Trailers of the Week: Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, and Prometheus
The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
Dan Silver: As a kid I bought more Spider-Man comics than those of any other superhero. I attended the midnight screenings for both Spider-Man 1 and 2, and yet, outside of some lingering loyalty to the character and minor curiosity as to why this series needed another reboot, I have minimal interest in seeing The Amazing Spider-Man. The slew of previously released teasers and trailers have been inconsistent in their agenda — here’s a dark and brooding one, here’s a teen angsty one, here’s a playful one — and this latest installment does little to excite, clarify, justify, or dissuade any doubt about the film. For me, this 2:35 played like an old toy ad from the ’80s. But instead of toys and kids, this trailer serves us video game-looking CGI action and glimpses of Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Sally Field, and Denis Leary. If the goal was to reinvigorate the Spider-Man franchise, why couldn’t/didn’t Marvel opt to place him in The Avengers? Tease audiences with some kick-ass web-slinger action, and leave them wanting more, then hit them with the stand-alone film (or unnecessary reboot)? This strategy seems to be working for the Hulk. (Note: I know Marvel wasn’t the only one at fault here. Sony has as much to do with this film as any party involved.)
Rembert Browne: WHERE IS THE BATMAN TRAILER?
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
Silver: Based on the model executed by the last few marketing campaigns for Chris Nolan films (teaser, mini-trailer, full trailer), aside from a few spots showing up on TV about a week before the release, this will be the last official look we get of The Dark Knight Rises before it hits the theaters. And honestly, who cares? Do any of us need any persuasion to see this film?
But let’s discuss the trailer. It effectively builds off of the more Bane-and-plot-focused teaser from December by primarily focusing on two things — expanding the visual canvas and further establishing Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s characters within the universe. We know Hathaway is Selina Kyle/Catwoman, but speculations of Levitt’s role in the film have run amuck since his casting announcement. Instead of clarifying, this trailer throws a Harvey Dent–size can of flammable liquid onto that conjecture pyre: He could be anything from Robin to the next Batman to just some guy. I’m leaning toward a Robin-type character that transitions into the next Batman, especially since this trailer hints that Batman might die in this final installment.
Nolan is a filmmaker who embraces subtlety and minimalism. At their core, his stories are about broken characters trying to fit in and make sense of their world. And even though his characters’ struggles usually play out on enormous cinematic landscapes, his visuals never feel gratuitous or self-promoting. An offshoot of this is Nolan’s skillful use of silence. And it’s this characteristic that I find to be the most effective in this latest trailer. The muted visuals rolling out over dialogue mixed with subtle string and piano, building to full-blown mayhem over Hanz Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s iconic score, is haunting. It gave me chills. I’m going to be first in line to see this in (true) IMAX on July 20. Rem, want to join me?
Browne: No, Silver. I don’t want to join you. All I want to do is watch this trailer over and over again, while sending mass e-mails telling people not to see The Amazing Spider-Man. If The Dark Knight Rises is “Always Be My Baby,” The Amazing Spider-Man is Glitter.
Prometheus — International Trailer #2 (June 8 )
Silver: I’m pulling out the Prometheus intravenous. A once-clever and calculated marketing campaign has clearly become too overzealous and has crossed a line from teasing to revealing. So until the film is released on June 8, I’m pulling a “Full McGregor” and locking myself in a small room with no TVs or Internet and a demon baby in order to get all these potential Prometheus spoilers from my system. It’s radio silence from here on out. “This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.”
Browne: I’ll be honest, Silver, I couldn’t really figure out what was going on after the first trailer, so the Prometheus novices like myself might have needed a little spoon-feeding to approach your excitement level. Now that I understand what this movie’s about, I’m pumped. If Prometheus is “Waiting for Tonight,” The Amazing Spider-Man is Gigli.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (June 27)
Silver: This two-minute montage of Malick-esque imagery, dialogue, and music tells me exactly nothing about what this movie is actually, you know, about. I’m not being negative. Sundance and Cannes accolades aside, after seeing this trailer I don’t need to see or hear anything else — I’m all in on this film. And I’m not going to lie, I got choked up while watching this trailer. I have no idea why, since I still can’t tell you what this film about, but I think at least partially it has to do with the adorable kid. The whole thing has a real City of Lost Children vibe to it. I’m in.
Browne: This film could be completely plotless and I’d still go and see it in theaters, probably happy-cry through half of the movie, and spend a large amount of my brain power scheming ways to kidnap that precious child and raise her in my Hell’s Kitchen apartment. I, too, am all in on this film. And if it actually has a plot, it could be incredible. I can’t believe she refers to herself as a “Hush Puppy.” That’s the cutest thing ever.
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (June 8 )
Silver: One of the many reasons the independent-film genre has seen recent struggle and is now scrambling to reinvent itself is that with enormous, splashy, high-concept films like G.I. Joe: Retaliation being released seemingly every weekend, it’s become harder and harder for smaller, more intimate films to stand out. Buzz out of Sundance doesn’t equate to indie success anymore. A trailer for The Avengers doesn’t need to say much, it just needs to show Hulk smashing some aliens — but indie films have to showcase their stories and casts. Which leads to a tricky marketing dance, because more often than not, many of these films’ trailers wind up showing the whole film, leaving the viewer with little reason to fork over 10-plus dollars. And that’s precisely the problem with this trailer for Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed this 2:30 more than I would the 90-minute version.
Browne: Should I be embarrassed that I loved this trailer, Silver? I think I am, but I’ve admitted much worse on this website. I think it’s because there are three generations of ladies that I really love, all in the same movie (Elizabeth Olsen, Catherine Keener, Jane Fonda). I don’t think the movie will be that great, but it is nice to see my favorite Olsen in a film where she’s not joining a cult or always about to die.
Your Sister’s Sister (June 15)
Silver: I know I’ve seen Your Sister’s Sister in different iterations before, and can probably lay out its plot, point by dramatic point, right now. But because I love its three stars — Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass — I still want to see it. Maybe not in the theater, but this film is a definite rental or VOD purchase. It’s also written and directed by the underrated Humpday’s Lynn Shelton, and that doesn’t hurt.
Browne: You can’t send your best guy friend away to your lonely, drunk sister’s house and expect them to just play mah-jongg and watch movie trailers and sleep on separate sides of the house. It’s just not happening, so don’t get mad when they skip over the mah-jongg and movie trailers and go straight to tequila + Ginuwine playlist + bed. You’re smarter than that, Emily. You can’t use The Five-Year Engagement as an excuse to make silly decisions. I’m excited to watch Emily Blunt make silly decisions like this (and more) in this film. It looks pretty great.
Mansome (May 18)
Silver: I saw Mansome at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, and its trailer is a perfect snapshot of the full feature. This is not a doc that is going to break new ground or change the world; it’s just a lighthearted look at what it takes to be a kempt modern man. A pampering-filled day at the spa with Jason Bateman and Will Arnett (also executive producers on the film) is the film’s narrative through line and acts as a jumping-off point to profile a wide array of characters that inhabit the male beatification and grooming universe. Director Morgan Spurlock captures some great improvised Bateman and Arnett moments, and sprinkles in some more hilarity from sit-down interviews with Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, John Waters, Adam Carolla, and Zach Galifianakis. So on May 18, if evil aliens fighting battleships don’t appeal to you, just stay home, order Mansome on VOD, and learn about the guy who created and sells the product Fresh Balls. Who knows, it might be helpful.
Browne: This film focuses a lot on one of my favorite topics: facial hair.
Which reminds me, I have a story to tell.
One time I was in a bar, one thing led to another, and next thing I knew I was kissing a pretty girl. After about two seconds, she pulled away and said “Can I tell you something?” I responded in the affirmative and she looked me in the eyes and said, “I’ve never kissed someone like you before.” In my head, this was the funniest thing I’d ever heard because I couldn’t figure out which direction she was going. Was it the black thing, the friend-of-a-friend-in-a-bar thing, the bad-credit thing — what was it? Before I could sheepishly ask, “What do you mean?” she replied with, “You have a mustache.” My mind was blown, and it was at that moment that I knew this thing was here to stay. Forever. Amen.
I’m so excited about this film I can’t stand it. I have no clue what it means to be a man and I’m excited to watch some of my favorite guys talk about how they are equally in the dark.
“You have a mustache.” Unreal.
Expendables 2 — Trailer for the Trailer
Silver: Fact: I’ll now only watch trailers for trailers that contain Terry Crews yelling at me. That guy melts my heart.
Browne: If the Expendables 2: Trailer for the Trailer is Tim Riggins, The Amazing Spider-Man is John Carter. (Side note: You couldn’t pay me enough to say anything bad about Terry Crews. I value my life. Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, I feel like I could TKO with a lengthy insult.)
Expendables 2 (August 17)
Silver: “I now pronounce you Man and Knife.” What?! I mean really?! I didn’t think it was possible for my Statham to become more Statham-ed without the necessary Statham, but this trailer for The Expendables 2 delivers a healthy dose of Statham and Stallone and Willis and Norris and Lee and Schwarzenegger. “Track em’, find em’, kill em’.” I think I can safely say that sitting through The Expendables 2 will do some serious Van Damme-age to my Statham.
Browne: Just shameless, this sequel is. Not even pretending to care about quality or plots or anything. I’m pretty pumped to use my Spider-Man allowance money on SSLLNCCHVdWS. That’s what I call the actors in the film. SSLNCCHVdWS. You’ve got to remember them somehow. SSLNCCHVdWS.