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Trailer Round-Up – SDCC 2016

"Wonder Woman, Justice League, Kong: Skull Island, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange, The LEGO Batman Movie"

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, stars Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, princess of the Amazons, who was raised on a sheltered island and trained to be an unconquerable fighter. After an American pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crashes on the island and tells her about a world war that is happening, Diana leaves her home to try to stop the war.

The SDCC 2016 trailer for Wonder Woman gives us the first real look at the movie and it certainly looks promising. What’s immediately noticeable is the inclusion of bright colors, which is a welcome breath of fresh air after the overly dark, gloomy previous entries in the DCEU. A period piece set during World War I is certainly something we haven’t seen yet in a tentpole superhero movie, which is also pleasing. The writing seems a bit spotty at times, but that could be because of a lack of context. Gal Gadot already proved her mettle in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – even the harshest critics of that movie, myself included, felt she was one of the best parts – so her solo outing is already off to a very good start.

Warner Bros. Pictures has set Wonder Woman for a June 2, 2017 release.

Justice League

In Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.

The first bit of Justice League footage makes it clear that the movie is a significant tonal departure from both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, which Zack Snyder also directed. It looks and feels like a completely different kind of movie – unfortunately, that movie still looks kind of terrible. The cast is solid, but as was the case with Man of Steel and BvS, it’s the script that will probably sink the whole thing. The attempts at humor are cringeworthy at best. You can just see Zack Snyder trying to be lighthearted through gritted teeth and failing miserably. Why Warner Bros. insists on giving him so much creative control is beyond me.

Justice League is set to debut in theaters on November 10, 2017.

Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and scripted by John Gatins and Max Borenstein, is set in the 1970s, as a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific — as beautiful as it is treacherous — unaware that they are crossing into the domain of the mythic King Kong.

This trailer does an decent job of building up the reveal of the latest incarnation of King Kong, who will be the biggest one yet. The writing falls back on the generic, but with a cast that includes the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman, bland can still turn out pretty entertaining – besides, this movie can get by on just being decent. It’s Godzilla vs. Kong that truly matters.

Kong: Skull Island is set for release on March 10, 2017.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie, is a revisionist take on Arthurian lore that has a young Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) running the back passages of Londonium with his crew, not knowing his royal lineage until he grabs Excalibur. Instantly confronted by the sword’s influence, Arthur is forced to make up his mind. He must learn to understand the magic weapon, deal with his demons and unite the people to defeat the dictator Vortigern (Jude Law).

Guy Ritchie’s biggest strength as a director is the ability to shoot things in a way that looks really, really cool – but it’s also his biggest flaw, as he’s prone to overdoing it, filling his movies with style over substance and sacrificing narrative and character for slick, frenetic visuals. The trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword seems to be leaning towards the latter – there’s a lot of cool stuff to be found here, but it feels a bit slapdash. It could be a case of bad trailer-good movie, so I wouldn’t give up on this one just yet.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
is set to open in theaters on February 17, 2017.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, directed by David Yates, is the first in a planned Harry Potter spin-off series. Set in 1926, it follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Unfortunately, while passing through New York, some of his beasts escape which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj (American word for muggle) worlds.

Like with previous trailers, this one emphasizes the return to the magical world of Harry Potter, showcasing various magical beasts and acts of wizardry. With J.K. Rowling on board and a solid cast, this is certainly very promising in theory – my main problem is that none of the trailers, this one included, do a particularly good job of explaining the plot, the stakes or character motivations. That makes it very hard to get invested in this spin-off – hopefully the movie will be more interested in its story and characters than the marketing seems to be.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set for a worldwide release on November 18, 2016

Doctor Strange

Marvel’s Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson from a script by Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions.

This more or less plays out like an extended version of the first trailer, giving us slightly more character and a lot more trippy visuals – and just like the first trailer, it looks rock solid. Oddly enough, the wi-fi joke at the end of the trailer was my favorite part – it’s such a classic Marvel funny line, and a good one at that. It made me feel like the movie was in good hands and Marvel’s excellent track record also certainly helps.

Doctor Strange opens in theaters on Friday, November 4, 2016

The LEGO Batman Movie

In The LEGO Batman Movie, a spin-off of the The LEGO Movie, Batman (Will Arnett) goes on a personal journey to find himself and learn the importance of teamwork in hopes to save Gotham City from The Joker’s hostile takeover.

This is easily my most anticipated DC Comics movie. The LEGO Movie was fantastic and remains one of my all-time favorites and this spin-off seems to capture the energy, creativity and fun of that film. The trailer introduces us to Michael Cera’s Robin as well as the basic premise and has plenty of hilarious moments.

The LEGO Batman Movie will open in theaters on February 10, 2017.

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