Saturday, June 3, 2017

In Theatres: Wonder Woman (2017)

We consider our literary heroes to be timeless, seemingly immortal, and adaptable. Originally, the consideration was limited to the likes of Sherlock Holmes or James Bond, just to name two. In recent times, however, the scope has been expanded, given the multi-media platforms given to comic book icons such as Superman, Captain America, and now Wonder Woman.

The greater scope of the Amazon Princess' story has also been expanded. Recent revisions to the character at DC have made her a daughter of Zeus. Ironically, that would make her Hercules' half-sister, and insofar as DC was concerned, one version of Hercules was an enemy of Wonder Woman for years. Yes, Princess Diana of Themyscira is now a demi-goddess, over 5000 years old. DC figured, if rival Marvel can make the likes of Wolverine and Captain America immortal, we can do that, too. They simply didn't emphasize it as much as they have over the last few years.

Last year, Wonder Woman turned 75 in terms of comics publication. It has taken 20 of those years for her to reach the big screen, with her appearance in last year's "Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice". Director Patty Jenkins' sprawling epic actually begins where Diana's story in "Dawn of Justice" leaves off, in present day Paris, where Diana (Gal Gadot) receives a photo of her from World War I with a group of men, led by her canonical sweetheart, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). That their story has been moved back nearly 30 years doesn't diminish the impact the two have on each other. The basic story of their first meeting is the same. The origin of Diana's costume, however, has been slightly altered. There is no competition for her to win to escort Trevor back to Man's World, and her bracelets have been a part of her since she was a child. Just the same, she does encounter resistance from her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and secretly begins training with her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright). Of course, Hippolyta finds out---Did you really think she wouldn't?---but consents to letting Diana venture off with Trevor into the "War to End All Wars" in pursuit of Ares, the God of War, whom Diana thinks is a German general (Danny Huston), but......!

Ares has also been responsible for Dr. Poison's attempts to help the Germans win the war. Oh, yeah, like that'll succeed......

Scope the trailer:

Diana, of course, will return later this year in "Justice League". Chris Pine reportedly is interested in returning for the inevitable sequel, and one way to do that would be to copy the formula used for the 1975-8 TV show, which allowed Lyle Waggoner to continue as Trevor, albeit as the son of the original, as the series moved from World War II to the 1970's. The chemistry between Waggoner and Lynda Carter had a lot to do with that, of course. Similarly, there is chemistry between Pine & Gadot, and it will be interesting to see how they try to bring Pine back in a later film.

Other trailers, aside from a redux of "Thor: Ragnarok" (due November 3) include:

"47 Meters Down" (June 16): Entertainment Studios, the production company of comedian-turned-mogul Byron Allen (ex-Real People), serves up this shark-fest, starring Mandy Moore.

"The Hitman's Bodyguard" (August): Ryan Reynolds & Samuel L. Jackson. What's wrong with that?

"Murder on the Orient Express" (November): Kenneth Branagh takes a crack at Agatha Christie's master sleuth, Hercule Poirot.

"Atomic Blonde": Charlize Theron is the title heroine. Co-starring John Goodman.

Rating for "Wonder Woman": A-.

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