However you feel about it, it needs to be accepted: The mainstream is flowing towards a delta. There are fewer and fewer things you can count on everyone to know, to accept, to recognize.
This may or may not affect you as an individual, but you better believe it does if you’re a corporation. The question of how to deal with this issue is answered the same way corporations answer most questions: Ignore the issue, and try to make as much money as you can the old way. To wit, if there are only four or five times you can be sure a huge amount of people are going to be focused on the same event, you’d expect the advertisers to descend on those events like a whole pride of lions, rending the thing down to the last slivers in pursuit of those last few morsels of high 18-34 viewer figures, before the next televisual hungry season comes.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is there were a lot of trailers for upcoming TV shows and movies at the Super Bowl last night. Let’s talk about them all in one place! But before you do, watch them all here.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
You can discuss this morning’s full trailer in full, but the first we saw of the second not-quite-Star Wars movie showed an interesting counterpart to the first: Another youngster living under the shadow of the Empire (with all of the four or five meanings that entails), who gets swept up on another planet-hopping adventure that will skirt the edges of the Star Wars galaxy we recognize without spending too much time in it as to anger fans…not that it’ll actually stop the fans from getting angry.
The difference? Well, Donald Glover looking sumptuous as the young Lando Calrissian for one. That heart-stopping (for me, at any rate) monorailed, biplanar space train, for another. As I say, there’s more to chew on in the full trailer, which has not released at press time.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
The latest trailer for the most easily editable movie title since The Post (“The Papers” made so much more sense, seriously) had a particular emphasis on horrific dinosaur imagery: Enormous claws poised over you, dozens of teeth lurking around the corner, that fearsome T-Rex head roaring in sheer might, or perhaps talking to its two friends in the same poses every day. It certainly makes sense as a focus, given director J.A. Bayona’s pedigree in family horror/disaster movies, and the presence of The Get Down‘s Justice Smith turning his troubles into earsplitting screams rather than rhymes.
Less sensible is the presence of Toby Jones and Rafe Spall as slimeballs in suits, intent on using the dinosaurs for their own means. Have we really not had our fill of that, after four straight movies of the same threat?
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT
This trailer, simply put, rules. Rob Hardy’s gorgeous cinematography feels perfectly suited to the breathless, grueling vision of just how tough it is to be Tom Cruise’s superspy avatar Ethan Hunt, all perilous hangs from ropes and persecution from your spy agency and punches from Henry Cavill’s mustache attached to a man.
I can tell there’s more than a little John Wick influence from several angles – the rave in Paris’ trendy Grand Palais in particular – but more importantly, Chris McQuarrie seems to be using that as a vehicle to examine just what the point of all this is. I have no idea what conclusions there are to be reached, about six movies’ worth of outlandish stunt work and exotic locales and rubber masks that all leads back to a potboiler Peter Graves/Martin Landau TV show, but I’m excited to see those conclusions nonetheless.
As a black hole bends spacetime around it, distorting relativity and how we can see the universe, so too does The “Dwayne Johnson” Rock bend every single one of his movies around himself. Despite the obvious Die Hard or The Towering Inferno comparisons, Skyscraper actually looks like it’s trying to marry the sensibilities of Michaels Crichton and Bay, with a marginalized military man trying to survive both action-intrigue shenanigans and implicitly xenophobic SF-tinged Asian corporate politics. Once you cast The Rock in that role, though, that whole plot looks like it’s going to bend around the hero being the same stone-skinned, boastful teddy bear he plays in just about every movie.
Hey, it’s at least noteworthy that his wife is a) a white woman who’s b) his age. I wish that weren’t so noteworthy, but there it is.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
Most of what we saw in the abbreviated ad felt like follow-ups to the first trailer from December – the same scene a few seconds later or earlier – and as such makes it hard to discuss an awful lot. In the trailer they said “Get this man a shield”, and in this TV spot they’ve gotten that man a shield.
It’s still worth mentioning, though, that the movie is billing itself as an ending to the MCU in general and its belligerent Marduk figure of a creator, Tony Stark, in particular. Note the last time we saw a superhero wearing glasses to deal with poor vision rather than as a Clark Kent disguise, it was Logan.
The broadcast also brought trailers for Red Sparrow, A Quiet Place, Westworld, Jack Ryan, and Castle Rock…also, somewhere buried under there, one of the most consistently exciting Super Bowl games in a long time, with record-breaking offense and a cathartic victory for the Philadelphia Eagles. Feel free to talk about that here, too – we won’t judge you for your team affiliation. Much.