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Trailer Round-Up – 15 October, 2016

"Rogue One, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Great Wall, Power Rangers"

Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, is an upcoming prequel to the original Star Wars. Set just before the events of A New Hope, Rogue One is the story of a group of resistance fighters tasked with stealing the plans for the Empire’s newest and most dangerous weapon – the Death Star.

The third and, presumably, final trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the longest and packed with the most action and story – whereas previous trailers probably had limited amounts of completed footage to work with, this one, released a mere two months before the premiere, has a lot to show. It’s an excellent trailer that, like the others before it, show how Rogue One both looks unlike any other Star Wars movie we’ve seen, and yet is a perfect fit for the universe as well. We still only get a glimpse of Darth Vader, but that’s a good thing – like the Civil War trailer only showing a second or two of Spider-Man, it’s all we need to get pumped up for the appearance of the iconic character.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for a December 16, 2016 release.

John Wick: Chapter 2

Star Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski return for John Wick: Chapter 2, the sequel to the 2014 hit action movie John Wick. In Chapter 2, the legendary assassin travels to Rome and once again finds himself returning to his old ways, despite his retirement.

This looks like the perfect sequel to the original John Wick – it seems to be doing everything that made the original great, but bigger and better. The only thing that’s still unclear is what motivates John this time around – the first movie had a deeply personal emotional hook to it that the sequel can’t possibly try to replicate. It’s also great to see Lawrence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves reunited and Common looks like a pretty good villain to boot.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is set for a February 10, 2017 release.

The Great Wall

Starring Matt Damon and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou, Legendary’s The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China.

Matt Damon’s casting sparked controversy, as some saw it as a continuation of the ‘white savior’ trope. While you can see where those criticisms come from, the situation is actually kind of hilarious – typically, white savior plots involve a white protagonist acting as a bridge for a Western audience to a land, people or culture that is understood to be foreign or different. The Great Wall is primarily a Chinese production, so actually the inclusion of actors like Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe has more to do with increasing the movie’s international box office appeal than perpetuating white savior nonsense. As for the trailer itself, it’s pretty good. The movie looks epic and silly, but the visuals are breathtaking and the action looks great.

The Great Wall is set for a February 17, 2017 release, after a December debut in China.

Power Rangers

Saban’s Power Rangers, directed by Dean Israelite, follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late.

The Power Rangers trailer too often feels like a shot-for-shot remake of Chronicle, but with dumbed down characters and generic teen movie tropes. It’s gray, generic and boring, which is the exact opposite of what I would usually associate Power Rangers with – Power Rangers are supposed to be bright, stupid and cartoonishly over-the-top. This reboot should take lessons from Pacific Rim on embracing the silliness of its premise with open arms. It’s not impossible to go dark with the franchise, but you need to actually go all out with it – this movie just comes across as toothless and lacking an identity of its own.

Power Rangers is set for a March 24, 2017 release.

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