Friday, December 4, 2015

Captain America: Civil War & Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Trailers are out!

And I could not be more "enh."

Don't get me wrong, I'll probably see both movies, but I have to say, watching the trailers reminds me why, for the most part, I don't watch trailers.  They either reveal way too much or they don't reveal anything and leave you guessing.

Let me go into a bit more detail.

First, let's talk about Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice which I still think is a ridiculous name for a movie.  The trailer makes the fatal mistake of giving away a major chunk of the film, which can mean one of only two things: they're actually revealing the entire story of the film to us, or they have some massive twist that they're going to reveal and they think they're OH SO CLEVER for luring us in with false expectations.

We have the introduction of Clark Kent to Bruce Wayne, with Jesse Eisenberg apparently having a strong disagreement with the director over what it means to be "over the top."  Having a character narrating two important people meeting when the two characters (and, in fact, the whole audience) already knowing who they are and why it's significant they meet is either self-congratulatory or just otherwise pointless.

Also, the room's that well lit, did they need a giant pane of windows showing it's dark outside in that shot?

Also, Lex is introducing himself to them?  Did he just look at the name tags and happen to recognize that the two of them had never met?

From there, it's mindless action, darkness, blurred action, darkness, Doomsday, another city exploding, Wonder Woman showing up, and in the most puzzling moment of all, a moment of banter.
There are so many things I'm left wondering that I'm afraid the movie won't tell me.  Why is the world's greatest detective doing anything that involves fighting Superman?  If he's being manipulated into it, then he's not a very good detective.  If Superman's being manipulated into it, then he's a terrible investigative reporter.  Hulk vs. Iron Man is a believable fight, because one of them is a giant ball of rage.  Superman vs. Batman doesn't work in the sense that they're two reasonably intelligent men who would presumably talk to each other first.

Second, you have Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Doomsday, weird bug creatures, the corpse of Zod, Aquaman, and who knows who else showing up in this movie.  Remember how much meaningful characterization everybody got in either Avengers movie?  No?  That's because there wasn't much of it to be had, the cast was too full.  The same problem happens to every superhero franchise.  Spider-Man 3 had too many characters, and the villains were left empty and hollow.

Like I said, I'll probably watch it, but unless the studio is trying to preen around smugly afterward because of the "shocking twist!" that they put in the film, I'm disappointed that we pretty much already know what the story is.  Plus, Batman's carrying a gun.  Shame on you, DC.

Now on to Captain America.  In the comics, the Civil War story line was a huge political debate about whether people with superheroes had to register with the federal government.  One side was lead by Captain America, who felt that secret identities were a person's own private business, and that the government requiring people anybody with any power to register, arresting anybody who refused to register, go through training, and then be placed onto federally-sponsored teams like military troops was wrong.

On the other side was Iron Man, who felt that having people walking around with the ability to blow up buildings with eye lasers or cause explosions that can destroy schools required oversight.  Heroes needed to be accountable to somebody so you wouldn't have people without training trying to save lives, since we require fire fighters, police officers, and soldiers to get training.  However, he was put into the position of being a massive jerk by hiring supervillains to hunt down heroes and by one of his subordinates trying to have Captain America arrested before the law was even passed.

It was a terrible story.

However, let's look at what's happened in the Marvel Universe since Tony was first captured by terrorists.  The Avengers were formed to fight an alien invasion.  The Hulk exists, and the public knows about him.  Thor's kicking around, meaning people now know there are aliens who claim to be "gods."  Ultron tried to destroy the world by dropping a large chunk of land on it.  Oh, and the giant government agency that manages the Avengers was fully infiltrated by Nazis: The Next Generation.

Oh, and the Hulk and Iron Man destroyed a major chunk of real estate because a female terrorist zapped the Hulk's mind, and then later she gets to join the Avengers with just an explanation of "well, the robot was MORE evil, so it's okay.  Plus her brother died, so anything she did before can't be held against her."

Honestly, I'm not sure whether it's Cap's determination to protect Bucky or the fact that the Avengers need to be monitored by an outside agency that causes the "Civil War," but either way there's a problem with the movie's logic.  Let's look at the Cap protecting Bucky part of the story.

We, the audience, know that Bucky is pretty much innocent.  He was brainwashed repeatedly to follow Hydra (um, spoilers?), and was probably told each time he was stopping a "bad man" if they don't want us to think mind control equals overwriting someone's entire morality code so they think "hey, murder is awesome."

However, the Marvel Universe as a whole doesn't know Bucky's innocent.  Once Cap finds Bucky and they get away from whatever police force is attempting to "not take him alive," their first act should be to call Tony and say "hey, mobilize every lawyer you have, because you fought a mind-zapped Hulk, you should understand that people shouldn't be held accountable for things they do while under mental control of others.  Unless you also plan on bringing in Bruce Banner, that is.  Good luck with that."

Between Cap acting as the ultimate character witness, Black Widow, Maria Hill, all those Hydra files that probably explain what they did to make Bucky into the Winter Soldier, and Tony's army of lawyers, combined with Bucky's knowledge that he could probably give to the world about the ops he previously ran, Bucky should face zero jail time.  Everybody wins from Cap and Tony working together, and they're both too smart to not see it.

But let's pretend it isn't about that.  Let's pretend that it's about having the Avengers be unsupervised.  First, Cap served the army under a small military team that still reported to the government.  The Avengers started out operating under SHIELD.  I don't get why Cap would be opposed to this.  I have a nagging feeling the movie is going to need to manufacture someone in power being a jerk or being evil just to justify the struggle between Cap and Iron Man.  It will be manufactured drama for the sake of drama, which is something I can't stand in films.

Honestly, to me, the most interesting part of either movie was Tony Stark and his "so was I" reaction.  Tony and Steve have squabbled pretty much from the moment they met.  They constantly yell at each other, they have opposite ideas of how to get things done, but when it comes time to work as a team, they get the job done and they do it well.  But let's look at the social circle of Tony Stark.

He has Happy, Pepper, and Rhodey.  He used to have a closer relationship to his computer system "Jarvis" than he did anyone outside of those three people I previously mentioned.  He and Bruce Banner became "science bros," but even taking account that Thor probably isn't around that often, the Black Widow was an object he lusted after initially, and Hawkeye has his own family life he deals with, Steve is still probably one of the closest people in Tony's life.  Certainly in his top five people he talks to on a regular basis.

To Tony Stark, Steve Rogers is a close friend.  They fight, they disagree, but that's everybody Tony knows.  He's not very well emotionally developed, which is a major point of a lot of his films.

What I want is a movie that's a Real World-esque look at Tony and his interactions with people.  Have it be a background documentary, "day in the life of an Avenger."  Tony thinks it would help with PR if they had a film crew follow everyone around for a day, or they simply have the Vision record everything with his eyes.  They insert little interviews where people share a bit too much as they talk to the camera, but then insist that things get edited out.

In other words, I want a feature film version of the Heroes two-parter from Stargate SG-1.  No more mindless action sequences, no more pointless arguments for the sake of stretching out a film, just pure character development all the way.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  I'll see the movies.  But the trailers really didn't do anything for me.

No comments: