Gal Gadot Plays Wonder Woman in Real Life
If you pay any attention at all to Hollywood and the broader entertainment industry, you no doubt noticed that a new Wonder Woman film came out this past summer. It was part of DC’s expanding “cinematic universe,” meant to rival the films of Marvel Studios, and it was by almost all accounts the company’s best effort yet. With up-and-coming actress Gal Gadot playing the title role, the film earned accolades across the board. As one review put it, Wonder Woman was “alive and in command in a way the other DCEU films can only dream about,” the term “DCEU” referring to the DC Extended Universe. If you’ve been paying attention to these films, you likely agree.
What makes this movie one of the stories of the year in entertainment and pop culture, however, isn’t just a positive response from critics. Wonder Woman had accomplishments across the board. For example, it nearly beat its direct predecessor, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, at the box office, earning $821 million worldwide to Dawn Of Justice’s $873 million. It didn’t come out on top, but it’s rather remarkable that a film starring a less publicized hero and a relatively little-known actress went toe-to-toe with a movie about two of the biggest superheroes of all time, starring Ben Affleck among others.
The film also put the character of Wonder Woman into other areas of entertainment and culture like she’s never been before. For instance, we saw predictably that Wonder Woman was one of the most popular costumes of the Halloween season. The character has also emerged on the gaming scene, both in DC mobile games and elsewhere. An online slot developer called WMS writes of itself that its “list of newbies is forever changing,” but that “Wonder Woman Gold” is among the new games introduced in 2017. It’s a game that could reach millions online.
These examples only hint at the broader and more significant impact of Wonder Woman. This film changed the narrative on superhero cinema as the first major movie in a decade’s worth of projects to star a female hero. Gadot and female director Patty Jenkins emphatically showed that a female hero can be every bit as inspiring as a male, and that little girls, too, deserve a fantastical hero to look up to. Wonder Woman was every bit as inspiring – and every bit as successful – as films about Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Captain America, and so on. The film was billed as a feminist triumph, not just because because it revolved around a woman character, but because it worked so well.
But all of this speaks to a narrative that built over the summer. More recently, we’ve seen that Gadot is not only the right actress for the role, but the right woman to embody the responsibility that comes with becoming a feminist icon. It has just recently come out that Gadot was refusing to sign up for a sequel if producer Brett Ratner – who has been accused of sexual harassment – were to be involved. It’s a wonderful power play from an actress who has clearly decided to stand up for women in real life the way many perceived her biggest film role to date did on screen.
It has since been revealed that Warner Bros. pushed Ratner and his company off of the project, and Gadot clarified that it wasn’t just her versus Ratner. However, she didn’t deny involvement so much as indicate that others involved with the production felt the same way she did.
This whole spat of sexual harassment and abuse allegations in Hollywood and elsewhere has gotten a little bit dizzying. But it also represents a powerful movement toward women feeling empowered to speak up, name their abusers, and stand together. And when a figure like Gadot – now a real life Wonder Woman – joins that fight, it only gains strength and momentum.