Maybe it was just the clips they decided to show, maybe it was the intended tone that the marketers wanted to go with, maybe it was just all the wrong things coming together in the wrong way, but Marvel Entertainment’s very first trailer for one of the most talked about and hyped super hero flicks in recent times didn’t do much to impress.
The biggest drawback was that it’s hard to tell what the movie is about, other than that Captain Marvel falls from space, lands in a Blockbuster Video back in the late 1980s and is picked up by a much younger Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg.
The young SHIELD members attempt to recruit Captain Marvel into their fold, but she seems hesitant. The trailer is mostly about her reflecting on her fragmented memories and punching an old lady in the face. You can check it out below.
Now there are a couple of things to note:
The 1980’s-style car chase looks cool.
Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg look like they actually get into their roles of playing themselves nearly 30 years younger.
The visual tone of the film looks okay for the parts set on Earth.
The space segments don’t seem to make much sense at all given that they didn’t do anything to setup the context.
The most pressing problem is Brie Larson. She’s a wooden, stolid hero with about as much charisma as a goldfish. Her line delivery is flat, her face expressions are stoic, and it’s difficult to get a gauge on the character based on what was showcased in the trailer.
A while back Brie Larson mentioned how funny the script was when she first signed on, but none of that charm, wit, or comedic timing found its way into the trailer. So either all the funny parts were left out or what Larson thought was funny just didn’t translate through the trailer as being funny. Unless punching the old lady in the face was supposed to be funny?
We also get some quick clips of the rest of her space squadron, but again… no context is given for their appearance and nothing about their involvement is properly showcased.
The trailer hints at the space threats, which is fine. However, we don’t really see what makes them a threat. In some ways, I think maybe the trailer should have been focused on the villain’s perspective and then near the end of the clip we see Captain Marvel fall to Earth, meet Nick Fury, and then hint at her saving the universe.
A lot of people gave the trailer an upvote, but many noted in the comment section that DCEU’s Shazam debut trailer was actually much better, and I tend to agree. The Shazam trailer focused entirely on the character and gave us a reason to care about him. The trailer also had plenty of funny parts in it as well, but still retained DC’s dark and gloomy visual aesthetic.
By comparison, you can easily see that Shazam has a ton of heart, and Zachary Levi did a fantastic job of capturing the very difficult nuance of a young boy trapped in the body of a super-powered being. Obviously, it doesn’t mean the movie will be good, but the trailer set itself up to make the film look very interesting and filled with a lot of grounded charm.
On the opposite side of the fence, a lot of people also rightly pointed out that the Captain Marvel’s trailer felt very cookie-cutter and generic compared to the other recent Marvel films. Heck, I would say it doesn’t really stand up to Iron Man 2’s trailer and that film was regarded as one of Marvel’s worst. However, Robert Downey Jr. single-handedly made that trailer super entertaining.
That’s not to mention that Mickey Rourke’s ominous presence and using the whip to slice the car in half was pretty badass.
What’s sad, though, is that as far as debut trailers are concerned Iron Man 2 still ran circles around Captain Marvel.
Now a single trailer doesn’t tell the whole story, but the story it’s telling right now isn’t a very interesting one. A lot of that has to do with the fact that opposite of Robert Downey Jr., Brie Larson showed about as much charisma in that debut trailer for Captain Marvel as a goldfish tasked with giving a State of the Union address using Morse code.
Anyway, Captain Marvel is due out next year in 2019.
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