So, this is actually not much of a surprise. Zach Snyder is a music video director who keeps getting to make films, in spite of the fact that he can’t really sustain a full length narrative. All of his trailers, however, are epic and awesome – yes, even Sucker Punch. This particular trailer did everything that a Watchmen movie adaptation needed to do. It envisioned and imagined the darker side of superheroes by providing snapshots or snippets of different grotesque extrapolations of superhero archetypes (nightmare Batman, nightmare Superman, nightmare Punisher…which is actually just the Punisher, but still). It took the world of Dave Gibbons off the page and brought it to life in spectacular fashion. It also set a great tone of cynicism and paranoia with the perfect song choice in Smashing Pumpkins’ slow take on “The End is the Beginning is The End,” which, ironically also appeared on a soundtrack from one of Schumacher’s awful Batman movies. Like many, I believe that Watchmen is unadaptable, but I think this trailer comes close. It represents the text very well, and promises a much better movie than fans actually received.
- X-men: Days of Future Past
As many people have noted, the problem with the X-men film franchise is its over-dependence on Wolverine and lack of interest in the other characters…also, Halle Berry’s accent. After Matthew Vaughn delivered a really solid, almost Wolverine-less film, the scruffy clawed dude is back to suck the life out of Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s second most beloved X-men storyline. But wait, what if you also had the buzziest actress in Hollywood attached to your film due to a 3-pic contract that she signed before her big break? Well, then you inflate her role to obscene proportions and get the Wolverine/Mystique movie that absolutely nobody wanted (apart from Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence’s agents). Everyone else dutifully steps to the side and the movie is just tedious and illogical and holds zero resemblance to a damn good X-men story. The trailer, on the other hand, is beautiful and haunting, again with great music, and lays out the fundamental ideological struggle between the wisdom of age, and the folly of youth, interweaving that with the nobility of the fight, and a genuinely heart-wrenching scene between James McAvoy’s defeated Xavier and Patrick Stewart’s enduring, visionary one.
3.Man of Steel
Damnit Zach Snyder, how do you keep tricking me into watching your films? I can keep this one pretty short by gently referring to my criticism of Snyder in the Watchmen section, but seriously, he just keeps doing this. His trailer is beautiful, once again, but this time it makes promises that it openly defies. The trailer is about hope, and Superman as a symbol for a better world, aka everything that makes the character special, everything that golden age Superman embodied as focused through the lens of John Byrne’s “Man of Steel” reboot which again makes Superman standout in a sea of constipated anti-heroes. Of course, the Superman that we meet in the film itself….not so much.
Suicide Squad, Dawn of Justice, Deadpool – all good/great trailers. Time will tell if the movies hold a candle.
*Author’s note: I should clarify that I’m aware that directors often don’t make their own trailers, but choosing to ignore that because it’s more fun this way.