Warner Bros. on Saturday debuted the latest trailer for “Wonder Woman,” giving fans an extended glimpse of Themyscira, some incredible-looking fight scenes on the European front, and just enough of Etta Candy to leave us hungry for more. There’s a lot to love in the footage.
The early scenes on Themyscira are particularly exciting, revealing a tiny, prepubescent Diana (Emily Carey) as she’s given a tour of the island’s armory by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and an incredible montage of her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright), training the princess to be the greatest of Amazon warriors. Although it’s difficult to know how much of the story will be set on Themyscira, this trailer makes it looks as if the film will give us a fairly detailed look at Themysciran society before Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes ashore.
While many superhero movies suffer from prolonged first-act origin stories, I’m genuinely excited that director Patty Jenkins’ film will spend some time on Themyscira. Diana’s life is so radically different from what we know that the story can only benefit from letting audiences see that world through her eyes. Plus, the Amazons are amazing characters (and warriors) in their own right, so it will be fun to watch them and the ways they interact. And those training scenes look incredible, especially when Diana breaks out her bracelets.
What I love most about the brief glimpse of Themyscira, though, is how much it reminds me of the early chapters of Renee De Liz and Ray Dillon’s DC Comics title “The Legend of Wonder Woman,” which portrayed Diana’s early life on the island and her compulsion to become a warrior to protect her homeland and her friends. And Hippolyta’s voiceover for the training scene — “You will train her harder than any Amazon before her — five times harder, 10 times harder — until she is better than even you” — reminded me so much of Diana training with Alcippe. If the Themyscira scenes here are half as good as those in “The Legend of Wonder Woman,” they could easily be the best parts of the movie.
And that’s saying a lot, because the European scenes also look incredible. The cast seems to have great chemistry, and both Steve Trevor and Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) have fun comedic moments despite their relatively limited screen time. While we only got the briefest glimpse of her, Etta steals the show, really selling the “it doesn’t go with the outfit” joke with her body language. I cannot wait to see more of Etta Candy.
And then there are the action scenes. Although the trailer doesn’t place much emphasis on Wonder Woman’s lasso, it appears flawless in the one scene that did accentuate it. The lasso flies through the air, grasping hold of her enemies as if it were an extension of Diana herself. And the glowing gold is spot-on. It looks and feels like the Lasso of Truth.
Rather than focusing on the lasso, the trailer suggests Diana will instead use a sword and shield as her primary weapons. Our first look at the sword (revealed elsewhere as “God Killer”) is when Hippolyta tells young Diana the blade can only be wielded by the greatest of Amazons, setting it up as the ultimate weapon she will need to save the day.
It’s an odd choice for several reasons. While recent stories — at least since the New 52 relaunch — have emphasized Diana as a warrior who is quite deadly with a blade, most potential viewers are more familiar with older comics, cartoons and the 1970s TV series in which she relied primarily on her lasso. Plus, the lasso is extraordinarily versatile, opening up a far broader range of stunts and special effects than a sword. Most of all, however, Diana has preferred the lasso to the sword because it’s not inherently a weapon of war, but instead a means of temporarily subduing her enemies until peace can be restored.
If this movie is emphasizing Wonder Woman as warrior, I worry it’s going to miss out on her role as an ambassador of peace. It was never a coincidence that Diana’s greatest battles have been against Ares, the god of war, and that she has beaten him in the past not through strength of arms (for how could you ever defeat the personification of war in battle?), but through using her lasso to show him the true cost of his actions. I worry that the seeming prominence given the God Killer sword means that Diana’s role as peacemaker will be diminished.
I’m also somewhat worried by Hippolyta’s line early in the trailer that Diana “must never know what she really is,” which suggests the movie will be adopting Wonder Woman’s New 52 origin, in which she’s the secret daughter of Zeus. The change has been deeply controversial, as it retconned away an origin few had really seen as problematic in favor of a new story that made Diana just one of Zeus’ offspring rather than a unique being crafted from clay. Hippolyta’s line is ambiguous enough that it could be hinting at something else or could be a misdirection, but I’m not optimistic on this front.
Still, after watching the trailer about a half-dozen times, I remain incredibly excited about “Wonder Woman.” I can’t wait for this summer.
Opening June 2, “Wonder Woman” stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui and David Thewlis.
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