Movies

From ‘Wonder Woman’ To ‘Blair Witch’: The Comic-Con Movie Trailers, Ranked

The days of waiting a seeming eternity for the release of San Diego Comic-Con trailers are clearly in the past, as this weekend saw a slim barrier between the time a new preview was showcased in Hall H and its debut on the internet. The influx has left us all a little weak in the knees thanks to the overwhelming weight of anticipation, but while some of these trailers might make your heart hurt when you measure the distance from now until their release dates, others may seem less appealing. Which is the best? Which might need to take another swing at it? We took a look at all the major film trailers, dropped them in this post, and ranked them for you.

9. Blair Witch

That this (latest) Blair Witch sequel found a way to sneak past the gate by using a fake title, The Woods, for months and reveal its existence as a true surprise at Comic-Con is neat. But is the actual film going to surprise audiences or inspire fear in the way that the original did? The Blair Witch Project helped to establish the found footage horror film as a sub-genre and came into the world in such a way, and at a time where it was possible to question whether the events were real or not. Obviously, the third Blair Witch film has no such advantage because we’re all so smart now, and that means that this film has to live on its own ability to crawl under the skin and be unsettling. Unfortunately, the mix of darkness, screams, creepy houses, and mysterious figures in the woods (as shown in the trailer) all feel as though they’re ripped from a horror movie how-to and the found footage device has been abusively overused. Maybe the end result will rise above its common ingredients.The team of writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard has had success before with The Guest and You’re Next, after all, and audiences and reviews of the premiere at Comic-Con were kind. But the burden (fairly or unfairly) falls upon horror films to constantly evolve and present fresh takes on old ideas if they want to gain acceptance and acclaim. Heaven forbid action movies, broad comedies, or comic book films ever get subjected to this same standard.

8. Suicide Squad

Are we hurtling toward a point of over-exposure with Suicide Squad thanks to the many looks Warner Bros. has given to the masses? It’s highly possible, but we’re gluttons for that kind of “punishment” and this latest glimpse, which functions as an ad for the soundtrack and original songs by Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons and Lil Wayne (among others), and Skrillex and Rick Ross, delivers a few fresh shots of stylized mayhem to whet the appetite.

7. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

From the sideswipe between scenes, freeze-framing, and bare-knuckle boxing, Legend of the Sword feels like the Guy Ritchie film that it is. But then chess pieces start bleeding, tree people show up, Charlie Hunnam dresses like Lenny Kravitz, and a massive elephant charges through a wall after rival warriors turn to ash. “Busy” is a good word to describe this trailer, but at the very least, the film promises to be a wild and non-standard take on a familiar tale.

6. Doctor Strange

We’re not quite at the point of saturation with Doctor Strange, but we’re still three months away from its November 4 release date, so who knows how much more Marvel will unleash before then. In this, the second trailer for Doctor Strange, we get a better sense of the battle that Stephen Strange has been pulled into. Shots of Strange mid-fight and of the world folding in on itself and spinning like a kaleidoscope look jaw-dropping, but also familiar, recalling Inception‘s similar imagery more than a half decade ago. We also get an introduction to Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Wong (Benedict Wong), and a fuller look at the film’s villain, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen). Put it all together and it’s a more satisfying tease for what Marvel hopes is a mind-bending epic, but I don’t know that we have a sense of who Stephen Strange is at this point other than a willing student and reluctant hero.

5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

The latest Fantastic Beasts trailer seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle with all of the huge Comic-Con debuts, but it delivers a sense of whimsy and even awe when it comes to the magical creatures at the heart of it. Even non-Harry Potter loyalists should be intrigued. The film may be aimed at children, but as a grown-up, it’s entirely acceptable to widen your eyes and get a little excited when someone talks about a suitcase full of magic in the trailer.

4. Justice League

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is still filming, so no one quite expected to see completed footage and certainly not so much of it at Comic-Con. No one likely expected to see a clip filled with as much lightness, either. Apparently, Snyder got the message about the much-maligned joylessness of his previous DCU efforts. Still, it’s somewhat odd to see a comic book movie trailer devoid of splashy action sequences. The timeline matters here, though: With about 15 months until release, Snyder has gotten everyone talking bout the fun Barry Allen/Bruce Wayne back-and-forth, delivered the obligatory costume shots, and a more in-depth look at Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry/Aquaman. Mission accomplished.

3. Lego Batman

In-jokes about the Bat-mythos fly freely and the action looks robust in this trailer for Lego Batman. Really, this is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a parody of the sometimes too grim/dark Batman/DCU properties, and it looks like a joy-filled romp as Batman struggles with the burden of raising a sidekick/son in Robin.

2. Kong: Skull Island

While the debut trailer for Kong: Skull Island does a tremendous job of weaving anticipation throughout before showcasing Kong’s imposing figure when contrasted with the film’s puny human interlopers, it’s almost a shame that the anticipation could have lasted until the film’s release. The reveal is so powerful, after all, that it feels like it deserves a bigger stage than YouTube. Alas, Skull Island‘s “strangers in a strange land vs. prehistoric behemoths” angle isn’t super novel (Jurassic Park and Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong are relatively recent examples), putting a lot of weight on the spectacle that is the “8th Wonder of the World.” (Legendary reportedly dropped $190 million on the film.) How apt. Still, while Kong steals the show, cinematographer Larry Fong’s (300) work — from the orangey haze in the bone field to the jarring pan up to the bloody paw print and that glimpse at Kong blotting out the sun — suggests that this creature feature may have more to look at besides its mammoth ape.

1. Wonder Woman

It’s been a long road getting to a Wonder Woman movie (ditto Captain Marvel), but the end result looks glorious. Forget, for a moment, the obvious chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot as Steve Trevor and Diana Prince and let’s focus on the action, of which there is much. The fight choreography looks brilliant, showcasing Wonder Woman’s grace and brute force. The concerns about Gadot’s slight frame and the ideal of the Amazonian warrior princess seem more laughable now. She’s an imposing figure, running across the battle field, swatting away mortar rounds like pebbles and turning her opponents’ weapons to dust. And yet, despite the abundant battle scenes, there’s no more powerful moment in the trailer than when Wonder Woman/Diana makes her fierce independence known to Steve and to the audience: “What I do is not up to you.” That’s a targeted shot that hits the mark and inspires a fist pump. Because, again, there has been such a long and needless wait for Warner Bros. to stop holding back this character and realize that Wonder Woman could be a viable film character that could inspire and thrill women and men.

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