Black Panther Official Trailer

The Black Panther official trailer dropped yesterday and it’s looking mighty shiny:

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther – Official Trailer by Marvel Entertainment

Judging by this trailer and some of the tidbits we saw in the teaser trailer, this might well be the visually most astounding Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date. (And that’s saying something, since we’ve visited Thor, Loki et al.’s domain and the deep corners of space…) Also, the Wakandan design ethos looks deep—like it rises from a long line of traditional crafts still practiced, and acknowledges the country’s history. Wonderful!

Four months to go.

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Black Panther Poster & Trailer

A little more news on the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Black Panther trickled out from San Diego Comic-Con. At this writing, the SDCC trailer hasn’t been released outside the con yet, but I’m hoping it’ll be out soon.

Meanwhile, we have this gorgeous poster to tide us over:

Tor com BPPoster

And, since apparently I didn’t post this before, here’s the teaser trailer:

Black Panther Teaser Trailer [HD] from Marvel Entertainment

It looks so amazing! Good thing February 2018 is just six and a half months away.

Image: Marvel Studios via Tor.com

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

It’s six months till (yet another) Spider-Man reboot drops. The first trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming has been out for a few weeks, and it’s looking cool:

FIRST OFFICIAL Trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming via Jimmy Kimmel Live

Very MCU! There’s one thing that I very much hope: that Tony Stark will only be making a cameo. I’m so, so thoroughly done with that character already. Instead, I’d love to see other faces get more attention now, kthxbye.

So, I’m still not entirely sure whether I want to see it, because Spidey’s never been that interesting to me and there’s the possibility of Stark overload. I guess it’ll depend on how movie-deprived I’m feeling come July.

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Captain America: Civil War and Red Herring Overload

170105civilwarWhen I saw Captain America: Civil War in the theatre, something bothered me about the story. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I find Civil War one of the best, most polished films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my headcanon, Civil War is the actual Avengers 2 while Age of Ultron is Iron Man 4 at best. But still, something about the story just bugs me and the first couple times I saw the movie I couldn’t put my finger on it. (To be fair, that movie gave us plenty to talk about.) Now that it’s out on DVD and I’ve gotten to see it a few more times, I think I can name the problem: red herring overload.

Here’s what I mean. Going into the movie, having seen the trailers, you think it’s going to be about Steve Rogers / Captain America and Tony Stark / Iron Man having a falling out. But it isn’t.

Then the movie starts and you think it’s going to be about Bucky Barnes / the Winter Soldier. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about the blue goo in Howard Stark’s trunk. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about a stolen vial of disease. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about the Sokovia Accords. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about Steve’s relationship with Bucky. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about T’Challa’s quest for revenge and his rise as a hero. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about Zemo and his all-new all-different gang of Winter Soldiers. But it isn’t.

Then you think it’s going to be about the Avengers splitting up over different ideas of what it means to be a hero. But it isn’t.

Finally, finally, at the end of the movie, we discover what it’s actually been about all along: Tony Stark’s unresolved emotional issues.

I still think that Civil War is an excellent movie and one of the highlights of Marvel’s cinematic work, but this is a serious weakness in its writing. Not only did we not really need another movie about Tony’s unresolved issues (we’ve got four already), but it deflates the narrative power of the story to have so much of the plot either fizzle out or just be left hanging at the end. By the end of the movie, the mantelpiece is littered with unfired guns and instead we get to watch two exhausted, angry men slug each other.

Maybe, if this had been a different movie, that would have been a satisfying ending. But it wasn’t.

Image: Captain America: Civil War still via IMDb

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

Random Thoughts on Doctor Strange

161107strangeIn no particular order. Spoiler warning in effect.

  • Doctor Strange is a perfectly good movie, but not the great movie I hoped it might have been. This year, and this fall in particular, have been so lacking in entertaining movies, though, that I’ll happily take “perfectly good.”
  • In terms of narrative structure, character arcs, and facial hair, this was pretty much just Iron Man with magic instead of tech. Iron Man was great, and if anybody can both live up to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and at the same time make his version of the insufferable arrogant genius not feel like a poor copy, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch, but I still feel like I’ve seen this movie enough times already.
  • Speaking of insufferable arrogant geniuses, it’s been noted that Cumberbatch is already pretty adept at playing them. Which he is, but his Dr. Strange is, again, a distinctly different kind of insufferable arrogant genius from his Sherlock Holmes. Cumberbatch doesn’t just do insufferable arrogant genius well, he does it with specificity and nuance, which is what makes him such a great actor.
  • Speaking of great acting, Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One is a delight to watch: mysterious without being obscure, playful without being childish, dangerous without being menacing. She and Strange play off one another beautifully.
  • The erasure of Asian people from their own culture and history is a problem, one to which this movie has contributed. This and the above are both true; neither one negates the other.
  • Speaking of erasure, it’s really rather pathetic that there are only two female characters in this movie. One of them dies and a cape has more of an independent story than the other one. Marvel has seriously got to do better.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor is playing his Serenity character in reverse.
  • The magic in this movie is a beautiful combination of movement and color. This is what magic should look like in film.

Image: Doctor Strange poster via IMDb

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

Doctor Strange Trailers

It’s now just over a week until Doctor Strange opens. (Gosh, November is so close!) There are a bunch of trailers on the InterTubes, for instance the official ones by Marvel:

Marvel’s Doctor Strange Teaser Trailer by Marvel Entertainment

Doctor Strange Official Trailer 2 by Marvel Entertainment

The tv spot from the end of September, however, is my favorite:

Doctor Strange TV Spot by Marvel Entertainment

Kaecilius: “Mister…?”

Strange: “Doctor.”

Kaecilius: “Mister Doctor.”

Strange: “It’s Strange.”

Kaecilius: “Maybe. Who am I to judge?”

Harf! 🙂

I have to say I know next to nothing about Doctor Strange. The character was referred to from time to time in the translated X-Men I read in my youth in Finland, but “odd name” and “magic user of some sort” was pretty much what I got out of them.

The cast is something to look forward to. I loved Chiwetel Ejiofor in Serenity and The Martian, and Benedict Cumberbatch should be marvelous (I’d listen to him pretty much just reading a phone book). Mads Mikkelsen looks like the quintessential bad guy. Perhaps too much so; I fear I might find his character too corny, but we’ll see.

Tilda Swinton I’m conflicted over. I’ve enjoyed her past performances. Her character in this movie, The Ancient One, has been gender-swapped, which is really cool. However, apparently the role is whitewashed. I guess we’ll see.

I also know nothing of the director Scott Derrickson; again, we’ll see. It’s been such a slow latter half of the year, movie-wise, that I’m looking forward to Doctor Strange even if I’m not sure whether it’s exactly my cup of tea.

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Fan Video: Marvel Cinematic Universe with Glitter & Gold

YouTube users Grable424 and djcprod collaborated to bring us this awesome Marvel Cinematic Universe music video / mashup:

MARVEL || Glitter & Gold (collab w/ djcprod) by Grable424

They’ve skillfully intercut clips from Iron Man and Captain America movies, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man, among others; the Doctor Strange trailer also features, even if the movie wasn’t out yet. The song is “Glitter & Gold” by new-to-me artist Barns Courtney, and very catchy. Love it!

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Who’s That Guy?

In the course of my life, I’ve become aware that I experience mild face blindness. It’s nothing I’ve ever been diagnosed with and it isn’t severe enough for me to seek any kind treatment for, I just know that, compared with other people, I have trouble recognizing faces that I haven’t seen a lot of. I mostly identify people by their hair, their clothing and movements, and, especially, their voices. In day-to-day life it’s not much of a problem. (Learning a hundred new students every semester is a challenge, but I have the advantage of getting to take attendance at the start of every class.) When it bothers me the most is in entertainment.

When there are multiple characters with similar appearances, I tend to get them mixed up. (Especially middle-aged white men, since they’re all over the place.) I also have trouble recognizing people we’ve seen before in different settings.

160505buckyFor example, there’s a moment in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when the Winter Soldier’s mask comes off revealing that it’s the Captain’s best friend and fellow soldier Bucky Barnes. It’s a powerful moment and a shocking reveal, but the first time I saw the movie, I had no idea who that guy was. Even having seen the first Captain America movie, and having Bucky reintroduced via the museum exhibit/infodump earlier in Winter Soldier, I didn’t know who I was looking at on screen. As the movie went on, it became clear to me that the Winter Soldier was someone Captain Rogers knew from his past, an old friend, but I still couldn’t connect the character with Bucky. (Cap said his name, but it went by too fast for me to catch.) It wasn’t until I rewatched the movie on DVD that I finally realized who the Winter Soldier was. Even today, looking at the two characters on screen, I can’t visually tell that they’re the same person.

It’s an odd way to watch movies and television, knowing that there is information up there on the screen that I can’t interpret. I’m lucky to have a co-geek to turn to and ask: “Who is that guy?” One of the many pleasures of being married to someone who loves nerdy stuff as much as I do!

We’re off to see Captain America: Civil War on opening night tonight. It looks like there’s going to be a lot of familiar faces in this movie. I might even recognize some of them.

Images: Bucky Barnes via tvtropes; Winter Soldier via playbuzz

In Character is an occasional feature looking at some of our favorite characters from written works and media to see what drives them, what makes them work, and what makes us love them so much.

Five Captain America: Civil War Clips

Marvel UK’s YouTube selection includes these five Captain America: Civil War clips that I hadn’t seen before. The first includes snippets from interviews with the movie’s main actresses (Scarlett Johansson, Emily VanCamp, and Elizabeth Olsen).

Captain America: Civil War – In Good Company by Marvel UK

Yay, Sharon Carter / Agent 13!

The second has interview snippets with Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., and the Russo Brothers.

Captain America: Civil War – Brothers In Arms | HD by Marvel UK

Captain America: Civil War – Right To Choose | HD by Marvel UK

Captain America: Civil War – New Recruit | HD by Marvel UK

Captain America: Civil War – The Team Vs Bucky clip | HD UK by Marvel UK

We’ve been in blackout mode, avoiding anything spoilery like the plague. Alasdair Stuart’s Civil War review for Tor.com doesn’t include spoilers, so I did read that one. After tonight, I don’t have to hold back anymore. 🙂

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