The Power Rangers Trailer Is Not Too “Serious”, “Dark” or “Gritty”

The first trailer for the Power Rangers (2017) was released over the weekend and in short, I think it sucks. I wasn’t intending to write about the trailer at all since I was underwhelmed by it and figured that this would be another film that would come and go under the radar for me. However, a friend on Facebook linked to an article that criticizes the trailer as being too serious and dark. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that this is one of my most hated criticisms. I always thought that the mindset that films need to be “fun” was limited specifically to comic book films, but it seems that it is becoming more widespread.

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The writer also criticizes the abundance of night-time scenes, as if she doesn’t realize that “dark” does not usually refer to the lighting, it refers to the tone. This just made me think the article is satirical, similar to The Onion. Even if the writer is joking, the comments are serious and many of them share the view that the trailer was too dark.

Nothing in this trailer struck me as being “dark” or “gritty” in any way, shape, or form.  The trailer has a Breakfast Club meets Chronicle vibe, beginning with the rangers in some sort of detention program, then cutting to them finding the rings and discovering their powers. There is grade B acting and some cheesy humour, which just makes me wonder what it takes for a film to be regarded as “fun” if it doesn’t have a Marvel logo in front of it. The trailers for Doctor Strange are much more serious than this, yet Doctor Strange doesn’t have droves of people saying that it’s too serious. Maybe the trailers need to start with the actors doing a stand up-routine, Seinfeld style.

seinfeld-plane-family-guy                                                                                                             And what’s the deal with the villain anyway?

 

I was hanging out with a friend this weekend, and he remarked that the poems on my @wmoviegrapevine Instagram account are dark and depressing. I didn’t mind him saying that, but it made me realize that I may have a different perspective than some people when it comes to my views on entertainment. Since I am used to writing dark stories, maybe I am less sensitive to “darkness” than the average person. This is a valid point but I think that some of my previous arguments about the “make it fun” mentality still stand. Everything is relative when it comes to entertainment. People see DC as dark in comparison to the MCU films, and it appears that people think this trailer is dark in comparison to the old tv show.

For anyone who remembers the tv show, or is bothered to look up a clip on YouTube, you will see that the show was ridiculously cheesy and campy. It seems like people are comparing the tone of this trailer to the tone of the show. So of course, anything that isn’t as campy will be viewed as too serious, “dark” or “gritty” in comparison. There are plenty of people complaining that the trailer doesn’t have any of the cheesiness or “fun” in the original tv show. My question is, why would you want this film to have the same cheesiness as the show? It makes me wonder if people thought Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) was too dark when it came out, since it wasn’t as “fun” as the Adam West show.

We should strive to copy the same tone if it fits the story and the characters, not just because we want to copy the original. The trailer does have humour and some lightheartedness (although the dialogue and some of the acting sucks). A film as cheesy as the tv show would be horrible. People need to stop thinking that “fun” always equals good. Batman and Robin was fun too. Batman and Robin also captured the tone of the original Adam West tv show, but that didn’t mean it was the right way to go

The Irony of the MCU

 

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I saw Captain America: Civil War recently and I currently rank it as my second favourite MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) film, with The Winter Soldier still being #1 for me. Despite the love I have for some of the MCU, I can’t help but notice the criticism people always levy at DC films. I am no DC “fanboy”, I recognize that they don’t have as solid a film universe, since they got a later start on it. However, I have previously discusses my disdain for people who say that DC movies have a problem with their tone. Many negative reviews will at least mention the darker tone of the DC universe films as being a problem, as if darker=worse.I realize that Marvel has dark properties on Netflix, like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but I made this post specifically to discuss the MCU on the big screen. Reading comprehension is a dying art, so let me break this down a little further. I am not saying that BvS or Man of Steel are amazing. MOS was a 7.5 for me and BvS a 6.5. I am not saying these films have no flaws. I am saying that I don’t think their tone is one of their flaws.

Obviously BvS had issues aside from its tone (I’m looking at you Eisenberg) but I can’t stand this relatively
new idea that darkness is a bad thing in itself, and that “dark” and “good” are mutually exclusive. Of course, there have been dark comic book films that have been relatively well received, like The Dark Knight and the more recent example of X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, times are changing. Go to Rotten Tomatoes and see how many negative reviews of Apocalypse mention the “dark”, “grim”, “joyless” tone as being an issue. I’ll wait.

There is a pervasive mentality that a comic book movie must be “fun”. It shouldn’t take itself too seriously and should have plenty of comic relief, otherwise it has failed as a film. The MCU is now held up as the standard of comic relief and as the benchmark for the tone that a comic book film should have. It is easy to see why people latched onto them since they have had the most prolific comic book film output of any studio.

What I find ironic, is that the “fun” mentality is what held comic book films back for so long. Many critics and members of the general public who flock to see MCU films now would have once scoffed at the idea of a critically revered comic book film. Of course there are classics like Superman (1978) but Superman did not usher in an era of consistent comic book films and box-office domination by comic book films. This era started slowly with films like Blade, then X-Men and then Spider-Man. Then came Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and then the birth of the MCU with Iron Man.

Many critics once thought comic book films would never have the success they do now. They might be silly fun, but no one would take such films seriously. The idea of Oscar winners or nominees regularly starring in comic book films would have been deemed preposterous. Marlon Brando’s appearance in Superman was such a big deal due to the pedigree that he brought to the film. The first big successes of the modern era (Blade and X-Men) used a tone that many would now view as overly dramatic, “dark”, “pretentious” etc. but that is what allowed comic book films to gain more popularity and critic recognition. If it weren’t for these films we might not have the MCU. Yet everyone now forgets the stigma comic book films had to overcome and wants everything to be “fun” and “colourful”. There was a time when people thought that was all comic book films would have to offer, and it seems like fans now want history to repeat itself.