Movie studios have taken to spending huge amounts of money for Super Bowl ad spots—they’re some of the biggest game day spenders—and with February just three months from the start of summer movie season, it’s the perfect time to start rolling out new trailers and footage for the upcoming blockbusters. In between dealing with burnt queso (seriously, that smell would not quit) and the residual effects of Beyonce’s hair-wind breaking the Superdome, I rated the Super Bowl trailers.
Iron Man 3
Marvel elected to use their thirty seconds to show new footage, dropping us in medias res in a sky-diving stunt as Air Force One explodes and Iron Man races to save free-falling passengers. The full ninety-second trailer was immediately released online, with a tag on the television spot directing people to it. This is a very canny move on Marvel’s part for two reasons. First, that stunt footage was blown by paparazzi over the summer so they’re not giving anything up that isn’t already all over the internet. Second, it’s very “business as usual”, reassuring fans that though The Avengers happened we still get to live with these characters we love. Yet it’s also generic enough (cool action sequence, no real character moment to confuse people not really in the know) to entice people who liked The Avengers but hadn’t seen the previous character films. They pushed a lot of buttons, very effectively. And I love the spark of humor in the ninety-second trailer. Iron Man was due for a fresh perspective and I’m really into the tone RDJ and Shane Black are setting.
Star Trek Into Darkness
So far the Star Trek 2 campaign has been about two things: SECRETY SECRETS and Benedict Cumberbatch. The new TV spot played on both these things, with Captain Kirk demanding, “What is your name?” of Cumberbatch’s as-yet unconfirmed villain (which made me roll my eyes, the moment radiated so much smug), and Cumberbatch dominating the spot via narration. Seriously, that voice is made for villainy. And it’s that feeling, that this is a Majorly Big Bad, that sells the movie. The thing with reboots is that, no matter how well done they are—and Star Trek is very well done—ultimately the characters and stories are familiar. You have to find the key to making it seem fresh and interesting, and JJ Abrams is betting on Cumberbatch and his sinister villain being the hook. We’re four years from the reboot, but Abrams is giving a strong reminder of why to care about this franchise.
Fast & Furious 6
I know what you’re thinking—why rate this so high, it looks awful—but it really is an effective trailer. These movies exist for the “just blow sh*t up already” crowd and there’s plenty of that in this spot. There’s also a jumbo jet driving on some cars (???), and a car exploding out of the plane, and many other things that make zero sense, including the inexplicable prolonging of Paul Walker’s career. Throw in The Rock and this trailer literally has everything its fans want to see. I actually would have given it an A- except for the horrible release date decision. It opens May 24, in high summer blockbuster season. Despite the surprising success of Fast Five in 2011, these are not actually summer blockbusters. This is a solid March/April/August movie, but it’s going to get killed going up against The Hangover 3—they appeal to the exact same audience, an audience that will already have sat through purebred blockbusters Iron Man 3 and Star Trek 2. Bad timing screws the ad campaign from the start. (Lainey: is that… Luke Evans!? WTF?)
Oz the Great and Powerful
My unenthusiam for this movie is staggering. Who is the audience? Fans of The Wizard of Oz? Or are they trying to lure a new generation to the property? I also can’t shake the feeling that this is an elaborate set up for a Wizard remake, which no one will welcome.
The Lone Ranger
I have given every benefit of every possible doubt to this movie, hoping that Johnny Depp, who professed for years to want to bring the dignity back Tonto, could do just that and re-imagine one of the most hurtful racist cartoons in the pop culture lexicon. But I’m going to have to call it. This trailer is straight up awful and I don’t think Depp is accomplishing his goals at all. It’s the dialogue that kills it. I know “kemosabe” is Tonto’s thing, but it’s cringe-inducing to hear it delivered in that flat, stereotypical “Indian accent”. I think they put a lot of thought into Tonto’s look, which I’m not nearly as against as some others, but then put no effort into actually making Tonto a proper person. And even though I do think this movie will make money—if not domestically, then internationally, where they continue to eat up whatever turd Depp craps out—the hole Disney has dug is so deep it won’t be able to turn a profit.
F MINUS FOREVER
World War Z
I already hate World War Z, but I am going to punish this trailer mercilessly for NOT BEING NEW. It’s inexcusable to purchase such a high-profile spot—a chance to show us cynics why we’re wrong about your realization of every movie-related nightmare I’ve ever had and a couple more featuring spiders, too—and then not actually give us some new footage to chew on. It’s lazy and it also makes me think there isn’t actually anything better than this weak-ass footage to show us, which doesn’t help those behind the scenes nightmare rumors at all. This movie was a slam-dunk and they have managed to f*ck it up on every possible level, including the no-brainer of cutting a cool and zippy 30-second spot for the Super Bowl. Somebody from Paramount’s marketing department should be explaining themselves right now.