WATCH: 'World War Z'-ero! Ranking The Super Bowl Movie Trailers From Worst To Best
Even if you didn't watch the big game last night, you know that a) Beyonce brought the house — or was it the lights? — down, and b) six big movie trailers aired during the game: Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Oz The Great and Powerful, World War Z and Fast & Furious 6. All were designed to whet the record-setting viewing audience's appetite for these films. Not all of them were successful. Below, I rank the trailers from worst to best in terms of how effective they were at making me want to see the movies they were promoting.
6. World War Z
I'm no demographics expert, but I've got to imagine that there's a fair amount of overlap between guys who like brutal football games and guys who like violent zombie stories. So, Paramount seems to have squandered a big marketing opportunity by running a commercial that was essentially a distillation of the trailer the studio released in November. The mayhem-on-a-plane scene doesn't add much, although, taking into account similar scenes from the Iron Man 3 and Fast & Furious 6 ads, all the hot trailers have them these days. What this spot needed was at least one memorable close-up of the zombie terror that Brad Pitt & Co. face. Instead, I'm left with the impression that the notoriously troubled World War Z production may be seriously lacking in chills and thrills when it's released in June.
Johnny Depp trumps Brad Pitt in my book, so this trailer has a slight edge over World War Z, but in 2013 it's hard to get worked up over horses and railroads and a hero (Armie Hammer) whose costume consists of a party mask. And despite the powerful distraction that is the dead bird on Depp's head, I can't help but think of Wild Wild West when I see this movie advertised.
Although there's not a lot of new stuff to see in this trailer, the clip does a good job of selling this Wizard of Oz prequel as an action-packed and visually trippy story. (The bubble travel scene should appeal to Flaming Lips fans.) With Sam Raimi orchestrating all those A-list witches and special effects, this movie has potential and the Super Bowl clip got that across.
I came very close to putting this trailer higher up in the ranking because it's so much damn fun to watch. But then I thought about the Fast & Furious movies that have come before this latest installment. The scenes of a tank crushing cars on a freeway and the F&F crew bringing down a jet plane with a grappling gun and a sports car are riveting, but this has never been a weighty franchise. So, I worry this is one of those trailers that gives away all the movie's best bits — like Michelle Rodriguez's unlikely return, for instance.
J.J. Abrams had a little fun at our expense with this pulse-quickening spot. He has none other than James T. Kirk ask the question Star Trek fans are dying to have answered about the character Benedict Cumberbatch plays: "Who the hell are you?" The answer, as presented in the trailer, is pretty cheeky, too. "I am better...at everything!" really does make me want to see this guy get a one-way proton torpedo ride to Mustafar. Oh wait! That's a Star Wars planet. Then again, that scene of Spock looking like he's about to be engulfed my molten lava sure does look like the place where Obi-wan and Anakin Skywalker had their fateful Episode III duel. But I digress. If the Benedict Cumberbatch tomfoolery makes you groan, the scenes of a seriously malfunctioning U.S.S. Enterprise crash-landing on Earth will rock you.
1. Iron Man 3 (Extended Version) Even more proof that Robert Downey Jr. is the heart and soul of the Marvel movie universe right now. Having the actor break the fourth wall with an "extensive," as he puts it, melodramatic look was a beautiful thing, and then the trailer just got better from there. We got to see a little more of Ben Kingsley's Mandarin character — his mouth moved! Words came out of it! — Don Cheadle in the War Machine suit, and Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan looking anything but gleeful. In fact, he's on the floor and looking kind of wet, which is often PG-13-speak for bloody. That's not a good sign. But what I'm really obsessing over is the trailer's thrilling climax cliffhanger in which Iron Man has to figure out how to rescue 13 people who've been sucked out of a sabotaged Air Force One. As Jarvis, the Marvel equivalent of Siri, explains, Tony Stark's superhero suit can only carry four. Do the math. That is effective marketing.
Follow Frank DiGiacomo on Twitter.
Follow Movieline on Twitter.