I’m going to not make some back-patting comment on how I remembered to do these this week because maybe it’ll mean I’ll actually be a responsible blogger and actually do this consistently.
Okay so this sentence isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense so I’m just going to come out with it: I think this Transformers trailer has too many robots. The first trailer for this movie worked pretty well, at least surprisingly well, because it seemed to focus on it being a kind of coming of age story between two friends, one an Academy Award-nominated actress who I recently saw, like, third-billed at a concert (not a festival, a concert), and the other one a robot. This kind of gives me a little bit of that, which I enjoyed, but then all the other robots showed up and I’m not particularly excited for any of that because that’s been done before. Not to say coming-of-age stories haven’t been done before, but Hailee Steinfeld has shown herself to be a competent actress so it would have been interesting to see what Edge of Seventeen with Robots would have looked like. I guess you need to sell to your audience, and the typical Transformers audience wants to see some classic Optimus Prime standing in the woods. Which. Pass.
The first trailer for this movie focused more on the drama that the story has to tell, which is important. Queer representation in film is something that still needs a lot of work, and focusing on a queer author trying to get some kind of real recognition for the work that she is doing for a straight, white male is a great way to do it, but the first trailer made it all seem rather…dull? I hate to say that, but the first trailer made it seem like the movie was going to be a bit of a slog, albeit an important one. This trailer still has the core story at the heart but injects something of a quicker pace into it, to the point that when the word “fun” popped up as a quote from a review, it didn’t necessarily strike me as disingenuous. Also, Knightley’s performance in this is a nice reminder of how bonkers her voice is in that Nutcracker movie.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Going to quickly get this out of the way: the Nagini reveal here obviously inspired a strong reaction from me. I’m going to try to set that (and Johnny Depp) aside for the time being and focus on this as a straight trailer. This trailer sets up this movie in a way that is somehow able to emphasize both the fun that the Harry Potter franchise can hold, as well as the drama and tension of the sequence. I’m also very excited to see how the movie/franchise will likely actually discuss Dumbledore’s homosexualtity, as the Mirror of Erised shows that his deepest desire is Grindelwald (which works better when it isn’t Johnny Depp, but that goes into discussing that whole garbage situation). It also continues to show how strong of a casting decision Jude Law was for Dumbledore (Dumbledaddy, if you will). Also, this trailer continues to suggest that this movie will drop the separate plots and tonal whiplash issues of the first movie by combining everyone in the same arc: Get Grindelwald.
This looks to be a very impressive directorial debut from Jonah Hill, with a movie that will excel by how real it feels, without trying to be overly dramatic. It’s just kids being kids and dealing with stuff that kids deal with. Yeah, the older brother is an abusive dink (I’m transitioning into using The Good Place curse words because it’s easier than straight censoring myself), but somethings older brothers are abusive dinks. It’s not drama for the sake of drama, but just giving the kid something kids deal with. I don’t know if this is going to be any groundbreaking coming of age story, but it looks like it will be a more than serviceable one with a strong performance from the young Sunny Suljic (who I just noticed was in The Killing of A Sacred Deer which must have been rough on a child).
This trailer is something odd, because it doesn’t necessarily sell me on the movie in any real way, but the overall theme of it is so excellent that I love it. The throwback feel of the trailer is really well done, from the production quality being several steps back from what you would typically expect, to the cheesy graphics over everything, to the non-stop voiceover. It all serves its purpose in a really fun way that it distracts from the fact that the movie itself isn’t really rising any further beyond just its general conceit of “murderer in a scary amusement park festival thing.” I’m sure the movie will be fine, and if it can feel like the slasher flicks of old, all the power to it, but this trailer might end up being the best thing about this entire thing.
This is more like it. Although still not quite achieving levels of confidence that the first movie earned, it is nice to see an improvement in the quality of trailer over the first go around. Although the dialogue still feels more than a little bit trite, the drama around it feels to be a bit more earned than it was in the first trailer, and the very talented Jordan and Thompson have better performances on display. The Drago of it all is also played better here, with just fully showing both Ivan and his son, and the threat feels much more real because of it. Florian Munteanu looks positively gigantic on his own, let alone to the shorter Michael B. Jordan. At the very least, even if the drama leading up to it doesn’t work, that last fight looks like it can be as tense and downright fun to watch as the first film’s climax was. It feels good to be excited for this movie again.
This franchise is such a strange one, because it’s been going for almost 20 years despite really doing anything especially impressive in that time. There have been some solid movies in there, but in a time where superhero movies are all over the place, the X-Men franchise keeps going by doing the same stuff they’ve been doing (with noted exceptions of Logan, which is technically a superhero movie but focuses on the character in a more real way than usual, and then the Quicksilver scenes in the last couple of movies). That said, this trailer appears to be more of the same, which could be fine or could be bad, the line the franchise walks. Things that work here is a lack of absurd outside villain (Apocalypse), as it focuses instead on the villain inside their own ranks (Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix). That car crash looked great as well. Things that don’t work mostly just include a veteran cast that doesn’t appear to be very interested in this franchise anymore, particularly Jennifer Lawrence (who’s Mystique made a big deal previously about being proud of being blue, but the actress seems done with the makeup). Also, keep in mind, this franchise tried and failed the Dark Phoenix story once before. Also, it’s kind of wild that the day after this trailer came out, Fox pushed the release date back four months.
Holmes & Watson
This movie has been a kind of known entity for a few years now, and it’s exciting to finally get to see some footage of it. The footage itself is mostly fine. The chemistry between these two actors is as strong as always, and you can tell the humor is there in general, but none of the jokes in this trailer land particularly impressively. The two jokes I enjoyed at all are the physical insanity of John C. Reilly’s Watson wildly firing a pair of guns at a swarm of killer bees and then Watson trying to prescribe heroin to a *gasp* female doctor. I also genuinely was very excited when I saw that they got Ralph Finnes to play Moriarty, as I’m excited to see what kind of interactions these buffoons have with an actor who has shown himself to be a strong villain performer. That alone inspires an extra few bits of confidence that the trailer itself does not quite earn.
Rankings and Summaries
- Creed II – A marked improvement over the first trailer, it’s a joy to be excited for this movie again, as Michael B. Jordan has to go toe-to-toe against the monstrous Florian Munteanu.
- Hell Fest– Points for a really well-done throwback trailer, even if the movie itself will probably not live up to it.
- Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald – Despite my obvious issues with a couple of decisions this movie/franchise is making, this trailer suggests that the major script issues from the first film have been corrected, promising a more streamlined story without tossing you from side-to-side with different tones.
- Collette – Showing that dramas about queer representation can have some fun injected into them, this trailer brings a marked improvement over the first by actually capturing the attention of audiences beyond showcasing an obviously strong performance.
- Mid90s– Showcasing a strong debut from Jonah Hill, this coming of age story feels real even in the 90 seconds we’re given in the trailer.
- Dark Phoenix – That car crashed moving it up a bit, this movie seems to be more of the same from a superhero franchise that is probably best described as more of the same.
- Holmes & Watson – Despite only having a couple of moments of effective comedy, the idea of seeing these two actors together again is enough to inspire a little bit more confidence.
- Bumblebee– Putting more focus on what made the other Transformers movies a headache to get through and less on what could make it different, this trailer takes a step back from its first teaser.