Reviewing the Seven Biggest Comic-Con Trailers

 Justice League: What’s immediately obvious from the trailer is that the tone of this film will be very different from the earlier Snyderverse films. When the WB opened the set to critics several weeks back, everyone present said that they were encouraged by the humorous scenes being filmed featuring the Flash. This trailer seems to back up those claims, focusing on the interactions of the team members. The thread of the trailer is about Batman recruiting Aquaman and the Flash to be on his team. (The scene with Bruce recruiting young Flash was reminiscent of the scene in Captain America: Civil War, where Tony recruits Peter Parker). Batman is obviously the main character in this and Affleck seems to be up to the task. Wonder Woman is there also but less prominent featured than Batman. Cyborg gets the least amount of screen time of the group. And there’s no sign of Superman at all, so we don’t know what their plans are for the Man of Steel.  DC seems to have learned some hard lessons after Batman v Superman and are taking a different road this time.

 Verdict: This trailer helps get the taste of Batman v Superman out of disappointed fan’s mouths and shows some potential for a fun film. More than anything else, this film made me want to see the upcoming Aquaman movie, because his character seems like a scene-stealer.

 Suicide Squad: Like the Justice League trailer, this one keeps the focus on character-oriented moments, particularly those featuring Harley Quinn, played with sexy zest by lovely Margot Robbie. She’s already the hit of the movie and it hasn’t even come out yet. Will Smith, who plays Deadshot, is actually the biggest name in the cast but he seems to be taking a back seat to Harley. He is featured prominently in the trailer, although from what we’ve seen, he isn’t so much playing Deadpool as he is playing Will Smith. We still don’t know too much about the plot, but we do know that it involves “a swirling ring of trash in the sky”, which looks a bit like the portal in The Avengers. It seems that the squad are being used as scapegoats by Amanda Waller and get the blame for something bad. We get a brief glimpse of Batman and the Joker but the trailer wisely focuses on the squad.

 Verdict: This trailer doesn’t show us much that we haven’t already seen but it accentuates the fun quotient and succeeds in raising anticipation for the film.

 Wonder Woman: DC’s first lady wields her sword and shield in a foreign field, as she leaves her home island to travel with Steve Trevor into the middle of WW1, where she encounters German troops. We see Diana meeting a male (Steve) for the first time and revealing that she never had a father, having been brought to life by Zeus. We then see her in plain-clothes accompanying him undercover behind German lines where we see a woman with a cracked-facemask (Dr. Cyber, perhaps?) and Danny Houston as a German general, although rumors persist that he’s playing Ares, God of War. (It would be a logical plot connection if Ares began WW1 by arranging for the death of Arch Duke Ferdinand, but that’s just a theory.) There are a lot of action sequences here, and some of them have Diana fighting with her lasso, while others have her swinging her sword. I personally hope this version of Diana isn’t a hack-and-slash killer, but we’ll have to wait until the film comes out to get context for the scenes. I’m not seeing a lot of chemistry so far between Gal Gadot as Diana and Chris Pine as Trevor but we’re only seeing a small portion of their interactions, so maybe they’ll click in the film. We don’t learn much about the plot or who the main villain is.  There is a cool part where an army of amazons takes on a garrison of German troops.  

 Verdict: The trailer has a sort of Captain America: the First Avenger vibe (‘Wonder Woman: the First Leaguer!’) which is not a bad thing, since the Cap films are the best of the Marvel movies.

 The Blair Witch Project 3: This belated sequel to the over-rated 1999 horror hit The Blair Witch Project, is probably designed to make people to forget Book of Shadows: Blair witch 2. The original Blair Witch Project started the overused hand-held camera technique, used in Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity and many others. This film is still using it. All we can tell of the plot is that the brother of Heather from the first movie unwisely gathers his own group of future victims to go into the woods of Burkittsville to see if he can solve the mystery of his sister’s disappearance.  Watching the trailer, you can’t help thinking “Seen it!” Most of what we see is similar to what we saw in 1999…Finding the wooden totems; realizing that they’re walking in circles; the old house in the woods; someone standing in the corner; and lots of panicky screaming. Personally, I was never a fan of the first film and strongly disliked the sequel but if you liked the 1999 original, you’re probably going to get something similar. 

 Verdict: There’s a definite “Been there, done that” feel coming from this trailer. There are some harrowing scenes but it doesn’t appear to be breaking any new ground. As a non-fan of the previous films, this trailer isn’t hooking me in.

 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: The latest rebooting of the oft-told tale of the legend of King Arthur is supposed to be the first film in a planned extended universe of 6 movies set in the Arthurian Universe. As you’d expect from a Guy Ritchie film, it looks very contemporary. Many of the scenes we see here could easily be slipped into a modern film with the dialogue intact. Ritchie doesn’t normally pay much attention to the spirit of the source material (as demonstrated by his Sherlock Holmes movies) and this seems no different. Young Arthur is portrayed here as the ringleader of a crew of thieves until he finds out his royal heritage by pulling Excalibur from the stone. After that, he finds himself thrust into the role of savior when he is pushed into leading a rebellion against the evil dictator Vortigern, who also killed Arthur’s father and stole his crown. The film seems more Braveheart than King Arthur.

 Verdict: Having seen so many adaptations of King Arthur over the decades, this one isn’t exciting me so far. Of these six trailers, this was the least engrossing and overall fails to make this movie seem like must-see viewing.

 Kong: Skull Island: The original 1933 King Kong is one of the all-time great movies. It’s been remade twice (not counting the Kaiju version) and now the big ape is back for another reboot. This enlarged version (100 feet tall, bigger than the previous three American versions but smaller than the Kaiju Kong) is the last of an “ancient species” who were “on this Earth long before mankind existed.” The backstory of the classic Kong was that he was the only survivor of a race of giant apes who ruled the island, but in this retelling, the giants were not limited only to Skull Island. John Goodman—seemingly playing a spiritual cousin to his 10 Cloverfield Lane character, warning people about the existence of monsters with no success—tells us he’s “spent 30 years trying to prove the truth. Monsters exist!” He is joined by Samuel L. Jackson (because it’s a law that Samuel Jackson is in everything) who is there to transport Goodman and the others to Skull Island but ends up fighting “a monster from a bygone era!” He leads an armed force against the great ape to prove that “man is king!” (He always has to make a speech!) although the captions tell us, ‘We don’t belong here’, they do! Unlike previous Kongs, this Kong will no doubt survive the finale of the film because he has to go on and fight Godzilla in the anticipated Godzilla vs. King Kong. (How a 100-foot gorilla fights a nearly 400-foot mutant-lizard is another question.)  Tom Hiddleston is also in this film, and Brie Larson (soon to be the MCU’s Captain Marvel) plays the lead female role, although considering how big Kong is now, I think the Beauty & the Beast angle is out of the question.

Verdict: This film has a great cast, and King Kong is one of the great movie monsters of all time. It’s hard to screw-up Kong but it’s happened (The 1976 version and the Kaiju version). This will be a very different Kong from what we’ve seen before but the backstory seems to be raising the stakes to build up to the Godzilla X-over. 

 Doctor Strange: Marvel’s master of the mystic arts makes magic in his new trailer, where we get to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch charging into action in the blue Doctor Strange outfit. He looks ideal in the role. It seems that the movie will indicate that Strange is some sort of ‘chosen one’. The trailer makes it clear that ‘magic’ in the MCU is a type of energy manipulation that alters reality. The film seems to toy with alternate universes, as we see a version of a major city getting the Inception treatment, being bent like origami. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Mordo, is prominently shown as an ally of Strange’s which is an alteration to their comic book relationship (if there’s a sequel, we’ll probably see Mordo as one of the bad guys). Tilda Swinton is the controversially cast Ancient One, looking very sage, as she tells Strange she’s been waiting for him for years, and shows him how to make portals that can allow them to travel around the globe in moments. Mads Mikkelsen seems to have a dermatological problem around the eyes as the villain Kaecilius. Once again, the plot is kept vague, but it looks like it will be something very different from other comic book movies, which is a plus.

 Verdict: Doctor Strange could be a game-changer in the MCU, introducing new elements to the shared universe. Doctor Strange is a very interesting and complex character but its yet to be determined if he has mass-market appeal. The trailer seems to revel in the film’s SFX, and let’s hope that this won’t be just an FX showcase. The potential here is enormous but there is also a big risk of a massive crash-and-burn.   

 

Which trailer got you excited?