Marvel Has Been Successful Because It’s Better at Being Different

marvel better different

Until the end of the “superhero golden era” finally comes, we won’t be able to analyze the full impact that Marvel Studios has had with its cinematic universe of movies. But even though we don’t have the full picture at our disposal, everyone has their own reasonable guess for how and why Marvel been the dominant superhero movie franchise for nearly a decade, in terms of both critical and fan reception.

Some of the effects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are quite obvious, and I think that’s why vague observations about Marvel Studios are tossed around by its naysayers. When you think of shared universe movies — that is, movies that share the same characters and other sandbox elements without being direct sequels — you might feel the urge to groan a bit, especially if you watch and keep up with a lot of different movie franchises that all strive to replicate what Marvel did so well with Iron Man in 2008.

Sony tried to kickstart a Spider-Man shared universe of villains and ultimately failed. Universal has long been planning a shared universe of monster movies, citing they could have the “Avengers” of Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the Wolfman, and more. Even a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe is reportedly in the works, planned to kick off with a new Scooby Doo movie. And this year’s Ghostbusters ends with a universe-setting teaser straight out of the ambiguously defined Marvel formula.

Marvel’s most direct rival, and for several obvious, yet key reasons, is DC Comics, which Warner Bros. owns the exclusive rights to. After a hugely successful trilogy of Batman movies, all helmed by Christopher Nolan and universally praised by fans and critics, Warner Bros. took the next logical step toward establishing a shared universe of their own that could do for Wonder Woman and the Flash what Marvel managed for Iron Man and Captain America, just to name a few.

marvel better different

Remember, just one year after Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. released Man of Steel, the perfunctory beginning of what was meant to be something completely different compared to anything put out by Marvel Studios.

Except, well, Marvel has already  been “different” by its own standards for years, and it’s found great success doing so, while DC Comics hasn’t. At least not on the same scale.

To be fair, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were not financial failures, but they did fail to live up to their profitable potential, making less money domestically than Deadpool, which is based on a character far less popular and recognizable than Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. And even more recently, Suicide Squad has been panned by critics for sharing a lot of the same flaws of these movies, though it will still open to huge box office numbers, regardless.

What’s odd, then, is that the films have been criticized by many for being too different, using phrases like joyless and dark to color a picture of a movie that doesn’t deliver the same experience viewers got with most of the Marvel movies.

marvel better different

Supporters of these DC Comics movies have a right to call out this opinion for being intellectually dishonest. Of course a movie like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is different, they say. If it were the same formula as a movie like The Avengers, then critics would complain just as feverishly.

Both sides of this argument have it wrong, then. Because what they both forget is that while there is a bare-bones formula to the Marvel movies that makes them feel cohesive — that is, it’s easy to believe the movies exist in the same universe at all — none of them are all that similar to any of the others in just about every other way, unless the movie is a sequel, and even then, Marvel movies have a habit of changing entire subgenres in between their sequels.

One of the best and most famous examples of Marvel being “different” involves the entirety of what sets up the first Avengers movie, which serendipitously released the same year as The Dark Knight Rises. The very concept of setting up an ensemble superhero film after several standalone pictures that establish the characters was brand new at the time and, more importantly, untested.

Yet The Avengers is the highest-grossing superhero film of all time and was universally acclaimed by moviegoers, which holds up even today.

marvel better different

It’s fair to judge Marvel for being good at being different based on the fact that people loved The Avengers, despite how risky the structure of it was, and because it provided a sizable return on investment both financially and even culturally, hence we’re even having this debate about superhero movies being different.

What’s even more interesting, though, is the fact that Marvel movies have continued to be different and surprising, even though they have a proven formula they could repeat on end to minimize the risk of failure.

For example, the Marvel films that have truly defied expectations include Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, arnhich were both proven hits for the studio, despite being completely different from any other Marvel film in tone, structure, and many other crucial elements.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an action comedy set in space, and most of its characters aren’t even human. That’s a far cry from any other comic book film, period, let alone Marvel movies like Iron Man and even Thor. The premise of Ant-Man is absurd enough, despite the movie actually taking place on Earth. Yet it feels so different as a superhero movie because first and foremost, it’s really a heist film with bits of Edgar Wright’s unique editing style thrown in.

marvel better different

The upcoming Doctor Strange, set to release this November, is also a movie that — judging by the marketing and previous knowledge of the character — looks and feels different from previous Marvel offerings, because it seems to be tackling unchartered territory in terms of fantasy elements and dimensional science for the hero of that movie to experience.

These movies, excluding the as of yet unseen Doctor Strange, have been hits with both critics and casual audiences because yes, they’re different. So it’s strange, then, when both critics and naysayers of Marvel movies speak as if this cinematic universe has a firm license on vague storytelling elements, like humor and quipping. There’s a desire for DC to be the other side of the coin, different and more progressive than what might be called a mainstream superhero franchise with Marvel.

The problem with that desire, though, is that Marvel has already been the other side of that coin, and the other side of many coins that they, themselves, have inserted into the zeitgeist of superhero films. They don’t always get it right, of course, and some of their risks have been paid off better than others, but if DC should take notes on being “different” for the sake of surprising and delighting its fans, it should really be paying more attention to Marvel. Not less.

Because being different, while a good start, is not a merit on its own. Fantastic Four was different, which we can all agree on. But that definitely didn’t improve what was inherently flawed with that film. A non-Marvel movie that’s great at being different is Deadpool, made by Fox, proving that a superhero film doesn’t have to be made by Disney in order for it to be beloved by just about everyone old enough to see it.

marvel better different

I still have high hopes for DC Comics moving forward, though not nearly as high as I used to three years ago. But if you’re reading this and feeling a bit alienated because you want DC Comics and Warner Bros. to keep taking risks and producing films with these iconic characters that demand to be different from what we’ve seen before, then you can definitely take solace in one, major thing: The DC Comics movie universe under Geoff Johns — their new Chief Creative Officer and co-developer of The Flash on CW — kicks off next year with Wonder Woman.

And from what we’ve seen so far of that movie, the future could still be quite bright (not dark) for DC Comics.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni


Review: ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ Is Loud and Dumb, Just Like You Expected

review independence day resurgence

Despite what you may be led to believe from its title and the marketing for it, Independence Day: Resurgence is more “requel” than sequel, in the sense that while it does continue the storyline from the 1996 blockbuster, it’s still in the business of kicking off a new series of movies, rather than tying up any loose ends.

During parts of Resurgence, this works well and is paid off with some impressive world building that ties in logically with the events of the first film. Since the alien invaders of that movie were defeated 20 years ago, a more unified mankind has adapted their technology to prepare for their inevitable return.

Many players from the first film make a return for continuity’s sake, though Will Smith’s character was killed offscreen in between movies. If you aren’t caught up or haven’t seen Independence Day in a while, you might get a bit confused when some of these secondary characters show up without much explanation. But for the most part, Resurgence balances its focus with the next generation of heroes, most of them eerily being offsprings of the first film who all happen to know each other.

review independence day resurgence

Sadly, the new kids are probably the worst characters in Resurgence, and that’s amidst some trying competition.

Resurgence is the epitome of a film that tries so hard, yet fails so miserably at what it sets out to do in terms of plot, narrative, and even the basics of humor (rivaling some of the most painfully unfunny movies of 2016 so far). There’s some good spectacle to be had here, which is all most moviegoers are getting in the seats to see in the first place, but Resurgence makes a lot of the same mistakes as its predecessor during an era where they’re not quite as forgivable.

Independence Day was a silly, dumb disaster movie, but it resonated with audiences because its tone was of the moment. It spoke to the children of the Reagan era, who witnessed America bringing an end to the Cold War through their president’s own mouth.

Resurgence, by default, has to carry on this dated approach because it’s in an alternate timeline where “no armed conflict has taken place in 20 years,” as the audience is told early on. This sequel/requel would have been far more interesting if it displayed any sort of progression from the themes before it, especially throughout the entirety of the third act, which undoes almost everything worthwhile presented before it, finished with an ending that might as well have put dollar signs in each of the characters’ eyes to translate Fox’s plans for a franchise.

review independence day resurgence

And again, these problems are coupled with some incredibly weak storytelling, editing, and dialogue. Massive coincidences involving characters running into each other or happening to be connected occur on top of each other so much, it’s jarring when something unpredictable happens or the pacing feels right.

As expected, there’s a lot of death and devastation, but the camera moves so quickly to other characters, that none of the loss resonates, thanks in no small part to the seemingly dozens of key players all trying to contribute something valuable to this film. It worked somewhat in Independence Day because Smith and Goldblum had enough gravitas to lead attention to their stories above most of the rest, but Resurgence lacks that point of view that grounds the viewer and gets them invested. It tries, perhaps, with Liam Hemsworth, who essentially reprises Smith’s role for him, even though his son is right there.

That said, Independence Day: Resurgence isn’t as offensive or catastrophic as it could have been. At least a third of the movie has real potential in how it sets up a world that feels more evolved and interesting than it deserves to be. But by the end, you’re still waiting for someone to say, Welcome to Earf’, or I’m BACK.

Grade: C-

Extra Credits:

  • The writers of Honest Trailers are going to have a field day with this one.
  • I was excited to see Maika Monroe — who was in one of my favorite films of 2015, It Follows — playing one of the better characters. She deserves a better franchise than this.
  • Seriously, what was even going on with some of the “humor” in this film? I was in a packed screening with tons of people who seemed primed for some lighthearted jokes and quips. Yet there were maybe two or three soft chuckles over the course of two hours, even though someone made a joke every two minutes.
  • Some of the good things in this movie: the Warlord. The scientist bromance, I guess. The ship with the arms. Jeff Goldblum not sucking.
  • Some of the worst things in this movie: Characters and world governments behaving like the most insanely moronic minds ever put to film.

    I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni


Second Opinion: The Best Trick In ‘The Conjuring’ Was Its Marketing

the conjuring opinion

What would you rather see? A horror film with a “PG13” rating for violence, some nudity, and language? Or a horror film with an “R” rating for being too scary?

This was the main hook for James Wan’s The Conjuring, which served as his spiritual followup to Insidious and perhaps even Saw for sheer inventiveness with the genre. The care he put into crafting a horror film where the horror comes first is probably what set The Conjuring apart for its hit box office run in 2013.

Even the incredibly loose “based on a true story” gimmick is underplayed here, as the movie centers around a couple of the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were actual paranormal investigators for decades known best for the story that became another well-known film, The Amityville Horror (along with its 2005 remake).

Set in the 70s, The Conjuring goes back in forth between point of view characters. First with the Warren couple (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) during some introductory exposition concerning the “Annabelle doll” case file, which was intriguing enough to green-light a standalone to release just a year later. The film then pivots to a standard haunted house narrative centered around a family with Ron Livingston and Lilli Taylor as the parents.

the conjuring opinion

Its the typical horror film fare with sudden noises, creepy atmosphere, and near-misses between ghost and human. But Wan prevents some of this familiarity to feel like fatigue, offering some much needed surprises in the form of his technique, always shifting perspective on the rooms and preventing the specters from getting too much facetime. Instead, we study the reactions of the humans who witness the supernatural for themselves, allowing us to fill in the blanks according to their fine performances.

None of these filming techniques are new when it comes to classic horror, but they’re a breath of fresh, foggy air for modern scare films that have adapted perhaps a little too much to the inviting world of “anything can happen” visual effects that are purely built in a computer. Perhaps it’s easy to accept the throwback nature of Conjuring due to the fact that its set in the 70s and has a slight filter that softens the picture.

While every performance is above grade here, there are some instances of somewhat forced drama used to round out the Warren couple, with lots of added dialogue concerning God’s purpose in their lives and how that will play into their marriage and family. Some of it works to contrast nicely with the chaos that ensues once they decide to aid the central family of The Conjuring, but the nicest thing to say about it is the fact that James Wan does a far better job with atmosphere and pacing than he does with living, breathing characters.

the conjuring opinion

Still, The Conjuring is one of the best horror films in the last few years, and mostly because of its restraint. As a result, the marketing for said movie (while inundated with the annoying Twitter quotes from screenings) was successful because of what it said about the love put into the film’s creation, rather than a forced superlative that would have sounded like white noise for most audiences.

(Second Opinion) Grade: A-

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Second Opinion: ‘Days of Future Past’ Is a Good, But Not Great X-Men Film

days of future past opinion

Days of Future Past was quite the success story when it finished its run in 2014, amid competition from Captain America: Winter Soldier and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in what was quite the crowded spring for comic-book movies, only to be upended by Guardians of the Galaxy that August.

Fans were divided on whether or not the film would actually work with time traveling in the mix, yet that very plot device is what enabled some of the film’s best moments, like seeing the previous generation of X-Men stars exist in the same universe as the fresher, more upbeat cast introduced in First Class. Because of this and a certain character named Quicksilver, DOFP was a huge hit with both audiences and critics, gaining almost double the average worldwide box office for X-Men films and getting the highest overall ratings.

And yet it’s probably not the best X-Men film, perhaps tying for second with First Class and submitting to the superior X2, if only because that film had the luxury of being a continuation of a solid pilot movie, as well as a more complete feature.

Like X2, DOFP’s biggest strength is its lack of having to tell another origin story. It’s a seamless continuation of two movies: X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine (or Last Stand, perhaps), making this the first X-Men sequel to feel like a comic-book movie, rather than a movie based on comic-book characters. It worked for Marvel’s slate of films, and it worked well here for X-Men, as well.

days of future past opinion

But also like Marvel, DOFP suffers from having a severe barrier to entry, preventing most newcomers from being able to jump in and start watching. Because of the complexity set forth by multiple soft reboots thanks to non-starters such as Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine, DOFP requires a full viewing of almost all of its films dating back to 2000 in order for viewers to have a complete picture of the “what” and “who” that makes up this film.

You can arguably get away with skipping the first X-Men, but then you wouldn’t understand the implication of Rogue’s actions in the subsequent two films. Skipping The Wolverine robs of you a crucial end-credits sequence that explains what goes completely unexplained in DOFP concerning the reappearance of two major characters presumed either dead or powerless. And even Origins: Wolverine lends some context to…well, never mind about that one.

Take a look at the complexity of the set up alone: In the future, Sentinels have all but rid the world of mutants, creating an apocalyptic wasteland in the process. So Shadowcat, reprised by Ellen Paige, uses a new power to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to 1973 to prevent a series of events that leads to the creation of the murderous sentinels, starting with Mystique’s mission to assassinate their creator, Bolivar Trask.

For invested fans, DOFP works on every level because there’s enough familiarity to fuel the drama that parallels between the past, with characters from First Class, and the dystopian future battled out with the cast of the first trilogy of movies. But most of the fun truly lies in the main plot occurring in 1973, as the movie feels most at home combining stunning special effects sequences with historical fiction, and doing it even better than First Class for that matter.

days of future past opinion

The main problem is that you spend more time trying to understand where everything exists in this movie than you do trying to analyze and think about the story. Little of the drama between characters is appreciated or slowed down to be appreciated, traded instead for a series of “big” moments compounding on each other in order to get to the finish line, which involves a sweeping retcon of previous X-Men flops.

Like First ClassDays of Future Past is certainly a good movie. It’s just not very great because it has to pave the way for something better, later. When it first came out, many fans were worried about getting their hopes up to high because director Bryan Singer had an almost impossible task set before him. But it’s clear that the task was to make a good film out of a complicated premise, rather than something amazing that manages to stand out and convert new fans into the X-Men universe.

Second Opinion Grade: B

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Second Opinion: Why ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Isn’t a Masterpiece

captain america winter soldier opinion

It’s strange that the sequel to one of Marvel Studios’ most ho-hum superhero origin stories is among the most celebrated as a standalone feature (and easily the best sequel of the now large catalogue of films).

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is often the film to talk about when discussing the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But is it ever talked about as a movie that stands among the greatest superhero movies? That’s not as clear and most likely not the case.

Unlike “First Avenger,” Winter Soldier is not a superhero movie that happens to be a period piece. It is instead a superhero movie that happens to be a spy thriller that Robert Redford himself is cast in to echo Three Days of the Condor. Notice, though, that neither movie starts first as a genre that happens to contain superheroes in it, which arguably the best superhero movies do. Because this is, after all, a movie that has to lay the seeds down for future films, for better or worse.

The film centers around a freshly minted Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans, as confident as ever), the man out of time who’s having trouble adjusting to a life beyond the one he had in the 1940s. His friends, connections, and even his values have been severely outpaced by his biology (and circumstantial preservation), as he’s trapped in a new world that uses him a lot more than they seem to need him.

captain america winter soldier

And he embraces this workload by diving headfirst into his job at S.H.I.E.L.D. and ignoring the suggestions of fellow Avenger Black Widow (played expertly here by Scarlett Johansson)  to get out there again and make a new life for himself. But he’s unable to do this anyway when a shadowed figure from his past arrives to disrupt a Big Brother world that Steve himself is disillusioned by, making the audience wonder why Captain America has to fight this battle at all.

It’s amazing that throughout this runtime, that is the question audiences are wondering. They aren’t put off by Captain America’s name, his moralistic nature, or his costume. Despite the fact that it’s hardly easy to relate to a man who represents excellence in every aspect, from his physical prowess to his righteousness. But the way he represents these ideals is something we can relate to, because almost all of us wish we were a little bit like Captain America, especially those of us who have grown up idolizing superheroes.

It just so happens that the handiwork of Winter Soldier is good cinema as well. The atmosphere, action scenes, and acting are all enhanced by the Russo Brothers’ vision and a solid script as mentioned. The movie is much like Captain America himself, in that it gets the job done — no more, no less.

But it’s the “no more” aspect that ultimately inhibits Winter Soldier from being one of the great superhero movies. Nothing in the film is exactly new or intriguing outside itself, but it’s still ust a great recipe that someone has managed to put together perfectly, rather than a turning point for the genre (not that it needed to be).

captain america winter soldier

This is fine because Winter Soldier already exceeded expectations by daring to even be good at all, putting forward an incredibly entertaining sequel about a character who’s seemed behind the times in more ways than one. Perhaps the film’s status as an underdog is why so many fans call it their favorite of the MCU, even above massive hits like The Avengers. I have a hard time disagreeing with them, because despite all of the credit Winter Soldier owes to previous Marvel films, it’s easily the most complete out of all of them.

Second Opinion Grade: A-

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Second Opinion: ‘Prince of Persia’ Could Have Been Something Special

prince of persia opinion

Directed by Mike Newell (who also directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and some other fantasy films), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time came out in 2010 as one of the later attempts to revitalize (or just vitalize) the trend of adapting popular video games into movies.

When this film was on the horizon, a lot of gamers were ready to love it, because unlike a lot of other ill-fated adaptations, everyone agreed that Prince of Persia was a game that lent itself nicely to the feature film treatment. Even better, this was a game franchise that had already been successfully reinvented many times since the 80s.

That said, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was intended to be a film adaptation of the 2003 hit video game of the same name. But that didn’t really happen. Instead, Jerry Bruckheimer produced a film that deviated heavily from its video game source material, maintaining only the most superficial aspects of the game that define its identity.

Yes, the main character has the power (somewhat) to turn back time with a dagger, though it’s hardly used in this movie. And he’s a quick-moving prince living in a Persian empire who must team up with a feisty princess (played well here by Gemma Arterton). But rather than adapt the more thrilling aspects of this character, who loses his family in the night due to the villainous treachery of their sorcerer advisor amidst a castle magicked to all hell, Prince of Persia (the movie) focuses on traditional swashbuckling adventure akin to Bruckheimer’s work in Pirates of the Caribbean.

prince of persia opinion

This isn’t inherently a bad thing, as long as you’re able to buy into a British-accent Jake Gyllenhaal playing someone who lives as Persian royalty after being adopted as a street orphan. The adventure boils down to the prince being framed for treason and then trying to prevent a magical sandstorm that will wipe out everyone in the world, which is a far cry from the more singular, human adventure in the games where only a kingdom is at stake.

For all of the fun Prince of Persia tries to have, its main problem is lacking any sort of identity that it could have easily gleaned from its source material. A generic plot and world-ending villainy are even less interesting when none of the characters (even Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina, and Ben Kingsley) have nothing interesting to say beyond their simplistic motivations.

There are bright spots whenever the film shows off some now-dated parkour reminiscent of the games, but even the Dagger of Time, a powerful plot device in and of itself, is relegated to B-movie time travel plots we’ve seen before, rather than the effect that reversing mistakes at will can have on a person trying to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, the movie never really gets that interesting, but it also manages to stay light and entertaining throughout. Like National Treasure to a lesser degree, Sands of Time is full of breezy action with likable enough characters thrown into the chaos. But even its own special effects are hard to swallow, since even basic rooftop antics are enhanced with CGI for the sake of spectacle, and it was just as noticeable 6 years ago as it is now.

prince of persia opinion

Getting down to it, the major problem with Sands of Time has nothing to do with it being an imperfect movie. Plenty of enjoyable adventure films have glaring flaws that you forgive because you love being in this world that’s been created for you. Sands of Time lacks this type of setting, with characters whose chosen names could have used more debate, a historical backdrop devoid of awe (Secret Guardian Temple, anyone?), and an uninspired…well, everything else.

Second Opinion Grade: C-

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: Let’s Complain about the ‘Rogue One’ Teaser Tailer

rogue one teaser

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read

The first teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped today, and I’ll be painfully honest. I fell in love almost immediately. So for obvious reasons, I have a lot of thoughts (some positive and some negative) that I’ll get into on a later date. For now, I’ll just say that I’m less worried about the prospects of getting a new Star Wars movie every year.

Before we get to the point of this Snarcasm, let’s watch (or rewatch) the Rogue One teaser and get back up to hyperspeed:

Normally on this column, I take on writers who write silly things on the Internet. This week, I’m turning my attention to the many “fans” out there trying their darnedest to complain about the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story teaser for the impossibly worst reasons.

There are too many to count, so hopefully I cover the basics that you’re bound to see over the next year. Let’s begin with Rob’s clear understanding of the box office.

Rob: This movie and all others made after Episode III should be called “Girl Power.” Disney, you are trying to sell more tickets to women. Don’t expect men to go see it.

Oh, the horror. Disney is making movies that don’t specifically cater to one gender anymore. What will they think of next in their ongoing conquest to hurt your feelings?

Except, wow, men sure showed up for The Force Awakens, didn’t they? You know, the movie with the highest domestic box office of all time, which happens to have a female protagonist?

Good thing Disney listens to the wise words of “Rob,” so now their sequel to Frozen will star two male characters both voiced by Ashton Kutcher.

James: I have to admit it’s a good first trailer but I have to join a few commenters discussing the reliance upon another female protagonist in the next movie. I LOVE Felicity Jones. Truly I do. And, I understand that they want to embrace females and ethnicities, but overcompensating and putting two films in a row, then having the next Star Wars also be….well…Rey. It just seems a little much. But, once again, the first trailer does deliver and spectacle and story.

Well, hey, at least he admits that it’s a good first trailer, right? That’s sure to soften the rest of this backwards comment. And toward the end, he even says that the trailer delivers (takes out glitter) spectacle! And story! Whatever that means!

I find it weird (and chuckle-inducing) that the complaint is having a “reliance” on a female protagonist. You know, because so many movies “rely” on this, since we live in a world where females get properly represented in sci-fi blockbusters, except when they hardly ever. Two in a row is just madness.

That said, I doubt James would dare say that the previous six Star Wars movies were a little “much” for having six male leads in a row.

Alphado: I don’t like that they’re making all the central protagonists female. Rey is the central protagonist of the new trilogy and the whole trailer of Rogue One revolves around another female character without a male protagonist in sight (only male antagonists). If they truly want to balance gender roles then have both female and male protagonists.

For them to truly “balance” gender roles, every movie coming out has to have only one female protagonist for at least 100 more years. I’m not sure that’s what you really want.

As for Rogue One, were you not paying attention to the male characters prancing around the screen with Jyn Erso at every turn? In fact, she and Mon Mothma are the only two women who even speak in this trailer. Counting the obvious protagonists (not extras), there were 5 males and 2 women. 

Someone call Anakin Skywalker so we can finally have balance.

Greg: Very strong trailer. My only issue is that this is twice in a row now we’re getting a Disney film where the primary cast is mostly or entirely “diversity based”, with white characters relegated to the background. C’mon, Disney…caucasian is an ethnicity too!

…Is this real life?

Twice in a row? You mean Force Awakens, where a white female was the main character? That wasn’t caucasian enough for you? A white male playing the main villain, Kylo Ren, wasn’t caucasian enough? General Hux, played by Domnall Gleeson? Harrison Ford as Han Solo? These guys were in the background?

Oh…yes, because there were like two or other three other characters who weren’t caucasian, so that certainly means Star Wars is oppressing caucasians by mixing the cast up. Good thing the star of Rogue One is caucasian, or else Greg would just get lost.

Brian: Doesn’t look like Star Wars let’s be honest

If only the trailer had stormtroopers, a story centered around the rebellion, ships and weapons straight out of the original trilogy, and imagination-stretching character designs.

Daniel: Poorly repackaged garbage. Nifty how they have an Imperial in a white uniform. Christ people have no idea the poorly recycled crap they are being sold.

Wait, I’m losing track of what we should complain about. So it’s too much like Star Wars now?

Eric: More like Hunger Games in space.

Wait, Hunger Games? I don’t think—

Steven: Except Hunger Games doesn’t have AT-ATs

What? How in the world—

Chris: Hunger games, the divergent movies, and now star wars. A strong independent woman who needs no man. Looks like star wars will just now be attracting teens

I really don’t think you understand how—



Yehezekiel: The Hunger Games: Space Edition

I hardly think that’s—

Ghost: stupid stupid stupid. Is this the hunger games Star Wars edition?


Guys and gals (but mostly guys if you can believe it), Hunger Games is hardly the first franchise to pit female characters against oppressive regimes. And to blithely complain about Rogue One having surface-level similarities to this franchise is pointless after you dig at least an inch.

First of all, this “Jyn Erso” character (who we all know is a fill in for Jan Ors), is nothing like Katniss, just based on this very short glimpse we’ve been given of her character.

From what we can tell, she’s an adult rebel of action, whereas Katniss was a reactionary teenager who sort of stumbled around in opposition. Jyn Erso has a clear goal and mission, while Katniss Everdeen is forced to kill other teenagers. Jyn Erso is rebellious to the rebels, while Katniss just sort of whined about Peeta during the majority of Mockingjay.

Yes, it’s too early to make assumptions about “who” Jyn Erso is based on this one teaser, but that goes double for these bizarre Hunger Games comparisons. We’re even teased with a possibility that Jyn will become evil in the end. The only thing we wondered about Katniss was whether or not she was going to kill a cat.

StormtrooperP: So I guess Star Wars is just all about women now?

It never wasn’t. These movies have always had central female characters, like Princess Leia and Padme. For once, though, there’s actually a believable ratio. 

Derbi50: Yay. More girl power crap in Star Wars, because it was super low on that. It’s just ungrateful disrespectful crap. 99.9% percent of military casualties in the 20th century were men. It’s like making a movie about men giving birth or stealing all of their wives stuff in a divorce.

I’m not even sure what to do with this comment. Maybe he’ll chill out once he gets his GED.

ShutupLieberman: Looks like a Divergent movie.

I don’t think you’ve ever seen a Divergent movie.

Adoscafeten: I’m surprised noone’s commenting on how the aesthetic looks like a tv-movie.

I’m surprised you’re surprised by this. You know, since it doesn’t look like a tv-movie at all.

I loved it up until the “subtitle” was presented: “A Star Wars story”? Why is it necessary to include that? It detracts from the intrigue of a supposedly “new” story by reminding the viewer that the Star Wars franchise, while beloved, is a highly commercialized entity. It broke the spell for me!

I actually understand this frustration, but this inclusion of Star Wars in the branding is unfortunately essential. It could mean the difference between this film making millions and millions of dollars less than it could, simply because people won’t realize it’s based on a franchise they already like.

Mstrymxer: WTF. Why is everyone british?

Because Star Wars has had British accents in its movies since 1977?

Star Wars: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay?


Bluehawk52: Jyn = Rey. Visage. Age. British. Same. Unoriginal. Take the blinders off, put down the Kool-Aid, and think for yourself, people. Star Wars is dying. Send these Disney clowns a message and don’t support this trash.

If I put down my Kool-Aid, does that mean I have to take a sip of your Bud Ice?

Look, I hardly think Star Wars is anywhere close to dying, mostly because I pay attention to things and use my brain to form opinions. Seeing The Force Awakens become the third highest-grossing movie of all time helped me form that opinion, for example.

So calling Rogue One unoriginal because its protagonist is similar to a different set of movies in this franchise is like saying Captain America: The Winter Soldier sucks because Chris Evans is a white guy like Robert Downey Jr.

And as for unoriginality, I think if you actually rewind the trailer and take your own blinders off, you’ll see a load of things teased that have never even been touched by these movies. Not least of all a samurai fighting stormtroopers.

thezim: It should be called PC WARS: THE FAKE EQUALITY SAGA

Alright, I’m done. Wake me up when the 15-year-olds are done with study hall.

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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