Trailer Tuesdays: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It’s getting closer to that time for another Captain America movie. To start off, this trailer looks to have everything that we would want in a comic book movie—and by that I mean violence, explosions, and what looks to be the Helicarrier crashing into the ocean. It survived The Avengers, but it doesn’t look to be surviving this one.

Two years after the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers resides peacefully in Washington, D.C., struggling to adapt to contemporary society. However, after a S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriot is assailed, Steve becomes entangled in a mystery that may endanger the globe. Together with Natasha Romanoff, Captain America attempts to uncover the growing machination while fending off hired hit men. When the entire scheme is discovered, Captain America and the Black Widow must recruit the aid of the Falcon and soon encounter an unanticipated and powerful adversary—the Winter Soldier.

Spoilers after the jump.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Thor 2 Official Trailer

A while back, I reviewed the teaser trailer for Thor: The Dark World, and I was considerably underwhelmed. I feel a lot better about this trailer, but it hasn’t really done much to allay some of my grievances—such as Jane Foster being a damsel in distress and not having a clear antagonist outside of dark evilness.

However, this trailer also delves into something else that I don’t so much as hate as I am greatly amused by: Thor and companions trusting Loki who is clearly not trustworthy. This is a common problem in the comic books. Everyone, despite what Loki’s done in the past and despite how much they hate and distrust him, still decide to go through with plans that absolutely require them to not be betrayed by Loki. And every time, it never ends well. And so the comics keep going through this loop, where the story has to keep coming up with reasons for all the characters to not just kill Loki—and even include him in their heroic missions—and be done with it.

As mentioned for the last trailer, the plot this time around is as such:

Set one year after The Avengers, Thor battles to save all the Nine Realms from a mysterious enemy older than the universe itself. However, a primeval race led by Malekith, who is out for revenge, intends to plunge the universe into darkness. Confronted by an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot overcome, Thor must reunite with Jane Foster and set out on a dangerous journey that will force him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Alright, I still don’t really know what Malekith’s goal is, and neither trailer even seems to want to expand on who he is for the sake of non-comic-book-reading audiences, but at least this trailer is a little more clear on Loki’s involvement. The previous trailer didn’t show Loki until the very end, probably to get a rise out of all his fans, whereas this trailer features him a lot—but I still don’t know why Loki’s being involved at all, and we’ll probably have to wait until the movie’s release to get a clear answer on that. Unfortunately, the impression I have thus far is that in the movie Thor’s taking after his comic counterpart and making some really dumb decisions.

This conversation happens in the trailer:

Heimdall: We face an enemy known only to a few.

Thor: Known only to one.

Now, either Heimdall just lied, or Thor’s making a really stupid decision, and even Loki calls him a fool for it. If there is anyone else—anyone at all, which there seems to be, according that conversation—that person will probably be a lot more trustworthy than Loki, and Thor should enlist his help instead. I admit that I love Thor, but let’s face it, he really has never been the brightest Avenger. I love Loki too, and I’m glad he’s in this movie, but come on.

As an aside, Frigga seems particularly badass here. It’s a pleasant change.

Trailer Tuesdays: Catching Fire Comic-Con Trailer

While the first official trailer for Catching Fire focuses entirely on the events leading up to the 75th Hunger Games and not the Hunger Games themselves, this one focuses on both. I’ve already talked about the earlier trailer here, and my excitement hasn’t decreased in the slightest.

I’ve always had some grievances with the first movie, but all in all, I thought it was relatively close to the source material, and it’s hard to ask for a better book-to-movie adaptation. So far, it looks like Catching Fire will be just as faithful. However, I am a little disappointed that we barely see the transformation of Katniss’s wedding dress in this trailer, which I’m really looking forward to see as soon as the movie comes out.

For the last trailer, I lamented that we didn’t get to see any of the other tributes, but not this time around. We get glimpses of a whole bunch of them: Finnick, Johanna, Enobaria—whose teeth look amazing, by the way—and a few others. We also get to see some of the arena, as well. This trailer reminds me a lot of the one trailer for the first movie.

They both begin with some dialogue, followed by the reaping, time spent training in the capitol, before ending with a quick shot of the contestants right after entering the arena. It’s not entirely similar, as both books do have differences in their plots, but it’s still the same basic formula, and hey, it’s a formula that works. However, I do have to admit that in some ways I was disappointed with the second book, because occasionally it felt as though I was just reading the first book all over again, except with different characters and stakier stakes. In other ways it didn’t, so I have always been a little torn on how I feel about Catching Fire. I fear that I may have this same issue with the movie. My biggest grievance with both books is that they introduced characters that I instantly fell in love with before killing them—Rue and Mags—but I’d hardly call that bad writing. The audience should care when a character dies. It should mean something.

Unfortunately, November is still a long ways off, and this movie cannot be released soon enough.

Trailer Tuesdays: The Lone Ranger

Are you excited for this movie? I know I am. However, I’m a little torn on whether or not I’m actually willing to spend money to go see it. On the one hand, actually supporting this movie by seeing it might be irresponsible. On the other hand, seeing Johnny Depp’s oh-so-not-racist portrayal of a Native American might be too good an opportunity to pass up.

This is not a movie I have high expectations for. To be honest, I really don’t know that much about Native Americans, their cultures, their tribes, etc. Unfortunately, I have the distinct feeling that neither do the makers of this movie, with the possible exception of Johnny Depp himself.

Johnny Depp plays the character Tonto, an imaginary Native American. Okay, no big deal, right? Except, the design of Tonto in this movie is based off a painting from a white man’s interpretation of Tonto. This painting:

ku-xlargeOther than not being a Native American himself, Jack Sparrow does look pretty much like this inaccurate portrayal. In fact, he looks just like Jack Sparrow with face paint and a bird on his head. I’m guessing this isn’t going to do much for representation. Johnny Depp even said in an interview that he took this part to change how things are for Native Americans in movies, to show them that they’re “still warriors.” To be fair, however, Native Americans for the most part seem to be pretty excited for Depp’s portrayal, and Depp is a member of the Comanche tribe. I should mention, however, that Depp is not Comanche by blood, and he only was adopted into the tribe after filming the movie. He has said that he guesses he has some Cherokee in him, but until now, he hasn’t participated in that heritage. I want to assume that the Native Americans interviewed about Depp’s part know more about their culture than I do, but I don’t think anything here is leading up to a non-racist portrayal.

Depp might be part Cherokee. Good for him. I’m distantly related to some Cherokee people too, but that doesn’t mean I know anything about the culture. And it certainly doesn’t mean I can represent it in any manner. In the end, I really think that this movie should have just cast an actual Native American for the role.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I truly hope that this won’t be racist, outside the white-washing. Otherwise, this looks like it would be an interesting movie.

Trailer Tuesdays: Catching Fire

It’s finally here, the long-awaited trailer to the long-awaited movie Catching Fire. I think I watched this trailer four times before I finally stopped being giddy enough to read the release date, which is still so many months away. It’s going to be a while until November rolls around, and I suppose we’ll just have to find something else to watch in the meantime.

This trailer, oh man. This trailer is epic. It doesn’t focus on the 75th annual Hunger Games at all, and instead pays attention to the time leading up to that in the first part of the book. This means that the only victors we see in this trailer are Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch. (Unfortunate, because I would have really liked to see Johanna, Finnick, or even Mags.) Katniss herself, however, is still a badass, and I don’t know of many people willing to stare down a man holding a gun and tell him to go ahead and still look like she’s in charge of this situation, even if she doesn’t feel in charge. Katniss now has to come to terms with the fact that, by surviving the Hunger Games, the Capitol pretty much owns her and Peeta. This is not something she accepts.

President Snow doesn’t like that Katniss managed to show up the Capitol during the previous installment and now she has become a “beacon of hope” to the districts, who are rallying behind her in rebellion. This is a problem that Snow now has to deal with.

I think what really captured my attention is what Snow says at the end of the trailer. He says that “her entire species must be eradicated” in reference to Katniss and the other victors. The people of the Capitol don’t view the people of districts as being the same as them. The districts are little more than slaves to the Capitol, and because slaves don’t matter, no one cares that their children are forced to murder each other year after year. Snow takes it a step further and actually thinks of the victors as an entirely separate species from human beings. In some ways, this is probably what the Capitol thinks of them as well.

This is certainly one movie I’ll be waiting impatiently for.

Trailer Tuesdays: Knights of Badassdom

This either looks hilarious or terrible, and I’m not sure which yet. I mean, either way I’d think I’d see it. It looks like a train wreck, and as we all know, it’s nigh impossible to avert your eyes from something so terrible.

This movie looks like it’s playing off of every fantasy nerd’s dream, because let’s face it, who doesn’t want the glory of beating down an evil demon and saving the world in a medieval outfit? But not actually in medieval times, because that would be a terrible place to live. I do like that this movie doesn’t do a whole time-travel thing where the characters actually do end up in the past, which will have a lot more magic than the present for some reason.

That said, while Kights of Badassdom looks funny, it also looks like it might be playing off nerd stereotypes, and that can get offensive very quickly if not done correctly. On top of that, this movie doesn’t look good for female representation. There are only two notable girls in the trailer that I can see. The one is the evil succubus, which right away sends a sign. I know succubi are a part of lore, but it still has a female villain whose schemes are defined by her sexuality. Though, at the very least, she doesn’t look like she’s screwing her victims to death so much as she’s ripping out their hearts to feed upon. As for the other girl, if she’s the only other one, then we have the Smurfette Principle. This principle is in which the majority of the characters are all male with only one female among the bunch, despite the fact that over half the population is female.

So while this movie looks like it might be enjoyable, I am a little concerned for it.

Trailer Tuesdays: Epic

You know, I thought that this looked like a good movie until I found out that, like Rise of the Guardians, Epic is based on a children’s book by William Joyce.

I now think that this looks like a great movie. Yeah, I’ll admit that I have a lot of problems with RotG, but they were all forgivable and can be easily overlooked in light of the bigger picture that the story tells. They’re annoying, but they don’t ruin the experience. And that gives me hope for Epic.

The summary for the movie from Wikipedia is as follows:

A young girl named Mary Katherine lives in a cabin in the woods with her father and dog. Her father, Professor Bomba, has long studied a group of warriors who live in the forest and protect it as guardians of good. He often will go into the forest and survey them.

One day, the professor does not return from a hike in the forest, so Mary Katharine sets out to look for him. Hours later, she comes upon a group of glowing, falling leaves. Catching one of them, she is suddenly shrunken down. In her miniscule state, she discovers the group of warriors Prof. Bomba has studied, who are known as the Leafmen. Soon she is forced to assist them in a war against forces of evil known as the Boggans and their villianious leader Mandrake, while trying to find out how to return home.

Awesome! So this is going to be like FernGully, except with a gender reversal. Well, that’s not too bad. Avatar was a rip off of FernGully among others, and it was okay, I suppose. But think of it like this: RotG was about Jack Frost teaming up with Santa Claus to defeat the Boogeyman. And that’s still a good movie.

What I love about William Joyce’s works, from what little I have read of them, is his ability to take stories that everyone already knows on some level and put a unique twist on it. Little-forest-people stories have been told before to varying degrees of success. Normally, we call little forest people ‘faeries’. But as I said, this comes from William Joyce. And though I’m not familiar with as many of his works as I’d like to be, I know enough about them that I’m more than willing to give Epic a chance. And hey, it’s going to have a female lead, and we don’t get too many of those.

I do still harbor some concerns though. I mean, Epic is about little forest people.

Trailer Tuesdays: Warm Bodies

I am so excited for this movie it is ridiculous. A lot of big name movies came out recently, but I really think Warm Bodies is going to be one of the most severely underrated movies this winter.

Warm Bodies seems to be an awesome spoof of the paranormal romance craze. Pairing the romance between the hot blonde and the gross undead zombie is hilarious in and of itself, but for me the best thing about this movie, at least from what I can tell about the trailer, is the inner monologue of the zombie.

The fact that the zombie has an almost completely coherent inner monologue, but still acts like a normal everyday zombie is perfect, and really something that has been missing from various zombie spoofs in general.

I’m definitely going to check out Warm Bodies. You should too.

First Look at the Doctor Who Christmas Special!

Here it is, folks! I know you’re probably complaining already about the preponderance of Christmas music, Christmas decorations, and annoyingly Christmas-themed commercials on TV since it isn’t even Thanksgiving. Here’s something that, despite its Christmassy nature, will put you in the holly jolly spirit right away. Roll clip!

So what do you think? What’s up with Clara? I spotted Sontarans, and Madame Vastra! And does anyone else think Moffat’s been reading Calvin and Hobbes?

And if that just wasn’t enough for you, here’s a dramatic and tone-setting prequel clip as well:

Trailer Tuesdays: Iron Man 3

Okay, so not that I’m not excited to see Iron Man again, because I am, but I have a lot of questions for Marvel and most of those questions tend to be—why?

Why are we doing Iron Man 3?

Well, I pretty much know the answer to this. Out of all the Avengers characters Iron Man is the one who started their movie franchise, and I believe, despite the popularity of the other characters, Iron Man is still the one that makes Marvel the most money. So he gets a third movie right out the gate.

I understand wanting to start with a movie you know is going to do well, especially after The Avengers, but Tony already has two movies under his belt. So Iron Man, a straight white guy, gets a third movie, but Black Widow isn’t going to get her own movie until after the second Avengers movie. Excuse me! Let’s give all the guys second and third movies before the next Avengers, but one movie for our only current female Avenger? No, that can’t happen. Let’s not be ridiculous here. Other movies like the one based on the Runaways series, which would include several minority characters, lesbian characters, a transgender character, and a Marvel team mostly comprised of women, keep getting pushed back. Casting started for Runaways ages ago, but got delayed because of The Avengers. Which is understandable, but after Marvel’s Comic Con announcements didn’t even mention that they were going to continue to work on Runaways I am starting to worry that the movie is doomed to never be made. And other comic book heroes that would add some diversity to our Avengers cast, like Black Panther, the first black superhero, aren’t even being talked about.

Of course! No movies with women, LGBTQ characters, or racially diverse characters, because Marvel has to make some more movies about rich white guys.

Speaking of racially diverse characters, this next question brings me to our trailer. Why Mandarin?

The Mandarin is kind of racist… if not a lot racist. So, we are going to have a movie where the whole time a rich white guy is going to fight a rich Chinese guy who is trying to take over the world. Wow, talk about lack of tact. And really, let’s be honest, there is going to be another Avengers movie, so clearly Tony Stark comes out of this okay. So basically, I am going to watch a movie where a rich white guy beats up a Chinese terrorist the whole time.

Ha, take that, China. Our economic policies are totally going to beat yours. Watch as Iron Man demonstrates.

In my personal opinion, Mandarin is one of those characters that should been left in the vaults of comic-book history. He’s a character whose personality and villainy is largely built based on his race. Everything about being very stereotypically Chinese defines him. Why are we still using this character? And just from a money standpoint, isn’t Marvel really isolating Asian audiences, especially when The Avengers had such a large market in China?

Then there is the fact that Ben Kingsley is going to play Mandarin. Ben Kingsley, originally named, Krishna Pandit Bhanji, is an amazing actor (watch Gandhi), but should he even be playing Mandarin? Ben Kingsley’s mother is British and his father is a Gujarati Indian from Kenya. So… not Chinese, which is weird, considering that there are many Asian actors who could have played this role. The only thing I can think is that Marvel is trying to make his race ambiguous to avoid the yellow peril stereotypes in the character’s history, but the character’s name is the Mandarin. It’s kind of hard to avoid that.

Other than that (which is a lot), the trailer looks great. It appears that the movie is following Batman‘s lead to have the third movie really destroy the lead character so that it is all the more impressive when he does succeed. Either way, this movie looks like it is going to be tough on Tony.

Despite my criticisms, I am excited for this movie and do plan on seeing it, but I am worried that the choice of villain is ultimately going to hurt the movie and its fanbase. And after this, Marvel, let’s give Iron Man a bit of a rest so you can take care of some other characters.