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 Golden Globes 2018 Predictions & printable ballot sheet

NOTE: This post is about the Golden Globes that were Awarded early in 2018 not the ones that will be given out in 2019. For the Golden Globes announced December 2018 (to be awarded in Jan 2019) please go to this year’s page HERE.

Here I go with trying to predict the winners at this weekend’s Golden Globes! The ceremony hosted by Seth Meyers will be aired on the evening of Sunday, January 7th.

You can have a go at predicting the winners too with my printable PDF ballot sheet by clicking here or on the PDF logo. It’s 2-pages, one for the movies categories and one for television.

The usual system applies, 1st choice, 2nd choice, P for my preferred winner. They can later be scored 2pts for correct first choice, 1pt for a correct second choice, and no points for a correct preferred winner as that’s just for interest’s sake.

As I’ve not seen a lot of these (though I’ve just finished ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ which was excellent) I’ll be far off with my predictions and can’t really pick a favourite in some areas if I’ve not seen any of the nominees, so there’s a lot of guesswork and basing my picks on what I’ve heard and read.

UPDATED: Jan 8th to list the winners.

FILM

Best Motion Picture, Drama

P. Dunkirk
2. The Post
1. The Shape of Water
Call Me by Your Name
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

The Disaster Artist
P2. Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
1. Lady Bird – Winner

Best Director

1. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water – Winner
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
P2. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Actor, Motion Picture, Drama

2. Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Tom Hanks, The Post
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour – Winner

Best Actress, Motion Picture, Drama

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
2. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
1. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Actor, Motion Picture, Comedy

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
P. Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
1. James Franco, The Disaster Artist – Winner
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
2. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Actress, Motion Picture, Comedy – This is an incredible list of nominees 

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
2. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
1. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird – Winner
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker

Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
2. Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya – Winner
1. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Screenplay

The Shape of Water
1. Lady Bird
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
The Post
Molly’s Game

Best Original Song

“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudboumd
1. “Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star,” The Star
2. “This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman – Winner

Best Original Score

Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
1. Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water – Winner
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
John Williams, The Post
2P. Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby
2. The Breadwinner
1. Coco – Winner
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman
2. First They Killed My Father
In the Fade – Winner
Loveless
1. The Square

TELEVISION

Best Television Series, Drama

1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Winner
This Is Us
2. The Crown
Game of Thrones
P. Stranger Things

Best Television Series, Comedy

Black-ish
1P. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Winner
Master of None
SMILF
2. Will & Grace

Best Limited Series or Television Movie

1. Big Little Lies – Winner
2P. Feud: Bette and Joan
Fargo
Top of the Lake: China Girl
The Sinner

Best Actress, Limited Series or Television Movie

1. Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies – Winner
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
P. Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan (Of the two leads Lange gets the bigger and meatier role and she’s superb).
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
2. Jessica Biel, The Sinner

Best Actor, Limited Series or Television Movie

1. Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
Jude Law, The Young Pope
2. Ewan McGregor, Fargo – Winner
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best Actress, Television Series, Drama

1. Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale – Winner
2. Claire Foy, The Crown
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Best Actor, Television Series, Drama

2P. Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
1. Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us – Winner
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Actress, Television Series, Comedy

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
2. Alison Brie, GLOW
1P. Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Winner
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Actor, Television Series, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
2. Aziz Ansari, Master of None – Winner
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
1. Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

Best Supporting Actress, Television Series

1. Laura Dern, Big Little Lies – Winner
2. Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Best Supporting Actor, Television Series

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
2. David Harbour, Stranger Things
P. Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
1. Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies – Winner
David Thewlis, Fargo

Top 10: A look ahead at 2018

What I’m most looking forward to watching in 2018. I’m sure I have missed lots of great things off this list but these are just the 10 things that came to my mind when I stopped to think about it. This doesn’t include things that I’ll only get around to watching in 2018, that’s a whole different list including the Awards nominated films that are on release now but I won’t see in my local cinemas until mid-January.

1. Incredibles 2

When: June / July 2018

Why?: Whenever people ask me what’s my favourite film and they often do, I typically answer that I don’t have a favourite, it changes depending on what mood I’m in but the one film that would come out on top for most moods would be ‘The Incredibles’. It’s my favourite of all the Pixar films, my favourite superhero film, my favourite animated film, works for all ages, families, unfailingly uplifts my mood and is infinitely quotable. So, I’m beyond excited to see if Brad Bird can give it a worthy sequel, because this is the sequel I’ve been waiting over a decade for and all details released so far about when and how the story will be picked up are exactly what I was hoping for, so this should be ‘TOTALLY EPIC’. It’s the one film I know I’ll travel for the earliest available screening of on the opening day.

2. Avengers: Infinity War

When?: April / May 2018

Why?: Have you seen the trailer? ‘The Avengers’ films have been the culmination of each phase of films and they are awesome but this is the culmination of everything so far, it’s what the whole MCU has been building towards for over a decade and is the definition of epic (honestly, check the OED). There’s also a lot to be said for the Russo brothers direction in the MCU so far, ‘Winter Soldier‘ and ‘Civil War‘ are both excellent and bear repeat viewing very well indeed. It’ll be nice to see how their skills work with such an extensive cast and huge scale but ‘Civil War’ was not small and they do some wonderful things with that, including one of the most surprising and compelling antagonists.

3. Black Panther

When?: February 2018

Why?: One of the standouts from ‘Civil War‘ was Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, he got the two sides of the character perfectly right. The trailers look epic and it is building towards ‘Infinity War’ with a character we wanted more of in his homeland which stands out as distinctive. Director Ryan Coogler impressed me greatly with ‘Creed‘ so I have full confidence he will blow me away with this.

4. Ant-Man and the Wasp

When?: July 2018

Why?: I was surprised by how much I loved the first film, I think it got the tone exactly right and the humour was fantastic. Thanks in no small measure to Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, the film that was worrying fans with production issues managed to win me over with ease. There haven’t (yet) been any issues with the production on this sequel so it’s on a safer footing, there’s also a key romance plot being teased which the MCU hasn’t really got prominently at the moment in other films so this could be great for many reasons.

5. Glass

When?: January 18th 2019 (I know, it looks like it’s a 2019 highlight but I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll get moved up, plus I’m looking forward to seeing the trailer enough for that alone to make it into my top ten things I’m excited about in 2018).

Why?: Without spoiling ‘Split’ this ties in to a larger concept that M. Night Shyamalan has explored before. Casting is also very strong and it could be a full return to form for the director as the modest budget may refocus him on making the narrative strong rather than mistaken overreliance on special effects.

6. Aquaman

When?: December 2018

Why?: Despite being massively sceptical of DC’s movies, ‘Wonder Woman‘ proved they can make a good film, then months later ‘Justice League’ proved they can still make a bad film while getting closer to the right tone and being somewhat less of a disappointment. With ‘Aquaman’ I’m looking forward to seeing if they can do better, if there’s a glimmer of hope that ‘Justice League’ while a huge flop for DC might be able to get downgraded to a blip with a few really brilliant follow-up films. I remain sceptical, but it’s nice to hold on to a little hope.

7. Solo: A Star Wars Story

When?: May 2018

Why?: I’ve really enjoyed the new episodes in the Star Wars saga, and I actually quite liked ‘Rogue One‘ although it’s the easiest of the new three to pick apart as being riddled with problems. I loved the idea of Lord and Miller directing and though they were fired in favour of Ron Howard, I hope that there’s still little hints of their work that will make this an exciting and enjoyable film. Many are expecting this to be a disappointment, however, I’m not a huge Star Wars fanboy, I just enjoy the sci-fi action elements over any concern for the larger franchise or character legacy, so if it meets my expectations for a science fiction adventure film it’ll be great.

8. Oceans 8

When?: June 2018

Why?: I really love a good heist movie, especially the first Clooney-led ‘Oceans 11’. Sandra Bullock leading this seems like a great choice, the rest of the casting is excellent, the trailer is fun, all good signs so far. As long as the heist part is nicely twisty and has a bit of genius I’ll be happy. Due to my high expectations, this also stands a huge chance of being the biggest disappointment, so it really could go either way, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt for now and hope to be really please when I see it in the summer.

9. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

When?: January 17th (onwards)

Why?: I was hooked by the first season that told the story of the O.J. Simpson trial. I binged the whole lot over about four or five days and it was some of the very best television I’ve seen in ages. This new season takes a different case, the murder of Versace, which I know even less about than I did with the Simpson case, so if it’s anywhere near as good as the first case I can imagine getting gripped again. It also stars Darren Criss (‘Glee’) who I’m a big fan of, so it’ll be nice to see him in a dramatic role.

10. X-Men: Dark Phoenix & New Mutants

When?: April and November 2018

Why?: I’ve merged these together as I don’t know which I’m liking the look of more and my reasons for being interested are largely the same for both films. I like the X-Men franchise and these are some of the last to be produced by Fox before being bought by Disney/Marvel. Because of that they could be considered the end of the franchise as it stands, or, if they are brilliant and do very well, they could potentially shape Disney’s way forward with these characters if these films are a foundation too good to do away with. Dark Phoenix has the chance to right some of the wrongs of the disappointing ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘New Mutants’ looks like it’s going to stand out as different from the rest of the franchise so may be a solid stand-alone ‘Hero Horror’ which could be incredible.

A few other honourable mentions:

The Meg (March): Jason Statham and a giant shark, that’s all I know, it’s all I need to know, though I did prefer the original title of just ‘Meg’ and I hope they go back to that. It should be somewhat ridiculous, hopefully in all the right ways, also it’s nice to see former professional diver Statham going back to the water.

Black Lightning (TV, January): The CW lineup of DC shows is already quite packed, I struggle to keep up with the four a week but this fifth show looks really good though apparently it won’t be tied into the ‘Arrowverse’ yet, I don’t know why other than it may be to see if audiences like it first, but the featurettes have already impressed me more than much of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’.

Venom (October): This should be out in October 2018 though it seems like the kind of film that could suffer delays. I’m reserving judgement because there are no firm details released about style or plot, it’ll be a while before we see a trailer. In its favour are Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson, so that makes me think it could be superb.