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 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:

BEST FILM
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

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
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

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER 
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)

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
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.

DOCUMENTARY
CITY OF GHOSTS Matthew Heineman
2. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO Raoul Peck
ICARUS Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
1. JANE Brett Morgen

ANIMATED FILM
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. 

DIRECTOR
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.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 
P. GET OUT Jordan Peele
I, TONYA Steven Rogers
2. LADY BIRD Greta Gerwig
THE SHAPE OF WATER Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
1. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI Martin McDonagh

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME James Ivory
THE DEATH OF STALIN Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, David Schneider
FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL Matt Greenhalgh
MOLLY’S GAME Aaron Sorkin
2P. PADDINGTON 2 Simon Farnaby, Paul King

LEADING ACTRESS
ANNETTE BENING Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
1. FRANCES McDORMAND Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
MARGOT ROBBIE I, Tonya
2. SALLY HAWKINS The Shape of Water
P. SAOIRSE RONAN Lady Bird

LEADING ACTOR
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS Phantom Thread
P. DANIEL KALUUYA Get Out
1. GARY OLDMAN Darkest Hour
JAMIE BELL Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET Call Me by Your Name

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
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.
KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS Darkest Hour
2P. LAURIE METCALF Lady Bird – I’m working on my review now, she’s wonderful in this film.
LESLEY MANVILLE Phantom Thread
OCTAVIA SPENCER The Shape of Water

SUPPORTING ACTOR
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

ORIGINAL MUSIC 
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

CINEMATOGRAPHY
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. 
THE SHAPE OF WATER Dan Laustsen
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI Ben Davis

EDITING
2P. BABY DRIVER Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
BLADE RUNNER 2049 Joe Walker
1. DUNKIRK Lee Smith
THE SHAPE OF WATER Sidney Wolinsky
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI Jon Gregory

PRODUCTION DESIGN
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

COSTUME DESIGN
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.
THE SHAPE OF WATER Luis Sequeira

MAKE UP & HAIR
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

SOUND
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

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
2. BLADE RUNNER 2049 Gerd Nefzer, John Nelson
DUNKIRK Scott Fisher, Andrew Jackson
THE SHAPE OF WATER Dennis Berardi, Trey Harrell, Kevin Scott
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Nominees tbc
1P. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Nominees tbc

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

BRITISH SHORT FILM 
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’
JOSH O’CONNOR
TESSA THOMPSON – Stars as Valkyrie in ‘Thor: Ragnarok
2. TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET – in both ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Call Me by Your Name’

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