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!


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”


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”
“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


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:

My BAFTA Predictions 2018 & Printable Ballot Sheet

I like the BAFTAs, they’re like an early Oscars with films that have been successful (and available to see) this side of ‘the pond’. This year due to being particularly busy I haven’t been able to watch as many nominated films as usual, though I’m still trying to get through a fair few before the Oscars, so some of my predictions for what’s likely to win this weekend at the BAFTA ceremony are guesses. Still, I’ll give it a go.

The scoring system is as standard, I predict 1st choice (2pts if correct), 2nd choice (1pt if correct), then indicate my preferred winner with a P (which carries no points but is for self-expression). I’ve not seen enough of the films to be able to give a personal favourite in all categories, though I will where possible.

Here’s my printable ballot sheet for you to have a go at predicting the winners. Why not print off a few and challenge your friends and family to see who is most accurate? It adds a little extra excitement to watching the awards ceremony.



The awards will be presented tomorrow evening, Sunday February 18th, hosted by Joanna Lumley, so they should be absolutely fabulous! Here are my predictions in full for the BAFTAs:

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Emilie Georges, Luca Guadagnino, Marco Morabito, Peter Spears
DARKEST HOUR Tim Bevan, Lisa Bruce, Eric Fellner, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski
P. DUNKIRK Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas – This seemed like an early leader on release but now I’m not so sure.
1. THE SHAPE OF WATER Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale
2. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh

2. DARKEST HOUR Joe Wright, Tim Bevan, Lisa Bruce, Eric Fellner, Anthony McCarten, Douglas Urbanski
THE DEATH OF STALIN Armando Iannucci, Kevin Loader, Laurent Zeitoun, Yann Zenou, Ian Martin, David Schneider
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY Francis Lee, Manon Ardisson, Jack Tarling
LADY MACBETH William Oldroyd, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, Alice Birch
P. PADDINGTON 2 Paul King, David Heyman, Simon Farnaby – I’m really happy to see this nominated, may have a chance.
1. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin

THE GHOUL Gareth Tunley (Writer/Director/Producer), Jack Healy Guttman & Tom Meeten (Producers)
I AM NOT A WITCH Rungano Nyoni (Writer/Director), Emily Morgan (Producer)
JAWBONE Johnny Harris (Writer/Producer), Thomas Napper (Director)
2. KINGDOM OF US Lucy Cohen (Director)
1. LADY MACBETH Alice Birch (Writer), William Oldroyd (Director), Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Producer)

ELLE Paul Verhoeven, Saïd Ben Saïd
FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER Angelina Jolie, Rithy Panh
1. THE HANDMAIDEN Park Chan-wook, Syd Lim
LOVELESS Andrey Zvyagintsev, Alexander Rodnyansky
2P. THE SALESMAN Asghar Farhadi, Alexandre Mallet-Guy – Won the Oscar last year, won’t win this I expect it’ll go to ‘The Handmaiden’ as that seemed to be the most talked about by far but this would be my pick.

CITY OF GHOSTS Matthew Heineman
ICARUS Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
1. JANE Brett Morgen

1. COCO Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
LOVING VINCENT Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Ivan Mactaggart
2. MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE Claude Barras, Max Karli. –Weirdly, I wouldn’t rule out a win here, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. 

BLADE RUNNER 2049 Denis Villeneuve – Great to see him nominated, very deserved.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Luca Guadagnino
2P. DUNKIRK Christopher Nolan – It’s a close call, possibly too close to be sure. 
1. THE SHAPE OF WATER Guillermo del Toro
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI Martin McDonagh – There’s a chance for McDonagh too I think, though small.

P. GET OUT Jordan Peele
I, TONYA Steven Rogers
2. LADY BIRD Greta Gerwig
THE SHAPE OF WATER Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

THE DEATH OF STALIN Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, David Schneider
MOLLY’S GAME Aaron Sorkin
2P. PADDINGTON 2 Simon Farnaby, Paul King

ANNETTE BENING Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
1. FRANCES McDORMAND Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2. SALLY HAWKINS The Shape of Water

1. GARY OLDMAN Darkest Hour
JAMIE BELL Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

1. ALLISON JANNEY I, Tonya – I love Allison Janney and the clips I’ve seen are dominated by her performance but I’ve not seen the film yet so I can’t put her as my preference.
2P. LAURIE METCALF Lady Bird – I’m working on my review now, she’s wonderful in this film.
OCTAVIA SPENCER The Shape of Water

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER All the Money in the World
P. HUGH GRANT Paddington 2
2. SAM ROCKWELL Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
1. WILLEM DAFOE The Florida Project
WOODY HARRELSON Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BLADE RUNNER 2049 Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer – Not as timeless as the score by Vangelis but still great. 
DARKEST HOUR Dario Marianelli
2P. DUNKIRK Hans Zimmer – There’s a subtlety and understated effectiveness to this, especially with the clever use of Shepard tones and watch ticking. 
PHANTOM THREAD Jonny Greenwood
1. THE SHAPE OF WATER Alexandre Desplat

2P. BLADE RUNNER 2049 Roger Deakins – One of the greatest cinematographers ever, Deakins is always in with a good chance becuase his work is fantastic and this film is breathtakingly gorgeous. 
DARKEST HOUR Bruno Delbonnel
1. DUNKIRK Hoyte van Hoytema – Apparently it was even more impressive on IMAX and shot on film, that counts for a lot with some voters. 

2P. BABY DRIVER Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
BLADE RUNNER 2049 Joe Walker
1. DUNKIRK Lee Smith
THE SHAPE OF WATER Sidney Wolinsky

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
1P. BLADE RUNNER 2049 Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
DARKEST HOUR Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
DUNKIRK Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
2. THE SHAPE OF WATER Paul Austerberry, Jeff Melvin, Shane Vieau

2P. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Jacqueline Durran
DARKEST HOUR Jacqueline Durran
I, TONYA Jennifer Johnson
1. PHANTOM THREAD Mark Bridges – As fashion is so cintral to the story the costumes clearly had a lot of work put into them.

2. BLADE RUNNER 2049 Donald Mowat, Kerry Warn
1. DARKEST HOUR David Malinowski, Ivana Primorac, Lucy Sibbick, Kazuhiro Tsuji
I, TONYA Deborah La Mia Denaver, Adruitha Lee
VICTORIA & ABDUL Daniel Phillips
P. WONDER Naomi Bakstad, Robert A. Pandini, Arjen Tuiten

P. BABY DRIVER Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater
2. BLADE RUNNER 2049 Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mark Mangini, Mac Ruth
1. DUNKIRK Richard King, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo, Mark Weingarten
THE SHAPE OF WATER Christian Cooke, Glen Gauthier, Nathan Robitaille, Brad Zoern
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood

2. BLADE RUNNER 2049 Gerd Nefzer, John Nelson
DUNKIRK Scott Fisher, Andrew Jackson
THE SHAPE OF WATER Dennis Berardi, Trey Harrell, Kevin Scott

HAVE HEART Will Anderson
MAMOON Ben Steer
POLES APART Paloma Baeza, Ser En Low

AAMIR Vika Evdokimenko, Emma Stone, Oliver Shuster
COWBOY DAVE Colin O’Toole, Jonas Mortensen
A DROWNING MAN Mahdi Fleifel, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Patrick Campbell
WORK Aneil Karia, Scott O’Donnell
WREN BOYS Harry Lighton, Sorcha Bacon, John Fitzpatrick

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public) 
1. DANIEL KALUUYA – Recently seen in ‘Get Out
FLORENCE PUGH – Star of ‘Lady Macbeth’
TESSA THOMPSON – Stars as Valkyrie in ‘Thor: Ragnarok
2. TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET – in both ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Call Me by Your Name’


Mid-Week Musings: Krypton? It’ll be Kryptonite!

Promotion is beginning to ramp up for what’s being touted as a Superman prequel show, ‘Krypton’ on SyFy. Though, unlike other prequel shows such as ‘Gotham’, this won’t be depicting the earliest years of the child that will grow up to be Superman, or even the story of his parents, it’s set a generation before that, 200 years before Kal-El is born. I wonder what enticement that era might hold for fans such as myself.

Clearly, writer David S. Goyer thought that after the scenes on Krypton in ‘Man of Steel’ that were generally liked, there would be an audience for a whole show set on the doomed planet, he definitely had more of that he wanted to explore. I enjoyed some things in those scenes, they definitely fleshed out the planet in a way that other live-action adaptations had only ever briefly touched on before and with the high-budget it looked detailed and great, it worked well with the strengths of director Zack Snyder. This television show will have a fraction of the budget, actors less magnetic than Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon and even the best directors they have are unlikely to have the visual flare of Snyder.

I’m a lifelong Superman fan, but even I can’t muster up any worthwhile amount of enthusiasm for this. I’m absolutely going to start watching it, I’m happy to give it a chance to win me over, though it’ll have to be effective on levels other than a tangential link to one of my favourite IPs to keep me interested beyond the first handful of episodes.

As a comparison, ‘Gotham’ was originally advertised as a look at the crazy crime-riddled city before the emergence of Batman, but it still features Bruce Wayne and is increasingly showing his progression toward becoming the caped crusader. That show also features, or at least teases, heaps of characters, especially villains and serving as an origin story for each of these well-known and pre-defined roles.

Krypton apparently won’t feature Superman even in baby-form as Kal-El. So then, will it feature his parents and their contemporaries? Jor-El and General Zod’s backstory would be really interesting especially after ‘Man of Steel’. Nope! It’s apparently focused on Kal-El’s grandfather in his 20s, likely pre-dating this far enough before the destruction of Krypton to near enough rule out the show building to that as its series finale (without using big time jumps).

So, it’s so far removed from the main Superman mythology, is there anything that will be of considerable interest to fans of the Man of Steel? Well, maybe, but they’re kinda cheating to do this. This show apparently will use time-travelling threats coming back from Superman’s era, which is their ‘clever’ way of bringing the mythos of the Man of Steel into a time long before he was even born. I fear this is a cheat and will get overused to the point of tedium.

Surely, when plotting out a prequel show like this, the producers and writers should look at what potential the bare-bones of the concept has, finding something that underpins the idea to make it compelling in its own right, before pulling in the use of twists and surprises to form a plot. ‘Supergirl’ regularly touches on the history of the planet and the Kryptonian race, yet for me, that show often struggles to stay compelling. There’s also apparently a ‘Metropolis’ show in the works for the DC streaming service which will focus on Lois Lane and Lex Luthor’s lives, a concept I can easier get behind. Let’s not forget that we also had ‘Smallville’, one of the most successful comic-adapted TV shows, which moved heavily into Kryptonian issues by the end seasons of its run and really struggled to keep up high standards as it did so.

Premiering on March 21st, I really hope to be surprised by ‘Krypton’ in good ways though I don’t hold a hold of hope for it. That being said, I have often predicted the short life of shows because I don’t think they will work well and find an audience, eventually being proven wrong about as often as I’m right.

Have a look at the trailer and see what you think, leave any thoughts and comments below.

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