‘Us,’ ‘Avengers,’ ‘Toy Story 4’: Which movie trailers won the Super Bowl
The Avengers showed up ready to play for this year’s batch of Super Bowl movie trailers. But ol’ Thor had his thunder stolen by none other than Lupita Nyong’o. No, we’re not getting a Nakia spinoff …although we want Marvel Studios to rush that movie into production like, now. Instead, the Oscar-winning actress is front and center in the latest trailer for Us, the buzzy new frightfest from Jordan Peele. In addition to being a master of horror, the former Key & Peele star is a master of movie trailers, because after tonight, it’s downright scary how badly we want to watch Us. (Oh yeah, and we’re totally in for Peele’s Twlight Zone revival as well.) With Peele leading the way, here’s our ranked list of tonight’s Super Bowl trailer-palooza.
Us (March 15)
The first trailer for Jordan Peele’s Get Out follow-up effectively, and eerily, established the film’s premise: A family of four encounters their psychotic doppelgängers while on a beach vacation. This excellent second spot, which the writer-director dropped on Reddit early today, teases more of the “new mythology and new monster” that Peele set out to create with Us. That mythology might have a biblical connection, as the words “Jeremiah 11:11” appear on one man’s cardboard sign and, more chillingly, tattooed on another woman’s forehead. There are also more shots of the movie’s signature weapon — a set of golden scissors — and Nyong’o looking both totally bad-ass and totally freaked out. We’re with her.
Avengers: Endgame (Apr. 26)
“Where do we go, now that they’re gone?” asks a pleading sign in post-Snapture Manhattan. By the looks of things, the place to be is Liberty Island, where a flotilla of boats now surrounds Lady Liberty. But back at Avengers HQ in upstate New York, a freshly shaven Captain America assembles a team that includes the familiar forms of Black Widow, Ant-Man, War Machine, Bruce Banner … and Rocket Raccoon? Meanwhile, out in space, a still-alive Tony Stark and Nebula are glimpsed tinkering with some machinery, while a grim Thor regards an alien landscape — perhaps the one that Thanos calls home? — and Hawkeye suits up once more. Intriguing stuff to be sure, but enough with the teases, Endgame: Just show us how Peter Parker comes back in time for his European vacation already!
Fast & Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw (Aug. 2)
The shorter version of the fast, furious and funny full-length Hobbs & Shaw trailer distills all of the crazy elements that have already made this Fast & Furious spinoff the Internet’s new favorite movie. Idris Elba as a snarling, superbuff supervillain? Check. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham bickering while busting heads? Check. Gravity-defying car tricks? Big ol’ check. Sure, some street-racing purists have complained about the way that The Fast & the Furious franchise has fully drifted into comic book movie territory. We say: Bring on the capes and tights.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Aug. 9)
In lieu of one long trailer, the Scary Stories team — headed up by producer and noted horror expert Guillermo del Toro — smartly went with a series of four short, sharp shocks spread out over the four-hour telecast.
That approach honors the source material, Alvin Schwartz’s popular anthology of spooky tales that were made even freakier by Stephen Gammell’s genuinely terrifying illustrations. (Caveat emptor book buyers: Make sure to purchase the original volumes from the ’80s, and not the 2011 reprints, which replaced Gammell’s original artwork with neutered imagery.)
The clips were too short to tell us much about the movie’s plot or performances, but c’mon … you’re going for the scares anyway.
Toy Story 4 (June 21)
Jordan Peele continued his Super Bowl domination, popping up in this quick scene from Pixar’s big summer sequel as a plush carnival duck who comes up with his own spin on Buzz Lightyear’s “To infinity and beyond” catchphrase. The big story would seem to be the long-awaited reunion of Peele and his partner-in-comedy, Keegan-Michael Key, who voices the ducky’s rabbit pal. But personally, we’re more awed by seeing and hearing Annie Potts’s Bo Peep for the first time in the 20 years since Toy Story 2. That’ll do, Pixar … that’ll do.
Captain Marvel (March 8)
Marvel Studios’ newest hero might fly higher, farther and faster than her male counterparts, but this particular spot doesn’t soar to the heights of previous trailers. Apart from a slightly longer glimpse of Carol Danvers’s friend and fellow Air Force pilot Monica Rambeau — who was Captain Marvel herself once upon a time — we’ve seen most of this footage already, and while it’s well-assembled, we’re left wanting more specifics about Captain Marvel’s place in the MCU than Marvel is clearly ready to provide. Luckily, we only have one more month to wait.
Alita: Battle Angel (Feb. 14)
Having seen this Robert Rodriguez/James Cameron joint, we can promise you that the finished product is better than its 30-second Super Bowl spot suggests. The teaser understandably emphasizes the film’s biggest set-pieces — which are funkier and cooler when allowed to play out in full — but in doing so overlooks the beautifully realized world that the action unfolds in, as well as the element that gives the next-gen Alita an old-fashioned heart: Rosa Salazar’s emotionally layered performance.
Wonder Park (March 15)
The trailer for the first Nickelodeon-branded animated movie since 2015 kinda left us longing for the glory days of Rugrats in Paris and Hey Arnold! The Movie. The requisite cartoon cast of a plucky kid and a menagerie of fuzzy talking animals race through a high-concept adventure involving a far-out amusement park with rides like a fantastic fish carousel and a wild and wooly roller coaster. Here’s hoping the finished feature turns out to be as imaginative as those attractions.