By function, a good trailer should make you want to see the movie it's promoting, without spoiling all the best parts. But in today's viral age, the expectations placed on blockbuster trailers are far higher; for many, trailers are part of the movie experience ... and even their own art form. The past year was not short on these kinds of transcendent trailers, which all hyped up their movies far more than any standard marketing campaign could achieve.
Check out SYFY WIRE's list below, highlighting the year's best movie trailers and our reasoning as to why, and then let us know if we nailed it in the comments below! Keep in mind, it matters not if the movie is out yet ... or even if it was very good.
If you've ever felt like either a borderline alcoholic writer or a city-ravaging kaiju, then seeing Anne Hathaway in this first Colossal trailer back in April must have been incredibly refreshing. And perhaps a bit confusing, as well. What's nice about this early teaser is that it does just that: effectively teases a much bigger and enticingly original story, without giving too much away.
Blade of the Immortal
The official trailer for Takashi Miike's (13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer) 100th film brings Hiroaki Samura's award-winning 1993 manga series — about Manji, a cursed immortal samurai who must kill a thousand evil men to reverse the curse — to life, and does so with vibrant yet bloody style, over-the-top samurai swordplay, and even a some stabs at humor, too.
There were a number of trailers for Thor's latest intergalactic triumph, all of which increasingly built our want, need, and desire for November 3 to arrive. But since there's nothing like that initial flame, let's just go with the very first trailer we saw back in April, complete with Jeff Goldblum, Hulk, and its most appropriate theme song, which also happens to be the best Led Zeppelin tune this side of "In the Evening."
A Quiet Place
Who needs words when you've got corn fields, creepy claw marks, and the premise that "if they can't hear you, they can't hunt you"?
Isle of Dogs
Set in Japan 20 years in the future, Wes Anderson's first stop-motion feature film since 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox includes his usual roster of A-list talent and some newcomers too, following 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi as he searches for his four-legged pal on a vast garbage dump called Trash Island. The film isn't due out till March 23, and thanks to this first trailer, all us dog-loving cinephiles are just rabid for its release.
Ready Player One
There's probably no more staggering display of pop-culture products in the world than San Diego Comic-Con, so it was the perfect place to debut 2017's most pop-culturally referenced trailer, hands down. While alluding to everything from Harley Quinn to the Iron Giant to Joust, the first trailer for Steven Spielberg's film (opening March 30) takes us to the year 2045, from the decrepit 'stacks' of Columbus, Ohio, to the unlimited OASIS of your imagination.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Here's betting that you're one of the 43 million or so viewers of the first teaser trailer for Rian Johnson's Episode VIII. Heck, this trailer was so momentous, here's betting you remember where you were when it dropped back in April.
The first Wonder Woman trailer was the best of the bunch, so kudos to WB's marketing team for getting us hyped. And even more kudos to Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and team for making a movie that delivered on every bit of that promotional promise, and kept them coming back for more and more.
It Comes at Night
It's not often you can be terrified and educated at the same time, but A24's final trailer for Trey Edward Shults' early June scarer – about two families surviving a "civilization-destroying pandemic" but doing a poor job of surviving each other – is filled with telling quotes from everyone from Aristotle to Sylvia Plath (to Charles Manson, although it's perhaps best not to be educated by him), about the state of fear, evil, and blood. It creatively takes the trailer to a place where words and images come together yet again, only this time in a medium you wouldn't expect, and presents a piece you simply can't look away from without missing something vital.
The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" makes everything more dramatic, not like Pixar needs any help in that department, or in the beauty department, for that matter; Coco, which fantastically illuminates both Mexico and the Land of the Dead, may just be the most beautiful Pixar film yet, and the trailer promises every bit of that.
One thing's for certain: if you took the songs featured in this year's best trailers, you'd have yourself quite a playlist. And, as Thor: Ragnarok showed us earlier, Marvel's not afraid to invest in some rocking ear candy. Black Panther's official trailer, which dropped in October, showed off more of director Ryan Coogler's glorious Wakanda and Chadwick Boseman's badass King T'Challa than the earlier teaser, and does so against a dope remix of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," which kicks in over Vince Staples "BagBak," just as Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger gives us a sense of the not-made-for-TV revolution he's about to unleash.
For more on that music-makes-the-trailer point, look no further than the one for Logan Noir, director James Mangold's black and white cut shown in select theaters and included on the film's Blu-ray release. Like previous Logan trailers, it perfectly features Johnny Cash's harrowing version of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," but there's something about the Man in Black's late recordings with Rick Rubin, stripped bare to his dying core, that lend themselves to the essence of black and white, while also paralleling the long and painful journey of Logan himself.
The March 29 teaser (at 2:32, what exactly is a teaser these days?) for Stephen King's It was viewed some 197 million times in the first 24 hours. That's more one-day views than any trailer other than Avengers: Infinity War (more on that later). And hot damn if it didn't work to put people in seats, too, although Pennywise's demonic sewer dwelling did keep coulrophobics far away.
Blade Runner 2049
For our money, there wasn't a more stunning film this year than Blade Runner 2049, just like the trailers promised. Which would be reason enough to include any one of the trailers on this list, but this first official full-length one in particular perfectly replicates the trailer for Ridley Scott's 1982 original, which makes the trailer itself a metaphor for the whole film.
Avengers: Infinity War
Yes, this list is a little slanted in Marvel's direction, but they arguably make better trailers than movies at this point, and which one would you remove? Certainly not the first official trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, which gave us Spider-Man's spidey-senses in action, our best look yet at Thanos, and brought the Avengers together with the Guardians of the Galaxy, a momentous occasion if ever there was one. Even without a deep cut soundtrack, it managed to whip some 230 million folks into a frenzy, the most to ever watch a trailer in a 24-hour period. And now the world waits even less patiently for May 4, 2018. And isn't that the point of a trailer in the first place?