Let Me Entertain You | The Good, the Bad, and the ?????

The past month has featured some pretty wacky superhero movie news, and I’d like to discuss it in a segment we will call “The Good, the Bad, and the ?????” (as there is not yet a word that so perfectly describes the confusion and apprehension of five question marks in a row.)

The Good:

Zoe Saldana is really making a habit of playing female badasses with weirdly colored skin. Photo courtesy of Marvel/EW.

Okay, this kind of goes in “?????” territory as well, given the nature of the story, but I’d say that the new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy looks kind of awesome. It’s certainly not taking itself seriously, which is a positive. If you’re going to show a ridiculous story set in space, you had best not try to make it somehow profound. That was the mistake that the ill-fated Green Lantern reboot made. No, Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be cheeky and action-packed. The trailer is certainly well-made, and it looks like the film will be taking advantage of Chris Pratt’s comedic skills. It will be fun to see Andy from “Parks and Recreation” as an action hero. Plus, Vin Diesel is the voice of a giant tree and Bradley Cooper of a tiny raccoon. Let the naysayers naysay, but I think it looks pretty fun.

The Bad:


Ugh. Photo courtesy of Marvel.

So, the new posters for Captain America: the Winter Soldier came out. Why is this a bad thing? Let’s look at the poster of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Her eyes are dead and soulless, just like a doll. And that’s basically what she is, in this poster: a doll. With a photoshopped waist and a slinky catwalk, Black Widow doesn’t look remotely human. All of the male characters get serious poses indicative of their important role in the movie; Scarlett Johansson looks like a walking sex toy. In The Avengers, Black Widow was an integral part of the team, a warrior in her own right, not defined by her gender. This poster is a step back from fleshing her out as a real character, focusing on body rather than substance. This doesn’t mean Black Widow won’t be treated seriously in the movie, but it isn’t a good indicator. However, if Scarlett Johansson’s IMDB page is correct, she will be starring in a Black Widow movie in 2015. This would be absolutely awesome. Remember, Black Widow has all the same powers Batman does, only she did it without the money.

The ?????

Jesse Eisenberg playing a neurotic jerk in The Social Network. Or maybe Adventureland. Or Zombieland. Or Now You See Me. Can anyone actually distinguish the difference? Photo courtesy of Merrick Morton/EW.

Jesse Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. Eisenberg has made a fortune portraying neurotic geniuses, so I suppose this could be a good thing. But paired with the other “?????” casting choice of Ben Affleck, I just don’t really know what to think about this news. We all know my antipathy towards Man of Steel: it was bloated, poorly written and poorly acted. The best part about it was Hans Zimmer’s excellent score. I do love Hans Zimmer. Go look him up; he probably composed the music for some of your favorite movies. But I digress. People disparaged Heath Ledger when he was first cast as the Joker, true. But the first Batman movie was relatively well-written and shot. Zack Snyder – director of Man of Steel, Watchmen, and 300 – couldn’t be subtle if his life depended on it. He’s good at blowing things up in your face and taking all of the emotional and socio-political potency out of a story. So yeah, I’m apprehensive about this casting choice. I trust Jesse Eisenberg to make it interesting, but I don’t trust Zack Snyder.

And that is this month in “The Good, the Bad, and the ?????” Really, I’m just biding my time until the Oscars next week. So in this upcoming week, I have a few assignments for you: try to watch all of the Best Picture-nominated films, look up Hans Zimmer, and be especially aware of sexism in the advertising industry! Go forth, and spread the magic of film.