Star Wars Episode 7

Look, I would absolutely love it if Episode 7 was an amazing movie.  And I do have to admit the teaser trailer looks good.

This comic sums up the way most of my friends have been reacting to it:

But I’ve been burned before.  I remember how excited we were in the late 90s, based on the delusion that new Star Wars would be as amazing as old Star Wars.  I remember how there was a (false) rumor that they would show the first preview for Phantom Menace before the X-Files movie.  As each preview was starting, everyone in the theater cheered in anticipation.  Then when they really did show the preview before Meet Joe Black, people bought tickets to Meet Joe Black just to watch the previews and then walk out afterwards.  We all thought back then that Episode one would be awesome.

Then there was the enormous let-down of seeing the actual movie.  I’m convinced that this disappointment was a major contributing factor to the cynicism of the 2000s.  We got the thing we had been wishing for our entire lives, and it turned out to be awful.  The world just didn’t seem as bright and hopeful after that.

It’s easy to make a teaser trailer look good.  The teaser for Phantom Menace looked incredible.

It doesn’t look so good now that we know the context of those clips – how annoying Jar Jar and Anakin are, the wooden dialog, the boring incoherent plot.  But when the teaser was originally released, just seeing the Lucasfilm logo was enough to make us squeal with delight.  There was a double-sided lightsaber, cool looking ships, thousands of droids, Samuel L. Jackson, and a fully emotive Yoda.  We had no idea just how wrong it would all go.

Now people are getting their hopes up again.  And it reminds me of this scene from Fanboys:

For those of you who didn’t watch the clip, the joke is that someone is so excited about the upcoming release of Phantom Menace that he gets a full back tattoo of Jar Jar, on the assumption that the character will kick all sorts of ass.  We can laugh at that now.  My fear is that by the end of the year, we will look back at those who were excited about The Force Awakens in the exact same way.

Nothing would make me happier than if I turn out to be completely wrong about this, and the movie is great beyond the fanboys’ wildest dreams.  But for now, I’m not going to get my hopes up.

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Batman vs. Superman

I’ve said many times that I don’t think there could ever be a good Superman movie, because of the eponymous Superman Problem.  Superman is just so powerful as a character that the only way to make him face a challenge is for him to be so stupid that he forgets his own powers.  That’s just not interesting to watch.

But if you make Superman the villain, then he becomes an incredibly daunting challenge himself.  If that challenge is faced by someone with much weaker superpowers*, that could be interesting.

I’m not convinced that Batman vs. Superman will be good.  I have plenty of reservations about Ben Affleck, and plenty more about Zack Snyder.  Especially after the steaming pile of crap that was Man of Steel.**  But unlike most Superman movies, Batman vs. Superman could be good.  So I’m cautiously hopeful.

* Yes, Batman does have superpowers.  He has the power of infinite money.  And in many incarnations, he also has the powers of magic technobabble, rapid healing, and making everyone around him stupid.

** There are a lot of bad things you could say about Man of Steel and how it betrayed the whole point of Superman.  But I never even got to that point because it violated the only absolutely unbreakable rule of movies/screenwriting, which is never be boring.  It was so dull that I quit watching after an hour, and never even got to the parts that everyone else hates.  (Other than the scene where he stands around with his thumb up his butt and watches his father die for no reason, which gave me a taste of how little I was missing by not continuing to watch.)