Sunday, December 18, 2022

These Trailers Are For Me (Spider-Verse and Barbie)

Wow! Trailers and teasers galore! Okay, well, two of them. But two trailers highly relevant to me in particular have released in the same week, and I know my take is highly sought after, so here we go!

Second trailer for Across the Spider-Verse Part 1! (Geez that's a mouthful.) There's a bit to unpack there. What we knew from the first trailer was the involvement of Miguel O'Hara, Spider-Man 2099, as well as the return of Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman. Miles still has the new suit, which is growing on me, and we got some new stuff character-wise from this trailer.

Another Spider-Woman is in the picture, this one being a variant of Jessica Drew, the mainline Spider-Woman right now. There's a lot of hubbub about the character design, and that she's noticeably pregnant, but that's a can o' worms I do not wanna get into.

Peter B. is back! And with a little baby carrier. Shortly after the trailer came out, the film team released concept art of his kid, who is a little baby Mayday. I was sort of hoping we'd get more of a timeskip for him, maybe with a teen Mayday. I just want Spider-Girl, guys. But baby Mayday is better than nothing.

Plotwise, this doesn't give us much, but we can glean something. Looks like Gwen and Miles find themselves in some sort of multiversal Spider-Folk convention center, which is disturbingly close to the comic Spider-Verse. (Which I hate.) I really hope they're not going all-in on that, because Morlun is stupid and I don't like that plot.

It's probably more complex than that, given that it seems Miguel and Jessica Drew will have a more antagonistic role. Perhaps what Miles and Gwen want to do to fix whatever's happening clashes with what the larger group of palette-swapped Spider-WhoGivesAShits so there's some conflict about that. From what we know now, I like the idea. Spider-Man is about defying the orders of authority, so Miles contradicting what he thinks is an immoral course of action is exactly what I like in my Spider-Men.

Truth be told, I was a lot less hype about this trailer than I expected to be. I have three theories for that.

1. This trailer just isn't exciting
2. I over-hyped myself earlier and am working on a hype deficit.
3. I am the hollow shell of a human being and at the pit of my heart lies an incinerator that burns up everything pure and joyful, emitting only a dark, acrid smoke that fills every wrinkle in my brain.

All of these are possible.

I just don't like how there's now a giant mass of anonymous Spider-Folk running around in the background of this trailer. The first movie had 5 (6 if you count the dead one) Spiders, which allowed time for each to be a unique take, with distinct personalities, artstyles, and quirks. Hell, it gave Spider-Ham a dramatic moment.

With the new one, however, you got a ton of Spiders back there. And I can bet that some character designer spent months on all these background characters, but in the end that don't matter because they're like background noise. It's like the Conservation of Ninjutsu principle, one ninja is an unstoppable badass, but a giant mass of ninjas is an easily defeated goon squad. It's the problem you always run into when you introduce an infinite multiverse. Individuals cease to matter when there's a million slightly-different copies of that same person running around. The variety in Spider-People was what made Into the Spider-Verse so good, but I feel like when you make a faceless mass of Spider-Men, you lose something.

It's always possible I'm overreacting (re: the black incinerator in my heart) but I've been hurt before. We'll see.

Now I haven't actually brought up the Barbie movie here yet, that's been confined mostly to twitter as paparazzi shots of shooting days were put out there. Now there is no way I'm not watching the Barbie movie. At some point my brain broke in a very specific way, and now Barbie movies are my coping mechanism.

The Main Question running through my mind has been: WHAT IS THIS MOVIE ABOUT??

There are so many ways to take a Barbie movie, a lot of them probably bad. I need to know. This movie's being directed by Greta Gerwig, who previously wrote and directed Lady Bird, which won a bunch of awards I'm too lazy to look up. You don't get that kind of talent on a toy movie. Except, I guess, now.

Unfortunately this teaser doesn't give us much to work with to determine the movie's plot. Yeah there's a cool 2001: A Space Odyssey reference, but for all I know that was made specifically for the teaser and will have nothing to do with the final film.

I would like this movie best if Barbie is portrayed like in Life in the Dreamhouse. Where all the Barbie dolls are canon, she lives a gifted life in a doll Malibu, and she's not meant to be like a real life human person. Given the acknowledgement that she is a doll and the hyperstylized shots we see of what is assumedly Malibu, this film might be on that track.

What I really wouldn't like, but is very likely, is if this follows the standard plot structure of your basic Hollywood film. Barbie shouldn't have a character arc. What does she have to learn? There's a very real risk that this film will have the theme of "Barbie is unrealistic" which would be a damn shame considering just how much there is to work with regarding this property.

Given that this is just a teaser, there's a lot that's still open. Really we'll just have to wait for a proper trailer before predictions can really begin, but god damn if I'm not seeing this on opening day.

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