Wonder Woman and her Enduring Love (Potential Spoilers)

UPDATE: Looks like I have a shot at being right as Chris Pine’s return has been officially confirmed for ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

Would you look at that! ‘Wonder Woman‘ has done far better than anyone expected. After the DCEU’s preceding films ‘Batman v. Superman‘ and ‘Suicide Squad’ were such disappointments and widely derided as soon as the initial fervour waned, expectations for Diana’s solo opener were considerably lowered, something I felt the effect of. It’s weirdly pleasing then to see how it has broken records weekly, probably becoming the most successful film of the new DCEU and still going strong at the box office in many places, as well as being the highest-grossing film ever by a female director.

It’s no surprise then to see that ‘Wonder Woman 2’ has already been confirmed, potentially able to overtake the production of another ‘Man of Steel’ movie, likely the troubled ‘The Flash’ solo movie, maybe even ‘The Batman’ if that continues to have issues. One reason I and others want to see another film with this character and by the same creative team is the vastly-improved tone, as ‘Wonder Woman’ brings a sense of fun and joy to the DCEU that has been missing for years, including a romance that’s actually believable. For more extensive thoughts on this read my spoiler-free review here.

There will be spoilers for ‘Wonder Woman’ from this point on, so if you haven’t yet seen the film and don’t want key points spoilt maybe read the rest of this after you’ve seen it. 

As discussion began on the sequel, rumours surfaced that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) may be set to return in the second movie. This may surprise you as 1) he ostensibly died at the end, you can’t have missed that, it was big! And 2) the second film is (possibly) being set in the 80’s so if living he would be pretty old. Not blessed with her magical genes, he won’t age as gracefully as Diana, so theoretically he would be a nonagenarian beset by all the human ails that go along with such advanced years.

So, how could his return work?

I have a few interesting thoughts that are not ‘spoilers’ per-se as I have not based them on any comic book basis (that I know of as I haven’t read any of them). Well, in my full review of the film I tried very hard to avoid drawing comparisons with ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ as many had already done, but I think there may be some ways the writers could resolve this issue by drawing upon (read ‘copying’) ways that franchise has kept characters alive despite all attempts to kill them and the large jump in time.

Firstly, the Wonder Woman TV show in the 70s had Steve Trevor Jr. so that’s a possible option to give Pine a way in. It would be weird, weirder than Captain America dating Peggy’s great-niece, yet completely possible. However, the film offered no real solid reason to think Steve had a child. There are a few comments about him never marrying (at least not successfully), maybe hinting he had a past love, though I’d say it’s a real stretch to take these few lines and see an underlying sub-text suggesting he has a son.

The second most likely way we might see Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is with a flashback scene of some sort. I have no idea what this would be about or how it would fit into the story, maybe something to explain the existence of a son so that Jr. can be introduced.

For me, there’s a more interesting option, one that the film does leave just enough room for in the narrative and editing of Steve’s death (we don’t see him engulfed in flames up close, possibly as it would change the rating). Dr Moreau and Ludendorff filled that plane (we believe) with their deadly gas, though we know she also had another concoction, the strength-enhancing vials she gives her mentor. What if, the plane had the deadly gas and/or that completely different substance?

Imagine these scenarios for a moment. If Steve had even just some of the good stuff and made use of it before being engulfed in a fireball, maybe it would be just enough to give him the resilience to survive the flames and fall. True, that would then raise the question why he didn’t make his way back to Diana by the end of the historical part of the film, or the actual end of the film (which is decades later and plenty time even on foot to find her).

However, let’s go even more into the ‘Captain America’ comparison with an unlikely extensive ripping off of the ‘Winter Soldier’. Imagine the plane was being filled with the strength-enhancer instead of the deadly gas. In which case, when it exploded, Steve would have been engulfed in an intense extreme overdose, in comic book and superhero tropes (just think of any heroes created by a chemical spillage) enough to make him invincible, near immortal, likely even slowing the effects of ageing. However, I’ve learnt in my extensive study of the genre that these powers can take a little time to have an effect, sometimes making their recipient unwell or even unconscious for a time. Therefore it would incapacitate Steve, making him vulnerable to amnesia, capture, brainwashing, all the usual features that allow for massive plot twists many years in the future.

Surely they won’t do this with ‘Wonder Woman 2’, after the many and clear similarities to ‘Captain America’ it would just be asking for more unfavourable comparisons, and pretty unoriginal. Though we must remember, in this world of comics almost anything is possible and beloved characters almost never truly die. If they want to repeat the much-prasied chemistry, the writers will find a way!

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My Predictions for the 90th Academy Awards and Printable Oscar Ballot Sheet

Here’s the full list of the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards in 2018 and here’s our printable ballot sheet for you to download, print, and make your predictions before the winners are awarded on Sunday March 4th, hosted this year by Jimmy Kimmel.

Also here’s a really clear PDF watchlist of all the nominees and where you can stream or watch the films to check them off the list as you see them all.

I’ve not seen as many of these this year as I’d like to but it’s because I’ve been busy with other more important things. I have seen enough to get a good sense of what’s going to win, something that’s changed with each great film I’ve watched. The ones to watch out for are absolutely ‘Three Billboards’ and ‘The Shape of Water’.

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
P. Dunkirk
Get Out
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
2. “The Shape of Water”
1. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
2. Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
P. Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out
1. Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water” – I really like Hawkins, she’s excellent and in this wordless, but I don’t think that wins it for her, this is Frances McDormand’s with ease.
1P. Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
2. Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
2P. Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
1. Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
1. Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
2P. Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Director:

2P. Dunkirk” Christopher Nolan
Get Out” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread” Paul Thomas Anderson
1. “The Shape of Water” Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature:

The Boss Baby
2. “The Breadwinner”
1. “Coco”
“Ferdinand”
“Loving Vincent”

Live Action Short:

2. “DeKalb Elementary”
“The Eleven O’Clock”
“My Nephew Emmett”
1. “The Silent Child”
“Watu Wote/All of Us”

Adapted Screenplay:

1. “Call Me by Your Name” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
P. “Logan” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game” Aaron Sorkin
2. “Mudbound” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original Screenplay:

The Big Sick” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
2P. Get Out” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
1. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:

1P. “Blade Runner 2049” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour” Bruno Delbonnel
2. Dunkirk” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:

Best Documentary Short Subject:

1. “Edith+Eddie”
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
2. Heroin(e)
“Knife Skills”
“Traffic Stop”

Best Animated Short Film:

1. Dear Basketball
“Garden Party”
P. Lou
2. “Negative Space”
Revolting Rhymes

Best Foreign Language Film:

2. “A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
1. “The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing:

1P. Baby Driver” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
2. Dunkirk” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:

P. Baby Driver” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
1. Dunkirk” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water” Nathan Robitaille
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:

P. Baby Driver” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
1. Dunkirk” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:

Beauty and the Beast
1P. “Blade Runner 2049″
“Darkest Hour”
Dunkirk” – This would be my third choice but it’s the same era as ‘Darkest Hour’ which may split some votes.
2. “The Shape of Water”

Original Score:

2P. Dunkirk” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread” Jonny Greenwood
1. “The Shape of Water” Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Carter Burwell

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name” Sufjan Stevens
2. “Remember Me” from “Coco” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall” Diane Warren, Common
1. “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:

1. “Darkest Hour” – Gary Oldman is unrecognizable as Winston Churchill, plus era-specific hairdos. 
“Victoria and Abdul”
2P. Wonder

Costume Design:

2. Beauty and the Beast
“Darkest Hour”
1. “Phantom Thread” – It’s about the world of fashion so the costumes draw attention and stand out. 
“The Shape of Water”
“Victoria and Abdul”

Visual Effects:

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