Connect with us


A Trio of Great Trailers Tease The Promising Blockbusters of 2017

The Fate of the Furious, War for the Planets of the Apes, and Spider-Man: Homecoming all look great — and thank god for that.



The Fate of the Furious, War for the Planets of the Apes, and Spider-Man: Homecoming all look like they could be great— and thank god for that.

2016 has been a bummer year in a lot of areas. But one of the ones closer to my heart is the world of film, specifically blockbuster films. I’m a huge fan of big, loud action movie epics, and even by modern Hollywood’s standards, 2016 was kind of a shitty year for them. Between insta-duds like Independence Day: Resurgence, Suicide Squad, Batman v. Superman, and X-Men: Apocalypse, it was very challenging to find any real blockbusters of merit released in the last 12 months. In fact, the only one that comes to mind is Captain America: Civil War, with the rest ranging from okay (Doctor Strange) to god-awful (I already mentioned Batman v. Superman, right?) As a movie fan, it’s tragic. But as a blockbuster fan? It’s a massive heartbreak.

Thankfully 2017 is already looking a whole lot better in this department, with a wide range of big Hollywood productions already impressing with their debut trailers. Three of those said films released trailers over the last few days and, since I haven’t had the chance to speak about any of them individually, why not glob them altogether into one thinly-connected post? Let’s start things out in chronological order, with the first released trailer for the blockbusters of 2017 being…

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man has and always will be my favorite superhero, so to have him officially inducted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a bit of a dream come true. And after the disappointing double whammy that was The Amazing Spider-Man duology, I am more than ready to let in another great Spider-Man movie into my life. After all, it’s been more than a decade — I need a lot more than just a great cameo appearance in Civil War to get my webhead fix. And, for the most part, this trailer did delivers on what I hoped Spidey’s first MCU adventure would be.

The clear highlight is the first half, which sees young Peter Parker dealing with the pained duality of being both a masked crimefighter AND a nerdy high school student. That struggle in some form is the catalyst of every great Spider-Man story, and this trailer did a strong job of showing off how important the high school elements of Peter Parker’s story will be. The second half of the trailer is a little bit more by-the-numbers than I would have hoped for (with none of the teased set-pieces really wowing me at this point), but this trailer already has a ton of heart, which is pretty much half the battle won right there.

And hey, when it doubt, trot Tony Stark out. I’m very excited about seeing the continued mentor/mentee relationship between Parker and Stark, with Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland having a ton of comedic chemistry even in just this trailer. And as clearly attention grabbing as that last shot is…yeah, it’s still really freaking cool. I remain excited to see what becomes of Spider-Man: Homecoming when it hits theaters on July 7, 2017.

War for the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of the best blockbusters of the past decade, if not THE best one. So the sequel to the film would earn my interest regardless of its trailer’s quality. But I’m happy nonetheless that our first look at War for the Planet of the Apes is a good one, full of the impressive scale and jaw dropping CGI that made the last two films surprise successes. And after his winning performance in Edge of Seventeen, I’m so pumped to see Woody Harrelson as the baddie in this. Granted I’m excited to see Woody Harrelson in every damn thing, but still — the dude’s such a good actor, he even nails the on-paper cheese of that final This will be… A PLANET OF THE APES!!!” line!

The only question mark I have about the movie is the human cast, which is reportedly being led by relative newcomer Gabriel Chavarria. You don’t get to see much of any human characters besides Harrelson in this trailer, but that could be a positive — at this point I hope the story is confident enough to have an ape led film, one that doesn’t need much of any human surrogates to be our “lead.” Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a strong first step in that regard, but I hope War for the Planet of the Apes goes even further. If Caesar really gets to be the “main” character here, it will only further cement the franchises’ status as one of the most ambitious, exciting series currently around.

At this point, all I can do is trust in the abilities of director Matt Reeves, and the quality of this first trailer. Between those two, War for the Planet of the Apes more than earns its spot as one of my most anticipated films of 2017.

The Fate of the Furious

Ah yes — where would 2017 be if The Fate of the Furious wasn’t being released? The recently retitled eighth (yes, you read that right) entry in the franchise just released its first trailer yesterday and…look, at this point, you kind of know if you are the target audience for this kind of dumb, easily digestible, yet oddly pretty ambitious little franchise. It’s certainly not for everyone, and eight entries in, it would’t be too much of a shocker if one of these movies turned out to be pretty terrible (the first few weren’t exactly great to begin with, if we’re being completely honest.) But for now? Yes, I’m so very much all in.

Plot-wise, I can totally see some problems here — I’m not entirely sold on the idea of Dom completely turning on his family, as interesting as a subversion as it might be. Following the death of Paul Walker, this series needs something of an anchor, and I’m not sure now’s exactly the time to take its lead character and turn him against all the supporting ones. I mean I like Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, and the like, but are any of them really able to be the lead of the ensemble like Dom was? My only hope is that Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs character will be able to take the spotlight this time around, and that he won’t get benched in the hospital for half the movie like last time around. Teaming him up with Jason Statham also sounds pretty great, and is the exact level of completely ridiculous storytelling that we all love about these FF films.

And of course story takes a huge backseat to the set-pieces, which is really what gets my attention at the end of the day. And thankfully this trailer did not fail in that department, delivering image after image of REALLY cool action ideas. It’s crazy that this series can still deliver unique and compelling action movie moments, and do it with gusto. This movie has a freaking submarine chase, a giant wrecking ball, and what looks to be an awesome prison break out scene. As the trailer unfolded, my apprehension at the evil Dom plot quickly broke away. And by the time The Rock loudly proclaimed to Jason Statham that he was going to beat him “like a Cherokee drum,” I was all smiles. As long as the franchise remains this gleefully goofy and ambitiously action packed, I can watch these films forever.

And adding in an evil, Metallica t-shirt wearing Charlize Theron? Well, that certainly helps.

These are only just a few of the big movies coming in 2017, and I’m sure we’re bound to see trailers for even more before the year is out. Stay tuned.

Matthew Legarreta is the Editor and Owner of Freshly Popped Culture. A big ol’ ball of movie, TV, and video game loving flesh, Matthew has been writing about pop culture for nearly a decade. Matthew also loves writing about himself in the third person, because it makes him feel important (or something.)


The Spider Man: Into The Spider-Verse Teaser Trailer Creates One Hell of An Eye-Popping Debut

Sony’s Animated Spider-Man movie looks better than expected, thankfully.



Well, if you can say anything about Sony Pictures, it’s that they tried. Sure, that phrase is likely going to be engraved on their headstone a decade from now, but it doesn’t make it any less true — Sony is going through every single one of their brands, digging through them endlessly for any ounce of blockbuster potential they may have. It would be almost impressive, if it also didn’t seem so creatively empty.

But, hey, it doesn’t have to be. Sure, no one in the goddamn world is itching for a Mobius the Vampire Movie, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great. Even something born out of needless franchising can be a work of artistic value. And there’s no two men you don’t have to tell that too than Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

The pair have been able to turn creative bankruptcy into brilliance for years now, and Sony recently set them loose on the crown jewel of milked-dry brands: Spider-Man. Together the pair wrote the script for a Spider-Man movie that would be created by Sony Animation (who the duo worked with on the Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs films) All we knew about the project for a while now was that it would involve the character of Miles Morales (played by Dope’s Shameik Moore.) But with the film coming out next Christmas, Sony decided that now would be the best time to give the film its first grand showing.

And what a showing it is. Though the trailer is brief, and honestly doesn’t tell us a lot about the finished product, it being simply a “teaser” probably helps. We don’t get a lot of strictly “teaser trailers” anymore — those have unfortunately morphed into the far less gratifying “trailer teasers,” whose distinction is actually super important so, shut up, YOU’RE the crazy one. But brevity is the sole of marketing (that’s the quote, right?), and it’s pretty impressive how the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse teaser trailer comes in, establishes exactly what it is, and exits in style.

“Style” being the key here. While I was worried an animated Spider-Man film would end up looking like a boring computer generated, flat mess, Into the Spider-Verse actually looks pretty great. It has a very unique look, one that is clearly trying to emulate the look of a comic (like most animated comic book movies), but also throwing in static backgrounds and 3D character models. Hell, it even seems to cut inand out of stylized 3D to flat comic art when it wants to, which could be pretty cool (if not overused.) The movements even have a little bit of stop-motion jitterness going on (ala The Lego Movie.) This might seem like too much for one animated Spider-Man movie to handle but, at least in this initial tease, it seems to work for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Story wise, we only get a brief introduction into what is going on, with the “Enter a universe where more than one wears the mask” providing most of the grunt work. It’s a bit of an out there pitch for a Spider-Man movie, and I do have to wonder if the finished product might end up suffering from indeed having too many spidermen. But if the main complaint of your movies existence is that it makes too many competing Spider-Man uses all at once, why not lean into the complaint, right? Once again, Lord and Miller got great results out of doing similar with 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, and The Lego Movie. Why not Spider-Man?

And really, like all the movies they make, my trust in Lord and Miller is what has me on board. The pair have yet to let me down with anything they have gotten their hands on, and though they aren’t directing the movie (that honor goes to animation vets Peter Ramsey and Bob Persichetti), they are producing and writing the script. And with their time recently getting cleared up, I’m hoping their influence is all over this thing. After all, in Lord and Miller I trust.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse might end up being a desperate bid to squeeze ever dollar out of Sony’s cash cow…AND it might actually be a pretty good movie, at the end of the day. After all…in Lord and Miller I trust.

Also published on Medium.

Continue Reading


Alita: Battle Angel Trailer – James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez Made A Sci-Fi Blockbuster Together, And It Looks Weird As Fuuuuuck

The first trailer for this manga adaptation is…something, all right.



For as long as I’ve been reading about movies on the internet, I’ve been reading about Alita: Battle Angel. The live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga is the definition of “long-gestating” — in fact, James Cameron first announced his intentions to make the film as a follow-up to Titanic in freaking 2000! Yes, the year 2000, with no numbers or anything! That puts its rough time in development at 17 years, which is insane really. Cameron always said it was a project he would get to at some point, but then a pesky little thing called Avatar got in the way, and the project got put on the backburner. Again, and again, and again. Seriously, just take a look at the film’s Wikipedia page — the “Development” tab is one hell of a roller coaster.

But now, nearly two decades after Cameron first expressed interest in making it, Alita: Battle Angel is a real thing…although its form is not quite what we were promised initially. Since Cameron made the decision to devote the rest of his life to making 6000 Avatar sequels, the writer/director finally made the executive decision to give the project to someone else. That someone else ended up being Robert Rodriguez, who finally got the film into production last year. And now the first fruits of that labor have arisen in the form of the Alita: Battle Angel trailer…and it creates one hell of a first impression, I’ll give it that.

Is it a good first impression though? Honestly…no. While I love the concept behind this, and appreciate the ambition of what Cameron and Rodriguez are trying to do — oh boy, there’s something spectacularly off about everything in this film.

Most of that weirdness can be directly attributed to the Alita character, who is one distinct looking main character. Appearing like an anime character come to life, Alita has the classic huge anime eyes, and overall looks absolutely bizarre. And, sure, that’s reasonably part of her character — she isn’t human, so should look a little bit off. But the problem isn’t that she doesn’t look like a normal human: it’s that she looks like a cheap CGI construct of a creature, moving around freely in a cartoon world with reckless abandon.

I tend to not like to using this comparison as it feels awfully insulting to video game, but there are complete shots of this trailer that do indeed look like a CGI cutscene — or even worse, Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within. From the beginning, Cameron pitched this film as being very CGI heavy. Hell, he even conceptualized the Alita character as a completely CGI created character back in the mid-2000’s which, at the time, was a pretty nuts thing to even imagine. But now we live in a time where fully CGI characters are commonplace, and quite a lot of them end up looking pretty great when in action.

But Alita does NOT look great, at least in these trailers, and it’s not just the huge ass eyes either. Just the way she moves is off-putting, and the way Alita’s entire face looks grafted on to her body makes her a distracting presence every moment she pops up. And, honestly, I’m going to put most of the blame on this lack of graphic fidelity directly on the hands of Robert Rodriguez. The dude is at his worst when using an abundance of computer-generated imagery, mostly because he doesn’t seem to care whether or not any of it looks “realistic” — I honestly think he likes things to look ridiculously cartoony. I mean, have you SEEN images from The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl? 


And, yet, he doesn’t seem to care. Ever since he started Troublemaker Studios, his go-to has been shooting everything he does in his garage, set against a green screen, style be damned. And well that’s “fine”on a Spy Kids movie (or even something like Sin City, which is so heavily stylized it can paint its rough edges in a pretty noir coat), it absolutely does not work on a $200 million dollar, would-be sci-fi epic. Say what you will about Avatar or James Cameron, but even with his love of computer-generated imagery, he remains a perfectionist to his core. Avatar NEVER looked cheap or even overtly cartoonish, at least not in the same way Alita: Battle Angel so far looks.

Then again, Cameron’s perfectionism is probably what kept us waiting nearly 20 years for this movie in the first place. Maybe what it needed was a Robert Rodriguez, who will bang out a film in a year and consider it a win if things look “good enough.” But, once again, Alita: Battle Angel is Rodriguez working on a scale he never has before. And from what I see so far, I’m not so sure it’s him playing to his strong suits.

I’m still interested in the movie simply due to Cameron’s involvement (and his script, which he co-wrote with Laeta Kalogridis), but I feel like this is a project that’s already doomed from the get-go. It’s a super niche adaptation, and a costly one at that. And though I will never claim to speak to the masses, I can’t help but feel that if I’M creeped out by what I see, the mainstream will be even more turned off. It also doesn’t help that the film has very little star power to speak of: I love Christoph Waltz as much as the next guy, but he isn’t going to put asses in seats here. Jennifer Connoly has also been off the A-list for a very long time, and Mahershala Ali, well great, is still very much an up-and-comer. It’s a decent cast for a film fan, but it doesn’t seem like a particularly bankable one.

But, ultimately, it’s all about the feel of the movie here, and this trailer does a rough job presenting anything but a feeling of “WTF did I just watch?” There might yet be a fun and exciting sci-fi adventure in Alita: Battle Angel, even when watching through that mode. But if the old saying about the eyes being the window to the soul is accurate, then this movie has one FUGLY soul at its core.

Alita: Battle Angel will hit theaters right in the middle of next year’s summer fray: July 20, 2018. Good luck to it there, I guess — my gut can’t help but feel like this one is going to be another Ghost in the Shell level disaster for Fox, but maybe some cautious optimism could do me some good here. After all, I should know better than to doubt the power of James Cameron at this point. And who knows: maybe audiences will be hypnotized into buying a ticket by the horrifying uncanny valley that is Alita’s soul-sucking bug eyes? I’m sure that’s what Fox is hoping for, at least.

Also published on Medium.

Continue Reading


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer – Really? This Is The Best They Could Come Up With?

Well, at least it has Jeff Goldblum.



Like many other folks on the internet, I was not a fan of 2015’s Jurassic World. It was not the worst movie ever (and, hell, probably isn’t even the worst Jurassic Park sequel), but it was still pretty far from “good” in my mind. And it is a movie that my opinion has only lessened on the farther away I get from it — never a good thing, really. So, for that reason, I was clearly not SUPER PUMPED for its sequel, next summer’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. But even then though…really, Fallen Kingdom? Is this all you got? Is this really you putting your best put forward to get people expected? Cause it’s weak.

The above trailer has been (EXTREMELY ANNOYINGLY) released in piece meal over the past week, but the full thing landed last night during Thursday Night Football. And, as a trailer, I will say it’s not terrible — it is well edited, and certain parts of it look good, at least visually. Then again, the section in which the volcano is exploding and Chris Pratt is (rather ridiculously) running down the mountain looks pretty bad, so clearly the visuals here are a bit of a mixed bag.

But what concerns me more about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t so much the look, but the plot. Honestly, it seems pretty unspectacular from what we can see of it so far, with the “rescue mission” to save the dinosaurs from an exploding volcano feeling like a rather lame set-up for more dino action. For what it’s worth, making sequels to Jurassic Park was always a difficult thing — the original very much feels like a “standalone” adventure, with pretty much every follow-up feeling like an inorganic way for Universal to milk people’s love of the first movie. Finally they landed on an interesting concept for a sequel in Jurassic World (what if the park actually opened, and then bad shit went down?), and proceeded to squander the opportunity by introducing a lot of other dumb shit (invisible dinosaurs, trained raptors, etc.) But even that undeniable “fresh start” for this accidental franchise wasn’t enough to propel this into a new set of stories.

…But that of course wasn’t going to stop Universal, who made over a billion dollars with Jurassic World, and were going to continue the series no matter what. And if this trailer is any indication, there hasn’t been a ton of thought put into making this sequel work — any reason to go back to the island, even a dumb one, is all Universal was asking writers Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connoly to come up with. And they shrugged, came up with the first idea that popped into their heads, and cashed their check.

Even putting the plot aside, the character motivations are already pretty irksome. One of my main issues with Jurassic World was the way it treated the dinosaurs, specifically Chris Pratt’s “pack” of trained raptors. The last thing I am looking for in these movies is some emotional bond between our leads and the dinosaurs, but that seems to be ALL these movies can come up with for why these humans keep doing dumb things. This is especially a problem because the Jurassic World series wants to have its cake and eat it too — they want to instill the idea of the dinosaurs being creatures who humans can bond with, but also want to create a Jurassic Park movie in which dinosaurs try to eat everyone. That contradiction is what gave birth to the stupid hybrid dinosaur (who was the REAL villain, you see), and I’m sure will lead to even dumber “upping of the stakes” in this one.

I’ve kind of lost myself in a pile of rants here that don’t really have much to do with the trailer itself, but that just goes to show how little this trailer convinces me that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is something worth caring about. Jurassic World just did such a poor job of rebooting this franchise in an exciting way, that I find myself apathetic to following it up. For instance: who gives a shit about those stupid-ass transportation pods again — they weren’t cool the first time, and I’m not looking forward to our heroes being bobbed around in an aimless CGI blur for half the movie, screaming their heads off as a way to present terror, but not having anything scary actually happening. Give me a colorful jeep any day.

Seriously. Fuck. Those. Pods.

Hell, this is the kind of trailer that can’t even make JEFF GOLDBLUM a promising sight. It’s just him spouting out standard Ian Malcolm lines (MEMBER “LIFE FINDS A WAY?”), and it’s lame that all we really see of him is in a courtroom, giving some speech. Maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions, but something tells me from this trailer that he will be an outside influence on the action, likely appearing towards the beginning in a couple of exposition scenes, but disappearing once our main characters return to Isla Nublar.

You know, our main characters, one of whose name is Owen. I completely forgot that, since it meant so little in the first film. And don’t even ask me the name of who Bryce Dallas Howard is playing. They’re both lame characters only marginally bumped up by the actors playing them, and to say I have no interest in seeing them on continued adventures is an understatement. Then again, I could say that about this whole damn movie in general, with this trailer doing absolutely nothing to convince me this might be an improvement over the first. And without the intriguing premise to support him, my expectations are pretty damn low.

At the very least, that whole stupid “MILITARY DINOSAURS!” thing has been tabled…for now, at least. Giving guns to dinosaurs is Universal’s mechanical spiders, for some reason. One day they’ll get their stupid, stupid, stupid dino soldiers though, and once that happens, I’ll 100% know this series is no longer for me.

Also published on Medium.

Continue Reading