Saturday, April 15, 2017

'Thor: Ragnarok,' 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' trailers are underwhelming

Can we talk about trailers?

Here at Cary's Comics Craze, reviewing trailers is a "thing;" it's what this neighborhood-friendly fanboy blogger does.

So far this year I've done a nearly second-by-second speculation-filled breakdown of the second trailer for "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and did the same thing for the first "Justice League" trailer. (I've even taken to giving titles to trailers: "Playing well with others" for "Justice League" and "Badass beauty" for the very first "Wonder Woman" footage.) Also, yours truly analyzed the hysterical "No Good Deed" movie short/teaser trailer for the "Deadpool" sequel.

And that brings me to this week's newest trailers: "Thor: Ragnarok" (out Nov. 3) and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (Dec. 15). Now I've really enjoyed the first two "Thor" movies and the Force is as strong with this "Star Wars" fan as the next fan and while countless fans have geeked over this footage, I am left underwhelmed.

Now granted, teaser trailers are called teasers for a reason: The footage only is supposed to give you an idea -- a tease -- for what's in the movie and what it's about. So sure, the director and studios will
be skimpy with what they release. But teaser trailers also should get me pumped to see this flick.

And I'm left kinda "eh" with "Thor: Raganarok" and "The Last Jedi." (That being said, I have no doubt both films will deliver the goods!)

Keep in mind, I've had plenty to say about the latest "Star Wars" film when I attempted to guess what that subtitle means and who exactly might be the last Jedi. 

First, "Thor: Ragnarok": Honestly there are only a few things that have me the least bit interested.

I dig "The Imigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin being the chosen music. And seeing Thor chained up (0:03-0:10) does indeed make me wonder "how did this happen?" (as Chris Hemsworth says in his voice-over). And the big "WTF!" moment is seeing Cate Blanchett's Hela not only catch Mjolnir ... but then crushing it out of existence (0:14-0:24).

Needless to say, the greatest sequence in this trailer is the Hulk coming out of the opposing door in the gladiator arena (1:08-1:45). "Main event time," indeed!

Thor's reaction at seeing the Hulk is priceless -- and leaves the arena speechless: "Yeeeeees!" The Norse god then turns to the Grandmaster (a perfectly slimey Jeff Goldblum) for an explanation: "He's a friend. We know each from work."

And you gotta love seeing Thor strap on a helmet that's very much like the one from the comic books (1:18-:1;22) -- something we haven't seen since the very opening minutes of the first movie. But the rest is what I'd expect to see in a "Thor" flick: An invasion of Asgard, Loki looking like he's ready to start trouble and the hybrid of sci-fi/sword and sandals vibe -- besides being a "Planet Hulk" tie-in. Grade: B-

One last thing is the casting of actress Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.

While I'm pleased to see Valkyrie is making her first appearance in the Marvel movie universe, I'm disappointed director Taiki Waititi couldn't find a Caucasian actress for the role. I have no problems with casting against the race of a character; I'll just say that in this case, choosing a black woman for Valkryie is as problematic and disturbing as casting a white chick (ScarJo) as the main character in "Ghost in the Shell," a Japanese franchise.

Does anybody remember the "Hollywood so white" controversy? Isn't it possible to go too much the other way?

Casting diversity is a beautiful thing. Seeing an actor who was cast against type deliver a great performance is awesome. Checking the diversity box just for the sake of doing so? Ugly!

Onto "The Last Jedi": Even as far as teasers go, this is the skimpiest one I've ever seen. How skimpy is this footage? It gives me no clue as to what to expect -- except Luke Skywalker training Rey, which any "Star Wars" fan could see coming.

This footage is more of the same we saw in the teaser trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens": Characters gasping for air, fighters flying into battle, our heroes running for their lives (a theme I addressed in this April 2016 op-ed), Kylo Ren and his minions, a crushed Dark Jedi helmet and of course, Kylo Ren with his T-shaped lightsaber. Even the space battle reminds me of what I saw in "Rogue One."

Yup, this footage has a very much been-there-done-that-seen-the-movie feel. BO-ring!

While it's great hearing Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker obviously soothing Rey as Luke trains her, "breathe. Just breathe" is all we get besides Rey's vague reference to the balance between light and dark? Nothing original or intriguing here, "Star Wars" fans.

The greatest part of this trailer is something you can barely see: Rey practicing her lightsaber skills. You have to really squint and pause the trailer at the 1:10-1:12 mark.

Grade: C+

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