Wonder Woman is Making a Hollywood Comeback: A Field Guide

Wonder Woman has been my idol since I was a little girl with frazzled self-confidence and hair. Wonder Woman is my spirit animal. I channel Wonder Woman in Southern California traffic, work, and when I’m standing in line at the DMV. I think she’s the strongest, coolest woman in comics, and I dare you to challenge me. Okay, no I don’t. Everyone has their DC favorites, and I can respect that. But hear me out! Wonder Woman is awesome.

If you haven’t heard, Gal Gadot was recently cast as Wonder Woman in a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. Although she’s also in the new Man of Steel/Batman vs. Superman movie, she also earned her very own Wonder Woman film.

This is a pretty big deal, because the whole idea of a Wonder Woman movie has garnered some pretty hateful opinions on the Internet. For example, this recently written article states that Hollywood would never give Wonder Woman her own movie because “no one sees action movies starring women”, “no respected writer/director wants anywhere near the project”, “Wonder Woman’s powers are stupid” and “Angelina Jolie is too old to play her.” The article might as well have added “men are superior to women”, “women can’t be popular superheroes” and “unless a super hot, recognizable celebrity is starring, the film will be worthless.” Cool.

So, beside misogynists and general skeptics, I think a lot of us are excited for Wonder Woman. Although the film is scheduled to open in May of 2016, here are some basics that everyone should know about Princess Diana (AKA Wonder Woman) and Gal Gadot:

Who is Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman is an Amazonian warrior princess and was known as Princess Diana of Themyscira. She’s also known as Diana Prince.

According to different comic book versions, Woman Woman was formed from clay by the Queen of the Amazons and was gifted with Greek and Roman mythological attributes. She was “beautiful as Aphrodite, as wise as Athena, as swift as Hermes, and as strong as Hercules” (Wonder Woman volume #1).

Who created Princess Diana?

In 1940, American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston came up with the idea after his experience with his invention of the polygraph. After testing both men and women, he came to the conclusion that women were generally more honest and reliable than men. Thus, he decided that if a woman were to be a superhero, she would be strong and powerful, yet loving and nurturing as well.

Wonder Woman was also a response to violence and hypermasculinity, which were byproducts of WWII at the time. Love, Marston figured, would be the best solution to end the ongoing war. He created a woman who would combat her enemies using her power of love and compassion. She would never actually kill them.

What does Wonder Woman stand for?

If you’re thinking, “Great, another nurturing fictional female figure our society needs” and I’m going to argue, “YES! Why not?” Society pegs women as being soft or rough. Usually, it’s one or the other. We either have The Nice Girl, or The Bitch. Think Sherlock’s Irene Adler, all depictions of Catwoman, Game of Throne’s Cersei,  Pam from True Blood, the list goes on. Rarely do we have a female protagonist that encompasses fierce strength as well as compassion. When creating his Wonder Woman, Marston (who received a lot of encouragement and inspiration from his wife, Elizabeth) stated, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” Marston’s goal with Wonder Woman was to highlight women’s strong qualities that do indeed include maternal caring and love. But these qualities shouldn’t be viewed as weaknesses. Wonder Woman’s strength is equal to Superman’s; she can and will kick your ass if necessary.

  What are some of Wonder Woman’s powers, skills and weapons?

Depending on the era (her character has gone through some changes throughout the years), Wonder Woman possesses a variety of different superpowers and skills. A lot of us think she just whips her handy lasso around and whizzes about town in her invisible jet, but there’s actually a lot more to her than that.

First of all, Wonder Woman is trained in the Amazonian martial arts. She’s an acrobat, fighter and strategist.

Her bulletproof bracelets were formed from Athena’s shield, which was made from the indestructible hide of Amalthea, a she-goat. These bracelets can pretty much deflect anything, and if she clinks them together, Wonder Woman can create unbearable sound waves. In recent comic books, she’s been able to channel Zeus’ lightning through her bracelets, which she uses to electrocute her enemies.

Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth forces anyone to confess their crimes. At one point, it also gave her mind control powers.

She uses her tiara as a sharp boomerang, but it also makes her insusceptible to telepathic attacks, but does allow her to telepathically contact Amazonians.

In addition, Wonder Woman had superhuman strength,  durability, speed, reflexes, agility, stamina and self-healing. Oh, and she didn’t need an invisible jet to fly. Eventually, Wonder Woman could fly on her own.

If you thought Spanish class was hard in high school, imagine learning every single language known to humankind (as well as alienkind). Wonder Woman can speak fluently in every language in the universe.

Recently, Wonder Woman was given the violet power ring of love, which (after it’s charged) can basically create anything out of limitless (24-hour) energy, as long as it is done with love.

So, who is Gal Gadot?

Gal Gadot was born in Israel and won Miss Israel in 2004, where she went on to represent Israel in the 2004 Miss Universe beauty pageant.  Gal was not only a model, though. She served two years in the Israel Defense Forces, she’s a motorcyclist and she competitively plays volleyball, basketball and tennis. When she starred the Fast and Furious films, she did all her own stunts.

Gal stated, “There aren’t enough good roles for strong women. I wish we had more female writers. Most of the female characters you see in films today are ‘the poor heartbroken girl.’ That’s why I’m so proud of the Fast movies. I feel like Giselle is an empowering woman.”

I don’t know about you, but I completely approve of Warner Bros’ decision to cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, since this actress and model is practically the real life version. I’m proud to see such a strong, independent woman take on such a powerful role, because we need more Gal Gadots. We need more wonder women to be represented in our society.

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