Last night’s Super Bowl LI was epic for many reasons. Trailing 28-3 at the start of the third quarter, the Patriots made an epic comeback to beat the Falcons 34-28. Lady Gaga put on an epic halftime show. There were some pretty epic Super Bowl commercials with some big stars. And like every year, Hollywood spends millions of dollars on Super Bowl TV spots for some of their biggest films. It was a pretty impressive list with 10 film spots and 2 TV spots. Here is what I thought of each of these Super Bowl TV spots (listed alphabetically):
“While you’re watching the game, they’re watching the bay.” It’s nice when a trailer can be self-referential like this. This spot regurgitates the main trailer’s funniest jokes and adds a final new scene featuring Zac Efron in Star Spangled Speedo. It will definitely manage to get a chuckle out of you, but if you weren’t on board with this movie from before, this spot isn’t going to convert you.
A Cure For Wellness
The TV spot for this head trippy horror film relies heavily on two things: 1. That we remember Gore Verbinski directed The Ring; and 2. That there are enough fans of Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island who will flock to a film that looks essentially way too similar. This may not be enough to market what seems already like a tough sell.
The Fate of the Furious
The trailer opens with what we already know: Dom (Vin Diesel) has gone rogue. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Dom’s crew try to stop him while getting closer to the reason for Dom’s betrayal, Cipher (Charlize Theron)’s control. Why this spot gets us even more excited, aside from some brief glimpses of car’s falling from the sky and Tyrese going swimming in the Arctic, is the focus on Jason Statham teaming up with Hobbs and the crew. This TV spot just screams pure, adrenaline-fueled, giddy fun.
Ghost in the Shell
This TV spot emphasizes that we’re in for a visually spectacular experience. We’re still not sure whether the film will be any good when compared to the anime, but if you aren’t a fan of the latter, this TV spot reveals a pretty major spoiler. Well, it’s not a huge spoiler, but it should have been left for the film, not as part of the marketing. So, I’m inclined to think the studio isn’t too confident in this project.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2
Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” provides the retro soundtrack to this TV spot over quick glimpses of our new favourite heroes combined with some new additions. It’s a wonderfully upbeat, catchy song that captures the tone of the original film, promising us more of the same. But the quick shots of space battles, Baby Groot, and new characters also suggest we’re in for something different.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Hulu seems poised to attract some new subscribers to its online service with this original series based on Margaret Atwood’s fantastic dystopian future novel of the same name. This trailer promises an intriguing series, but Hulu has a reputation for building hype and not delivering (The Path anyone?), so we’ll just have to see. The presence of Elizabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, and Joseph Fiennes don’t hurt our interest, but this TV spot doesn’t quite peak it either.
John Wick: Chapter 2
My favourite TV spot of the Super Bowl, this quick 30 second ad calls out Fifty Shades Darker, which also happens to be released on the same weekend as this Keanu Reeves actioner. The studio must have some big confidence in this movie, and it’s not hard to see why when you see some really amazing action shots and stunts crammed into this short TV spot. You got us convinced Summit Entertainment. We’re there Day One.
Life uses an interesting tactic, which is to use the Super Bowl to launch a teaser trailer for the full length trailer, which could be viewed on the film’s website. Regardless of which of these trailers you watch, it’s hard not to think of Life as essentially Alien mixed with a bit of Sunshine and Event Horizon. I’m pretty sure the TV spot and the trailer are aiming to get you excited about its sci-fi horror concept, but also that the film has some major star power including Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Ryan Reynolds. It kind of works.
The trailers for Logan so far have minimized the action elements of the film. And while this TV spot uses “Amazing Grace” as its overlay, this trailer is nothing but balls to the wall action of Wolverine slicing and dicing, cars exploding, kids being chased, and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) looking as haggard as ever. The dark tone and R rating are heavily emphasized for this X23 adaptation, and it’s making me ever so excited that we will not only get a second excellent Wolverine stand alone film, but also the first proper one (since The Wolverine was heavily edited from its R-rated cut to a way too mild PG-13).
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
As much as I hated the last two Pirates, I can’t help but get excited for this new installment. This extended TV spot minimizes Johnny Depp’s presence and focuses on a lot of neat visuals, the presence of both Geoffrey Rush and Javier Bardem, as well as the return of Orlando Bloom. And it’s all set to Johnny Cash’s “Aint’t No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down).” Probably my favourite use of music in this Super Bowl TV spot series
Stranger Things Season Two
Few shows can generate viral interest by just playing the theme song over a Season Two text, but that’s how iconic Stranger Things has become. This TV spot only had to show a few words and a few context-free clips: “The world is turning upside down” and we know what’s to come. All we care about is a release date: Halloween. The hype has begun.
Transformers: The Last Knight
What is your favourite of these spots? Let us know in the comments below!