At Texas Frightmare last month, I attended a rather informal Q&A hosted by Blumhouse producer and Shock Waves co-host Ryan Turek. We were all free to ask any questions we wanted about Blumhouse’s past and future films, but there was one thing he let us know right away: despite expectations, he would not be debuting the Halloween trailer for us. His reason: three trailers had already debuted that past week, one blending into another and confusing the conversation. With Halloween, he wanted to find a date where they could dominate the news cycle, if only for a day.

At the time, there was understandable disappointment, but I get it. Especially now. We’ve just been hit in the face by the new trailers for Bumblebee, Wreck-It Ralph 2, LEGO Movie 2, Suspiria, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. On top of that, Halloween’s trailer is now set to debut on Friday, meaning Turek did his best to pick a date they could own but landed at the end of a very busy week.

So, before any more trailers come along allow me to briefly respond to what we’ve seen so far this week.

Short version: I’m meh on Wreck-It Ralph 2, intrigued by the inherent weirdness of Bumblebee and Suspiria, need to see more from LEGO Movie 2, and still figuring out what to make of Spider-Man’s unique animation.

Bumblebee

You think you know the answer to the following question since we are talking about a family friendly blockbuster here, but is Hailee Steinfeld going to fuck a robot in this movie? Obviously not, but Bumblebee, the first official spin-off but at least second or third attempted reboot of the Transformers franchise, has enough Shape of Water-aping imagery to inspire such jokes. In reality, Bumblebee, hailing from Kubo and the Two Strings director and stop-motion expert Travis Knight, is a 1980s-set prequel which plays in this trailer like a mixture of Iron Giant and Monster Trucks. I have never given two shits about this franchise before, but the presence of Knight behind the camera, Steinfeld in the lead role, and John Cena as the apparent bad guys at least earns some “this might not suck” points.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

I love the first film, and have been very optimistic about updating the franchise for the internet era. This new trailer, though, has dampened that enthusiasm considerably, giving Wreck-It Ralph 2 more of a direct-to-video-sequel feel. There’s no real movie or plot here. Instead, it’s just a giant Disney victory lap, oddly playing a lot like a movie version of the Disney Infinity universe even though Bob Iger canceled those video games for cost-control reasons. Moreover, I didn’t expect to look at Wreck-It Ralph 2’s Disney-centric visualization of cyberspace and wonder why it looks so similar to The Emoji Movie, which is a comparison no one should ever want. That said, the Disney princess scene is fun, and as we’ve yet to really get a sense of the film’s actual story beyond its one-line premise Wreck-It Ralph 2 still has much to show us.

LEGO Movie 2

It was 4 years and 2 spin-off movies ago that LEGO Movie arrived. As such, I’d almost forgotten we were still getting a direct sequel. The obvious concern here is how do you revisit a universe we now know to be the mere farout product of a child’s imagination. LEGO Batman and Ninjago ignored it entirely, but the actual LEGO Movie can’t do that. Emmitt saw the real world. Like fellow Chosen One Neo at the end of The Matrix, he’s seen through the code and can reject his own reality or embrace the artifice of it all.

Yeah, forget all of that. As we see in the trailer, LEGO Movie 2 is using all of that as subtext to guide the surface level story of a dystopian world overrun by alien invaders. We are supposed to inuit that the invaders represent the little sister who joined the kid at the end of the first movie, and that this is all going to turn into a gender commentary on the differences between the way boys and girls play. Could be fun, but I need to see more, especially since most of the first movie was actually a reaffirmation parody of Hollywood blockbusters.

We have new directors this time – Mike Mitchell and Trisha Gum – but Phil Lord and Chris Miller are back as producers and screenwriters, joined by BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Michelle Morgan. Frankly, learning the BoJack Horseman guy is involved is more exciting to me than anything I saw in the actual trailer.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Speaking of Lord and Miller, the ousted Solo directors kept busy on the animation side of things, producing not just LEGO Movie 2 but also Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Directing duties fell to Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey.

But if you’ve watched the trailer you probably don’t care about any of that. No, the big takeaway is the trailer’s final reveal: Spider-Gwen is in this!

Who’s that?

Comic book logic. Alternate universes. In one of them, Gwen Stacey got big by that damn spider and became Spider-Gwen. She’s awesome and super popular among comic book readers.

There. We’re caught up.

This is actually consistent with Sony’s marketing so far. The one-minute teaser released late last year saved the reveal that this film will focus on Miles Morales, not Peter Parker, until the very end. This first full trailer does the same with Spider-Gwen, assuming she’s an actual character and not just a cameo.

That’s not my biggest takeaway from the trailer, though. Instead, I keep looking at the visuals and thinking how much it looks like a higher budget version of a cell-shaded animated videogame, like The Wolf Among Us. It’s often quite gorgeous, but I feel like my eyes are still adjusting to it.

That being said, I love the addition of Jake Johnson as the voice of Peter Parker, and, yes, that is Bumblebee’s Steinfeld voicing Gwen. Also, not heard in the trailer but now officially confirmed (via AVClub) to be in the movie are “Mahershala Ali as Miles’ uncle Aaron, Luna Lauren Velez as his mom Rio, Lily Tomlin as Peter’s Aunt May, and Liev Schreiber as the villainous Kingpin.”

Suspiria

A Suspiria remake isn’t exactly the follow-up project I would have expected from Luca Guadagnino, the man who directed Call Me By Your Name, but much like Guillermo Del Toro with The Shape of Water it’s a project he’s plotted since he was a kid. As Guadagnino told Total Film last November, “I was 14 when I first saw Suspiria. I was in my parents’ living room and I was alone. I saw the movie. I was shocked. I was trembling and I said to myself, ‘One day I’m going to make again this movie!’”

He’s not the only one to think that. David Gordon Green had a remake setup and ready to go a couple of years ago, but it ultimately feel through, opening the way for Guadagnino to hopefully do his fellow Italian filmmaker Dario Argento proud.

Guadagnino’s version, which has actually been in the can since March 2017, stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Jessica Harper, Argento’s lead actress from the original film. Not much is known about the film other than its setting (1977 Berlin instead of the original’s 1800s Freiberg). The plot – an American ballerina ends up at a dance school secretly run by witches – will presumably be the same, but in some ways different.

As Tilda Swinton told Allocine, the cast prefers not to think of their Suspiria as a remake:

QUOTE “[Suspiria] is inspired by the same story, but it goes in different directions, it explores other reasons…I think people really have to understand that this is not a remake, because the word “remake” gives the impression that we want to erase the original, and the opposite is what we try to do.”QUOTE

The first footage premiered at CinemaCon last month. Amazon earned plenty of headlines from those members of the press who found the footage horrifying, stomach-churning, and “the most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen at CinemaCon,” as Collider’s Steven Weintraub tweeted. To be clear: Weintraub actually liked what he saw, as did various others, but they were also shocked by the brutality of it. Now, Amazon has plenty of time to build up that mystique about the film, and this new teaser is a good start. It’s a remarkably eerie minute and 30 seconds of disconnected footage set to a haunting musical score.

Domestic release dates for all:

Bumblebee (12/21/18)

Wreck-It Ralph 2 (11/21/18)

Lego Movie 2 (2/8/19)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (12/14/18)

Suspiria (11/2/18)

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

12 Comments

  1. […] via Reacting to the Latest Trailers: Bumblebee, Wreck-It Ralph 2, Lego Movie 2, Spider-Man: Into the Spi… […]

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  2. The animation of Into the Spiderverse is like catnip for me (if I actually were a cat). CGI animation is outside of Disney very boring (and even Disney could use a little bit more creativity). Seeing all those different styles…I can’t wait!

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    1. I’m still adjusting to it, but I like that someone’s taking a real chance with the animation style in a big studio movie like this.

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  3. Well I hope the descriptions of Suspiria are more indicative of the experience than the trailer was. It wasn’t exactly bad, but nothing really stood out in it.

    This animated Spider-Man just isn’t doing it for me, and I love Spider-Man. It’s a little too “hip”-modern-youth feeling for me (but I’m clearly not the target demographic here, I understand) and the amount of frameskipping in that animation kind of gives me a headache. #SoOld

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    1. The Suspiria trailer is like the A24 horror trailers to me in that it aims to communicate tone (mostly dread with a side helping of WTF?) and drive hype. The trailer is telling us what it will feel like to watch the movie, not if the movie will be any good or feature characters or a storyline worth caring about it. As with the A24 movies, I see what they’re doing, but I’m not totally won over by it, at least not by trailer alone.

      “It’s a little too “hip”-modern-youth feeling for me (but I’m clearly not the target demographic here, I understand) and the amount of frameskipping in that animation kind of gives me a headache”

      There are parts of it which I find stunning, but as a whole the animation … I don’t know. I want to love it more than I actually do, and I keep thinking it looks far too much like a souped up version of a Tell-Tale Video Game movie. But, kudos to Sony Animation for drawingly almost literally out of the box on this one. They do have another 5 months and some change to finalize it. It could look better in December, or maybe my eyes will have adjusted to it by then.

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      1. Oddly enough I think the complete lack of any impressive looking architecture in Suspiria threw me off the most

      2. That’s…a good point. I hadn’t actually paid any attention to that, but you’re not wrong. It does look rather ordinary, the architecture. It’s got nothing on the gorgeous home in the director’s prior film, Call Me By Your Name, which was so fawned over that when the real house from the film went on the market it sold for millions.

  4. Definitely had similar thoughts for all the movies. The Wreck-it-Ralph looks the sequel to the Emoji movie.

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    1. My heart sunk a little when I saw how much the new Wreck-It Ralph looks like a warmed over Emoji Movie. I was expecting something more. I don’t know what, exactly, but better, more innovative, and less blatantly synergistic. I remain hopeful the film itself, with a storyline which largely remains a mystery at this point, will make up for these underwhelming trailers. But, right now this kind of looks like “And then Ralph and Vanellope hung out with a bunch of Disney people because, eh, why not.”

      Reply

      1. Exactly. No story. Just a bunch of jokes. But fingers crossed, it maybe a bad trailer for a good movie.

  5. I agree with you about how Bumblebee “might not suck”. I have always thought it was stupid how the Bay films deliberately made the robot forms so alien and indistinguishable. I miss having Bumblebee not having VW Beetle parts/shapes on his exterior.

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    1. This probably reflects my lack of familiarity with all of the Michael Bay Transformers films, but Bumblebee definitely looks better (translation: more convincing) to me in this trailer than he has in the past. I was in the crowd who struggled to tell the difference between the Autobots and Decepticons in the first couple of Transformers movie, but Bumblebee here seems more fully realized with features I can easily pick out and a more interesting meshing of car parts and secret robot parts, if that makes sense.

      Reply

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