less easy to come by. One thing we all agree on, regarding Snyder's photo...

The jet looks awesome.

Stay tuned.

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