It’s so easy to miss a AAA trailer these days, even with all the endless marketing build-up around teasers, pre-trailers (“in one day,” etc) and other forms of cinematic hype. A good trailer is an art form, one that is able to convey a movie’s plot, tone and style all while resisting that ever-present urge to score it to a slowed-down pop song. So here’s the Trailer Park, where we’re parking all the trailers you may have skipped, missed or want to revisit from the past week. Appreciate them. Nitpick them. Figure out if the movies they’re selling are actually going to be any good. That’s all part of the fun, after all.
This week, we’ve got a new red-hot look at The Green Knight, our first trailer for the Venom sequel, Maggie Q doin’ the John Wick thing in The Protégé and more.
Director: David Lowery
Release Date: July 30, 2021
People have been waiting to see Lowery’s adaptation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the classic Arthurian legend, since spring of 2020 when the film was set to be released at South by Southwest. Now we finally have a date and new trailer to look forward to. By the look of the film’s new trailer, The Green Knight has an abundance of dazzling elements to offer. First Dev Patel, duh. Patel plays Gawain, nephew of King Arthur. In the trailer, he’s giving us brooding leading man: Armor-clad, “about to go on a life changing quest” realness. A year after entering a dinnertime dual (old-timey feudal society shenanigans) with a Green Knight, Gawain must journey through the land to find the knight he bested once again. Along the way to defend his knightly honor, Gawain encounters talking animals and large Blade Runner 2049-like androgynous giants. The Green Knight, like The Personal History of David Copperfield, marks an additional nontraditional casting win for Patel’s filmography, in which he earns a role traditionally imagined for a white figure. However, as Laila Ujayli attests it is important to keep in mind that this exciting, progressive casting choice should be grounded in the fact that Patel—a British actor—is merely portraying British characters. Outside of the excitement regarding Patel’s performance and the fantasy elements of Lowery’s script, The Green Knight’s ensemble cast is a key draw of the film. Patel will be acting alongside some fellow heavy hitters like Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris (the man behind my favorite Mission: Impossible villain), Alicia Vikander and Sarita Choudhury (Mississippi Masala, Hunger Games). —Adesola Thomas
Director: Andy Serkis
Release Date: September 24, 2021
It seems like a lifetime ago that audiences packed into multiplexes, despite critical drubbing, to pump 2018’s Venom up to a … $856 million worldwide gross? Good lord, folks. To audiences, it didn’t seem to matter that Venom felt like a throwback to the pre-MCU, mid-2000s mold of superhero moviemaking, all loud noises, faux edginess and questionable CGI. The character of Venom was simply too popular to ignore, and to the credit of Ruben Fleischer’s film, this Venom at least looked the part, in comparison with the awful take on the character seen in Sam Raimi’s legendarily terrible Spider-Man 3. The script left plenty to be desired, and it’s hard to argue that leading man Tom Hardy brought much to the party, but at least this time the character indisputably looked like Venom. That’s something, at least, and it’s something retained in the just-released first trailer for sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. This first sequel in the “Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters” (oh yeah, “SPUMC” has such a great ring to it) picks up where the last left off, with a returning Woody Harrelson playing psychotic serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of another dangerous symbiote eventually known as Carnage. We get only a brief look at Carnage himself in the trailer, but what is on display is a seemingly more jovial tone this time around, courtesy of screenwriter Kelly Marcel and director Andy Serkis.—Jim Vorel
Director: Martin Campbell
Release Date: August 20, 2021
There are certain stars where we don’t need much of an excuse to watch another outing of them doing what they do best, and Maggie Q certainly falls into that camp. The American model and action star has been kicking ass for around 20 years now, since the likes of Naked Weapon and through installments in the Die Hard and Mission: Impossible franchises, and her own series Nikita on the CW. So when we see a new trailer for Maggie Q channeling John Wick, teaming up with Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton? Yeah, it’s easy to get behind that concept, which makes up The Protégé. The setup couldn’t be more conventional, but the trailer hints at some interesting dynamics—especially the almost romantic-looking energy between Maggie Q and Keaton, ostensibly the film’s villain. His character’s name, by the way, is “Rembrandt,” which sounds like bad movie gold if you ask us. The action choreography also looks to be on point, again evoking the stunts and gun-kata of Chad Stahelski’s similar John Wick series.—Jim Vorel
Director: Tom McCarthy
Release Date: July 30, 2021
Matt Damon is an Oklahoman off to France, visiting his daughter—who’s been arrested for murder—and his hat, accent and goatee all fit the bill. As the rural good ol’ boy conducts his own thrillery investigation into what exactly is going on and why his daughter, who claims innocence, is still in prison, he collides with much more drama than he expects. The culture clash seems a little silly on its face, but it’s from Tom McCarthy, whose Spotlight took home Oscars for similarly investigative fare so it’s hard to dismiss outright. Well, maybe that one was a bit more low-key than Stillwater, which looks to use its fish out of water premise to the fullest, but hey! It could still work!