Looking back on 2012, a ridiculous amount of highly anticipated films came out this year and with them came a comparable barrage of quality trailers. Since this year was heavy on the comic book-derived features, you can expect that to be appropriately reflected in this top ten list. Along with those juggernauts you’ve come to know and love over the last year, we’ve also included some trailers that got the blood pumping and the synapses firing in anticipation for 2013. Fair warning: there were so many fan-favorite movies this year that our top ten list is guaranteed to include AND exclude some of your favorites. Hit the jump to check out our top ten movie trailers of 2012.
Before we get into the countdown, let’s start with a list of honorable mentions. This list could have easily extended into the twenties, so unfortunately the following films were the first casualties, though they were very well-deserved:
- The Grey – Liam Neeson and broken bottle-knucles; say no more.
- Looper – A complex time-travel plot presented in a concise couple of action-packed minutes.
- The Amazing Spider-Man – An introductory look at a new spin on an old favorite gave us action, romance and a sense of character.
- Skyfall – Arguably the best Bond movie of all time, this trailer set a new standard after fifty years of Bond.
- Brave – Pixar may have missed the mark with the storytelling on this one, but the trailer did a good job of covering up that fact.
Now let’s get into the sure-to-be-contentious Top 10:
#10 – Moonrise Kingdom:
If you hate director Wes Anderson, you hate this choice. If you love him, then you know exactly why this trailer is on the top ten. Right out of the gate, Anderson hits you with a one-liner of dialogue that sets the pace for the whole trailer and, by extension, the film. Include shots of the phenomenal cast in quirky scenes and you’ve got one of the most memorable trailers of the year. Name another trailer with Bill Murray in his underwear carrying an ax and holding a jug of hooch and I’ll concede this spot.
#9 – Prometheus:
What the movie lacked in intelligence, cohesiveness, common sense and consistency, the trailer provided in spades. Prometheus was one of the most anticipated films of the year and the trailer served only to heighten that emotion with its increasing sense of panic, gorgeous other-worldly visuals and enough recognizable motifs that established a connection to the beloved Alien franchise to give fans a sense of confidence. Too bad the film didn’t pay off what the trailer promised.
#8 – Pacific Rim:
Although we only got a glimpse of what Guillermo del Toro’s next directorial effort is going to give us, it was a helluva show. Giant robots have been seen on screen in recent years and massive monsters have also taken the stage, but Pacific Rim lets them battle it out for the spotlight. You can’t get much better than robots vs monsters and you can’t ask for a better helmer than del Toro.
#7 – Man of Steel:
It is tough to reboot a hero as classic as Superman, especially when a previous attempt failed to ignite a franchise while other superheroes are currently enjoying the benefit of successful adaptations. Couple that with a director who has been slightly off target with his last few go ’rounds and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel becomes even more impressive, at least as far as the trailer goes. Let’s hope the promise equals the payoff this time.
#6 – Star Trek Into Darkness:
What else needs to be said about this one? You’ve got an incredible creative team behind the sequel to Star Trek coupled with a phenomenal cast who seem born to play these roles, plus an additional mysterious villain played by a star-in-the-making in Benedict Cumberbatch, in a trailer that seems to give no hope to our heroes whatsoever. At least we’re now less than six months away on this one!
#5 – The Dark Knight Rises:
While Christopher Nolan’s concluding film of the Batman trilogy may arguably be the weakest of the three, the following trailer does a fantastic job in stringing together all three films while pumping up audiences for the finale. The score is fantastic and the introductions of the villains set your pulse to pounding when it first debuted. There’s no doubt that The Dark Knight Rises was one of the biggest films of the year and this trailer does well enough to stake its claim on our top ten list.
#4 – Django Unchained:
Can you really have a year with a Quentin Tarantino film and have its trailer not make a top ten list? The answer is no, no you can’t. Django Unchained took a previous Tarantino film villain in Christoph Waltz and turned him into do-gooder bounty hunter with shades of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while also transforming perennial protagonist Leonardo DiCaprio into the worst sort of human being imaginable. Add in a period drama dealing with slavery (and, in my opinion, Tarantino’s best shot – the blood spray on the cotton field) and you’ve got yourself a damn fine trailer.
#3 – Les Miserables:
While it may not be the first film to feature actors singing live on set, Les Mis is certainly the first to do it with the likes of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe. Adapting one of the most successful and long-running stage musicals of all time is a daunting enough task without the safety net of ADR, and the results are still up in the air as to how effective it was, but the film’s trailer focused wisely on Hathaway’s big song…and that’s enough to earn it this high of a ranking.
#2 – The Great Gatsby:
Originally expected to debut on this crowded Christmas day, director Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby first debuted its trailer over the summer in breathtaking 3D. The third-dimension was definitely made for Lurhmann’s style as the colors, costumes and coiffs all pop out and force you to take notice in this screen adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic. Add the top-notch cast and the oddly appropriate contemporary music and you’ve landed the second best trailer of the year…even if your movie got pushed back another five months.
#1 – The Avengers:
Was there ever any doubt? Before we got to see the Marvel superheroes unite in the feature, our first glimpse of their assembling was gifted to us in this trailer. The biggest film of the year, The Avengers was the culmination of years of previous films in the Marvel universe and simultaneously the bedrock of the comic book company’s cinematic future. It could have gone wrong so easily and yet everything lined up just right…starting with this trailer: