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 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.