Guest Post: "Lasso of Truth" Indeed! by Steve Newton
Much vitriol has been spewed in Ms. Gadot's direction over her involvement in the forthcoming, long-awaited Justice Lea -- that is...World's Fi -- oops!...I mean Man of Steel 2. (Why -- oh, why -- is DC/WB so insistent on shoehorning anyone other than Bat-Fleck into what's supposed to be a Superman sequel? I ask with much face-palming and tearing-out of my thinning hair.)
Among the arguments I've read, most boil down to the following: Gadot's too thin, her boobs aren't big enough, her costume's colors are too muted, it's too skimpy/not skimpy enough (to which I confess agreeing -- sue me), Wonder Woman doesn't use a sword...blahblahblah.
You know what I never saw in these comments? How will Wonder Woman be characterized for this -- or future -- films? I'll put this out there now: my only concern over Gal Gadot is if she can carry-off this role from an acting-chops standpoint. For my money, the photo of her in costume looks great; but can she be the Amazing Amazon? Since I personally have never seen her in anything else (I'm not about to watch the Fast and Furious movies), I'm content to withhold any judgement. It might behoove a lot of others to do the same.
On the topic of characterization, I can tell you what we won't see: Wonder Woman depicted as originally envisioned by her creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston. Of course, this is largely true of every other comic book hero who has ever made the leap to the Silver Screen. Follow me on this.
Siegel and Shuster had Depression-era social issues filtered through sci-fi lenses in mind for Superman. Finger and Kane were emulating the tried-and-true formula of vengeful pulp mystery-men while giving us The "Bat-Man." The X-Men were all about overcoming bigotry, while the classical Spider-Man is a coming-of-age tale.
Wonder Woman? Sure, there was Dr. Marston's platitudes about providing women and girls a positive role model -- but that wasn't all. For those who know little or nothing about Wonder Woman's creator, suffice to say that his private life was nothing if not...unorthodox. In Wonder Woman, Dr. Marston was showing America's comic-reading youth a glimpse of "alternative sexuality" -- and not necessarily of the LGBT variety.
That's right. Sorry, ladies (and some of you gentlemen): Wonder Woman -- in the mind of her creator -- was equally a positive feminine role model AND (drumroll please)...a Bondage Fantasy! Don't take my word for it: just read Wonder Woman's Golden Age stories -- Hell! just look at them! -- all written by Dr. Marston, and see for yourself.
You see, for Dr. Marston, the idea was that he was uncomfortable by the two-fisted violence of all the testosterone in comics (or, really, all pop-culture). His intention for Wonder Woman, despite all the physical power at her disposal, was to achieve victory over her enemies through the "loving submission" she imposed. Of course, with all that going on, it was natural that Diana herself would often find herself on the "receiving end" of the BDSM spectrum -- emphasis on the "BD."
The amazing thing is, when Dr. Marston died in the late '40's, and other writers began scripting Wonder Woman's adventures, her popularity evidently took a nose-dive. It would be decades before the character would attain the status she enjoys today. At the same time, it is hampered by an ever-changing mythos; many casual fans, when asked who Wonder Woman is, would be betrayed by inconsistent editorial policies. I know who my Wonder Woman is, but it stands in stark contrast with what was in place a decade earlier, or what came a decade later, and another decade after that.
I realize it's already too late (and, no -- I'm not referring to "keeping a long story short!"), since the filmmakers have been at work for a while now. But, if there is any question about how to handle the character's character, might I recommend something akin to the animated version found in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series as a guide?
Just trim-off some of Ms. Gadot's costume first (wink wink).