The Battle of the Blockbusters: Analyzing the New(ish) 'Justice League' and 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Trailers
The two biggest movies still to be released in 2017 dropped huge trailers this week in Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Both have been seen probably billions of times by now and been extensively analyzed by every major movie news web site, but they haven't been written about on this very minor blog. Both are major movie events with a salivating fan base, so both trailers were seen as big events on their own. As for the trailers, one did a great job on fuelling my excitement while leaving tons of questions (let it be clear, this is what a trailer is supposed to do) and the other wiped out the building excitement I started feeling over the summer. Find out which is which!
Justice League (November 17):
The fantastic Wonder Woman was a huge creative course correction for the DC cinematic universe. Optimism for Justice League was high with hope DC now found the formula and that increased to huge levels when Joss Whedon was hired on to do reshoots. Many were very excited to see what he would add to the movie even if the circumstances behind it were quite sad (Zack Snyder needed to take time off to deal with the death of his son).
After seeing the latest trailer and what I assume the first to contain footage that would have Whedon's work in it, it is pretty clear this is still very much a Zack Snyder comic book movie. We have the return of annoying Snyderisms like the obsession with a metallic colour palate, endless mind-numbing explosions, and action sequences that deny any real world physics. The trailer has done nothing to take away my fears that in order to properly introduce the new characters like Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg to the point where you care about them while also telling the monster/alien/demon invasion story, properly explore the world grieving over Superman, and giving attention to the established character's arcs that this movie will clock in at about 8 hours. Or you know have individual movies for each character before doing a team-up movie, but I sense they may not have enough time for that.
I really dug the opening with the promise that Lois Lane may be a crucial character finally. The movie is actually going to really allow the death of Superman to sink in and be something that affects each character and have a huge impact on the world. It will make the previous events feel like they matter even if everyone including the original poster knows that Superman is coming back before the end credits. Amy Adams conveyed more emotion in this trailer than she was allowed in the previous two movies, so it gives me hope the drama will be more than just filler this time.
Wonder Woman though is back to being a side character in the this trailer, but the previous trailer make me think that is more just to usher in new footage, and I hope we get more than just Gal Gadot's millions dollar smile every few scenes.
There is also a sense of humour here. I like some of the one liners by Batman as he needs to adjust to his rather eccentric new recruits. Ezra Miller has a fun charisma and energy as the Flash, but it feels a little second string after already getting a lot of this routine from Spider-Man in the Marvel movies. Hopefully, there is something to make Barry Allen/Flash stand out other than he runs really fast and reminds us of a cheaper Peter Parker.
After the last trailer looked more polished, I'm back to being a bit hesitant on the CGI again. Maybe just the issue is that it is all just too much, too loud, and too bombastic. Sometimes this stuff does look way better on the big screen then squeezed on to my laptop. The other problem is it doesn't even look like they are planet earth, and most of it just seems like a nightmare Batman is having after downing too many late night lobster thermidors.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
Lucasfilm's has been really great with how they have handled the Star Wars trailers since reviving the franchise (as a series of new movies, because the franchise has been alive in books, cartoons, merchandise, and party napkins since 1977) by delivering a sparse amount of trailers for each movie compared to every other big heavyweight franchise that believes you need 140 trailers before release. This is only the second trailer released and has tons of new footage, but leaves even more questions rather than providing any answers to the many questions posed in the original trailer.
It looks like Rey is going to get a long training storyline with Luke Skywalker playing the role of Yoda this time. Unlike last time, the trainee freaks out the trainer. Luke mentions he only saw this much raw power once before and should have been afraid of it then, and it seems obvious to assume he is referencing Kylo Ren (but it could be misdirection). It looks like a major focus of this movie will be the connection and relation between Rey and Ren. It hints they are possibly the two people who are the most powerful ever with the Force. You get a sense it will be playing some deep cosmic connection between the two. It will also be interesting to see if Luke's comment about ending the Jedi that is shown in the original trailer comes before the training or after what I assume is Rey freaking him out with her powers. And does Luke abandon Rey, which causes her to flee to the arms of Ren and Snoke?
It definitely looks like Snoke channels Return of the Jedi's Emperor by trying to lure the hero to the dark side. The movie has enough well-crafted new characters who can take the lead role with Finn and Poe Dameron that there is a slight chance we could see Rey accept the hand of Ren and be swayed to the dark side by the end of this movie. I don't think that is the direction, but her being forced to choose sides looks to be a major storyline. I am really interested to see if the interaction with Ren and Rey plays out the way it is hinted in the trailer or if it is a splicing of separate scenes.
Many months ago, it was mentioned that General Leia Organa was originally scheduled to be the focus of the third movie, like how Han Solo was the focus of The Force Awakens and Luke Skywalker is the focus in this one. Sadly, that isn't going to happen with the passing of Carrie Fisher, and now the big question has been how they will write out Leia with the movie already shot before her passing. This trailer is definitely playing into that speculation with it looking like Ren blows up his mom's ship and kills her just like he murdered his father. He is not the best son. But this could also be a slick Jedi mind trick and it is just an editing of random scenes that look like they fit as one (yep, they seem to be doing that a lot in this trailer).
We also see Finn in action, which is nice because it means he isn't in a coma for the whole movie. Captain Phasma looks to be getting a much bigger role this time and will be rumbling with Finn, as that rivalry had seeds planted in the previous. I really hope Phasma gets a character and personality here, and we learn more about who she is in this world.
Not much Poe other than being stuck in crazy battles, and it looks like the Resistance takes some pretty massive hits and casualties here. With Luke having a bleak outlook, Leia potentially facing her demise, Rey being wooed to the dark sides, and lots of shots of good guys' ships exploding, you get the sense this will be going The Empire Strikes Back route with the heroes being left in a dismal situation by the end.
We also get peaks at some new creatures including some wolf-like things and a fuzzy little chubby guinea pig creature who looks to be Chewbacca's new co-pilot (apparently, it is called a porg). I'm cool with the very targeted at making stuffies for kids new character, because that has always been a Star Wars staple and the last targeted to sell toys to kids creation, BB-8 was adorable and worked. I'll let this fuzzball prove his worth. I should also note that I never had any hatred towards the Ewoks and they make me smile too, so this may be the wrong place for that type of hate.
This had the opposite effect of the Justice League trailer, I am somehow even more stoked and thrilled and geeked and excited for this movie. This was already by far my most anticipated movie of the year and I've so far loved the return to this world by giving the two recent movie both 4 stars (The Force Awakens landed number one on my Top 10 of 2015). Rian Johnson is one of my favourite filmmakers and has created fantastic movies, and I am excited to see what he can do with a huge budget and a universe adored by billions.