Sure, there were some great movies out this year — but it’s hard to live up to the hype of a perfect trailer. So instead of films, we’ve assembled the best movie trailers of 2016. So forget those 2+ hour run times. Let's get it down to 2+ minutes and move on.
Since we’re talking trailers, we can include films not actually hitting until next year (i.e. Wonder Woman and Logan) and films that did release this year but were nothing like their trailers (we’re looking at you, amazingly good Suicide Squad trailer). Of course, to make this clear: We’re talking trailers only, meaning we may pick a trailer for a movie that didn’t actually turn out to be all that good (*cough*Suicide Squad*cough), etc.
Let’s dig in, and relive all our favorite geek out moments from 2016.
Ghost in the Shell
This long-awaited adaptation of the anime classic looks absolutely gorgeous, and the first footage from the film goes so far as to show some of the most iconic scenes from the anime painstakingly recreated in live action. We don’t know how the movie will turn out, but the first look certainly lives up to the hype.
This one slipped in right at the end of the year, but the trailer for Marvel’s first legit Spider-Man movie was worth the wait. There have been a whole lot of Spider-Man movies the past decade or so, but none of them look quite like this. It’s a teenage superhero filtered through a John Hughes lens, with heaping doses of Tony Stark thrown in. We can’t wait to see more.
The DC movie line-up might be a mess these days, but this is the last great hope. Warner Bros. debuted the first footage from Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman at San Diego Comic Con, and it blew the crowd away. The trailer looks to get everything about the character right, and sets expectations sky high for 2017.
Voyage of Time
Director Terrence Malick’s IMAX special is one of the most ambitious projects ever conceived, essentially aiming to tell the story of the universe itself. With sweeping shots of galaxies and everything in-between, the trailer did not disappoint.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
There is understandably a lot riding on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the early trailers for Gareth Edwards’ spinoff prequel story set the mood for a war movie right smack in the middle of a galaxy far, far away.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson’s latest sci-fi flick looks to be one of the wildest genre films of 2017, and the first trailer shows off a mind-blowing world of space ships and high-flying insanity. This movie will either be a hit, or one heck of a crazy flop. Regardless, it looks awesome.
This turned out to be one of the most surprising, critical hits of the year — and the early trailers certainly made it clear this was not your typical alien invasion story. Best of all, the trailers also didn’t give too much away. You can watch this to get a feel for the movie, but there’s still a whole lot more to see.
The LEGO Batman Movie
Will Arnett’s LEGO Batman was the breakout character of The LEGO Movie, and the first trailers for his spinoff show they’re leaning heavy into the zaniness that made him so fun in the first place. This trailer for The LEGO Batman Movie isn’t afraid to get really weird, and it’s glorious.
10 Cloverfield Lane
This stealth sequel to the 2008 monster movie was an under the radar hit in 2016, and the trailer works perfectly to tell the story of what’s to come. It stars with a weird mundanity, then devolves into pure claustrophobic terror by the end.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 included a few nice reveals (Mantis!), but more than anything showed the attitude has definitely not changed with the box office success. Director James Gunn has a lot of expectations to live up to, and the first trailer did that and more.
The big budget U.S. version of Godzilla might get most of the attention, but the Japanese sequel Shin Godzilla is a glorious throwback to the classic kaiju tales of yore. The trailer is pitch perfect, essentially the 1950s and 1960s Godzilla movies brought to the modern day.
War for the Planet of the Apes
The modern-day Planet of the Apes franchise is arguably one of the biggest creative surprises of the past few years, and the next sequel looks to finally give us the war that decides the fate of the Earth. Sure, it has a cheesy line or two in there, but the visuals are amazing.
Director Zack Snyder was on the defensive this year, and brought some fresh Justice League footage to San Diego Comic-Con for a new trailer to try and get fans pumped for the first, official superhero team-up. We still don’t know if the movie will actually hang up the GRIM DARK, but the trailer is at least a lot of fun.
This is an interesting one. If anything, the toe-tapping Suicide Squad trailer set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a trailer to the movie we really wish Warner Bros. would’ve actually released. It was tight, funny, and pretty much everything good about the movie boiled down into two perfect minutes. Forget the movie, remember this trailer.
Kubo and the Two Strings
Sadly, this gorgeous stop motion fable didn’t really light the box office on fire. Which is odd, because the trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings was stacked with amazing visuals, fun characters, poignant moments and pretty much everything an animated film typically needs to succeed.
Kong: Skull Island
This is one of the most anticipated films of 2017, and this trailer is a big reason for it. The trailer for the period set Kong story offers up just enough to get us hooked, then leaves us desperately wanting more. Pretty much the perfect trailer for a future blockbuster.
Hugh Jackman is gearing up for his final turn as Wolverine, and the first trailer for Logan made it clear this is not your typical X-Men film. The entire trailer is set to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt,” which hangs a heartbreaking mood over the post-apocalyptic story of Logan’s last battle.
Originally touted during development as an original horror film called The Woods, this one turned out to (surprise, surprise) be a straight-up sequel to The Blair Witch Project. The trailer felt like a straight-up throwback to the classic Blair Witch film with a bit of Hollywood sheen. The film arguably didn’t live up to the hype, but the trailer sure takes you back.
Marvel’s latest film opened up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the mystical side, and did it with aplomb. The trailer for Doctor Strange made it clear this is not your typical Marvel movie (or typical movie, for that matter), with mind-bending visuals, humor, and some true geek-out moments.
Making a video game into a good movie remains the holy grail these days, and we’re still waiting to see if Assassin’s Creed can pull it off. The film opens just before Christmas, so we’ll know more then. For now, we’ll have to enjoy the trailer that truly looks to bring the video game to life.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Your mileage may vary on this franchise in the quality department, but it keeps rocking out time after time at the box office. They’re not high art, but they’re crazy fun. Crazy monster kills, slo-mo action, and Milla Jovovich cranking skulls? The trailer for the final chapter looks to be a worthy finale in 2017.
Captain America: Civil War
This was arguably one of the best blockbusters of the year, and it made pretty much all the money. One big reason? The trailer for the film showed off just enough of the action and face off to leave fans wanting more, while holding back a few insane reveals (Giant-Man!) for the film itself.