Monday 14 December 2015

A lot of Trailer Reviews: Batman v Superman, X-Men, TMNT, Star Trek

So there have been loads of new trailers over the past week and while in an ideal world I would want to have a separate article for each one I simply do not have the time or interest in all of them to write one, so instead I decided to simply write a quick summary of each one and combine them into one article. We now virtually have the line-up for the biggest players of 2016 (including earlier trailers for ‘Civil War’, ‘Deadpool’ ‘Suicide Sqaud’…. Wow that’s a lot of comic book movies). And with these four trailer giving us a taste of what the others have to offer allow me to share some thoughts on them.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

 Where do I start with what this trailer did wrong? I accept that it has been pretty divisive and I can see why because there are still some very cool shots, particularly the verbal sparring between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent at the start. Eisenberg’s Lex Luther is… well it certainly isn’t the Luther we know and love but if they are hoping to establish a franchise here it might be a wise decision ti give the villain his own chance at development here as well, or at least that is what I assumed so I’m relatively happy with that.

In fact if the trailer had just shown me some random shots of action in no context at all after that I would have been very pleased with the trailer. But it just kept going, and going and going. The SDCC trailer was a long one at three minutes so why they decided to risk giving more away is beyond me, as I can now make a very good guess at this movie’s overall structure, Batman meets Superman, two do not get along and those flames of resentment are only fuelled by Luther’s manipulation, they fight but resolve differences, Luther’s plan was to have Batman kill Superman and must now resort to creating some kind of creature (Doomsday or Bizarro) out of Zod’s corpse forcing Superman and Batman to team up with the help of Wonder Woman.

Then there’s that final shot. I don’t know what it is about it, whether it be composition, cinematography or unfinished CGI but it just looks awful. True it is exciting to see those three characters together but looking past that trinity the shot itself just looks wrong, especially when compared to that one rotating shot of the Avengers line up in 2012. The shot also completely undermines the title of the movie. Imagine this, you’re a new viewer unaware of this film until now when you see this trailer, the final shot emphasises the unison of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman before the title of ‘Batman V Superman’ appears, is that not a little odd?

X-Men: Apocalypse

 The strength of the X-Men series has always relied on its actors for me, the way that it blends the lines of good and evil slightly more than any other franchise seems to be doing at the moment and how the actors within that series do an excellent job of crafting morally ambiguous characters. This trailer still showcases the performances but not for the sake of morality, for the sake of emphasising the scale and power of what the X-Men are now facing. There were virtually no massive scenes of destruction yet I felt that there was an extreme and clear danger with this adversary. There are some brilliantly placed moments that showcase this, from the biblical references that are so simple yet effective to the frankly terrified facial expression of Quicksilver (perhaps the character with the best excuse ever to be constantly laid back) as he runs through Xavier’s mansion.

But the most jaw dropping moment comes from James McAvoy’s expression as he (presumably) uses Cerebro to locate Apocalypse and what follows is this stunning blend of fear, awe and respect just in one shot. We don’t need to see what he is seeing, we understand what scares him. Another quick thing, does anyone else find it ironic that in Bryan Singer’s original X-Men movie from 2000 he tried to distance himself from the comics by giving his characters more sombre costumes and less extravagant features, but now in 2016 his next X-Men film is set to have all the bright costumes, neon lights and Mohawks from the comics, makes you think.

TMNT: Out of the Shadows

 Firstly can we agree that if your main title is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you don’t need a subtitle, just call the sequel ‘2’. It is an incredibly Michael-Bay-kind of trailer, full of explosions and sexually suggestive shots of Megan Fox. For me the main question about this trailer is this, did it revel in its ridiculousness? That is one thing the first one missed out on, it tried so hard to be taken seriously rather than just accept that it was a film about giant turtles who are ninjas, who would take that seriously? Then 2014’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ proved that even with the craziest and most outlandish characters (comprising of a man that does not understand metaphors, a taking racoon and a Vin Diesel tree) as long as you write a fun, interesting and compelling story, you can find your necessary drama and humanity without resorting to cheap gimmicks. So all in all the trailer looks utterly stupid, but if the movie is anything less than completely ridiculous then I will be sevely disappointed. (I mean their last shot is a Rhino driving a tank through a river chasing some giant turtles before a tank shell literally hits the screen).

Star Trek Beyond

 I may be in the minority here, but I liked this trailer, or at the very least I liked the possibilities it posed for the next film in the Star Trek franchise. ‘Star Trek Beyond’ appears to be focussed much more on exploration this time around, which is a welcome change, especially as ‘Star Wars’ will fill the gap the previous two movies were trying to occupy. Justin Lyn’s direction is clearly visible as his camera lingers on the action spectacle more than JJ Abrams’ does and that may suit the outdoors environment more. It looks to have some of the humour that was missing from ‘Into Darkness’ and though some may complain about that soundtrack, remember that the ‘Star Trek’ universe, unlike ‘Star Wars’, is not detached from our society but rather a continuation of it, so a few pop culture references are perfectly fine with me. There are some rather glaring unfinished CGI shots but overall the look of the movie is good, not such a far cry from the established tone of the other two but differing when it needs to.

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