The Best Movie Trailers Of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, it's time to look back at some of the best movie marketing of the year. Yes, trailers are literally just commercials for products, but the very best trailers can be an art form unto themselves. When studios and editors buck the trends and set out to create something that truly stands out from the pack, it can make for something worth celebrating. So let's talk about the Best Movie Trailers of 2017.

Movie trailers can often fall into cliched territory. Anyone who frequently goes to the movies knows how trailers play out: in the past, there was an overabundance of a dramatic announcer setting up the story; now, we get an abundance of text on screen; big, loud booming soundtracks; and slowed-down pop songs, frequently performed by a choir of creepy children. More often than not, the results are boring.

Yet every now and then, a movie trailer will rise above the rest and sell its respective film in fresh, exciting ways. The trailers that make up this list of the Best Movie Trailers of 2017 deserve attention because they attempt to do something different with a familiar format. Rather than take an easy route and stick to what everyone has grown accustomed to, the following trailers released in 2017 strive for to do something new, and that's why they're worth praising.

11. Deadpool 2 

Let's just get this out of the way: I don't like Deadpool. I know almost everyone thinks this R-rated, pop-culture-infused comic book movie was the bee's knees, but it just wasn't for me. I appreciate the fact that it made R-rated superhero movies viable and helped give us the far superior Logan, but I found almost nothing in the original Deadpool worth celebrating, save the wonderfully droll performance of Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

With that in mind, it's safe to say I'm not the main audience for Deadpool 2, or Untitled Deadpool Sequel, or whatever the hell it's going to be called. Yet this teaser works incredibly well, and does a great job selling the irreverent humor associated with the series. Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool occupies the bulk of the teaser, parodying the incredibly relaxing Joy of Painting series, which featured the mellow-as-hell Bob Ross painting happy little trees. A few quick, humorous shots from the sequel show up more than half-way through, but the intent of this trailer is clear: the filmmakers don't need to show you actual footage to sell Deadpool 2. They just have to put Deadpool and that off-color humor front and center, and audiences are going to line up.

10. The Disaster Artist

A movie about the making of The Room sounds like almost as bad an idea as The Room itself, yet James Franco's hilarious The Disaster Artist makes it all work. The first teaser for the film is likely to be a complete mystery to anyone who has never seen Tommy Wiseau's painfully inept drama. But fans of the befuddling mess that Wiseau created will instantly get a kick out of the moment on display here – the creation of one of The Room's most famous scenes.

Rather than give us a traditional trailer with multiple scenes from the film, The Disaster Artist instead gives us one scene with multiple takes, as time and time again, Franco's Wiseau fails to adequately remember, and then deliver, his line.

It makes for a funny teaser, but it also represents the film's overarching story – that Wiseau refused to give up, even when it was clear he was terrible at his job. He stuck with it, over and over again, to realize his (very stupid) dream.

9. Thor: Ragnarok 

For some time, the Thor films were the worst individual entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first Thor is an utter bore, and Thor: The Dark World has a few cool ideas, but is rendered almost unwatchable by incoherent editing and storytelling.

So what a complete surprise it was to see the teaser trailer for Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok. For one thing, Waititi's take on the material looked nothing like the previous Thor films. Instead, the filmmaker looked to be channelling the art of Jack Kirby. But better than the look of the film was the tone: Waititi, who co-directed What We Do In the Shadows, had turned Thor into a comedy.

With all this going for it, the Thor: Ragnarok teaser is a treat, complete with a great use of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and Cate Blanchett's gothed-out villain looking fabulous. It all ends with Thor referring to the Hulk as a "friend from work" – one of the funniest movie lines of the year.

8. It Comes At Night 

Some people took issue with the marketing for A24's It Comes At Night, which sold the film as a possibly supernatural horror story. There's nothing supernatural going on in the film, but there is plenty of horror – most of it the existential kind.

The moody, dread-drenched It Comes At Night teaser trailer opens with a close-up of the Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting The Triumph of Death – a depiction of the Black Death sweeping the land and turning everything as far as the eye can see into a hellscape. It sets up the trailer's mood perfectly, which moves from the painting down a foreboding hallway, and slowly begins revealing spooky, cryptic imagery.

Director Trey Edward Shults' film is set after the fallout from an unnamed plague, and the specter of death is ever-present – just as it is in this teaser. You can practically sense the death and decay radiating off this footage. To say that the marketing was deceptive seems to miss the overall tone of the film itself, which is filled with the same sense of inescapable dread seen in this trailer.

7. Black Panther 

Every year, I think the Marvel Cinematic Universe has run its course, and then they put out a trailer that draws me back in. Case in point: this killer trailer for Black Panther, featuring "Legend Has It" by Run The Jewels. This trailer pops – almost every frame is overflowing with energy and excitement the way few cookie-cutter superhero trailers are. If we're going to be saddled with constant superhero flicks until the end of time, it would be nice if more of them emulated this approach to their marketing.

Creed director Ryan Coogler has assembled a truly remarkable cast, who are almost all on display here – Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright and more. Even better: Coogler's Black Panther doesn't really look like any other MCU film before it. This is exactly the type of energy and marketing that the MCU needs. Even though Black Panther has already released a full trailer since the release of this teaser, I'd argue the film doesn't need any more marketing. This teaser was enough to sell the hell out of this movie. 

6. The Florida Project 

Crying during movies is commonplace, but crying during a trailer? Who knew such a thing was possible! Yet here we are, with the whimsical, tear-jerking trailer for Sean Baker's magnificent The Florida Project.

Opening with a laugh-out-loud moment involving two of the film's young stars having a quickly melting ice cream cone while motel manager Willem Dafoe looks on in disbelief, The Florida Project trailer quickly blasts off into a quick, funny, emotional trip through the film, which is set in a crumbling motel somewhere near Disney World.

Florida Project is light on plot and big on character moments, and this trailer best conveys that while also presenting some of cinematographer Alexis Zabe's breathtaking visuals. It ends with two kids running off towards a rainbow – an image of carefree youth chasing a never-attainable dream. It hits you right in the "feels," if I can be so bold as to use that particular colloquialism.

5. The Last Jedi

"This isn't going to go the way you think," says Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker in the full trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With that line, both Luke and director Rian Johnson attempted to warn fans to prepare themselves – The Last Jedi wasn't going to play by the rules.

What's remarkable about this trailer is how little it reveals while seemingly revealing a lot. Almost the entire trailer consists of footage that takes up the first hour of the film, and while there are a few bits and pieces here from the climax, there's almost no real reveal of plot or storyline. The closest thing we get is a huge moment at the end where it looks like Daisy Ridley's Rey is turning to Adam Driver's Kylo Ren for help. While something like this sort of happens in the film, it doesn't play out at all like it does in the trailer. Here, Johnson is teasing an actual story beat without giving a single thing away. It's rather brilliant.

There's a wealth of stunning visual imagery here, from ships cruising across red sand to Rey swinging a lightsaber on the rocky cliffs of the island planet where Luke is hiding. Best of all: this trailer gave us the best moment in Star Wars history: a scene where Chewbacca roars, the camera pans out, and a Porg sitting on the Millennium Falcon dashboard roars as well. It's charming as hell, and also serves a purpose – a lot of the early marketing for Last Jedi seemed to hint that the film would be dark and depressing, possibly even recalling the downer ending of The Empire Strikes Back.

But The Last Jedi is actually the funniest Star Wars film in the franchise, loaded with tons of humor, and by giving us this quick, silly, charming shot of a roaring Porg, Johnson and company are telling the audiences that it's okay to have some fun with the franchise. You may have been expecting something dark, but as Luke says, this isn't going to go the way you think.

4. Annihilation 

The first teaser trailer for Alex Garland's Annihilation is a thing of beauty – loaded with haunting, unforgettable images and deliberately vague moments that leave the viewer wondering just what the hell is going on here. This is the perfect way to market your weird sci-fi movie.

There have been rumblings that behind the scenes, Garland, who also directed the cerebral sci-fi flick Ex Machina, has clashed with producers who worry that Annihilation might be too smart for your average movie-goer. Garland is adapting the first in a trilogy of novels by Jeff VanderMeer, and VanderMeer's source material books aren't easy to classify. On the surface, they're science fiction, but there's a lot more going on beneath that surface, and it's not the kind of material that might pull in a big audience. The full length Annihilation trailer that followed the teaser all but confirms the rumors of producer clashes: it sells the movie as a big, action-packed monster movie – almost like an unofficial sequel to Predator. That is not what the book is like, and I'm almost positive that's not what the film will be like either.

For confirmation of this, look no further than this teaser, which was cut before word of the behind-the-scenes clashes came to the surface. This teaser, with its foreboding tones and blissful what-the-fuckery, is clearly more representative of the film Garland is going for, and seems much more true to VanderMeer's book.

3. The Shape of Water

The trailer for The Shape of Water alone contains more magic than 90% of the actual movies that came out this year. It's always difficult to sell a Guillermo del Toro movie to a general audience – del Toro traffics in familiar genre tropes, but attaches his own blend of myth-making to the proceedings that make the final product hard to pin down. The filmmaker ran into some trouble with the marketing for his fantastic gothic romance Crimson Peak, which was saddled with trailers that attempted to trick audiences into thinking it was a straight-up horror film.

This first trailer for The Shape of Water doesn't make those mistakes, and instead works hard to sell the film as the gorgeous, dreamy romance it really is. It's also vague enough to not give too much away, which is important, because there's a lot going on in The Shape of Water that is best experienced fresh. Loaded with the type of musical-inspired imagery that prevails through the film itself, The Shape of Water teases the film in the best ways possible.

Worth noting: subsequent trailers, including a red band trailer, jettison this approach entirely and give nearly the entire movie away, including several major plot twists. It's truly baffling, and I'm not entirely sure why del Toro would sign off on it (if he even had a say, that is).

2. War for the Planet of the Apes

If there's one modern movie marketing trend I loathe, it's when studios release teasers for their trailers – quick, meaningless montages that serve to only announce that an actual trailer is coming the following day. Yet from terrible ideas good things sometimes spring. One of the very best trailers from 2017 was, indeed, a dreaded teaser for a trailer. Stranger still was the fact that when the actual trailer that was being teased arrived, it had none of the teaser stuff in it, and was kind of disappointing.

Before War for the Planet of the Apes released its final trailer, the film put out this stunning little teaser that's more effective than the movie itself. Through a montage of historical newsreel footage showing the progress (and sometimes destructive nature) of humanity, spliced with footage from the three films in the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, we hear the booming baritone voice of original Planet of the Apes star Charlton Heston. Heston's audio is taken from a speech he gave at the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and the words aren't original to Heston – the actor was actually quoting  (in part) author William Faulkner's 1949 Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

The end result is chilling and near-iconic. It's one of the most satisfying trailers I've ever seen – not just this year, but any year. The "teaser for a trailer" trend continues to be unnecessary, but if more studios approached the concept like this, the movie marketing landscape would be a lot more interesting.

1. It

The trailer for It broke a YouTube record for the most trailer views in 24 hours, and one watch makes it easy to see why. This is the type of effective, memorable trailer that instantly gets you excited and instantly makes you want bring others into the fold – the type of trailer that you just have to share so others can take part in the excitement.

While there were plenty of great Stephen King movie adaptations in the past, it had been a pretty long time since a legitimately interesting King flick had hit the big screen. The trailer for Andres Muschietti's adaptation of It seemed to signal a significant change – here, at last, was a Stephen King adaptation that looked really well-made – crafted with care and attention to detail. It's hard to market horror, and more often than not, studios will get lazy and settle for big, loud, pointless jump scares that more often than not leave theater-going audiences snickering. The It teaser trailer actually takes its time to craft some genuinely scary moments, particularly the big centerpiece involving the kids of the Losers Club watching in horror as a slideshow comes to life and reveals their nemesis, Pennywise the Clown.

Speaking of Pennywise, this trailer also gave us our first real look at Bill Skarsgård in the part, and while early promotional photos of the killer clown left a lot to be desired, seeing Skarsgård in action here seemed to instantly assuage any concerns. Best of all, though, was the fact that the kids who made up the main cast of It all seemed like real kids here – not a bunch of child actors over-emoting and playing things over-the-top, as a lot of the kids in the original It miniseries tended to do. In short, almost every detail on display in this trailer served to announce the arrival of a potentially great new horror movie – a potential that was fully realized when It hit theaters and turned out to be a smashing success.