So, it’s come to that time of the year where millions of Americans actually look forward to watching the adverts – and we Brits await patiently for said adverts to be uploaded to the internet. Over the last 20 years, the Super Bowl has become the perfect springboard for summer blockbusters on both sides of the pond. But at an eye-watering $10 million a minute, you can’t help but sense the immense pressure this year’s trailers were under to knock it out the park (wrong sport I know, but I couldn’t resist). The big question is, were any of them worth it? Arguably the best trailer of the night wasn’t even for a movie: looking at you Stranger Things...
Starting things off, we have Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. You might be wondering: how does Marvel market this beyond the occasional shot of Baby Groot? With a trailer-turned-roll-call of everyone’s favourite interplanetary team of heroes, reminding us that “There’s no I in team”, that’s how. Revealing little of the plot, the latest trailer teases much of what made 2014’s first outing a success, and more. In a characteristically different superhero flick, we could finally have the Wolverine movie we’ve long waited for in Logan. The big game’s spot seems at first to be a lazy rehash of previous trailers, yet it works well. Why? It promises blood, and lots of it, seemingly running off the coat-tails of 2016’s unashamedly bloody Deadpool (though with brooding shots of Jackman replacing the sex jokes).
Following on the sequel train is The Fate of the Furious, AKA F8 (see what they did there?). With more gratuitous gear shifts than scantily clad women, Universal’s next outing in the petroleum-fuelled money-maker looks to be more of what’s made the franchise a commercial success. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales follows the trend of sequels that no one was asking for, and its trailer is fittingly forgettable. And that brings us to Transformers: The Last Knight, which let’s be honest, the less that’s said about this the better. The latest in Hasbro’s toy-turned-cartoon-turned-movie franchise promises a mind-numbing symphony of choreographed robotic nonsense. But hey, at least it looks pretty, right?
“Logan’s big game spot seems at first to be a lazy rehash of previous trailers”
In contrast, with A Cure for Wellness’ Super Bowl trailer starting more like a traditional American ad (though don’t be fooled by the initial cosiness), it teases a fresh spin on the psychological horror trope. With beautifully unsettling visuals and a promising plot to boot, Verbinski’s latest could be a contender for horror of the year. Elsewhere, Skydance’s Life at least tries to generate interest in another of the year’s horror offerings, but as soon as the trailer’s over, it’s already been forgotten. Try for less generic trailer clichés in 2018, Skydance: just because it’s generic horror, it doesn’t have to be marketed as such.
And finally, to Ghost in the Shell. For a film shrouded in racial controversy (you don’t have to whitewash movies to grab our attention Hollywood), the trailer does at least try to distract us by showing off a virtually naked Scarlet Johannson breaking through glass in slow-motion. Eye-catching? Yes. Controversy-quashing? Not quite.
Perhaps, it speaks volumes that conversation centres on what wasn’t advertised, with many disappointed by no tease of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Hopefully next year, Hollywood can learn the expensive lessons of this year’s generic and forgettable offerings.