After the madness of Comic-Con last week, it’s been a bit of a quieter seven days in the world of cinema, although a couple of major non-superhero properties have been at the centre of the movie news agenda.
Danny Boyle dropped a tantalising glimpse from the set of Trainspotting sequel T2 and an impressive first trailer dropped for visually astonishing historical blockbuster The Great Wall. On the superhero front, meanwhile, there has been some chaos over naming over at Marvel and a change of staff on Aquaman.
Here’s all of the movie news worth caring about from the last seven days…
Trainspotting 2 teaser trailer arrives
Fans have been clamouring for a look at T2 since Danny Boyle announced that shooting was underway on the highly anticipated sequel to Trainspotting. This week, a short teaser trailer finally landed online, featuring a brief glimpse of the central characters as they are now. Ewen Bremner as Spud, Ewan McGregor as Renton, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy and Robert Carlyle as Begbie are present and correct, albeit a little older.
This new trailer doesn’t exactly show us all that much from the new film, but there’s a real rush of nostalgia to hearing the music and seeing the entire cast assembled in their iconic characters. I can’t wait for T2 to show us what has happened to these characters since the first film and it’s a dark, scuzzy world that Danny Boyle conveys in an uncompromising, but fiercely entertaining way. Is it February yet?
Avengers: Infinity War has title troubles
There has been some confusion regarding where Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War sits in recent weeks. The Russo brothers announced that the two films would not be called “part one” and “part two”, but would be given standalone titles. It now seems as if the films will not be directly linked at all, according to Variety. The release slated for May 2018 will be called Infinity War, but the May 2019 follow-up is now known as an “Untitled Avengers” property.
This is the danger of announcing movies many years in advance. It is highly likely that this is little more than a semantic shift, but it could come across as if Marvel has lost faith in its enormous franchise culmination. Whatever happens, there are still many years and many movies to go before Thanos is set to make his mark.
Matt Damon builds a wall
The Great Wall is the most expensive movie ever shot in China, with a budget close to $150m. It’s an enormous, effects-driven blockbuster set against the backdrop of some sort of ancient war between humans and monsters, in which the eponymous structure was built to keep the creatures away. The first trailer this week certainly got tongues wagging for two reasons: its sumptuous visuals and the casting of white male star Matt Damon. Director Zhang Yimou has described the film as being a Hollywood blockbuster first and foremost, but this has not prevented a whitewashing row from breakout out around his lead performer.
The trailer is a visual treat, but the plot looks like it could be transferred over from just about every other fantasy epic. The failure of 47 Ronin hangs over this like a bad smell and the whitewashing issue is definitely problematic. Nonetheless, Damon has been making good choices recently and this could be another hit. The Great Wall is set for a release in February 2017.
New writer to make a splash with Aquaman?
It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of scepticism surrounding the upcoming Aquaman movie, not least after Jason Momoa‘s rather weird appearance in the Justice League trailer. There has been some good news for the film this week, as per The Hollywood Reporter, with Will Beall of Gangster Squad fame set to pen the script, with assistance and input from director James Wan.
Aquaman is still the slightly unusual sibling in the DC movie universe and it remains to be seen whether this new take on the character can usurp his reputation as being one of the more ridiculous and silly superheroes. With Wan and his unique sensibilities at the helm of the project, though, this every chance this could be far more interesting than that when it arrives in July 2018.
McAvoy meets Norman Bates in Split
M Night Shyamalan is back! Years in the filmmaking doldrums after a number of high-profile failures seem to have emboldened the master of the outlandish twist ending, who returned to low-budget horror with a flourish in The Visit. This week, a trailer landed for his new film Split, which features James McAvoy as a man with dozens of split personalities, who kidnaps a trio of young women, including Anya Taylor-Joy – the hugely impressive star of The Witch.
The trailer looks joyously insane in the best possible way, with McAvoy accessing the same unhinged persona that he used for Filth. Shyamalan is at his best when he embraces ridiculousness, and I think it’s fair to say that Split does that with gleeful abandon in its trailer. Split is set to land in UK cinemas in January.
A spoonful of Streep for Poppins sequel
The terribly titled sequel Mary Poppins Returns looks set to add even more star wattage to its cast, with Variety reporting that Oscar-winning behemoth Meryl Streep is in talks to join the film. This would reunite her with Into the Woods director Rob Marshall and actor Emily Blunt, who will take the title role. Streep looks set to portray the new part of her cousin, Topsy.
This is super-smart casting from the guys over at Disney. Streep guarantees a certain gravitas whenever she takes on a big screen role and her involvement could help to turn around some people who want Mary Poppins to remain a standalone story. Streep is set to sing for the role, which can only be a good thing given her recent musical work. Mary Poppins Returns is set to be a rather magical Christmas present for cinemagoers in December 2018.
Netflix nabs Panama Papers movie
It looks as if Steven Soderbergh‘s upcoming movie about the Panama Papers is set to have some competition. Netflix has announced that it has purchased the rights to The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the World’s Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money, written by the two German journalists who were the only people with direct access to the whistleblower.
It remains to be seen whether it will be Netflix or Soderbergh who gets their movie to the big screen first, but the smart money would have to be on Netflix. The streaming service has shown that its production arm is ahead of the curve and it seems very likely indeed that they will make this project a priority in order to get the jump on Soderbergh and make the most of the newsworthy nature of the topic.
Will the Trainspotting sequel live up to the original? Which of the new trailers this week was your favourite? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.