Some people love to get to the movies early to see the upcoming trailers while others are annoyed by how much longer they make the theater going experience. No matter what though movie trailers are the first impression we get of a film and once they air our opinions immediately form. A great trailer does not mean a great film, but the anticipation builds up and expectations can often skyrocket. The criteria for this list was simple; make a trailer that has a lasting impression on us. Some of these come from not so great movies, and other movies ended up looking and feeling nothing like their trailer promised. Now lets take a look at the best trailers of the 2010’s.
20. American Sniper
An intense build up that practically forces the audience to see the movie if they want an answer to the trailer’s burning question. Does Bradley Cooper’s character kill the kid who may or may not be holding a bomb? To be honest even I had to look back to remind myself what happened. The trailer also shows glimpses of our hero’s life outside the war giving off that usual Clint Eastwood vibe.
19. Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
An odd film to market, because to adults it will seem like just another kids animated film while kids end up waiting for some quick jokes. However this trailer clearly has other things on its mind. The fantasy elements are more than apparent, after all it is a bunch of talking owls, but when 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens” kick in the trailer gives off a grand epic feel that is more reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” than “Shrek.” The animation is stellar and the whole thing feels like completely original.
How do you sell yet another version of a story that everyone knows by heart? By showing them the whole story of course! Constantly we hear complaints of trailers showing too much, but this is not always a bad thing. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, so when Disney decided to release yet another take on the soon to be princess the marketing team figured bigger is better. Give them bigger castles, brighter dresses, and of course a larger pumpkin carriage. Add in Nick Murray’s music (used many times before) and you have a captivated audience falling back in love all over again.
17. The Dark Knight Rises
Looking back at it now we did not realize how lucky we were to see the words “The Epic Conclusion.” You have to give a superhero franchise credit for knowing when to end. The trailer sold itself heavily on that idea with all its epic chanting and a promise that even after Heath Ledger’s Joker nobody is prepared for what Bane will bring to the table.
16. La La Land
There were several trailers for this film, but the most memorable one features the somber singing of Ryan Gosling as he performs “City of Stars.” As the song continues we get a better understanding of what kind of film it wants to be. A modern musical that brings back the days of studio backlot film making. Gosling and Emma Stone shine up the screen as their chemistry promises a romance made in the Hollywood lights.
15. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Always remember to expect the unexpected when it comes to the people at Bad Robot Studios. At first we have a typical family passing the time with board games and light music. However since this is a J.J Abrams film nothing is as it seems. It quickly changes to an adrenaline rushed nightmare all before the big reveal that yes we have our second film in the “Cloverfield” story. The biggest question that came from this trailer was “are these people even in the film or was this just a prank on the audience?” Either way we were geared up for something bigger.
It is a crime that Natalie Portman did not win an Oscar for her performance of Jackie Kennedy. But before we got there we had this haunting trailer. Played to the tune of the original Broadway recording of “Camelot” before it drowns into Mica Levi’s score (one of the decade’s best). Portman is front and center in each moment reassuring us that she has full control of this film even when her character may not. As she repeats the words “there will never be another Camelot” the joyful facade of Jackie Kennedy starts to fall off something that has not been portrayed before for the former first lady.
Richard Linklater spells it out from the very beginning, he picked a young boy and filmed him for twelve years and based your usual coming of age story around it. A man already obsessed with time took on his most extravagant task and we were all very curious to see what the heck he was even talking about. The trailer had us watch actor Ellar Coltrane grow up in front of us in under two minutes. Suspicions were high though, could this really be the same kid? Does every other actor grow up too? All of this and more got butts into seats.
12. If Beale Street Could Talk
Coming off of his Oscar winning “Moonlight” Barry Jenkins decided to hit us again with the feels. Accompanied by a wonderful score by Nicholas Britell,the trailer introduces us to Tish and Fonny, two young Black lovers who are separated by prison bars. The mood may appear upsetting, but as the trailer continues Jenkin’s’ ability to remind us that nothing is stronger than love kicks in. There are fast zoom ins, close ups, and Regina King yelling her heart out all before the music slows down and brings it back to love.
11. Suicide Squad
The only time you will ever see this movie this high on a list. Look there is no denying this is not a good film, but man oh man did it sell itself as one. The whole synchronizing the action to the music is a staple for trailers now, but I would argue this is the one that gave it life. A great introduction to an array of new characters we have not seen on screen before and one Joker which accordingly to this trailer will have a big and important role. Whether the film fell victim to studio control or actor disputes there is one certainty this trailer as great as it is is one big lie. We just didn’t know it yet, but hey those two and a half minutes are quite entertaining.
10. A Monster Calls
M83 should just make music strictly for movie trailers. When you hear their songs you know you are in for something epic. Add to that the first image we see is of a dying mother and her young son and you just know you will be crying the whole way through. Emotionally manipulation aside this trailer gives us a different kind of children’s movie that seems to appeal more to the kid in us than as opposed to those who are actually children. Some of the images are haunting, but they are as equally beautiful. It takes a lot for a trailer to make us feel pain and love all at the same time.
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
If you are making a film about one of the biggest book series of this century you better have one hell of a trailer. In fact when this trailer dropped it was so chaotic most people missed what they just watched, but for those who caught on there was great excitement for the “feel bad movie of Christmas.” Karen O’s rendition of “The Immigrant Song” makes all the more sense when you know the plot of the books. Heading into the “land of the ice and snow” all we can assume is there is going to be a lot of violence and mystery and who better to solve this than James Bond himself. Daniel Craig was the star power but it was the strange Rooney Mara with a bad punk haircut that sparked intrigue.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Every fan of Star Wars was waiting for this one. While it was not the first trailer for the new trilogy it is the one that shows us the return of two iconic heroes; Han Solo and Chewbacca. Typical for a Star Wars trailer, little to anything was given away and theories ran high. In the end though the only thing that mattered was the world got to see their old friends back home.
7. The Tree of Life
After I saw this trailer all I did for a week straight was mumble the words “Father, mother, always you wrestle inside me” and everyone thought I was insane, rightfully so. But what everyone would soon come to see is that this spiritual awakening of a trailer was about to give us one of the best films ever. It’s a Terrence Malick so never look for a straightforward plot and the trailer jumps back and forth from past, present and afterlife perhaps? What we do know is that Brad Pitt is playing a rough and tough father, sign me up please.
6. The Greatest Showman
Hugh Jackman singing and dancing to a modern musical about P.T Barnuam! Zac Efron and Zendaya falling in love! What could go wrong? It pains me every time I watch this trailer. It is so well put together and features an extraordinary power ballad about inclusion. Unfortunately the film fell flat on almost every aspect. There are many that love it and they have every right to, but one cannot deny that the trailer was precise and captivating. It grabbed you from the first moment and did not let go until the final note. The same cannot be said for the final product, but for a few moments we get to believe Jackman plays a good man so there’s that.
5. Mad Max: Fury Road
Hey remember when one of the greatest achievements in filmmaking lost Best Picture at the Oscars? Yea that one still stings, but let’s be honest this film was just too wild of a ride to take home an award that is still years behind. The trailer promises an insane ride and boy does it deliver. The trailer is just a great example of some of the mind blowing stunts that make up this film. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are both brooding and ready to fight and before this trailer is over we get some great moments of the two of them fighting back with full force.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
The marketing team had their hands full with this one. How to introduce a new ragtag team full of characters most people have never heard of. The struggle paid off as we get a humorous introduction to our hero Star-Lord as even those trying to stop him don’t even know who he is. Cut to the best police lineup scene ever. We are introduced to each character and their crimes, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot are all here as two space policemen try to make sense of it all. As if that isn’t enough cue the rebirth of Blue Swede’s “Hooked On a Feeling”, then show our soon to be heroes in action and finally end with a quick joke. Ladies and gentlemen we have ourselves a heck of a teaser. “what a bunch of a-holes.”
3. A Star is Born
This may be the first trailer to be as famous as the actual movie. Credit to the marketing team for only ever releasing one full trailer as that is all we need to fall in love with Ally and Jackson Maine. What starts off as a Nicholas Spark’s type romance grows into something much bigger. After we watched it once we watched it again and again, until we knew it by heart. Maine invites Ally onstage but shes apprehensive, as she enters the stage our heart rate rises finally she belts out those vocals which carry the rest of the trailer. You didn’t need to be a Lady gaga fan to lose your mind over this one. A star may have been born, but at the same time a trailer took over the world.
2. The Social Network
It only makes sense that one of the best films of the decade also has one of the best trailers ever. Nobody saw this one coming, but in our defense we could not have imagined that the invention of Facebook would create a drama that compares to a Shakespearean tragedy. Facebook reigned king when this trailer was released so audiences immediately recognized the opening images of several Facebook pages, but the question that arose was why are we seeing this? Once we learn that this is about how Facebook came to be is when the trailer plays its greatest trick. It gets us to care about depositions, contracts and other legal disputes as everyone on screen shouts at one another. The truth is revealed, this isn’t as court room drama its reality TV! The trailer should also be recognized for giving us what has now became an endless trope with trailers; slowed down versions of popular songs. The Belgian women’s choir, Scala and Kolacy Brothers’ rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” plays throughout and makes this drama turn into a horror film.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
By the time this trailer is over you feel like you have spent several minutes consuming as many drugs as you can. It is energetic, chaotic and down right hysterical, and on top of all that it is directed by Martin Scorsese who was 71 at the time. Since this is a film about a narcissistic egomaniac whose song is better to have guiding it than Kanye West’s “Blackskinhead”. An interesting tidbit is that West had only recently released this song on his “Yeezus” album, so one can only imagine the job the music licensing department must have had to get this one. Then again when Scorsese calls you answer. Either way this trailer proved that the film was destined to be a major hit with the poster hanging on the walls of every frat house. Throw in a chimpanzee in a suit, DiCaprio doing some kind of robot dance, and of course a pre-famous Margot Robbie to grab the attention of every man and woman. When it all wraps up with Matthew McConaughey, giving us chant you’d hear at your alma mater, you find yourself joining in and buckling up for one of the wildest rides ever to put on screen.