We love trailers here at The Comeback. Sometimes, they’re better than the movies or TV shows they’re intended to promote. We try to cover the best of them, big and small, in our coverage during any given week. But we can’t always get to all of them among the week’s sports and culture news.
The past week was a big one for trailers, several of which hit the internet on Friday and Saturday. It includes our first look at a new animated Spider-Man film (with someone new under the mask), a much-anticipated project from James Cameron, the debut of the first Jurassic World preview and a teaser for season two of a Marvel Netflix series.
Here are the best movie and TV trailers from the past seven days (with links to those we wrote up earlier):
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Dec. 14, 2018
Why Marvel and DC haven’t made more theatrical animated films is curious (DC has had great success with direct-to-video movies), but maybe that will change with the upcoming release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Not only can Marvel get another Spider-Man movie in theaters, but it also provides the opportunity to introduce the Miles Morales, “Ultimate Spider-Man” version of the character to audiences. Created in 2011 by Brian Michael Bendis to make Spider-Man more accessible to a new era and audience, the Afro-Hispanic Morales has been hugely popular with comic book fans, carrying his own title and appearing in the Ultimate Spider-Man TV cartoon.
Now he’s hitting the big screen in a project produced by Chris Lord and Phil Miller (The LEGO Movie), and directed by Bo Persichetti, Peter Ramsey (both of whom have extensive experience in animation and Rodney Rothman (who worked with Lord and Miller on 22 Jump Street).
This first look is a great teaser showing a modernized version of Spider-Man in a sleek, nighttime setting. But for people unfamiliar with Miles Morales, the reveal of a black kid underneath that familiar mask should be quite a surprise. And is that somehow Peter Parker talking to Miles at the very end?
Alita: Battle Angel – July 20
This was an unexpected surprise at the end of the week. Alita: Battle Angel is a widely anticipated blockbuster among sci-fi fans with James Cameron’s name attached to it (one reason why he hasn’t made an Avatar sequel yet). And this is the sort of project that Robert Rodriguez should’ve tried to direct years ago when his star was at its brightest.
Without having seen the original manga and anime that this is based on, however, the choice to give the title character (played by Rosa Salazar) big eyes that resemble a character in Japanese comic books and animation is a strange one that risks unsettling the audience. (Did it remind anyone else of the alien doctor at the beginning of the 2009 Star Trek?)
The visuals will likely be outstanding with Cameron overseeing the production and Rodriguez behind the camera. But audiences rejected Ghost in the Shell — also a story about a female cyborg in search of her origins — earlier this year, due in large part to concerns over casting white actors as characters who were conceived as Japanese.
As of yet, that uproar hasn’t been directed toward Alita: Battle Angel, and maybe it won’t since the main character is being played by a person of color and the cast is diverse. But now that this trailer has been released, those rumblings could soon begin.
Jessica Jones – March 8
Three weeks after The Punisher debuted on Netflix, one of the streaming network’s previous Marvel shows debuts a new teaser. The second season of Jessica Jones was drawing some buzz online with star Krysten Ritter and executive producer Melissa Rosenberg talking to Entertainment Weekly for an interview that also revealed that villain Kilgrave (David Tennant) will return.
But rather than Kilgrave coming back from the dead (which would be a cheesy, though comic book appropriate development), it’s far more likely that he’ll be seen in hallucinations and flashbacks, haunting Jessica as she tries to cope with killing her adversary, captor and abuser.
Jones wasn’t utilized very well in The Defenders, taking a back seat to more superheroic characters Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. She was basically out of her element and it’ll be nice to see her back in it on her own series again. But the most important takeaway is the announcement of Jessica Jones‘ premiere on March 8.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – June 22
This week’s biggest trailer was the eagerly awaited first look at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which got a big rollout on Thursday Night Football. The initial premise seems promising. Why would Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) — and you get major points if you remembered those character names — return to Isla Nublar unless it was to save the dinosaurs (many of whom Owen helped raise and train) from extinction by volcano?
The return of Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, who is having his moment) should pull in many longtime fans of the Jurassic Park series, though the trailer makes it appear as if he won’t be part of the action at the abandoned theme park. Maybe he’ll come in with a boat following the scene at the end of the trailer where everybody has to jump off a cliff into the ocean. A life raft finds a way.
By the way, the callback to the signature T-Rex shot in Jurassic Park is really well done. Director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) could do much better with this material than Colin Trevorrow did last time around.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure – Jan. 26
With his role in this year’s American Assassin, Dylan O’Brien looked to be on his way out of young adult fare. But he’s not quite done with the Maze Runner franchise yet with the third and final installment hitting theaters. (O’Brien also suffered serious injuries in an on-set accident that delayed production for months.)
There’s a definite Mad Max vibe to The Death Cure, at least early on in the trailer — and presumably, the movie — before the story takes Thomas (O’Brien) and his Glader friends back into the Lost City for the cure mentioned in the title. I haven’t seen the first two Maze Runner films, but it looks like O’Brien is showing off some of the gun skills he learned while filming American Assassin. Am I just making an assumption or does he look like he knows how to handle firearms better this time around?
You Were Never Really Here – April 6
Among last week’s trailers, we saw Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ in the upcoming Mary Magdalene. This week, we get a look at Phoenix in a far different role as a military veteran coping with PTSD who tracks down missing girls for a living. Getting to inflict some serious violence on the kidnappers helps him deal with his inner demons, while rescuing young girls provides him with a sense of redemption.
Directed by the outstanding Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin), You Were Never Really Here might give us the closest thing we’ll see to Joaquin Phoenix as an action hero these days. There probably wasn’t much of an audience clamoring for that, but there might be something cathartic in watching him beat the shit out of monsters who prey on children. Mix in some conspiratorial thriller and we have what looks like an extremely compelling movie.
Please Stand By – Jan. 26
Star Trek — or at least affection for the original series — seems to be enjoying kind of a comeback. Star Trek: Discovery seemed to be a hit with fans on CBS All Access and Quentin Tarantino pitching an idea (and possibly directing) for a new movie is intriguing movie fans and Trekkers alike.
Please Stand By may ride in on that wave, though it was obviously in production before those aforementioned developments. And maybe it will be a comeback vehicle for Dakota Fanning, who slipped off the pop culture radar while her sister, Elle, has been snagging several showy roles (The Neon Demon, Live By Night, The Beguiled) in recent years.
The older Fanning plays an autistic movie who flees the group home where she’s staying to submit a Star Trek script for a contest. The trip to Los Angeles looks like a fun road trip story, the Star Trek stuff should appeal to fans and Patton Oswalt’s role looks perfect for him.
Wormwood – Dec. 15
Netflix is currently producing so many series that it’s getting tough to keep up with unless you watch them right away. (Please check out our review of Godless, by the way.) The latest is Wormwood, premiering next week on the streaming network, which explores a CIA conspiracy theory surrounding the death of an Army scientist. Did he commit suicide or was he pushed out of a window? And if he was murdered, why? Was he involved in a CIA mind-control experiment?
What makes Wormwood even more interesting is that it’s a mix of documentary and scripted drama series (starring Peter Skarsgard as that Army scientist, Frank Olson). Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (an Academy Award winner) is helming the six-part series, which will combine interviews, archival footage and dramatizations.
Permission – Feb. 9
An alternate title for this movie could have been “Bad Idea.” Oh, sure — go sleep with other people. That could help our relationship. What could go wrong?
Permission seems like a movie or TV drama storyline that’s been seen before, but a cast led by Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens could elevate the material. If it’s handled poorly with melodramatic writing and acting, and contrived plot developments, the movie could be a disaster. But if it’s done well, Permission and its provocative premise could generate a lot of discussion among filmgoers and writers ready with think-pieces to dissect the film and what it means.
Altered Carbon – Feb. 2
As already mentioned, Netflix is producing a whole lot of material for subscribers. What’s even more impressive is that some of these TV shows and movies are bold and challenging for a network whose content doesn’t typically get a theatrical release or wider broadcast outlet.
The upcoming sci-fi series Altered Carbon definitely fits into that category. Once upon a time, maybe this is something we’d have seen on British television, Syfy, or maybe even HBO. Based on a 2002 novel, the series takes place in a future where people can transfer their consciousness from one body to another. Essentially, technology has made them immortal. We’ve definitely seen this sort of premise explored in subpar movies like 2009’s Surrogates and Self/less in 2015.
But the sleek, futuristic, Blade Runner-esque sci-fi setting could set Altered Carbon apart from those efforts and maybe prevent it from coming off like an extended episode of Black Mirror. This was only a teaser, but what was shown looks like it could be worth watching.