Given that the Super Bowl is one of the precious few television events left that can command an absolutely massive real-time audience – some 114 million viewers turned into last year’s contest, making it the most-watched program in history – it’s unsurprising that advertisers are drawn to the annual football showdown in flocks, even if a 30-second commercial’s price tag comes in at an unbelievable $5 million (that’s $500,000 more than last year and 66% more than in 2011, for all those keeping track at home).

Of all these various companies attempting to make an impression on all those eager audiences, movie studios have been a perennial presence and a heavy favorite, becoming something of an advertising version of Old Faithful. But while Super Bowl 50 certainly didn’t disappoint cinephiles, it did come in with a smaller selection than last year, bringing in 12 trailers to 2015’s 16. Maybe that half-a-million more for this year’s commercials ended up being something of a deterrent.

What did show up, however, ended up being some of the strongest film trailers yet seen at the Super Bowl, and perusing their wares is more than worthwhile. Here, then, is our 12 Best Super Bowl 50 Movie Trailers.

Eddie the Eagle

Release date: 02.26.16
Studio: 20th Century Fox

There is an old adage that has been circulating in the film community for decades now, and it stands just as true today as it did back then (if not, in fact, more so): once studios have to rely on the old “interview average audience members in movie theaters so they can’t stop gushing” commercial, fans should well and truly know to stay as far away as possible from the movie in question.

Fox attempted to put a little spin on the old formula by having past NFL “heroes” be the interviewees in front of the camera, but it can do little to stop the inherent cheesiness of the concept – or the ham-handedness of the football MVPs themselves, who can’t help but mug for the camera (most likely because they were instructed to). When combined with the fact that all the other movie trailers in this list live up to the Super Bowl’s (manufactured) epic nature and price tags, Eddie the Eagle can’t help but seem like a significant waste of money.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Release date: 06.03.16
Studio: Paramount Pictures

It’s hard to deny that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows did exactly what it set out to do last night: it was loud, colorful, comedic, and all sorts of goofy, from skydiving turtles (replete with a rocket-powered skateboard that can be used to coast down the sides of skyscrapers) to that final shot of Raphael – and his tongue – getting smooshed against an airplane’s cockpit windows. However, it’s even harder to overlook the actual content of the trailer beyond its stylistic objectives, or make audiences forget its absolutely awful predecessor, 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Indeed, given the copious amount of CGI, the over-the-top action sequences (such as tank shells narrowly flying by our mutated protagonists as they flip about), and the battle scene against Krang (which literally looked like it was straight out of a videogame rather than a would-be Hollywood blockbuster), there is more than enough here to make the viewers at home do a face palm than an eager Fandango pre-purchase.

Gods of Egypt

Release date: 02.26.16
Studio: Lionsgate

Gods of Egypt has something of an uphill battle in front of it, given that it’s neither a part of a larger, popular franchise (unlike a number of its competitors on game night) nor the vehicle for one major star or another (though its cast does look formidable, with the likes of 300’s Gerard Butler and Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). What it does have to sell to the football-watching and movie-going audience, however, is a great deal of action and even more spectacle, with countless legions lining up to go to war with larger-than-life Egyptian deities.

This, unfortunately, also forms a great bulk of the commercial’s problems, as the near-nonstop stream of fantastical images can fail to make a lasting impression, particularly when compared with all the other, nearly identical big-budget Hollywood releases. Crafting a unique identity is just as important as – if not more so than – selling CG-laden action set pieces, making the $10 million Lionsgate dropped on this little sneak preview a dubious investment, at best.

Alice through the Looking Glass

Release date: 05.27.16
Studio: The Walt Disney Company

Alice through the Looking Glass’s 30-second trailer is chaotic, over-stimulating, and manic – in other words, a nearly perfect representation of Lewis Carroll’s 1871 source material. The fact that very little in the way of actual story is given away is completely overshadowed by the visuals, the characters, and the odd doses of humor that are injected regularly – but not formulaically – throughout. Such a potent mix easily makes for the densest of all of Super Bowl 50’s trailers, and the one that viewers will undoubtedly need to watch the most times in order to take everything in (or, at least, try to).

Some of the more memorable moments: the burning landscape that Alice (Mia Wasikowska) and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) find themselves confronted by, Alice plummeting through a door in the sky (overtones of the Disney animated classic here), and, of course, the late Alan Rickman’s telltale voice. They cannot help but reverberate in a very crowded football field, no matter how many times one watches them.

Jason Bourne

Release date: 07.29.16
Studio: Universal Pictures

Taking a page out of Alice through the Looking Glass’s book (no pun intended), Jason Bourne provides more an atmospheric look into the fifth Bourne film instead of a revelation of plot, and, again like Alice, this is perfectly fine with us; the material that has been surgically extracted and meticulously pieced together paints a clear – and compelling – enough picture as to what Jason Bourne’s (Matt Damon) long-awaited return will look like. The film can keep its mysteries; given the franchise’s twists and turns, some of which are enjoyable and some of which are predictable, it’ll need to keep as much close to its chest as possible.

But there is one little mystery that this short little preview does give away, and it ends up providing an extra punch to go alongside Matt Damon’s endless ones on-screen: the official name of the film finally being announced during last night’s commercial. While not the biggest reveals, it was still a bone being thrown to the nerd faithful.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Release date: 06.24.16
Studio: 20th Century Fox

There is something unintentionally humorous about Independence Day: Resurgence’s spot last night: after rather appropriately starting off at an American sporting event, replete with a dramatic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a phalanx of Marines on the field, a wave of alien fighters abruptly flies overhead, shooting at everything in sight with their green laser bolts. It’s a jarring transition from what at first appears to be a hyper-real thriller to a classic (literally) sci-fi romp, but once that transition has been made, the trailer follows through on the suddenly-produced hybrid nicely.

Even better, the commercial does one thing that none of the others did, unbelievably enough: rather than jumping wildly about from one image to the next, it sticks mostly with one specific sequence, showing what appears to be a city turned upside-down as it folds back in on itself, raining the tops of skyscrapers down unto the unsuspecting populace below. It makes for a more immersive experience, and one that can’t help but make viewers excited for the full adventure that is to follow.

Not shabby for a sequel to a 20-year-old popcorn flick.

The Secret Life of Pets

Release date: 07.08.15
Studio: Universal Pictures

There is something undeniably refreshing about The Secret Life of Pets’s Super Bowl showing. Part of it more than likely has to do with the fact that it’s the only animated film to be seen during the evening’s festivities – and the only one to be a straight-out comedy (no, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn’t count) – but the real heart of the matter undoubtedly revolves around its sheer charm. There is an adorableness to the film, one that permeates its character design and comedic beats alike (head-banging poodles, after all, can never get old), and one that more than makes up for the absolute lack of knowledge viewers have about SLOP’s actual plot (or lack of explosions every other second).

And the little fact that the studio behind the movie is the same that has brought up the Despicable Me franchise – and that Universal is already planning on bringing Secret Life over to its American theme parks – is only icing on the football cake.

Deadpool

Release date: 02.12.16
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Is it any surprise that Deadpool would not only make an appearance at the Super Bowl, but that the movie would also end up ranking on the top half of our list? Its marketing campaign has been pitch-perfect from the word go, from its announcement trailers to its asinine – yet unresistingly funny – billboard advertisements, and Ryan Reynolds’s spot-on delivery regarding the true reason behind his super-athlete dreams at the beginning of the trailer only continues that winning streak.

The humor, of course, is followed up by a steady stream of action shots that proves Deadpool will have the tentpole chops to compete with its superheroic brethren. And kudos to the filmmakers for being able to come up with intriguing twists on what have already become tired action set pieces, such as Deadpool riding the top of a trailer as it goes hurtling through the air from an explosion. But the final element that puts the commercial over the top is the titular character’s breaking of the fourth wall in the middle of such an action scene, telling America that he’ll see them this weekend. Classic.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Release date: 05.27.16
Studio: 20th Century Fox

After seven entries in the X-Men franchise – not to mention the nearly countless reams of other superhero series, starting with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and moving on down through the ranks – one would assume it would be hard to get the average fan’s attention for the eighth chapter. Yet this is what X-Men: Apocalypse does so beautifully – images of the Earth’s destruction are both haunting and mesmerizing, the soundtrack is sufficiently lyrical, and the extended looks at some of the characters (particularly the new ones) are compelling.

Based off of this trailer, Apocalypse almost has the sense of being the X-Men equivalent to Marvel Studios’s original Avengers, a climatic capping-off point that looks to be genuinely exciting and hugely impactful on the overarching storyline. It’s hard to levy a greater compliment to the film, even at this early stage.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Release date: 03.11.16
Studio: Paramount Pictures

10 Cloverfield Lane’s second trailer, as short as it is, is a nearly sublime cinematic experience. It is, at its essence, a jumble of imagery, plot, and, perhaps most deliciously of all, foreshadowing, taking Alice through the Looking Glass’s sensory overload and coupling it not with gleeful surrealism, but creepy disquiet. It is a whole different bill of goods that it’s selling to the Super Bowl audience, and it does so with a whole different ballgame (not to mix sporting metaphors here).

It’s the trailer’s final shot that really provides much of this dramatic impact; yes, seeing radiation containment suits, imprisoned young girls, or a sudden, possibly fatal attack on John Goodman’s largely ambivalent character are all sufficiently attention-grabbing, but it’s that roar of a huge monster that starts to get the juices going. Will this really be a follow-up to the already-classic Cloverfield? Will this truly provide a whole different sub-genre to explore the narrative in?

We can’t wait to find out.

The Jungle Book

Release date: 04.15.16
Studio: The Walt Disney Company

The Jungle Book trailer hits a surprisingly wide breadth and depth of moments, from the comedic to the dramatic, doing much to establish the (apparently) engrossing world that is the live-action recreation of the iconic 1967 animated film. Of course, much of this has to do with the fact that trailer clocks in at an unbelievable two minutes instead of the standard 30 seconds – going to show just how seriously Disney is attempting to make this into a major hit – but it shouldn’t take away from the strong marketing and storytelling sense that the commercial’s crafters employed. It truly feels as if viewers get to take a journey with Mowgli (Neel Setehi), traversing both time and distance – along with emotion.

In many ways, this could be argued to be the gold standard of Super Bowl trailers, even if only until next year’s wares hit the television stands.

Captain America: Civil War

Release date: 05.06.16
Studio: The Walt Disney Company

Let’s be upfront: much of Captain America: Civil War’s success on Super Bowl night has less to do with what was shown and more to do with the sheer amount of familiarity that viewers have with Marvel’s roster of superheroes – especially if they’ve been with the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2008 and have seen all of these characters grow and evolve with them in real time. Nothing quite like this has ever been done before, and it’s completely compelling.

But the simple power of the images themselves shouldn’t be discounted. Captain America and the Winter Soldier lining up on a staircase in order to ambush an advancing Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is indescribably effective, while Tony Stark being shot point-blank in the face underscores the absolute direness of the situation the characters find themselves in. Intrigue is the simple name of the game here, and Marvel has proven yet again that it’s still the presiding master.

Bonus: The Product Tie-Ins

In addition to these many trailers, the Super Bowl also held a few commercials which brought movie characters together with some famous products, such as Coca Cola and Turkish Airlines.

Marvel and Coca Cola

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Turkish Airlines

Did we get everything? Are our assessments missing an important piece to the cinematic puzzle? The comments await.

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