While the main show might have been the actual game and the sideshow might have been Lady Gaga’s performance, the moments in-between allowed for the studios and networks to tease their big bets for the year. At a reported $5m a pop they don’t come cheap, so each brief spot is packed to the gills with money shots.
Here are the big new trailers that dropped this year:
Ghost in the Shell
The majority of column inches devoted to Paramount’s big budget manga adaptation have been focused on the controversial decision to whitewash the Japanese source material by casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead. The latest spot does little to assuage any fears given that ScarJo’s cybernetic human is still the whitest person in Japan. There’s some fancy imagery at play (her face, that geisha) but it’s got a slightly dated post-Matrix knockoff vibe. Plus, ermmm, it is from the director of Snow White and the Huntsman.
Transformers: The Last Knight
The Transformers franchise has made more than $3.7bn at the global box office. Let that sink in. Because despite critics saving their best insults for each new installment, fans have continued to make the films profitable, which has led us to this dark place: awaiting a fifth feature-length fight between robots. Mark Wahlberg returns and is joined by Anthony Hopkins, who might just be lost, and from this spot, what looks like a vague attempt at political allegory!
The Handmaid’s Tale
Get ready for a barrage of “this is the show we need right now” headlines come April when Hulu’s ambitious retelling of Margaret Atwood’s grim dystopian drama hits. The story of an extreme Christian movement overthrowing the government and taking away all of women’s rights is certainly timely, and this new spot hints at a loyal adaptation, bleak and clinical yet still packing an emotional punch. It’s also a worthy showcase for two of television’s finest female actors: Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley.
For those who felt shortchanged by Interstellar, The Martian, Gravity and Passengers all being set in space but having precisely zero aliens between them, this year has not one but two films to set this straight. Before Alien: Covenant tries to repair the damage of Prometheus, Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal will do battle with a nasty little thing in this eerie new sci-fi thriller. The spot continues the sterling work of the initial teaser and all but guarantees that in cinemas, everyone will be able to hear you scream this summer.
John Wick 2
The inexplicably popular hitman thriller with Keanu Reeves as a super assassin gets a flashy sequel bringing back Reeves and reuniting him with Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne. It looks like more of the same from this but with even more guns and a Fifty Shades Darker parody that helps to position this as perfect counter-programming for single people who are in the mood to watch carnage.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Fans weren’t 100% sure if there would be a tease for Disney’s big budget sequel, but it’s landed and gives us the first look at Johnny Depp back in character. It looks a bit more spectacular than usual, but Depp is on quite the losing streak so it’s questionable whether there’ll be enough of an appetite for this.
Yep, one of the Marvel films but thankfully this is looking a tad different from the rest. Another Wolverine film as well, but one for grown-ups with an R rating and reports of graphic violence and a grittier tone. It’s Hugh Jackman’s swansong as the character but you can expect a reboot within months.
Quite possibly the trailer that will have the most people tweeting this year is an early look at the second season of Netflix’s breakout hit. It looks like they’re going for the Alien rule of doubling up for the second chapter with an increase in the horror element and what looks like a giant monster in the creepy final shot. Plus the kids in Ghostbusters outfits. It’s probably spawned 15 BuzzFeed lists already.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Arguably the only Marvel franchise to still warrant much excitement, the Guardians sequel hits this summer with sky-high expectations. The new spot reminds us of the key characters, uses some rock music and does the job quite nicely. If audiences can battle through superhero fatigue, it could be the season’s biggest hit.
The Fate of the Furious
How did we get here? Well, in an obnoxiously fast car, of course. But yeah, here’s a look at the eighth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. The twist this time is that Vin Diesel’s character has gone rogue and somehow managed to get Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren to come watch. It’s as impressive as it needs to be, and at least we’re finally getting our first submarine stunt of the series.
A Cure for Wellness
“Are you tired of not feeling well?” – a parody of a medication ad here for this loopy new horror film set in a wellness center. It’s a smart way of selling it, ridicules the often staggering list of side effects listed in a drug ad, and leaves us with the rapid selection of creepy cuts that we expect from the genre.
While a Baywatch movie might seem like the dictionary definition of unnecessary, this summer take on the cheesy show is going the 21 Jump Street route, meaning that it might actually be fun because it knows it’s unnecessary. Frustratingly, the jokes here have mostly been shown already in the main trailer, which is a worrying sign that, well, maybe that’s all they have.
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