Karen Gillan
photo: Joe Martinez/PictureLux/Splash

On Monday night (September 19), actor Kevin Hart released the first-ever picture of the new “Jumanji” movie, which also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan’s midriff.

Okay, presumably it also stars the rest of Karen Gillan, but it’s her ridiculously revealing costume that’s getting all the attention from critics — and no, it’s not the good kind of attention. 

Yup. That's... a look.

According to the caption that Johnson later added in his own Instagram post, Gillan's character is named "Ruby Roundhouse," and noted that "her jungle wardrobe will make sense when you know the plot. Trust me." But how can we, The Rock? How can we!

This isn’t the first time Gillan’s presence in the film — or, more accurately, the way her presence has been portrayed in the film’s marketing — has faced scrutiny. When Johnson first announced that she’d been added to the cast as the “most important role in the movie,” many took issue with his almost-patronizing tone, specifically the part where he referred to her as “the girl."

And yes, it is a pretty terrible costume outside of context, but I have a theory: Perhaps like the hunter Van Pelt from the 1995 movie, she’s not a real person so much as a manifestation of a stereotypical jungle trope come to life through the magic of the Jumanji board game. After all, her outfit might not be appropriate for an actual safari (just think of all the mosquitos who’ll go nuts for that exposed skin!), but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a ‘90s-era “Tomb Raider” game. 

In fact, maybe all the characters represented here (with the probable exception of Kevin Hart, given how often he’s cast as the fish-out-of-water) are fictional creations of the Jumanji game. I mean, just look at them; they’re all dressed like extras in a schlocky “Indiana Jones” rip-off. Johnson’s character is named “The Smoldering Dr. Bravestone,” for crying out loud. What kind of names are "Dr. Bravestone" and "Ruby Roundhouse" for actual human beings?

It’s about as subtle as “Van Pelt," that's for sure.

(It's also worth pointing out that the costume designer is also a woman, Laura Jean Shannon. So that's cool, I guess?)

Of course, even if my theory turns out to be correct, Gillan’s outfit still isn't exempt from criticism. But you never know — the first movie did a great job of dissecting classic pulp tropes (as it turns out, a white boy who grows up alone in the wilderness does not become a jungle god so much as a PTSD-suffering hermit with the body of Robin Williams), so maybe this one will too. It's possible that her skimpy outfit is a visual metaphor for marginalization of women in action-adventure stories, and she'll eventually have a feminist awakening and choose more practical clothing for herself. 

Or (and yeah, this is more likely) maybe we’re all right to worry and she doesn’t have a narrative purpose except looking pretty and badass! My point is that we can’t really know until the movie comes out in 2017 — but in the meantime, I’m choosing to be cautiously optimistic, if only because assuming the worst every single time something like this happens can be exhausting and occasionally I want to believe that there is un-sexist good in the world. 

What about you? Do you think there might be a good reason why Gillan is wearing this outfit, or did the “Jumanji” producers make a giant mistake?