2015 delivered first looks at some of this year’s biggest hits and sleepers, and next year’s most anticipated contenders. We’ve been practically drowning in new trailer releases over the past month, but finally we can all come up for air, clear away the debris, and take a look back at the best movie trailers of 2015.
*We’re not including any Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers because 1) we covered the teaser last year and don’t want to repeat ourselves with films and 2) it just wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the competition. Besides, you all know how great it is without us having to tell you.
7. Triple 9 – Red Band Trailer (Open Road Films)
Triple 9 looks to offer the kind of brutal nihilism that’s becoming more and more prominent in crime films, with an impressive cast to navigate all the seediness of blood-soaked streets. John Hillcoat who impressed with unflinching portraits human morality and mortality in The Road and Lawless seems set to top himself both visually and narratively. While this could be a film that ends up collapsing under the weight of its themes, and multiple character storylines, I can’t help but get excited at the ambition Hillocat is displaying in this trailer. Also bonus points for the use of that chilling rendition of “This Little Piggy.”
6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Comic-Con Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)
After a disappointing teaser, the first trailer for Batman v Superman finally delivered the goods. Zack Snyder taps into the rich history of DC and delivers shots that look like they were pulled straight from the pages of a comic book. Our characters look powerful and majestic, and the story looks like an interesting, contemporary angle of the politics of superherodom. And Wonder Woman, our first look at a cinematic Wonder Woman! Who couldn’t get excited about that? It’s dark, yes, but also entrenched in an “epic” sense of mythology, not unlike so much of its source material for the past 30 years. The best part is that it provides a glimpse at budding cinematic universe that isn’t afraid to have its own identity.
5. Everybody Wants Some – Official Trailer (Paramount Pictures)
There’s no points for originality in claiming a love for Dazed and Confused, but I’ll claim it anyway. Our first glimpse at Richard Linklater’s spiritual successor to that 70s set film hits all the right beats. Everybody Wants Some (formerly, That’s What I’m Talking About) looks to tap into our cultural 80s nostalgia with all the humor, gloriously selected tracks, and honest looks at American life that Linklater has become known for. The trailer is also bolstered by the fact that the best aspects of Linklater’s films typically aren’t delivered in the trailers, which has my hopes up for some genuine coming of age lessons to go along with all the college hijinks.
4. Queen of Earth – Official Trailer 1 (IFC Films)
I’m absolutely in love with how tonally uncomfortable this trailer is. It’s psychologically horrific, bitterly funny, and wrapped in a bow of 80s drive-in aesthetics. The voice-over creates a sense of unease, and the pull quotes at the end of the trailer, while honest reactions, only serve to add to the humor. The trailer isn’t concerned with getting viewers to react a certain way, but rather to simply react and embrace the confusion and shifting character dynamics. This is the kind of trailer that serves as a reminder that marketing materials can do more than just create awareness for a film, but become an art form all of their own.
3. The Witch – Official Trailer (A24 Films)
I don’t even know what’s happening here, but I know I’m deeply unsettled. Maybe the expertly selected pull-quotes have something to do with the influence of this film, but when you get right down it, Robert Eggers imagery has a haunting quality, particularly during the glimpses where nothing particularly horrific is happening. The shot of those two kids skipping down the path gives me chills every time. There’s a perverse sense of wrongness to the entire thing and I don’t want to know or see anything else about it until I can see this film in its entirety.
2. Suicide Squad – Comic-Con First Look (Warner Bros. Pictures)
This is my most anticipated film of next year, because I’ve been dreaming of a Suicide Squad movie for years and it looks absolutely bat-shit crazy. Say what you will about the costumes and designs, I’m in love with the fact that this looks like a David Ayer movie. I think we’re reaching a point now where its going to become a necessity for competing comic book movies to have their own identity, delivered at the hands of visionary directors. This is what has given Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy its lasting appeal. Suicide Squad looks risky in all the right ways, grimy and comic-booky in a way the breaks free of notions of realism and groundedness, and its got a Bee Gees cover. Of course the very concept is absurd in the way that only comic books can deliver, and I’m confident Ayer is the man to capture that. Cling to visions of source material all you’d like, but me? I’m ready to see some rules broken.
1. The Revenant – Official Teaser Trailer (20th Century Fox)
This is breathtaking cinema. Every time I watch this, I’m blown away by the filmmaking on display. This trailer attacks the viewer with the power of images instead of words. It’s brutal, poetic, and strange. The rapid breathing of DiCaprio becomes a chant, one drives our own intake of air up a notch. We’ve seen a lot of great trailers this year, but this has a power to it that is unlike anything else we’ve seen before a feature film this year.
Worst: Gods of Egypt – Official Trailer (Lionsgate)
I’m going to set aside the blatant racism in the casting decisions, because it’s just too easy when it comes to this trailer. You get what I’m saying here? This trailer is so bad that it’s racism is too easy a talking point. Look, I love Alex Proyas. The Crow is one of my all time favorite movies, I really enjoy Dark City and I, Robot, and Knowing has its merits. But this doesn’t even look like the work of the same guy. This is some early 2000s looking derivative that makes Clash and Wrath of the Titans looks like precious gems. The dialogue, the effects, the plot, the humor, it all looks bad and not even in a fun way. If this was a modestly budgeted Len Wiseman or Paul W.S. Anderson film, I’d be satisfied knowing it had a certain audience and aim. But this is a $140 million dollar movie that doesn’t seem to be targeting anyone specifically, or even care about anything specifically, certainly not fans of Egyptian mythology. Just think, Proyas could have been doing an epic Paradise Lost film with Bradley Cooper instead of this.
Now you tell us: What were your favorite and least favorite movie trailers of 2015?
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures