Wonder Woman vs. Suicide Squad – A Tale of Two Trailers

 

It’s Comic-Con weekend, which means there have been no fewer than seven major comic movie trailers or reveals in the last 48 hours.

As a comic and movie geek, this is my bliss.

But what struck me today is the polar opposite reactions I had to two trailers for forthcoming DC Comics-based movies: Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad

The set-up for this is a Dirty Dozen rip-off, wherein a motley crew of mostly-Batman villains are assembled to face off against an impossible threat.

The shtick?

They’re all slightly different forms of psycho, and (of course) they’re all bad guys.

Here’s the new trailer:

My reaction is simply one of confusion.

Who, exactly, is the audience for this film?

The music and quick cuts lend a frenetic energy to the movie, but to no effect.

We get a lot of Will Smith (the cast’s biggest name) talking, and we get Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn being weird, but the whole thing comes off as disjointed with no plot beyond “OMG! They’re villains!”

Plus, part of the film’s selling point is Jared Leto, who is following his Academy Award win with a turn as The Joker, yet he’s barely featured in this (final) trailer.

I’m the target audience for this film, yet I came away from the trailer with the beginnings of a headache and the distinct feeling that while individual scenes may be brilliant, the whole will ultimately add up to less than the sum of its parts.

Sigh…

But then there was:

Wonder Woman

Behold:

Here are six things they got right:

The tease

It holds back the reveal, first announcing itself as a comic book movie with the appearance of the DC logo close to the 1-minute mark.

Opening with Chris Pine

Far more recognizable than lead Gal Gadot, the film is smart to open with Chris Pine, who plays Captain Kirk in this weekend’s new Star Trek movie.

The setting

It’s a period piece.

The film gains instant credibility in my mind with its commitment to telling the bulk of its story in WW I. They didn’t have to do it this way, particularly, as we’ve already seen Wonder Woman operate in the present in last summer’s Superman v. Batman.

In choosing to set Wonder Woman’s story nearly 100 years ago, they’ve added a dimension of intrigue to this film that instantly elevates it above just the latest tired superhero-in-tights entry.

The glowing lasso

‘Nuff said.

Horseback

We get to see the Amazon warrior princess in full-on Athena mode – on horseback, wielding a bow and arrow, and comfortable with a broadsword. Yes please.

The humor stinger

Ghostbusters crew take note: This is how you do feminism with humor.

 

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