Everything We Learned From The Super Bowl Movie Trailers: 'Civil War' Teams, Krang, A 'Cloverfield' Roar And More

The Super Bowl is the ultimate expression of the American id: a game where people hit each other really hard, advertisements for cheese flavored chips, extravagant halftime shows put on with colorful panache, and, of course, trailers for the biggest, loudest movies coming within the next year.

I kid because I love. The Super Bowl is ridiculous and the ads are ridiculous and the culture surrounding it is ridiculous, but it's a good time. Plus, even when the game stinks (and last night's game really stunk), you get to watch a whole bunch of movie trailers that have to be good because movie studios spent an exorbitant amount of money to buy this ad space. And if there's one thing more American than the Super Bowl, it's devoting a few thousand words to breaking down all of the noteworthy spots that premiered during last night's game.

There were also a few noteworthy heavy-hitters missing from the Super Bowl line-up – Ghostbusters, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were noticeably absent. The first two are especially surprising, since both films have barely even begun their marketing campaigns and could have used a Super Bowl-sized audience to announce themselves to the world. Then again, Ghostbusters probably wants to reveal itself at its own pace and Rogue One marketing will probably wait until Star Wars: The Force Awakens will is officially out of theaters.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Previous trailers for 10 Cloverfield Lane (and previous comments from star Mary Elizabeth Winstead) suggested this film spent the bulk of its running time inside an underground bunker run by a very domineering John Goodman. However, this new Super Bowl spot revealed a much larger scope, showcasing quite a few scenes that take place above ground. Take special note of this shot, which finds Winstead staring up at a house as something lurks behind it. What kind of something? Some kind of large, glow-y something.

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The real kicker here is that the reveal this large, glow-y something is accompanied by a monstrous roar, which is very peculiar. After all, everything we've heard about 10 Cloverfield Lane is that it is a sequel to Cloverfield in name only, possibly using that title to establish a series of small-scale genre films from various filmmakers. We can draw one of three conclusions from this roar being used in the spot.

  • Number one: 10 Cloverfield Lane does take place in the same world as the original film and the monster problem has only gotten worse and driven people underground.
  • Number two: there is a completely different monster in this film, which is going to be a little weird for people expecting to find connections between this film and the original.
  • Number three: the marketing people placed a roar in here just to drive home the connection to the original Cloverfield, hoping to get butts in seats even if it means setting people up for a direct sequel when the actual film doesn't deliver on that front.
  • Honestly, this whole movie is mysterious enough for each of those to sound wholly possible.

    Independence Day: Resurgence

    If you were alive and watching the Super Bowl in 1996, you remember the original spot for the first Independence Day. It's probably one of the most famous moments in all of movie marketing, a 30-second slice of brilliance that effective established the genetic code for how movies are sold today. It may seem a little silly by modern standards, but this is easily one of the most important movie advertisements ever devised. Seriously. All anyone could talk about was the shot of the White House getting blown up.

    And the Independence Day: Resurgence spot? It's fine. It's totally decent. It's a dramatic and effective enough piece of marketing that manages to quickly and succinctly sell its concept while providing glimpses at returning characters and new faces alike. The destruction on display is unparalleled. It looks like a good, silly time.

    Yet, it has to live in the shadow of its predecessor's Super Bowl trailer, which is just plain unfair. To watch these two back-to-back is a case study in how movie ads have evolved in the past twenty years and it's fascinating that the hokey spot from '96 (which now seems so small) had a seismic impact, whereas this slick piece of business just reads as okay.

    Captain America: Civil War

    There are two major points to take away from the Super Bowl spot for Captain America: Civil War. First of all, Tony Stark seems to have gone and built himself what the internet has already dubbed the "Iron Watch," which means he'll always have a little bit of Iron Man on his person at all times. We've got to hand it to the Marvel movies – they never seem to run out of new ways for Tony to evolve his technology.

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    But more importantly, this trailer confirms every single rumor we've heard about Team Captain America and Team Iron Man. Yep, the line-ups seem to be identical to what was initially rumored months ago. In this corner, we have Captain America, the Winter Soldier, the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Ant-Man (with a new helmet, apparently), and Falcon.

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    And in this corner, he wave Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Vision, and Black Panther.

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    Noticeably absent from the fray is Spider-Man, which means Marvel is truly biding their time before before revealing Tom Holland's new take on the character. Will they try to keep him hidden until the movie is actually in theaters? Maybe. Possibly. Then again, Spidey feels like a real ace in the marketing team's sleeve – they'll bust him out when they feel like they can really use him.

    Gods of Egypt

    How does a movie starring Jaime Lannister (a.k.a. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and a menagerie of magnificent monsters continue to look so bad? If you can't make your movie look good for Super Bowl ad prices, you're in a tough spot.

    X-Men: Apocalypse

    There is a fair amount of new footage in the X-Men: Apocalypse Super Bowl spot (including a few nifty shots of Sophie Turner's Jean Grey and Tye Sheridan's Cyclops doing their X-Men thing), but the Big Shot Everyone Is Talking About award goes to our first look at Olivia Munn's Psylocke in action. Across entries both good and bad, the X-Men movie series has often done everything in its power to drain color and personality from its characters' costumes, so seeing Psylocke appear on screening looking like the spitting image of her comic book counterpart is pretty cool. Although the fact that it is a spitting image of her comic book counterpart is going to inspire a think piece or two.


    Otherwise, the trailer is most darkness and destruction and talk of the world ending, complete with a melancholy cover of a pop song to drive home just how grim and dark this whole thing looks. Bryan Singer managed to find a solid balance between Serious Business and Superhero Fun with X-Men: Days of Future Past, so hopefully all the shots of characters cracking smiles were simply left out of the trailers.

    Jason Bourne

    And like that, the Untitled Fifth Jason Bourne Film has a title. And it's... Jason Bourne. Huh. You may initially think of John Carter and Jack Reacher, two films that rejected the titles of their source material to name their film after the lead character, but the real comparison should be Rocky Balboa and Rambo. Like the Bourne series, both of those late Sylvester Stallone sequels acknowledged the passage of time between entries by removing numbers and subtitles altogether, promising a back-to-the-basics approach that focused on the man whose name is in the title.

    In any case, it's a pretty lame title for what looks like a promising movie. After the regrettable Bourne Legacy (poor, poor Jeremy Renner and his chems), it's great to have Matt Damon back in the spotlight, especially since the babyface that made him an unlikely spy in previous films has given way to an aged, haunted face that looks perfect for an older, semi-retired Jason Bourne who gets sucked back into action against his better judgment. And sure, no synopsis for this film has been released, but you can put two and two together from this spot. They've totally Rambo III'd Bourne. And that's perfectly fine.


    With awareness through the roof and ticket pre-sales promising a gigantic opening, the Super Bowl spot for Deadpool feels more like a victory lap than an actual advertisement. This thing reeks of "you know you were already going to come see me, so here's one quick reminder." To be fair, this may be the most action-packed trailer yet, showcasing tons of action, including shots of the villains and other X-Men characters punching and throwing and smashing and what-not. This is 100% attitude and it's an attitude that the marketing has been preparing audiences for months now.

    Eddie the Eagle

    The Super Bowl for Eddie the Eagle is the movie equivalent of those Nike commercials use inspiring stories from real life athletes to tug at your heartstrings to convince you to run out and buy a pair of athletic sneakers you will wear to the gym once before banishing them to your closet. This movie looks very good (and early reviews suggest that it is very good), but having a group of professional athletes mumble compliments and compare it to Hoosiers isn't quite as gripping as a well-cut trailer. Then again, this spot was probably cut with sports fans in mind rather than movie fans.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

    The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was murky disaster of a film and it's too early to say for certain if the sequel will improve upon it. However, this new spot is loaded with enough craziness to pique some interest. This looks like a kids' adventure movie first and foremost, the kind of story where a rhino-man can fire artillery from behind the barrel of a tank and no one blinks an eye. That's probably the right shade of preposterous.

    But for a certain segment of the human population, the real treat here will be the first real glimpse at Krang, the alien invader from Dimension X and a frequent foe of the Turtles. Here's is a look at his humanoid "ex-suit," which protects his frail body...


    ...and here is Krang himself, who glimpses the outside world through a class window in the body of his human suit.

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    And he looks like... Krang. Sure, he's been updated for 2016, but it's hard to imagine anyone being terrible upset by the choices made here. This isn't like Shredder's ridiculously overcomplicated redesign from the first movie – this is very much in spirit with what came before. Whether this is very important to you or not is between you and your god (or your nostalgia).

    The Jungle Book

    The first trailer for The Jungle Book trailer was a dark and grimy-looking visual effects reel where most of the visual effects weren't finished. If the first trailer was to be believed, the movie would be 99% running and jumping on CGI vines. But here's the thing: you don't bet against director Jon Favreau, who has a habit of picking a winning horse (unless that horse is Cowboys and Aliens, but whatever). Disney's full "Big Game" trailer for The Jungle Book is fun and vibrant and exciting, showing off the film's tremendous cast and some stunning, lifelike animation. There is adventure and wit on display here! The sun actually comes out! Do I even detect a bit of whimsy?

    So it's a shame that the actual 30-second spot they cobbled together for the actual Super Bowl is a slog and a half. Poorly constructed and marred by an obnoxious "3D" effect where characters break out of the aspect ration, this spot once again makes the entire film look like a lousy tech demo. It seems that those effects truly feel like magic when you let the animals speak and place them in proper context.

    The Secret Life of Pets

    Sure, some of the big jokes are the same as we've seen in other trailers. Sure, the actual plot of this movie sounds a little troubling and nothing like the slice-of-life goofiness on display here. But if you've seen this trailer with an audience, you know that it slays. So putting the same basic thing in front of a Super Bowl audience was a wise move.