For the first year in decades, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. It wasn’t a big loss. I’m not a fan of football. I really can’t stand Coldplay. Having two young kids means going to a party isn’t really feasible. And the only excuse I had for watching — the commercials — is a moot point, since everything ends up online within minutes anyway. So, I spent the evening catching up on last night’s “Saturday Night Live” and reading.
One thing I did keep my eye one, however, was the trailers for big 2016 movie releases on the way. Like any other red-blooded moviegoer, I get excited about the big tent poles for the year. And while I’m sure a number of them will inevitably disappoint, this yearly deluge of big movie trailers often gives me hope that no matter what happens in cinema this year, it will be fun.
So here are some notable trailers I wanted to briefly talk about. Weigh in the comments below: what are you excited about?
Gods of Egypt
I have no idea what this is. But it’s coming out and it’s coming out soon (Feb. 26). The title says “Gods of Egypt,” but Gerard Butler is pretty white. There are monsters and explosions and what look to be robots. Is that a man with an eyepatch? Does Snake Plissken figure into this somehow? This looks utterly absurd — it looks like Ridley Scott’s “Exodus” had a baby with “300,” “The Mummy Returns” and the “Wrath of the Titans” remake. It doesn’t look good, mind you. But the presence of director Alex Proyas, the visual mastermind behind “The Crow” and “Dark City,” makes me hold back the snark a little.
Captain America: Civil War
One thing to know about me: I’m totally in the bag for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What they’ve been doing since 2008’s “Iron Man” has been some of the most fun and inventive blockbuster movie-making ever. In less than a decade, they’ve built a complex world that stretches into space and includes several different franchises. And while my excitement over “Age of Ultron” faded after a few months, I’m still excited about anything new with the Marvel name (they even made “Ant Man” fun!). Plus, the Captain America films have been the best earthbound Marvel films. So, yeah, I’m eager to see Cap and Iron Man trade blows, and it looks like this is a way to make “Avengers 2.5” without making it too bloated; through and through, this looks like a “Captain America” movie with a massive supporting cast. There’s not much new here, but I dig Tony Stark’s power glove, and the lineup at the end gets the pulse racing. I’m there.
Also, this has nothing to do with “Civil War,” but it’s fun all the same:
10 Cloverfield Lane
I feel like I’m in the minority, but I absolutely loved Matt Reeves’ “Cloverfield.” It’s a tense, effective found-footage movie, and I think it works better than the vast majority of that subgenre. But its biggest coup was being shot in secrecy and debuting before we knew anything about it. Producer J.J. Abrams is taking the same tactic with “10 Cloverfield Lane,” which we didn’t even know much about a month ago; it’s coming out in just a few weeks. A mysterious man keeps a woman chained in his bomb shelter while all hell presumably breaks loose outside? John Goodman is the mystery man? A giant roar to close things out? I have no idea what this is, but I’m eager to find out.
Cool trailer; crappy title (although I guess it’s better than “The Bourne Redundancy”). I’m a big fan of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne movies, especially with Paul Greengrass behind the camera. I was less of the Damon-less spinoff, “Jeremy Renner Needs Some Pills.” But Damon and Greengrass are both back for this summer’s Bourne adventure, and they’ve brought Tommy Lee Jones along for the hunt. It’s a brief glimpse; not a lot of dialogue, but a lot of punching. Doesn’t matter; I’m in.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
I was a TMNT-loving kid who absolutely detested the Michael Bay-produced reboot. So I’m surprised to find myself enjoying this trailer, which still includes the nightmare-inducing turtle designs, but manages to capture the energy, speed and weirdness of the cartoons I grew up with. Crazy action scenes, Beebop and Rocksteady, and Krang (a sentient brain inside a robot punk). It all looks messy, loud and kind of like it could be a disaster. But there’s a sense of fun to it that was missing from the original film. I’ll give it a whirl.
The Jungle Book
Remember how terrible Disney’s live action “Alice in Wonderland” was? This looks every bit as incredible as that was awful. Jon Favreau seems to be re-energized after the very fun, low budget “Chef,” and I love the way the CGI mimics the look and feel of the beloved animated film. It looks fast and fun, with big adventure beats and some really jaw-dropping character work. And Bill Murray singing “The Bare Necessities”? Yeah, I can go with that.
Independence Day 2: Resurgence
I saw “Independence Day” multiple times upon its 1996 release. I wore the videotape out. But everything I’m seeing from this sequel does nothing. The original film benefited from a famous Super Bowl spot that blew up the White House. It was fun, and what made the film so enjoyable was a sense of knowingly cheesy excitement throughout. This looks like Roland Emmerich was bitten by the grim-n-gritty bug, and the scenes of destruction — no longer done via models but with standard-issue CGI — look no different than any other run-of-the-mill blockbuster.
The X-Men series, which has been going on since 2000 (!!), is one of the weirdest franchises for me. I’ve seen every movie in theaters with the exception of “The Wolverine,” and I’ve enjoyed more of them than I haven’t. And I really enjoyed the last two: “X-Men: First Class” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” But I never have any desire to revisit them, I usually forget about them fairly quickly and I never really get too excited about a new one. I don’t think that will change with “Apocalypse,” which looks all fine and X-Meny, but also entirely forgettable. I don’t know why these characters don’t stick with me, but it might just be that the films are a bit too fast, too overstuffed and more often than not, messy. I wonder if this would have been a franchise best pursued as a TV series.