Two weeks ago at San Diego Comic-Con, fans caught a glimpse of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in a spanking new costume from the forthcoming film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Sure, Gadot’s uniform is a far cry from Lynda Carter’s star-spangled Wonder Woman outfit from the 1975 eponymous series, but this version is not as bad as some fans are making it out to be. Here’s why.
Fans are nary too happy with the new Wonder Woman costume unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con this past July 26. After catching a glimpse of the dark, edgy ensemble—a definite departure from the colourful and campy original—many took to the Internet to air their grievances. Gripes range from the lack of colour to the wedge heels, not to mention the striking resemblance Gadot’s Wonder Woman bears to another heroine from the small screen: the titular character of Xena: Princess Warrior, prompting Lucy Lawless herself, who played Xena on the 1995 TV series, to offer a disapproving response of her own, complete with a swipe at David Finch (the DC Comics artist behind the new Wonder Woman apparently doesn’t want to call the character a feminist). It’s interesting to see male fans offer their two cents on Wonder Woman’s new costume, though admittedly their passionate pleas probably stem more from a call for accuracy than an interest in sartorial matters. In any case, the discontent is real, but the reasons behind it, not entirely valid.
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in the 1975 TV series of the same name.
While inarguably different than Carter’s red, white and blue Wonder Woman costume, Gadot’s number, the brainchild of costume designer Michael Wilkinson (whose credits include American Hustle, Man of Steel and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and Part 2), retains certain similarities to the original. Among these, the eagle emblem peaking out of her bustier, the Lasso of Truth, her magical tiara and her indestructible bulletproof cuffs, which complete the sexy, gritty modern ensemble.
On to what’s new: the bodysuit, of a metallic bronze, is a bit longer. So are the cuffs and her boots, which are above the knee. It may be a stark contrast to Carter’s outfit, but it’s accurate. As Princess Diana of Themiscyra, a warrior princess of the Amazons, the fearless female warriors of Greek mythology, this sartorial rendition of Wonder Woman is more aligned with the origins of the comic book character. Not that the 1975 heroine wasn’t true to whence she came from, but Carter’s star-spangled Wonder Woman was decidedly less Amazon warrior, more American hero. Her attire was more cartoonish, but to be fair, the same can be said for most superhero costumes of the day (just take a look at Dick Grayson’s Robin opposite Adam West’s Batman in the 1949 flick Batman and Robin should you need any convincing.)
Actress Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman 2.0 in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Hence, Gadot’s Wonder Woman is truer to the script, which explains the resemblance to Xena: Warrior Princess, although Wonder Woman the character precedes the 1995 TV heroine. That said, it’s not a rip-off, merely a true depiction of warrior garb much like Lucy Lawless’s Xena attire.
As for those wedge heels: as the story goes, Gadot is 5’9”, not tall enough to pass for the Amazon princess, a creature reputably taller than Batman and Superman, hence why the actress is donning heels. Sure, Warner Bros. could have gone with a taller actress, but the heart (read boys) wants what it wants! Inarguably a marketing gimmick to sexualize the character and appeal to the largely male fan base, still, I believe Gadot’s Wonder Woman looks no less strong and powerful in her wedges than if she were to wear flat boots. Yes, it’s no secret I’ve always seen heels as empowering rather than enslaving, so perhaps I’m in the minority on this one. Then again, in The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman shot most of her fight scenes in heels…
In all, I like this Wonder Woman costume. It’s edgy and sexy, and makes a strong statement with few embellishments. As far as this promotional picture goes, Gadot wears the costume; the costume doesn’t wear her. In her time, Carter made the character, star-spangled cape and all, her own. It wouldn’t be fitting for Gadot to don the same ensemble or something even remotely reminiscent of the 1970s Wonder Woman. As with past actresses that have taken on superhero characters in other Hollywood reboots, a brand new Wonder Woman calls for a brand new costume. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice slated for release in spring 2016, we’ll have to wait until then to see if Wonder Woman 2.0 is worthy of the costume. In the meantime, this cool ensemble is worthy of its superheroine.
Fashion, art, architecture, design, TV, and film: Katia Jean Paul is a Montreal-based writer who casts a critical eye on her many idées fixes, unearthing the aesthetic and cultural dimensions within each and every subject. / Follow Katia on Twitter: @KatiaJeanPaul