Monday, February 6, 2017

A Reel Review: The Super Bowl Movie Trailers - The Good, the Bad, & the Glorious

Movie studios thrive on summer dollars, which makes every Summer Movie Season a vital battleground. The path to big box office numbers always begins with the Super Bowl, as the opportunity to showcase your best in front of squillions of eyeballs worldwide is an important one to take advantage of.

Movie trailers are like commercials. Commercials sell things. So the questions to be asked for the batch of new trailers which ran during this year’s Super Bowl LI (that’s 51, for you muggles out there), are…what are they selling, and did it work? Here are the trailers which ran, broken down into the Good, Bad, and Glorious.


LOGAN – Hugh Jackman’s final turn as everyone’s favorite clawed mutant is being sold as a hard-ass, gritty R-rated flick, and although this new trailer didn’t show a lot of new footage previously released, absolutely sold its image as a departure from the cartoony antics of the last few X-MEN movies. Backed by a chilling rendition of Amazing Grace, this trailer had a nice balance of grit and grace.

GHOST IN THE SHELL – The big-screen adaptation of the Japanese manga series has a long way to go in selling itself to general American audiences, so they seem to be going for sex appeal. With that said, having star Scarlett Johansson strip away her coat in the opening seconds to reveal an eye-popping skin-tight outfit goes a long way. Thousands of tickets sold right there.

BAYWATCH – This trailer gave the world exactly what it expects out of a BAYWATCH movie; babes, boobs, and buff bods.


TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT – Michael Bay’s fifth (!) entry into the warring alien-robot franchise looked great (stunning visuals), and it’s always wonderful to hear the great Peter Cullen providing the voice of the iconic Optimus Prime…but this new trailer just gave us the same-old, same-old. After four movies of this, they are all starting to look the same.

FATE OF THE FURIOUS – This long-running franchise of car-wreck porn must have a built-in audience to last this long, and this new trailer, which did not show a lot of new footage, gave fans just what it expects out of these movies; fast cars doing silly shit. This was 90% noise.

You get negative points for not showing up. There were noticeable absences from Pixar, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE SHACK, and KONG: SKULL ISLAND.

Speaking of not showing up, no studio is in dire need of some good press more than Warner Bros. and their sputtering franchise based on D.C. Comics superheroes. There were no new trailers from WB, including a no-show for their upcoming WONDER WOMAN which is up first.


Not really a trailer, but we had some big-names turn in some great efforts directing commercials. The Coen Brothers put together a nice Mercedes commercial which spoofed EASY RIDER and had a cameo from Peter Fonda, and Peter Berg’s Hyundai ad was a wonderful tribute to our Armed Forces.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – This franchise feels like it ran out of steam a whole movie ago, but that won’t stop Disney from rolling out one hell of a trailer. Backed by Johnny Cash’s Ain’t No Grave, which feels like a song a pirate would sing anyway, this trailer showed a dark, yet fun-looking film…and also gave us our first glimpses of characters played by Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, and Johnny Depp.

A CURE FOR WELLNESS – Director Gore Verbinski, who helmed the first three PIRATES films, is returning to the horror genre for the first time since THE RING…this time with a trip to a madhouse. There were two trailers presented on Super Bowl Sunday; one being the standard spot with lots of quick shots…and the other playing out like a commercial for an anti-depressant drug before revealing its true form. Fascinating in both tries.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 – Disney and Marvel Studios’ long-awaited sequel to the 2014 pop-culture bending smash-hit was rolled out in one big barrel of fun. New characters were introduced, old ones re-introduced, a colorful montage of action and eye-popping visuals blasted away on the small-screen, and a handful of zippy one-liners have already become instantly quotable. Disney and Marvel are selling fun here, and this was the spot that brought the most smiles.


Super Bowl LII will be played February 4th, 2018.

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