Sunday, December 8, 2013

Why Gal Gadot Is Awesome, Or "Stop Hating On My Favorite Actress".

Congratulations, Fanboys of the world- you've managed to draw me out of a two-month break from blogging. Let's get right to it- Mind Grenades readers, this blog post is in defense of Gal Gadot.

That sound you hear is our entire photo department
doing a happy dance.

Regular readers are already aware that the Mind Grenades blog has kind of a soft spot for Gal Gadot, as well as the Fast and the Furious franchise she was best known for until Tuesday's announcement that the actress would be playing the role of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Zach Snyder film "Man of Steel 2 (Batman vs Superman)". The film already endured one round of nerd-rage and is now experiencing another dose. Now, understand that there are about three actresses in all of Hollywood anyone here in the Mind Grenades offices gives a crap about:

3. Gal Gadot

And…that's it. 

So with that understanding, we're going to address these losers who are whining about Snyder's choice to cast Gadot as a character as iconic as Wonder Woman, and do our best to rip their baseless arguments to shreds with the power of common freaking sense.

"But She Doesn't Even Look Like Wonder Woman!"

"Ugh, she's hideous"- Freaking Nobody

You don't think Zach Snyder knows what Wonder Woman looks like? He's a lifelong nerd making a Superman movie, with Batman in it, and he's trying to introduce another character beloved by many in such a way that will appeal to people- and possibly pave the way for a standalone Wonder Woman movie. This is not a decision he'd take lightly. Everyone involved in this movie knows what Wonder Woman looks like in the comics, and her origin as a beastly Amazon warrior (or is it warrioress? We really don't want to anger the feminists…)

BUT- first of all, no human has ever or will ever actually look like Wonder Woman. We're beginning to suspect that these Gadot haters have never actually ventured outside the walls of their mothers'  basements to see what women in the real world look like. Haters- it is a verifiable fact that Gal Gadot is one of the most beautiful people on the planet Earth. So being annoyed she doesn't look like a comic book character makes about as much sense as knocking Henry Cavill for looking like this-
What a weakling.
Instead of this-

Meh. Guess that's a little better. Still think he should hit the gym more.

Comic book heroes have muscles that don't exist, and comic book ladies have disproportionate legs and impossible waist sizes, not to mention chests that laugh in the face of physics. Too much of the criticism aimed at Gal Gadot is related to either her not being tall enough, busty enough, or muscly enough for the part. Apparently fanboys the world over expected Snyder to cast Glamazon, the WWE Diva.

The depth of our WWE knowledge would astound you.

That picture may appear ridiculous, but that's seriously what some people want in a Wonder Woman character, which is why it's a good thing they aren't calling the shots- Snyder is looking to successfully establish an iconic character in a film that already has a lot on the line. This is the make or break film for future Justice League films, and it needs to be a hit. He cast Gal Gadot not for her physical stature, but for her ability to actually BE Wonder Woman, with the inner strength of character and attitude necessary to be believable as a female superhero. 

Let's take a quick look at a few female superheroes Hollywood totally got wrong:

Halle Berry, who won an Oscar in 2002 for Best Actress, played Catwoman in what some consider to be the worst film ever made. Worst. Ever.

Jessica Alba played Sue Storm in the forgettable Fantastic Four movies (yes, there were two). The movies sucked and now the franchise looks like it's going to be rebooted.

Anne Hathaway was the horrifically over-acted Catwoman in Dark Knight Rises, trying desperately to be a badass throughout the film and failing miserably. What does it say that her laughable efforts at being a dangerous criminal were still more successful than any female superhero before her? It says Hollywood has a lot of work to do if they're going to make Wonder Woman work. 

Snyder is making an effort to create a character that will forever be linked with the actress who portrays her. Try to make a Wolverine movie without Hugh Jackman, people will be upset. Tony Stark without Robert Downey Jr? People will be upset. Those actors are connected to those characters, at least for the current generation. Wonder Woman is great character, and she needs an actress who can create that same mental tie for several films to come.

So what did Snyder do? He learned three important lessons from the three flops listed above.

Lesson #1: The wrong role can turn even the best actress into the absolute worst actress.

Lesson #2: Even someone who "looks the part" like Jessica Alba can't make up for bad acting.

Lesson #3: Toughness CAN'T be faked- audiences can sense when the "Bad-girl" act is phony.

The solution to all of these problems? Gal Gadot.

My first time ever viewing this film, I uttered "I think I'm in love" seconds before Han did. 
That's a true story.

Gal Gadot has everything it takes to be a believable Wonder Woman in an age of superhero movies grounded in gritty realism. She learned combat training during her two-year service in the Israeli Defense Forces and spent those two years as a sports trainer. She did all of her own stunts in Fast Five and requested more stunts for her character in Fast Six. "Doing her own stunts" is a phrase that gets passed over entirely too quickly: it's not just a cool way of saying she's hardcore. It's a way of saying "She jumped from a motorcycle onto the side of a vehicle moving at a high rate of speed and then almost got crushed by oncoming traffic." She does her own stunts because she wants to be taken seriously as an action star, and a legit Wonder Woman performance could establish her as a staple actress in future action films.

So she likes the action, and she's legitimately tough and therefore believable in strong roles. Still, if you really need any more convincing, this video should sell it for you. Here's Gadot discussing her character in the Fast and the Furious films, and expressing her feelings regarding strong feminine roles:

"She's very strong. She's very tough. She has no fear. She will always help a friend in need…that's the way it should be. In life, women are strong; it should be the same on film. Because the men we have in this movie are so strong, tough, clever, intelligent, physically really big, I think that it's a good balance to have us girls in this movie."

Wait, see what she did there?

Man of Steel 2 will star Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as Superman and Batman, some of the strongest male archetypes ever created. If Snyder produces a Wonder Woman who looks weak in comparison to the other two stars, he will get absolutely shredded by critics and fans alike who wanted a stronger female lead. Gadot comes from a franchise full of the biggest, toughest guys around like Vin Diesel and The Rock, and yet held her own in the series as a tough character not to be messed with. And it wasn't forced or laughable- it was entirely believable.

So the decision to cast Gadot was based on her ability to successfully convey independence, power, strength, and also likability which is crucial to a new character's film debut. She may look different than the drawing in the comic books, but anybody who admires Wonder Woman for the right reasons should enjoy what Snyder is trying to do with the character. He wants to do the character justice, not the costume. Despite the criticism Snyder's already received for his casting decisions, let's go ahead and assume he knows what the heck he's doing when it comes to creating great superhero movies.


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