Birds of Prey Trailer Reaction: I Don’t Hate It

Here is my Birds of Prey trailer reaction. I watched it last night and again today. Anyone who knows me knows that I dislike the movie version of the Suicide Squad for a multitude of reasons. And, anyone who has seen that movie should agree that Harley was the best part of it. So, I am glad to see Margot Robbie reprise her role here in this movie, despite it’s unwieldy full title.

Anyway, onto the trailer. At first blush it looks like it’s carrying on the aesthetic of the Suicide Squad. Fine, if that’s what DC wants to do. Beyond that, I am happy to see that Harley is distancing herself from Joker. I know we need a little bit of that relationship because it is what defined the character for so long. Still, I hope they don’t spend too much time on it in this film. Get in, establish she’s left him behind, and move on. Easy peasy, giant hammer to your facey.

The image shows Harley Quinn form the new Birds of Prey trailer kissing a hyena.
Harely has a new Pudding!

Difficulties abound when judging a movie based on its trailer, and this one is no different. The sorrowful song playing over the whole thing makes it feel generic. Seriously, so many movie trailers do this nowadays it’s become boring. At least this one is a little different thanks to the song choice. Beyond that, though, it looks like there will be some good action, and comedic beats. Again, it’s truly difficult to tell because we don’t get much dialogue, though we can get a sense of the plot. Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask is apparently a new player in town, and it’s up to Harley and the rest of the birds to take him down.

Birds of Prey Trailer Reaction–Fans are Hard to Please

Even before the trailer dropped, people were complaining about the Black Mask not wearing a mask. And yeah, I get that. After all, it is kind of the character’s whole schtick. It would be like Joker looking like a gangster rather than a clown. Oh, wait…. Man, I dislike Suicide Squad so much.

Another fan reaction I have heard since the Birds of Prey trailer dropped is “This isn’t my BoP team!” Again, I can understand that. Everyone has characters and teams they love, and I am no different. While it’s true that Harley hasn’t traditionally been part of the team, movies are different. Plus, she’s the most bankable character in the movie, so of course they’re going to go with her. Why couldn’t they just make a Harley movie? Good question, and one I don’t have an answer for. Furthermore, I don’t really care.

In closing, I think this movie will be all right. Will it be a masterpiece of cinema? Doubtful. Will it have at least a few good performances and action sequences? I really hope so. Am I more excited about this than Joker? Definitely.

So, what’s your reaction to the Birds of Prey trailer? Let me know in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading.

It Chapter 2 Reaction–I’m Trying to be Open Minded

So the It Chapter 2 trailer came out, and my reaction is about what I expected. I love the book. It’s not perfect, but it is dark and scary and gross. The novel encapsulates a plethora of horror tropes, and adds to them in new ways. Truly, Kings was at his coked out best when he wrote it.

Update: My full review of the film.

I am a fan of the original mini-series, though I admit it is far from perfect. The thing I felt the mini-series got right was the kids. The child actors buoy the first half, as do the writing, and of course Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Comparing Tim Curry to Bill Skarsgård doesn’t interest me. They each bring their own ability to the role, and each does a good job, albeit in a different way.

The first installment of the remake offers some good scares, the basement being chief among them. Additionally, that film gives us the House on Neibolt Street, which was awesome. However, beyond that, the movie didn’t do much for me. I know a lot of people like it, and that’s fine,I am not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like (mostly). However, I am here to give you my It Chapter 2 trailer reaction.

As you may have guessed by now, the trailer left me wanting. I am trying to keep an open mind about it because I understand movies and novels are different media. Looking at the book and the film as separate entities is a good way to keep expectations low. Also, it helps take each on their own terms. The book will always be better, but that doesn’t mean the film won’t be enjoyable.

Why I have a lukewarm reaction to It Chapter 2

First, much like the first part, it feels very rote and by the numbers. Of course, the amount of horror tropes employed in the source material probably has something to do with this. Still, there doesn’t seem to be much of a fresh take on the horror, or the novel.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love a straight up adaptation. We won’t be getting that, which is fine. They are separate things. What I want from the films is for them to keep the spirit of the novel. I can’t say part one did that for me. And, it looks like part 2 will be very much in line with that.

Lest you think I am being a negative Nancy, there were some things about the trailer I liked. First, the house of mirrors sequence looks good. Pennywise is torturing Bill and threatening to kill that kid in front of him, which I hope happens. This scene is not in the novel, but torturing the adults is how Pennywise gets his kicks, so it’s fitting.

The picture shows James MacAvoy as Bill in It Chapter 2
Click to enlarge

Also, I like how haggard Richie looks, as that captures how his adult self starts to unravel when he returns to Derry. And of course Skarsgard will be great as the titular monster.

All in all, I am not super stoked about this film. I want to be, and I will do my best to be open to liking it when I see it. This is just a trailer, after all, and we all know judging films by their trailers is silly. However, previews should make people excited for the film, and I am not there. I know many others are, and that’s okay. Disagreements are fine, and they are best when kept civil.

Star Wars Episode IX Trailer Reaction

First of all, I want to say how happy I am that Lando is back. He’s flying the Falcon with a big smile on his face, and that is wonderful. When he didn’t appear in Episode VII, I really wanted him in VIII. So, to see him appear in IX warms my heart. My joy is only a little diminished by the fact that he won’t have screen time with Han or Leia. Luke is still possible, though. Anyway, here is the Star Wars Episode IX trailer.

And, here is my reaction:

I loved it, and I am excited for the movie. I am not a TLJ hater, though I recognize it had some issues. However, I think it presented a lot of cool ideas for the Star Wars universe, and tried to remind people the galaxy is big. How successful it was in that regard is something else. But, it took chances, and made us remember that the Force is a living thing that exists everywhere. Plus, all the stuff with Luke was gold, Jerry, gold.

Anyway, back to my Star Wars Episode IX Trailer reaction.

Good things: The Luke voice-over. I will always love hearing old, grizzled Luke talk. Additionally, his voice gives me hope that we haven’t seen the last of the character, despite his apparent demise in The Last Jedi. I want him to be an active force ghost, like Yoda as in the previous installment, mainly because I want him there to troll Kylo at every opportunity.

The image shows Rey running from Kylo's tie fighter in the Star Wars Episode IX trailer

Lando! Did I mention that Lando is back and I love it? Well, he’s back and I love it.

The opening of the trailer with Rey on a desert planet (could be Jakku, could be Tatooine), the lightsaber and Kylo’s fighter bearing down on her! Great stuff.

The image shows Lando flying the Millenium Falcon from the Star Wars Episode IX trailer, and his reactions is as giddy as mine.
Lando in the new Stars Wars movie. He looks as happy as I feel knowing he’ll be there.

Poe and Finn having more screen time together. I am not a ‘shipper, but those two characters have good chemistry. Their lack of shared screen time in Episode VIII didn’t bother me too much, but it will be nice to have them reunited.

Carrie Fisher

That final image and the laugh. Yes, those play off my nostalgia feels more than anything else, but I’m not going to lie; they did their job.

Other Exciting Things

I also like the shot of Kylo repairing his helmet. Why? Because it tells me that he is as trapped in the past as any of us. When put in the context of his remarks to Rey in Snoke’s throne room, it helps us understand that he is just a fool playing at evil.

I am not a Reylo fan, and I hope they don’t get together or are somehow related. However, I do hope he somehow gets his redemption because Star Wars is also about redemption. Reconstructing his helmet indicates he has attachments to the past, which could pave the way for him to return to the light.

Or, maybe that isn’t him rebuilding the mask. Maybe it’s someone else: like Phasma or a hitherto unknown villain. I mean, it’s almost 100% certain Kylo is remaking the mask, but there’s a slight chance it’s someone else.

The glimpse of Kylo Ren we see fighting alongside the stormtroopers intrigues me. I want to know who they’re fighting. Is it rebels? Is it poor villagers like in Force Awakens? I want it to be a contingent of First Order troops loyal to Hux. Just imagine how cool it would be if we got to see some First Order civil war infighting. Having such a subplot in the movie would do a few things.

One, it would give the Resistance/Rebellion time to rebuild, and have their own adventures. Two, it would further develop the rift established between Hux and Kylo and their struggle to lead the First Order after Snoke’s death. Third, we’d get to see evil tear itself apart: another common Star Wars theme.

Final thoughts

This is a short trailer, and ultimately doesn’t show much. Still, the trailer has piqued my excitement to see how the Skywalker saga will end. I am curious about the tittle though. What does ‘Rise of Skywalker’ mean. Is Rey really going to be a Skywalker? Is it a reference to Kylo’s redemption because he’s a Skywalker? Will Luke’s force spirit arise from the remains of his clothes and bestow the Force on the galaxy as the end of TLJ implied?

What other options that I haven’t thought of exist?

This trailer makes it appear that JJ Abrams and co have decided to toss out some things from The Last Jedi, and I am not sure how I feel about that. I know people had problems with TLJ, but it wasn’t as bad as they say, nor was it as great as its defenders say. It was entertaining with some excellent parts and some not so great moments. I do hope, however, that the ideas and answers it gave us remain, otherwise it will feel like a waste of a movie. If nothing from TLJ matters, why have it at all.?

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts and reactions to Star Wars Episode IX trailer. What do you think? Are you excited for this final installment of the Skywalker saga? Are you as happy as I am about Lando’s return? Let me know in the comments.

The New Joker Trailer is Stylish but Boring

I am a huge fan of the Joker as a villain. I really dig his craziness, and he puts forth the contradiction of silly and violent. Plus, clowns are freaky, so he’s got that going for him. However, it is difficult to make a story that features him as the main character. He works best as a villain, a response to the insanity of the world, or the harsh rigid control of Batman. In order for him to stand on his own the audience has to see him as sympathetic. And while that may be possible, it is also misses the point of the character. We should never root for the character, which is what the new Joker trailer clearly wants us to do.

The whole look and feel of the trailer wants to remind us of a 1970s flick about a man whose life is in the toilet, and suffers one too many grievances at the hands of society. In the trailer, goons attack him several times. One time they steal his sign and hit him over the head with it when he gives chase. In another scene, they beat him up on the subway. All of this takes place with his voice over about how the city is going to hell. The call backs to Taxi Driver are blatant. Of course, these comparisons make sense, considering Scorsese’s name came up quite a bit surrounding this movie when DC announced it.

Look, Scorsese has made some good films, and people like his aesthetic, especially his 70s aesthetic. However, I don’t think we need this kind of movie right now.

That’s Not Joker in the New Trailer

Sure, they call him Joker, and he wears a clown mask, and later suit reminiscent of Joker’s style. But really, the character looks to be the Clown Prince of Crime in name only. Joker is a psychopath; a sinister murderer, and rapist. We should never feel sorry for him, or have sympathy for him.

The image shows Joker in the new trailer as he walks down a hall. He is in a stylish suit and wears clown makeup.
Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. I like his suit if not much else. Click image to enlarge.

In The Killing Joke before he turns into Joker, he’s a chump and a stooge who we don’t feel too sorry for. He maybe deserves our sympathy at that point, but not once he turns into Joker. And how does that happen? He gets pushed into Acme goo and it breaks him. He doesn’t, however, becomes the resident psycho clown of Gotham because he was picked on too much.

Maybe there is some catalyzing event in the film that the new Joker trailer isn’t showing us, but even if there is I don’t know. I don’t need to see another movie about the white guy pushed to him limits and them goes crazy. We’ve seen it in Falling Down (one of my favorite movies, BTW). We also saw it in Taxi Driver. It’s happened in Death Wish, and a variety of other films, and is old hat by this point.

It’s Not a Small Movie

Plus, as arthouse as DC want this movie to look, we have to keep in mind this is a mainstream flick with a wide release. It’s not some indy film that will release in 20 theaters and blow our minds with its choices. It’s a part of a multi-million dollar juggernaut that will just reinforce the white man’s vengeance tale yet again. I am a white dude who tends to enjoy these types of stories, but I don’t need any more of them.

It isn’t necessary to tell a movie where Joker is the hero, or to try to make the audience relate to him. He is the boogeyman, an agent of chaos, insanity in an already insane world. The only Joker stories we should tell are the ones where he gets his comeuppance. Batman handing him his ass? I want to see that. Jim Gordon blowing his kneecap off? Sign me up! Barbara Gordon breaking his spine? I’ll see that movie twice in the theater. Joker is there to hate and despise, not to emulate or adore.

I am not saying audience members will fall in love with Joker in this movie, nor am I saying that’s what DC wants us to do. However, I do find it ambiguous and a little dicey that they have decided to present the new trailer for the Joker movie in this way.

On a positive note, it does have Zazie Beetz in it, and she’s spectacular. Also, Joaquin Phoenix is a good actor, so the performances should be good. It might end up being a good flick, but I won’t be holding my breath.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

New Hellboy Trailer Leaves Me Cold

Much like books, we shouldn’t judge movies by their trailers, but I have to say the new Hellboy trailer leaves me cold and wanting. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not because of David Harbour replacing Ron Perlman as Anung Un Rama. Perlman was spectacular as Big Red, but Harbour looks like he will do a fine job.

No, what bothers me about the new Hellboy trailer, and possibly the movie is that I can’t get excited about it no matter how much I try. I love Hellboy and the Mignolaverse. It is weird and scary and fun and funny, and full of heart. To me, that’s what’s missing from this trailer, and why my feelings are luke-warm to cold about it.

Too Much Action

Trailers are supposed to get audiences excited and sell the movie. I understand that, and I understand this reasoning is probably why the new look at the movie is full of action, however, Hellboy is more than action. He is heart and pathos and ethos and a connection to the audience. Audience connection is essential, no matter what movie or character you are presenting.

For Hellboy, though, that connection is essential. He bears the Right Hand of Doom, but he rejects his destiny. As audience members, we need to feel that connection to him immediately. We need to understand that he denies the pre0ordained and forges his own path. If you tell that story with too much action, you run the risk of losing sight of what makes Hellboy work as a character.

Yes, a Hellboy movie needs action, but it needs more than that. Constant stabbings and explosions get boring and tedious. Audiences need more.

New Hellboy Trailer Same Generic Feeling

My biggest issue with the trailer, I think, it the generic feeling. It looks and feels and sounds the same as so many other superhero/action movies. It’s got the standard blue/gray color template, and lots of CGI that calls attention to itself.

Telling a Hellboy story without CGI is nearly impossible, even Del Toro used it in his movies. However, in Del Toro’s vision, the graphics seemed a little more integrated into the world. They felt like they were a part of it rather than apart from it.

A Hellboy movie can be many things: action-packed, scary, weird, funny; but it should never feel like something else. It should be its own entity with its own identity, and this trailer doesn’t communicate that idea to me.

I hope I am wrong, though because want this movie to be good, and I want it to succeed. I love Hellboy, and I want many more good movies to come.

What are your thoughts on the new hellboy trailer? Do you want to see the new movie? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.