Posts Tagged ‘Chris Pine’

Wonder Woman Film Review: A Movie Worthy of its Heroine

June 2, 2017

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Well it’s finally happened, gang. After decades of watching the boys get movie after movie, we’ve finally got a Wonder Woman solo film. And here’s the good news: It’s really, really good. Great even. Full of heart and action and excitement. It’s far and away the best film from the DC cinematic universe so far and, more importantly, it does Wonder Woman justice and captures the heart of the character well. Let’s dig into it all, first with some spoiler-free general thoughts, and then with full on spoilers after a jump so anyone who hasn’t seen it yet won’t have anything ruined for them.

So gosh, where to start? With Wonder Woman herself, probably. Gal Gadot is pretty much a perfect Wonder Woman. We got to see her for a few minutes in Batman v Superman and she totally stole the show, and now with a show all of her own, she absolutely shines. Gadot captures the heroism and compassion of Wonder Woman so well; she’s fierce when she needs to be, kind when she needs to be, and just has so much heart. She smiles a lot, which is a lovely contrast with the grim darkness that’s dominated other DC movies, and it’s the most earnest and charming smile. It’s Wonder Woman’s smile, really. It’s something that could easily turn corny, but Gadot makes it utterly genuine, sincere, and believable. And while Diana’s got an interesting journey throughout the film, a sort of loss of innocence as she leaves her utopian home and experiences the horrors of war, Gadot does a fantastic job playing this evolution and it’s darker, questioning moments without losing the heart of the character. She’s just so good. I want to see her continue to play Wonder Woman again and again and again.

Holding his own with such a stunning take on Wonder Woman was a tall order for Chris Pine, but his Steve Trevor was excellent. I’m steeped in Wonder Woman comics and very familiar with every incarnation of Steve Trevor, and this was my favourite version of him ever, by a considerable margin. He was written really well; it’s a sidekick/love interest role that keeps the focus squarely on Wonder Woman, and Pine plays it spot on. He’s a tough guy with some skills, but he very quickly realizes he’s no Wonder Woman and is totally okay with that, in part because he’s just kind of in awe of her. Gadot and Pine’s chemistry together is delightful, Pine’s got charm to spare and is also hilarious, and the two of them made for a really winning partnership.

The supporting cast is pretty solid, too. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright do great work as Hippolyta and Antiope, guiding the film well through it’s early scenes with young Diana. Wonder Woman’s crew in Europe are all fun too, but Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy is a total scene stealer. She’s so funny and enjoyable, albeit underused. I could have done with a lot more Etta Candy! The bad guys were suitably evil, as they should be, if somewhat underdeveloped, but such is the case with most superhero films.

In terms of the directing, Patty Jenkins did a remarkable job. While Wonder Woman had a lot of the beats you expect from a superhero movie, it also had its own unique style and tone. The action was especially spectacular; I’ve never seen fighting like that in a superhero movie, particularly some of the amazing acrobatics we got from the Amazons. They were astonishingly good. I also loved the little touches throughout the film, like the gorgeous, sweeping establishing shots we got for Themyscira, London, and the front. There was a real flair to the film that set it apart from other superhero movies. Jenkins also smoothly married the action and stunning visuals with the emotional aspects of the film. All of the humourous, romantic, and quiet reflective moments rang true, and everything flowed together nicely.

It was just fun to look at, too. Themyscira was so epic and cool, uniquely ancient and breathtaking in its scenery. I want to go to there. A lot of the movie was spent in the cramped confines of London or on the front, all of which was nicely done, but there was a good amount of time spent outdoors in lovely, natural settings that were shot exquisitely. On top of the settings, the costumes were quite striking. Wonder Woman wore an updated version of her Batman v Superman outfit, one that actually had colour this time, and it looked fantastic. All of the Amazons got cool costumes, with everyone wearing something a little bit different but yet thematically similar to the each other. The costumes in the outside world were a little bit drab in comparison, of course, but all of the major supporting characters had their own special look that suited them well.

If I wanted to nitpick, there are a few things I would change. For me, the final fight scene wasn’t quite as cool as the earlier ones and got a bit messy with all of the fire and chaos and CGI. Also, some of the supporting characters got outshone by the leads. To be fair, Gadot and Pine were ridiculously good, but a few folks did fall a bit flat. And there were a few changes to the Wonder Woman mythos I didn’t love, but we’ll save that for the spoilers section.

All in all, though, it was a great movie. Well executed on every level, so much fun, and most importantly, true to who Wonder Woman is and what she means to so many fans. I loved it. Now, that being said, I’m not sure that this is the movie they should have made. Setting the film in World War I was a big change that made a lot of elements very different from what we usually get with Wonder Woman, and while it was all done well and a lot of those changes were interesting, I don’t think it was the best showcase for what is great about Wonder Woman. Don’t get me wrong, it was an excellent showcase for Wonder Woman, but in an intriguing alternate universe way rather than a relevant, modern way. An origin set in the present day could have been more resonant and more reflective of the character, her past, and what she means, especially in terms of tackling modern women’s issues rather than poking fun at sexist attitudes that are a century past. I get that the film is what it has to be given the existing framework of the DC cinematic universe, and it succeeds triumphantly at that, capturing the heart of the character beautifully. I just think that setting up Wonder Woman as this older, wise superhero who predates Batman and Superman limits her in certain ways, and I’d rather see this young, plucky Wonder Woman dealing with the modern world, rather than the more experienced, somewhat world-weary Wonder Woman we seem to be getting with Batman v Superman, the framing device of Wonder Woman, and what we’ve seen from Justice League thus far. But so long as Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, it’s absolutely a Wonder Woman worth watching, and Patty Jenkins and the whole team did an amazing job making this new setting and backstory work for the character and stay true to who she is.

Let’s move on to some spoilers now, after the jump!

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New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Explores Her Origins

March 13, 2017

A new trailer for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman debuted this weekend, and I’m happy to report that the movie is still looking great. We got a lot of new footage in this one, including a decent amount of time spent on Themyscira, and I really liked a lot of what I saw. Now, of course, this is the DCEU; good trailers don’t necessarily mean good movies. But so far, Wonder Woman has been hitting it out of the park and that has me cautiously optimistic about the film.

Warner Bros. describes the video as the “Origin Trailer” and thus we got a good look at the Amazons. They remain super bad ass and cool, and I like the design of the island and the Amazons themselves a lot. We also get some flashbacks, including a peek at a young Diana who is just adorable:

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I’m hoping we get a few scenes with her because she seems cute and fun.

Little Diana is staring at the “god killer” sword there, and I do remain irked at how much attention the sword is getting. Wonder Woman’s never been a character who wields a sword until very recently; she’s got a golden lasso that she’s rather famed for, and I wish that’s what young Diana was eying rather than a sword. To me, sword fighting just isn’t who the character is. But I was pleased to see the lasso play a key role as the trailer progressed, including this rad takedown:

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Hopefully Wonder Woman’s real weapon gets its due throughout the movie as well.

On top of that lasso scene, we got a bunch of other cool action shots too. I think Wonder Woman is going to have some epic fight scenes. Everything we’ve seen so far looks very cool, and Wonder Woman’s fighting scenes in Batman v Superman were easily the most entertaining part of that movie. All of the action clips we’ve seen thus far in Wonder Woman trailers look exciting and well-shot, and it’s going to be a blast to see the full scenes.

One thing I’m particularly glad to see every trailer has included is humour, and this new one is no exception. Gal Gadot’s fish-out-of-water Diana shtick looks like it should be entertaining, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor seems good for some wisecracks, and Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy looks like she’s poised to steal the whole show. I liked her trying to dissuade Diana from carrying her sword in public:

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The humour in DCEU movies hasn’t been great, at all, and it’s nice to see some genuinely funny bits  are coming with Wonder Woman.

Finally, the trailer appears to confirm the daughter of Zeus origin story. Hippolyta ominously tells Antiope that Diana “must never know the truth about what she is,” which sounds like it might be a Zeus-related secret given this lightning display later on in the trailer:

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I don’t care for the Zeus origin at all. I much prefer the clay origin, in which no men are involved and Diana’s origins are distinctly female and feminist. Making her a demigod who gets her powers from a man is boring, dumb, and kind of misses the point of the character. I’m hoping it’s not a huge point of focus for the movie, and that Zeus doesn’t come up too much.

So yeah, Wonder Woman looks pretty great. And in ways that seem to be addressing how DC’s other movies have been not at all great, which is encouraging. This could be really cool. And we’re less than three months away now! Can you believe it? Wonder Woman’s finally getting her own movie! And just when we need her the most.

Wonder Woman Movie’s Mattel Figures PLUS Build-a-Figure Revealed at Toy Fair

February 21, 2017

Toy Fair 2017 was this weekend in New York City, and it provided us our first official look at Mattel’s upcoming Wonder Woman movie action figures. We saw some action figure/doll hybrids last week that were very cool, but these are the official 6 inch action figures that are part of DC’s larger “Multiverse” line. And they look good! There are only four of them plus a larger “Collect & Connect” figure you can build with parts that come with each of the primary figures, but there is some fun stuff in the mix.

Let’s take a look at them, thanks to the excellent reporting of Toy Ark; it’s my favourite toy news site, and their coverage of Toy Fair was great as always this year. We’ll start with Diana on Themyscira:

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We’ve seen a blurry picture of this toy before, which didn’t do it justice. This one looks very cool, and is a solid likeness of Gal Gadot. Plus it’s got a lot of points of articulation, which should make her easy to position in rad action poses. The only accessory appears to be a sword; I’d like to have seen a lasso as well. But still, I like it.

Next up is Wonder Woman in a cloak:

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I’m guessing that they did this cloaked figure because the “Multiverse” line has already released a standard Wonder Woman figure as part of their Batman v Superman run. Rather than duplicate that, it seems that they decided to go with this slightly different take. I understand the why of it, but this is sort of weird figure. The cloak is going to get in the way of doing anything cool with it, and it doesn’t appear to be removable. It’s kind of a bummer that they went this direction with the only proper Wonder Woman figure in the line; I’m worried this is going to be the trench coat Batman of the line, i.e. the figure every store in America has 472 of because NO ONE buys it since it’s just a superhero in a coat.

Hippolyta, however, looks amazing:

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First, how great is it that we’re getting a Hippolyta action figure? Plus she’s dual weaponed! We get a sword AND a spear. The sculpt looks great as well, and the cloak doesn’t seem nearly as cumbersome as Wonder Woman’s. I’m excited to pick this one up, and for Connie Nielsen’s Hippolyta in general; I can’t wait to see her on the big screen!

Next up, good old Steve Trevor:

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I remain underwhelmed by the texture, coloring, and all around look of this figure. It feels too action figure-y, if that makes any sense. The rest have a touch of realism to them, but this one looks kind of flat all around. I’m glad we’re getting a Steve, I just wish it was a little more detailed and capture Chris Pine a bit better.

Finally, all of the parts included with each figure add up to Ares:

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This is our first decent peek at how Ares will look in Wonder Woman, and it’s not bad. It’s got touches of the classic, Perez-style Ares with the darker, more ominous angle that’s characterized the DCEU movies thus far. I don’t know if I love the helmet, but I can see how it might look cool on the big screen. I’m curious if there’s a face in there or if it’s all just helmet. The figure also comes with a red sword and a shield, which is fun. Though in my mind, Ares should have a proper long cape; I’m too steeped in Perez comics not to want to see that!

So overall, it’s a cool line. Diana and Hippolyta are the standouts for me, and the Ares is kind of cool. I’m not sold on the cloaked Wonder Woman and the Steve is a bit underwhelming, but they could both still be cool. Only four figures is a bit of a letdown, though. Perhaps we’ll see more in another wave. I’d love to get an Etta Candy, and the movie’s take on Dr. Poison looks rad and action figure worthy. Keep your eyes peeled for the figures; they should start to hit stores later this spring.

More Wonder Woman Movie Toys Revealed, And They Look Super Fun

February 15, 2017

We got an illicit look at a couple of action figures from the upcoming Wonder Woman film a couple weeks back and they were intriguing, but now we’re getting some official images of upcoming Wonder Woman toys. And they’re kind of awesome! Mattel’s got a full line that looks to be a mix between and action figure and a Barbie; the figures are poseable and have the joints you’d expect from an action figure, but also have the hair and clothes you usually get with a doll. Entertainment Weekly had the first look at the toys, and let’s run through them now.

First up, we’ve got a fully armored Wonder Woman:

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I don’t know that the resemblance to Gal Gadot is spot on, but it kind of looks like her. And getting the full array of weaponry is very cool. I’m definitely interested in this one.

Next is Diana in her Themyscira garb:

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This one is fun as well. Also, I’m impressed with the braid; I hope it holds, because if it comes undone I have no idea how to rebraid it! The bow looks a little dinky in terms of scale, but arrow shooting action is pretty rad.

This one is a lot like the first one:

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But without all the extra stuff? It’s a cheaper, bare bones figure, I guess. It does retail for $5 less.

Next up we get Diana in her formal wear:

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This is from the scene in the trailer where she has the sword hidden in her dress, and apparently you can do the same with this figure. Glamorous AND dangerous!

Hey, there’s one with a majestic horse:

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It looks like the first figure, plus a cloak and a dang horse! This might be the best deal of the bunch, really. You get the Wonder Woman figure and all of the accessories as well as a cool horse for her to ride on. It’s only $29.99 too; that’s a deal. I proclaim this the bargain of the bunch!

Hipployta’s got a horse too:

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Hers is white, and also majestic. She’s also got her own unique weapons and armor, just like Connie Nielsen in the movie. This is pretty rad. I love that there are going to be Hippolyta toys! And even better, she looks really cool. I may end up getting the horse pair, really. Mother daughter horse adventures!

Finally, a two pack:

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Steve and Diana, in their island garb. Chris Pine’s even got a wool turtleneck. And it looks like the Diana figure is a version of that second figure, but with a cloth outfit, which is neat. I like this set.

Entertainment Weekly also lists a bunch of accessories you can get, like a sword, Nerf bow and arrow, and a tiara. They are probably kid sized instead of grown up sized, which is a bummer; the sword looks rad. But that’s how toys go. Dang kids, getting all the fun.

With Toy Far just around the corner, I expect we’ll see even more of the Wonder Woman toy line this weekend, including the rest of the action figure line we got a peek at two weeks back. I’m going to go broke, gang. There’s just too much cool stuff.

Two Mattel Wonder Woman Movie Figures Revealed, Plus a Spoiler for the Film

February 3, 2017

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I love action figures. When I am a fan of something, I buy every associated action figure I can because they are just so much fun. Young Tim had a slew of Star Trek figures, somewhat less young Tim got nearly all of the Lord of the Rings movie figures, and now my current self has been saving money specifically to go nuts on all of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie figures and merchandise. I. AM. PSYCHED.

And now, we’ve got a sneak peek at two of the figures in Mattel’s upcoming line from the movie, courtesy of Twitter user @ablouzada. The pictures aren’t great, but they do the job. Let’s start with Gal Gadot’s Diana:

wwfigure1This one’s called “Diana of Themyscira” and it gives us Diana in the golden Amazon outfit we’ve seen her sporting in the trailer. It looks like it comes with a sword and her lasso; while I’m not thrilled with her sword being so front and center in her DCEU incarnation, I’m glad the lasso has remained a big part of the character too. This looks like a decent figure, and one I’ll definitely be picking up (obviously). I assume we’re going to get Diana in her Wonder Woman outfit as well, which is rad because it’s rare to get two takes on Wonder Woman in an action figure line. We may even get three! I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “Diana Prince” figure with her in her 1910s England outfit.

Next up is Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor:

wwfigure2First let me just say, as an action figure enthusiast, that outfit is weak sauce. Add some texture and some different colours, Mattel! Having collected Lord of the Rings movie figures, my standards are high; those things are epic with texture and colour. This Steve Trevor feels a little dull and plasticky. I know he literally is plastic, but still.

Anyway, he’s got a rifle and maybe something else? Perhaps a bag of some sort? I can’t tell if the item in the upper right goes with him or the larger figure you can assemble. It might be the head that goes with that torso. Back to Steve, this isn’t the best picture, but all in all this one seems a little underwhelming. Hopefully it’s nicer in person.

And now, the spoiler you may have noticed already: Each figure comes with a piece of a larger figure that you can connect and build, and the resulting giant figure is Ares. I can’t remember if Ares’ role in Wonder Woman has been officially confirmed or not, but it’s been leaked and expected for a while. And now we know for sure.

So, what else might we expect in this line? It’ll probably consist of five or six figures, and we’ve only got two of them. I’m hoping for an Etta Candy, but I’m not holding my breath. And a Dr. Poison or a Hippolyta would be awesome. Knowing how toy companies work, we’ll probably end up getting more dudes, perhaps whoever Danny Huston is playing along with someone from Steve’s gang. Time will tell. Toy Fair is in a couple of weeks, and I’m guessing that the full line will make their debut then. I’m excited to find out who we’ll get! And then to go broke buying them all.

The New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Looks Ridiculously Cool

November 4, 2016

I’m starting to get really excited about this, gang. I know I’ve been burned by superhero movies before, several times in fact, but dang does Wonder Woman look like it’s going to be a cool movie. This new trailer, released yesterday, is an absolute blast and leaves me so keen for more. Warner Bros. and Patty Jenkins still seem to be in tease mode here; it’s the second trailer, but it remains light on details. Still, we know a little bit more than we did before, and perhaps we can start to make some educated guesses.

First off, it appears that Dr. Poison could to be one of the villains, and I’m assuming that she’s the lady with the partial face appliance. Showing gases that can eat through a gas mask is a good indicator, plus the World War One setting makes a lot of sense given the terrible toxins used in the trenches during the war. If this guess proves true, it could be a very fun choice. Dr. Poison is a classic Wonder Woman villain that should fit well in her new setting. And I’m guessing we’ll get a second, likely mythological villain in the mix, probably Ares, though to my eye the trailer seems inconclusive on the mythology front.

Also, Steve Trevor’s arrival on Paradise Island may not be a solo affair. His crash landing appears to be followed by a German invasion of the Amazons’ home. I’m not super up on my World War One history, but that rowboat is named “Schwaren” (or some such; it’s blurry), which seems rather German, and I googled their uniforms and these fellows look similar. That’s an interesting twist on the classic Steve Trevor arrival.

And DANG does the battle that ensues look SUPER COOL. I can’t wait to see all of this on the big screen. That swinging Amazon flying down from the cliff? Amazing. It looks like at least one Amazon is going to die in the attack, presumably leading to Diana departing the island and going to help fight the war.

Paradise Island looks rad, by the way. That long shot with all the buildings and such looks great. There’s a definite style to the place that feels ancient and classic while being unique at the same time. I like everything I’m seeing on Paradise Island so far.

In Europe, we basically get a whole lot of Wonder Woman kicking ass, which is a blast. She deflects SO MANY bullets. I love it. Also, that alley way attack looks like it might be an homage to Superman: The Movie, which is delightful. All of the action is awesome, and also not at all generic, which I’m glad to see. Wonder Woman appears to have a unique fighting style, and the action looks well shot and choreographed. I’m very into it all of it.

The trailer hints at the Diana/Steve romance as well; we’ve got a near kiss between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine that should have fans of their relationship very excited. And, just like with the first trailer, Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy steals the show at the end, this time with her enthusiasm for fisticuffs. She seems poised to be the film’s break out character.

I will say, yet again, that I’m still not sure on the World War One setting. As much as I loved the trailer, this is not a setting we’ve ever seen for Wonder Woman before and that feels a little bit weird. Also, Diana clashing with the gender norms of 1917 is amusing and all, but I’d much rather have a Wonder Woman who pushes the boundaries of our modern world rather than a world a century past when women couldn’t even vote yet. It’s not hard to look progressive and tough a hundred years ago.

Nonetheless, this is a fantastic trailer and I enjoyed it like crazy. Everything looks so fun and exciting and rad, and my already astronomical keenness for the movie has now grown even more. If Wonder Woman can deliver on all of the promise its shown in the two trailers so far, it’s going to be a heck of a film. And it’s only seven months away now! I can’t wait.

Eugene Brave Rock Playing a Mystery Native Hero in the Wonder Woman Movie

August 4, 2016

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There’s a cool new article up on Indian Country that addresses one of the mysteries to come out of Batman v Superman. In the scene where Bruce Wayne learns that Wonder Woman has been around since World War One, he sees an old timey photo of Wonder Woman with a group of soldiers. One of them is Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, another appears to be Ewen Bremner in an as yet unnamed part, and one looks to be a Native American character. Indian Country spoke to the man who plays this latter character in Patty Jenkins’ upcoming Wonder Woman, actor and stuntman Eugene Brave Rock.

Brave Rock was sparse on plot details, and told them, “I am only allowed to say I was in London for five months filming the Wonder Woman movie. That is all I am allowed to say.” He actually didn’t know he was auditioning for Wonder Woman when he came in to read for a part, and he said that shooting the film was “as an amazing experience.” Brave Rock also noted that he was allowed to have a lot of input into his character:

“DC really let me have a voice. Usually movies have a lot of do’s and don’ts and they tell you you have to do things a certain way, but in this case, even with wardrobe, it was awesome. In the end, they let me decide a lot about my character. Previously, movies have even told me how I had to braid my hair, and you don’t have a choice – but this was not the case.”

It’s good to hear that Patty Jenkins and DC deferred to Brave Rock and his own knowledge of his culture; that should make for an especially authentic and respectful depiction. It’s also encouraging news in the wake of several reviews of DC’s latest film, Suicide Squad, labelling the film as racist.

We don’t know a lot about the story or characters in Wonder Woman yet, and Brave Rock didn’t give any hints as to who he’d be playing, but he is listed as “Chief” on IMDB. That suggests he might be playing Apache Chief, a Native character from the animated series Super Friends, or perhaps his unofficial comic book counterpart, Manitou Raven. DC has had several other Native characters in their comics over the years as well, and two of them in particular seem like they might be good fits. Pow Wow Smith was a 19th century sheriff in several Western tales, and that era is pretty close to Wonder Woman‘s 1910s setting. There was also another “Chief” in the mix, Super-Chief, an Iroquois warrior who found a meteorite that gave him powers and also extended his life; Super-Chief is a legacy character, with the meteorite being passed down through the family. Brave Rock might be playing one of these characters, or perhaps a completely new one. We’re still ten months away from the film’s release, and DC seems to be keeping their cards close to their chest with Wonder Woman.

The recently released trailer doesn’t offer many hints about Brave Rock’s character either. I think he’s in it, briefly, around the 1:41 mark:

It looks like he, Steve Trevor, and maybe a couple of the other guys from the photo above are ducking out of the way as an explosion goes off. It might just be someone with a similar hat, though. The trailer doesn’t delve into the supporting cast much in general, really.

I’m excited to find out who Brave Rock is playing, and that he’s part of the cast. Period films so often fall into the trap of casting all white actors, especially European war movies, and I’m glad to see that Wonder Woman is aiming to present a more diverse portrait of the time. Between Brave Rock and Saïd Taghmaoui, it looks Diana and Steve are going to have a multi-cultural squad, and that’s very cool. Be sure to check out Indian Country‘s piece for more information on Brave Rock, and of course go see Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017.


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