This week was all over the place with trailers, including several that make their movies look straight up wonderful, and others that I cannot pass hard enough on, but at least I got it done in time!

Rocketman

This movie could easily feel like another Bohemian Rhapsody where it takes the lift of a very flamboyant and inherently interesting performer and bog it down in the most boring way. And the trailer seems to suggest that for most of its run, even with brief moments of full-on musical being hinted at with obviously choreographed poses and some brief shots of dancing. And then those last ten seconds happen, as the crowd listening to “Rocket Man” begins to float, and then it ends as Elton John (played here by the wonderfully charming Taron Egerton) floats to a horizontal position as he plays the piano. There are a lot of ways this movie could not work, but if it can lean more into the fantastical nature that those last moments imply, it could be a biography worthy of Elton John.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Listen, y’all. There is very obviously a lot of superhero stuff going on right now, including whatever the hell Venom was. This feels wonderfully different, as it deals with the fairly complicated nature of multiple dimensions in both a cute/entertaining way, while also discussing the terrible implications that something like that could have on our world. Add in that this Peter Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson) seems to be a tired veteran of Spider-Manning (who lived through the Sam Raimi trilogy, based on that train scene and famous upside-down kiss, both nice touches), who then has to try to contend with a very young Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a noir Spider-Man (Nicolas Cage), and a damned Spider-Pig (actually, Spider-Ham, voiced by John Mulaney in a truly inspired piece of casting), and this feels like it could really be something special. And it has an animation style unlike anything else I’ve really seen. I’m excited.

Vice

Y’all, the things that Christian Bale does to his body for movies are horrifying, but, God, if it doesn’t give some excellent results. Here he gained an intense amount of weight in order to play one of the most infamous vice presidents in our nation’s history, and even though you can still very much see the actor hiding under all that makeup, the performance really seems to lift beyond that. Beyond that, you have the always great Amy Adams playing Cheney’s wife, and then Steve Carrell and his chin makeup finally giving us the secret punchline to one of the last jokes in writer/director Adam McKay’s earlier Anchorman. But, y’all, it looks like Sam Rockwell is out here to continue to be the best part of every movie that he’s in because his George W. Bush looks impeccable. And when you can be the best part of a movie that has both Christian Bale and Amy Adams in it, you’re doing things right.

Robin Hood

What even is any of this? Did that guy shoot dynamite out of a crossbow?  Why is a lazy mask fooling everyone else? Also, is Robin Hood’s real name “Rob?” How is Taron Egerton *this* charming? Why do I want to see this?

The Upside

Well, this certainly looks interesting. Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston starring in a remake of a French film that only came out 8 years ago is certainly not a sentence I ever thought I’d have to contend with on this earth, but, here we are. For the most part, this looks fine. Hart seems to be doing some pretty decent work with what has to be the most dramatic work he’s done to date, while Cranston has shown himself to be a pretty solid dramatic actor over the last ten years. There’s nothing inherently bad about the trailer, but nothing particularly makes it pop, either. It looks like a pleasant enough buddy movie that happens to feature a quadriplegic character, that comes out well enough outside of the busy part of awards season, that it doesn’t seem to think it’s anything more than that.

The Mule

This one is kind of tough because I feel like there are really strong pieces here. Clint Eastwood is a really strong director, and obviously, he’s been giving great performances for decades. He’s surrounded himself with a very talented cast, and the story here is pretty similar to the great-looking Old Man and The Gun. Where this movie detracts from that is where I really start losing interest. This movie looks to take the “one last ride of crime” into a tremendously dark corner, focusing on the regret that Eastwood’s character feels instead of the thrill of the chase that Redford’s character does in his film. It’s just all so dark, and the drug aspect is also so heavy. This just does not look pleasant or enjoyable at all. Which can be fine, I mean there are dark heavy movies that can still be really good, and maybe the message this movie carries necessitates all the darkness, but this is not something that encourages me into a theater at all.

Overlord

Back when the first trailer premiered, I enjoyed the visuals while not understanding why it included AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.” Here, again, I enjoy the visuals and the tension that the trailer shows, but seeing a Rotten Tomatoes logo was so jarring it took me out of this for a second. That said, I’m still really excited to see what looks like a deliciously gory zombie World War II movie. Even if it includes an idiot injecting some mysterious liquid into his fallen friend, but the body horror that comes from that sure looks appropriately narsty. I’m ready.

Aquaman (Extended Trailer)

I hesitate to even call this a trailer because it’s so long, but sections of it are certainly cut like a trailer, so I guess I’ll just commit to it. That said, this is a huge mixed bag. There are certainly sequences that work, especially most of the desert sequence. The sweat magic is neat to see, and then the result of the water hitting the Rube Goldberg style machine is neat, only to undercut it with a pee joke, which isn’t even particularly funny. None of the comedic bits work, for that matter, which is hardly promising. But I do appreciate how bright this trailer is, and how easily visible the action is, which is obviously a step up for the DCEU. The long shot is also impressive, even with the little bit of CGI that was probably necessary for the zoom out to go from Mera to Aquaman. The final build-up to reveal Mamoa in the classic Aquaman costume is…a little bit curious because even now it looks very stupid. It says a lot for this universe that this looks like a general improvement over other films in the universe.

Mortal Engines

Nah.

Rankings and Summaries

  1. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – An always welcome different feel to a superhero movie, an impeccable cast, and a unique animation style has me more excited for this than I have ever been for a Spider-Man movie.
  2. Vice– Filled with what looks like typically great performances from four tremendous actors, the true story of an infamous vice president looks to be another dramatic/comedic hit out of the usually straight comedic Adam McKay.
  3. Overlord- Hello, yes, I would very much like to see Americans murder some Nazi zombies.
  4. The Upside – A pleasant enough-looking dramedy that could act as a nice showcase for Kevin Hart doing more than his typical loud comedies.
  5. Rocketman – A truly fantastical ten seconds help elevate a teaser that otherwise feels like a run of the mill biopic.
  6. Robin Hood – A trailer that begs so many questions that I kind of want to see the movie.
  7. The Mule= Old Man and The Gun – Joy + Real Heavy Sadness + Breaking Bad = Something I really do not want to see
  8. Aquaman- When the best thing to say about a trailer is how bright it is, you’re not in great shape.
  9. Mortal Engines – No, please.
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