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Friday, 17 July 2015

Editorial: Comic Con Trailers Round-up.

Editorial: Comic Con Trailers Round-up.

So, Comic Con has been and gone - a fair while ago, in fact, and that means we have a cluster of new trailers to show off. Some of those that aired at the convention haven't been put up online yet - Deadpool and X-Men Apocalypse chief amongst them, so I may do another trailers round-up when more come out online.

For now, though, let's go through a run-down of some of the Comic Con trailers and my thoughts on them.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Hoo boy, okay, let's start with the big one - because make no mistake, with the MCU not offering anything up at this year's Comic Con, Dawn of Justice is probably the biggest film to be making an appearance there.

I watched the trailer, reluctantly and with a heart full of hate, as I don't think DC's cinematic offerings are very good at all, and while it generally looked like a big stupid blow-out of a film (which I always deeply approve of), there were a lot of things that grated on me.

The big thing, though, is that once again DC seems to be trying to frame the DC Universe as this dark, gritty place - which reeks of them going 'Oh god, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know superheroes are stupid, I know, it's so childish, just - we've made it adult, okay? Just, oh god, sorry, bear with us with the whole superhero thing,' and that's always been a feature of DC's films which has always turned me off them (in contrast to DC's television series like Arrow and The Flash, both of which joyously embraced the whole silliness of the superhero concept and are much better for it).

It's also just plain baffling. The DC Universe has always been the lighter and fluffier of the two big name comic book universes, and yet we're seeing that rather clumsily reversed in films - Marvel is trending towards making its properties lighter and more cheerful (which I think works a lot better than trying to make that dark), while DC is screaming 'GRIMDARK GRITTINESS MILLER-ESQUE' at us constantly.

A lot of the trailer just left me confused, too. Why is Superman trying to murder Batman (we literally see him try to blast the poor lamb with heat vision), when Superman is firmly against murder? Why is Martha Kent telling Clark that he shouldn't try to save people? Why is Batman, whose defining feature is how reasonable and pragmatic he is, acting in a totally unreasonable fashion?

Ugh. I'll probably watch the film in cinemas, but ugh.

Suicide Squad.

Oh hey, speaking of DC. Dawn of Justice looks like it has potential to be a big fun stupid action flick, even if it doesn't make a particularly good adaptation - the same can't be said about Suicide Squad, which seems to have combined everything I dislike about the Suicide Squad comics with everything I dislike about DC's films, to create something that I feel confident in saying will be truly awful.

I do think the film has some good casting choices - Viola Davis is the wrong body type for Amanda Waller, but she gets Waller's personality down pat, and she is at least not a slender and conventionally beautiful woman in her twenties, so there is that. Will Smith is the perfect choice for Floyd Lawton. Margot Robbie seems like a pretty good casting choice for Harley Quinn.

But good god, this trailer just made me roll my eyes, and nothing it could pull out made me stop. If anything, they only rolled harder when the Joker appeared, because god knows I'm bored of the Joker now. I'm all Jokered out.

Fantastic Four.

A lot of people are saying the new Fantastic Four film looks terrible, and I don't agree. I think it looks like ridiculous B-movie dross that has somehow had a blockbuster's budget accidentally assigned to it, and that's glorious to me.

The trailer is pretty much exactly what you'd expect, beat for beat. Short section about Reed Richard's childhood, check. Man talking ominously over CGI shots, check. Brief display of everyone's powers, check. Snappy one-liners, check. Brief shots of the villain - in this case our first shots of Doctor Doom - check. Very formulaic, very much what you'd expect, might well be the least creative trailer to show up at Comic Con this year.

But it looks fun. It looks like a film that you could sit down at home with, enjoy for a few hours with some friends, chortle at a bit, and then go and do something else. It's not going to blow anyone away, I think, but I imagine it'll be an enjoyable watch that does fairly well critically.

Heroes Reborn.

If you'll cast your mind back a while now, you'll recall Heroes, a pretty terrible series about ordinary people getting superpowers. While it was much adored in its first series, appreciation of it started to drop pretty sharply in its second series, and it had very much worn out its welcome by its third series, before being cancelled after its fourth. It was a truly atrocious series even at the beginning, and by its end it was like a handbook on how not to write a television series.


So that's coming back. Heroes Reborn is a thirteen episode series that will serve as the fifth series of the show, picking up some time after the end of the fourth. Returning cast members include Greg Grunberg as Matt, Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder, Noah Gray-Cabey as a now grown-up Micah, and Masi Oka as fan favourite Hiro. From the trailer, it looks very similar to the first series, if you added about three steep heapings of desperation.

Honestly, I realise all trailers are meant to make you go out and watch the thing they're trailing for, but rarely do I have the honour of watching one that seems so nervously desperate. 

Into the Badlands.

Into the Badlands is an interesting looking one. From the trailer, it seems to be a kind of Kung-fu Sci-fi Western with chanbara elements, and that's an intriguing mash up of genres and cultures going on there.

Six episodes long, it follows Sunny, a young 'clipper' played by Daniel Wu, and a young boy as they journey through the eponymous Badlands, now thrown into a war between rival barons. It's purportedly loosely based on Journey to the West, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the trailer, which consists predominantly of Daniel Wu hitting people with swords.

This has the potential to be really good or absolutely terrible, and I don't think we're going to know which is which until it actually starts airing. 

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Ah, see, now this is what I like to see! A trailer composed almost entirely of hijinks. Of all of the things I was anticipating for Comic Con, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was probably the trailer I cared least about, but it's one of the more impressive ones. Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander are all putting on excellent performances, and the trailer focused heavily on comedy and over-the-top action, and I like both of those things.

I think there's still potential for the film to turn out to be absolutely terrible, and to be brutally honest I'm not sure whether I'd find it being awful more entertaining than it being good, but as trailers go, this one did manage to impress me. 

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