I realized when watching Wonder Woman that I knew very little about the character, beyond the "Wonder Woman!" song in the TV show. I also hadn't thought about any useful contextual things. The one thing that occurred to me as I watched was, why is Captain Kirk in this movie? It really didn't need a man in the role. Chris Pine was OK, and given his character was unnecessary, they did a decent job of making sure he never took over the action or the movie from Wonder Woman.
The casting of Gal Gadot was somewhat controversial, although the real controversy revolved around the way Wonder Woman was presented. Did she need to wear such a revealing outfit? I barely noticed, to be honest ... she didn't seem much different than Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
A lot of attention was paid to Gadot's thighs ... perhaps because it was easier to single out one body part than to discuss her as a complete human. In one brief moment, Wonder Woman's thigh jiggled, and this set off a complicated discussion about the importance of that jiggle. One Tumblr user spoke for many:
There were absolutely NO eye candy shots of Diana. There were Amazons with ageing skin and crows feet and not ONE of them wore armor that was a glorified corset. When Diana did the superhero landing, her thigh jiggled onscreen.
Did you hear me? HER FUCKING THIGH JIGGLED. Wonder Woman’s thigh jiggled on a 20-foot tall screen in front of everyone.
Because she wasn’t there to make men drool. She wasn’t there to be sexy and alluring and flirt her way to victory, and that means she has big, muscular thighs, and when they absorb the impact of a superhero landing, they jiggle, and.that’s.WONDERFUL.
Or, as Zoe Williams wrote, "Yes, she is sort of naked a lot of the time, but this isn’t objectification so much as a cultural reset: having thighs, actual thighs you can kick things with, not thighs that look like arms, is a feminist act."
What I liked about Gadot was her believability ... much as I love characters like Buffy and Starbuck, it was good to see a woman who actually looked like she could kick butt. More than that, I thought intelligence showed on her face ... unlike some amateur actors, she didn't look like a deer in the headlights. She underplayed the humor, which I found perfect. She made me inclined to like the movie. I admit to being surprised. I didn't expect anything from her. My mistake.
And I'm happy for Patty Jenkins, whose career is a microcosm of the difficulties women are up against. Her first feature had an Oscar-winning performance from Charlize Theron. It had a budget of $8 million and grossed $60 million worldwide. Jenkins didn't direct another feature until Wonder Woman, 14 years later. (In fairness, she worked a lot in television, and her work was highly-regarded.) Now she's on track to direct the Wonder Woman sequel. 7/10.