Heading into Super Bowl LII, Hollywood’s mission — if it chose to accept it — was to excite moviegoers about 2018’s biggest blockbusters. And no teaser was more eagerly anticipated than the 45-second spot for Solo: A Star Wars Story, a prelude to the full trailer that was set to premiere on Good Morning America the morning after the big game. Our first glimpse at the Ron Howard-directed Han Solo standalone adventure certainly promised lots of action both in and out of the Millennium Falcon. But with Solo keeping the big guns in reserve for its GMA bow, the most impressive Super Bowl spectacle was provided by the two-and-a-half-minute trailer for Mission: Impossible — Fallout.
Tom Cruise’s sixth adventure as Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt very nearly put his action hero career in jeopardy thanks to an on-set injury sustained during a stunt that’s actually glimpsed in the trailer. Based on this advanced look at Fallout, the, um, fallout of Cruise’s accident wasn’t as severe as feared. The 55-year-old actor runs, jumps, and tumbles throughout the trailer, all in an effective effort to demonstrate that he’s the best special effect in a movie season increasingly dominated by CGI-enhanced spectacle. Thanks to Cruise, Fallout handily topped our ranking of the best Super Bowl trailers. To see how his competition fared, take a look at our full list below.
Mission: Impossible — Fallout (July 27)
In the past, the Mission: Impossible series has switched directors with each successive installment. That’s not the case this time around, with Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie returning for what’s essentially a direct sequel to that film — another first for a long-running franchise that’s often played fast and loose with continuity. Since Rogue Nation was widely considered an M:I high point, it’s hard to feel too upset about that break with tradition. Besides, based on this trailer, it doesn’t appear as if McQuarrie and Cruise have any intention of repeating themselves. Fallout‘s settings, the story, and, above all, the stunts look exciting and new, from Cruise’s helicopter dogfight to new co-star Henry Cavill’s superhuman bathroom brawl. This is one movie mission we’re psyched to accept.
The Cloverfield Paradox (Feb. 4)
The preview for the film formerly known as God Particle was surprising not so much for what transpired in the TV spot — which called back the original 2008 found-footage sci-fi installment and promises to — but for the announcement that Paradox will begin streaming on Netflix immediately after the Super Bowl.
Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)
The latest Infinity War teaser recycled several shots from past sneak peeks, but also included some killer new images, including Tom Holland’s Spider-Man clutching on to a ship miles over Manhattan, Iron Man flying past Dr. Strange in mid-spell, and a post-Ragnarok one-eyed Thor standing behind Rocket Raccoon and teenage Groot. If this is the kind of mind-blowing Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover material they’re comfortable showing us now, just imagine how much awesomeness will be contained in the finished film.
Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)
The Super Bowl spot sheds a bit more light on the plot, which involves Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) staging a massive dino evacuation from Isla Nublar as the local volcano threatens to wipe out the island. But the big new reveal is a nightmarish, never-before-seen genetically modified creature apparently concocted with a dash of Freddy Krueger DNA.
A Quiet Place (April 6)
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt become the latest Hollywood power couple to play an onscreen husband and wife pair in this postapocalyptic horror film that Krasinski co-wrote and directed. Before you start worrying whether this is another By the Sea waiting to happen, give the effectively spooky teaser a look, which makes A Quiet Place look like an eerie cross between The Road and 28 Days Later. For his sake, let’s hope that Krasinski lets his wife live.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)
Forty-five seconds did not do enough to convince naysayers that Solo: A Star Wars Story is going to overcome its well-documented production woes — especially when titular star Alden Ehrenreich, who supposedly needed an acting coach, doesn’t have a single word of dialogue — but Ron Howard tries to compensate with money shots of the Millennium Falcon, Donald Glover’s fur-sporting Lando Calrissian, and a patented Chewbacca hug. With a full trailer coming on Monday, we’ll see if the Force is with this film.
Red Sparrow (March 2)
We’re still waiting for that one scene or story beat that proves that Jennifer Lawrence’s spy thriller is more than an attempt to make a Black Widow solo adventure before Marvel Studios gets around to it. That said, this well-assembled teaser did remind us that Red Sparrow has a sleek look courtesy of Lawrence’s Hunger Games helmer, Francis Lawrence, and a great supporting cast that includes Joel Edgerton and Charlotte Rampling. It may not be Lawrence’s Oscar comeback, but it certainly won’t be in Razzie contention.
Skyscraper (July 13)
We love the Rock. We love Die Hard. But we don’t love the idea of the Rock in a Die Hard knockoff, which is not-coincidentally opening in theaters on the 30th anniversary of John McTiernan’s 1988 action classic. In place of John McClane’s bare feet, Dwayne Johnson’s FBI agent, Will Ford, has a prosthetic leg, but he won’t let that stop him from making gravity- (and physics-) defying leaps to save his family from generic bad guys.
Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home
The best Super Bowl movie spot wasn’t even for a real movie. After building social buzz for weeks, Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home, the star-studded ostensible Crocodile Dundee reboot, turned out to be a trailer for… Australia. The tourism-boosting spot, featuring Danny McBride as Brian Dundee and Chris Hemsworth as his sidekick, also included a cameo from shrimp-on-the-barbie aficionado Paul Hogan. We so need this movie to happen.
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