SPIDEY TEAMS WITH THE JUSTICE LEAGUE (ok not like that but they both gave us some decent trailers in one week!)..
Two Rival Houses of the Super-Hero variety launched trailers this week. JUSTICE LEAGUE came first, with its first official trailer, hot on the heels of its final one for the imminent WONDER WOMAN. Second was SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, timed nicely to coincide with some recent and final tv spots / mini trailers for next month’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2.
Good news is that both Justice League and Spidey have delivered first rate trailers and for a change, there is simply no need for a ‘DC vs Marvel’ thing. They are rival brands, yes. That need not mean their every product is in direct conflict or competition; one need not be ‘better’ than its counterpart. Just sufficiently different but of equal quality in its niche and happily that is the case here.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (in which the web-slinger finally joins the canonical Marvel Cinematic Universe and finally in an iteration that does justice to ALL facets of his character and world).
Let’s start with Spidey. This is not just a trailer. It is a film in itself. A clear story and character arc; a simple yet effective plot hint; punctuated by great effects and visual style and performed by actors of charm, craft and competence. Tone is upbeat but exciting, avoids the needlessly ‘dark’ yet deploys real stakes and tension in the set pieces glimpsed. Also: funny, tender, warm and soulful.
One cannot help but like this film already. Tom Holland is the perfect balance of awkward/geeky and genuinely heroic, cool and funny. He captures the over-eager, starstruck kid, desperate to join the Avengers whilst being precociously worthy of that in any event and yet equally challenged by the everyday struggles of adolescence.
Matters helped by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) now in mentor mode, teaching Peter Parker/Spidey that clothes do NOT maketh the super-hero. Also appears that the villain (Michael Keaton as a genuinely menacing ‘Vulture’: all blue collar rage and white collar criminal ambition) has a gripe with Stark, thereby setting up a clash of acting titans in Downey vs Keaton. That alone just made this movie more watchable and unmissable. I’ll be climbing walls to see this one!
JUSTICE LEAGUE (in which the heroes of the newly formed DC Cinematic Universe unite to save the world and redeem a brand after the minor setback of BATMAN V SUPERMAN; Expect truth, justice and some good old fashioned FUN..at last!).
Ben Affleck has not had an easy ride of late. LIVE BY NIGHT did not quite match the critical acclaim his efforts usually..er..garner? And he made the very public and therefore very brave step of talking about his struggle with the demon drink. Glad to report that neither setback has impacted his performance because it appears his Batman has somehow pulled off the impossible and in a few glimpsed frames, united the ‘realistic’ (ie Dark Knight style) Bat to its more fantastical (ie Bats in space) counterpart.
The Bat-Fleck has just a dash of knowing wit in there and a nod /wink but clearly retains the menace and physicality that defined his performance so well in Batman V Superman last year. And to top it all off, Ben gets a Han Solo moment, too. It’s a ‘thing’ now, that every cinematic hero must have some throwback to the work of Harrison Ford and here we get Bat-fleck decked out in winter combat gear inc goggles, on what might be a Tauntaun from EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. He did it before,. of course. Calls it out himself in 1998’s ARMAGEDDON ‘I’m Han, You’re Chewie‘, says Affleck to Owen Wilson, as he welds some gear together, while wearing..goggles.
Rest of the team also looking good. Aquaman seems both funny and threatening. Jason Momoa fills the screen in the part of the King of the seas/fishes. A generation ago, he’d have been stuck in some straight to video hell / B movie Red Shoe Diary type skin flick thriller with Shannon Tweed on Channel 5. Now? With the comic book movie boom? He’s right up where he belongs and could easily be the next Dwayne Johnson with dash of the Stallones and Schwarzeneggers of old. An action star is born.
Rest of team also present and correct, though emphasis very much on the Batman/Aquaman bromance. Wonder Woman looks to be on leader duties with Batman though, in equality interests. The Flash is in there as comic relief? And Cyborg is there as well..I dunno..affirmative action on cybernetic organisms or something.
No hint yet of what the threat is or where Superman is in all of this (still not with us?), but glimpses of Amy Adams’ Lois Lane and JK Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon, plus any insider info you may have as a existing fan of this universe..help one piece it all together no doubt. All in all: save a minor ambiguity in tone / purpose / character? Looks to be an accomplished action-adventure picture and worth a wait to watch.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING AND JUSTICE LEAGUE will be reviewed at MovieViral on their release.