After months and months of anticipation, Marvel Studios finally released the first trailer for the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel, and fans went absolutely crazy for the debut footage.
As I watched the trailer for the fourth or fifth time, I started thinking about all of the great Marvel trailers of the past decade, and I got a crazy idea in my head. What if I went back and watch the debut trailer for every movie in the MCU, and ranked them?
Naturally, I did exactly that. To be clear, I didn't watch every single trailer from the MCU films, because that would be insanity. Nor did I just watch the "best" trailer from each movie. I simply watched the very first trailer that Marvel released for each of the 21 films in the franchise.
I immediately realized one thing: Marvel is fantastic at cutting trailers.
Just about every trailer on this list is solid, so even some of those lower on the list aren't that far off in quality from those at the top. Then again, there are also a few trailers that really separate themselves, and stand out as incredible works in an already wonderful list.
So, let's get this thing started, shall we? Here's the ranking of every first trailer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting off with the worst of the bunch...
There isn't anything exactly terrible about this trailer, but there's nothing really exciting about it either. Much like the final product that it was advertising, the trailer just sort of exists.
Edward Norton did enough to sell Bruce Banner, but the action throughout the trailer was just a big military operation, save for the final moments that featured a fight between Hulk and Abomination. Sure, the effects of that fight are cool, but not nearly enough to sell an entire movie.
Overall, this trailer is just pretty lackluster.
Thor: The Dark World's initial trailer is another example of an advertisement that just didn't have much to advertise.
The shots of Thor and Loki working together are intriguing, especially after the events of Avengers. The trailer also has a couple of really fun moments, like Natalie Portman throwing a punch and Thor destroying the first (and much less interesting) iteration of Korg.
Other than that handful of fun, there was nothing worth getting pumped about when seeing this trailer for the first time.
Let's be honest here, there's a massive gap between The Dark World and Ant-Man in terms of trailer debuts. From here on out, every trailer is good at worst. The only reason Ant-Man finds itself so low is because all of the other MCU trailers are just a bit better.
Most of Ant-Man's trailer was based around the actual story of Scott Lang, setting up who he was before meeting Hank Pym, and establishing that there's a sort of menacing, white collar villain. While this is all well and good, it's not very inticing.
What hooks you in the trailer is Peyton Reed's since of humor, and it shines through on a couple of occasions. Ending with the toy train sequence was a brilliant move, because it showed that the film would be totally different from other Marvel properties, and had an ability to balance comedy and action.
The original Thor trailer acted as the God of Thunder's introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and certainly provided a thrill for the faithful fans of the character.
This promo succeeded in really explaining the various story elements of the movie, and made sure that fans knew exactly what they were getting into. Being Marvel's first foray into the cosmic aspects of the universe, the visuals in the trailer wowed viewers at the time, and promised a different sort of action than anyone had seen in the Iron Man movies.
What didn't exactly work for this trailer was the attempt at essentially copying the trailers for the first two Iron Man movies. Heavy, throwback rock and roll worked for Tony Stark, but it wasn't the right tone for Thor and Asgard. (Fortunately, this changed years later, as Ragnarok and Led Zepplin became a perfect trailer pairing.)
Advertising Ant-Man and the Wasp was a much different adventure than promoting its predecessor. Not only did this sequel contain an expanded role for its female lead, but the creators knew exactly what worked in the first film, and they used that in the trailers.
Unlike the debut trailer for Ant-Man, this first look at Ant-Man and the Wasp was packed with humor. It didn't lack any action, don't get me wrong, but the addition of jokes and gags in this ad confirmed that the creative team knew exactly what the audience wanted.
Plus, any trailer that features a giant Hello Kitty PEZ dispenser definitely deserves a little extra love.
I know that placing Captain Marvel this low on the list is going to be seen as controversial, especially since it's so fresh on everyone's minds. Please don't misunderstand me here, I think this Captain Marvel trailer is awesome, and I've already watched it several times. The thing is, Marvel Studios is just really good at cutting trailers, and there are quite a few that are just a bit better.
All-in-all, there was a lot to love in this trailer. It perfectly teased what we can expect from the film and gave everyone a ton to look forward to. It just didn't quite do the job like the trailers for some other movies did.
If I had to guess, I'd say the follow-up trailer to this one will be even better, but we'll have to wait and see.
I was disappointed when I went back and watched the initial trailer for the first Avengers movie. It was awesome to see the team together for the first time, and it did more than enough to get everyone excited for what was to come. That said, it wasn't nearly as epic as I remembered it.
Many of the great shots were saved for the trailers that came after this one, so this just served as the first step in building excitement for the franchise's first team-up.
Honestly, the most off-putting thing about this initial Avengers trailer is the odd choice in music, which was something that Marvel trailers had done so well up to that point.
Another controversial opinion here, but I'm going to go ahead and own it. The first Captain America: Civil War trailer was definitely good, but not nearly good enough to make it into the upper echelon of Marvel trailers.
This is part of the flaw to this ranking, given that I'm only counting the very first trailer for each movie. The second trailer for Civil War is leaps and bounds above this one, and easily goes down as one of the top Marvel trailers in history.
We got the chance to see Spider-Man in action during Captain America: Civil War, but Homecoming was the first chance we really had to see how great Peter Parker could be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fortunately, the first trailer for the movie didn't disappoint.
Between the MGMT song playing in the background, and the extremely John Hughes/high school vibe being set on screen, it was very clear from this trailer that we were going to get the honest take on Spider-Man that we'd been waiting on for most of our lives. That final shot of Spider-Man and Iron Man flying side-by-side was just icing on the cake.
P.S.: If you're wondering, I'm still incredibly disappointed that shot didn't make it into the movie.
The Iron Man franchise has always had stellar trailers, even when the movies don't turn out to be all that good. Such is the case with Iron Man 2.
While the movie was pretty dull, the trailer gave us everything we loved from the first movie - Tony & Pepper, heavy action, rock music, witty jokes - while also hitting home with several reveals.
Seeing Black Widow for the first time was awesome, and that alone makes the trailer worth watching again. But it's Rhodey's debut as War Machine, and the fight alongside Iron Man in the final scene, that really makes this trailer so special.
The initial Thor: Ragnarok trailer kind of came out of nowhere, and it instantly shocked Marvel fans with a massive shift in tone from the two movies that came before it.
Everyone knew that Ragnarok was going to be a bit more of a comedy when Taika Waititi was announced as the film's director, but no one expected how off the wall it would actually be.
Set against the backdrop of Led Zepplin, this trailer paired stunning visuals with wild action sequences, some major teases, a ton of humor, and a fight that Marvel Comics readers have been waiting for ever since Thor and Hulk first shared a screen in 2012.
Ragnarok may not have been on everyone's radar at first, but this trailer certainly changed that.
Once everyone was on board with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, selling a sequel wasn't going to be much of a challenge. Everyone was already so heavily invested in these characters that a simple trailer would have sufficed.
However, Marvel went above the call with this one, turning out a trailer that played off not only our excitement, but also our emotions.
"The Chain" was the absolute perfect song to set the tone for the trailer, as well as the movie, and the choice to end the film with Ego's introduction was the hook everyone needed to truly go all-in on another Guardians adventure.
Captain America had never been featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before this trailer arrived, and every movie in the franchise had taken place in the present day. There was a lot of interest into how Marvel would introduce one of its most important Avengers, and how it would tackle a period piece.
The studio put all worries to rest with the first trailer.
Not only was there plenty of action and a ton of reveals, but the trailer also laid out everything we needed to know about the story of Steve Rogers in under a minute. This advertising sold every fan on Marvel's ability to tell this story correctly, and Chris Evans' ability to portray the most noble hero in the franchise.
Fans may be slightly divided in how they feel about Doctor Strange now, but everyone was together in their excitement for the movie after the first trailer.
Doctor Strange, and the introduction of magic, were completely foreign concepts to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This trailer had to convince fans that it could not only do that, but also give them the patented Marvel style.
The trailer certainly succeeded in doing those things, but it took the hype even further with it's visual effects. The Inception-style sequences blew expectations out of the water, and left our jaws on the floor long after the trailer had ended.
It's hard to remember a time when a trailer had me as pumped up as Black Panther's. It was just that exciting.
The use of Run the Jewels in the background really set the tone for the entire advertising campaign, and it was very easy to tell from the first minute that this movie was going to be something we had never seen before.
The trailer's final scene, T'Challa soaring through the air as an SUV gets absolutely totaled, remains one of the most memorable shots in any Marvel promo to date.
I know that many of us aren't big fans of Iron Man 3. While the movie certainly has its flaws, a lot of the disappointment in that film can be credited to the trailer.
Following the events of The Avengers, the first trailer for Iron Man 3 teased a much different, much darker story than anyone had seen in the MCU to that point. Tony threw out his suits, his house was destroyed, he dealt with PTSD, and the Mandarin loomed large over his entire life. It had many of us legitimately worried about these characters, and what kind of danger they were in post-New York.
Sadly, we never got to see that dark, gritty Iron Man movie, but the trailer will forever remain one of Marvel's best.
Like Iron Man 3, The Winter Soldier set the tone for an intense, action-packed, emotionally draining Marvel movie. In this case however, the film itself actually delivered.
Regardless of how we feel about the actual movie, The Winter Soldier's initial trailer was absolutely stunning. The action was much faster-paced and down to Earth than any MCU movie before it, and the teases of Bucky's return had every fan anxiously perched on the edge of their seats.
To this day, I still get excited when I see Bucky catch Cap's shield.
Outside of Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy had quite possibly the most difficult task when debuting its first trailer. Unlike the other characters in the MCU, no one really had any idea who any of the Guardians were, and probably hadn't even heard of their team. Audiences genuinely needed to be sold on these seemingly-absurd characters, and the trailer did just that.
The Guardians trailer is easily the funniest of any Marvel movie to this point, and it also gave the world a colorful universe that no one had seen before in a superhero movie. Meshing together "Hooked on a Feeling" with alien gunfire and screaming rodents may have seemed like an odd idea, but it became an instant phenomenon.
This trailer set the tone for Marvel's most beloved franchise, and the Guardians haven't looked back.
I'm not sure I can remember another trailer that was as highly-anticipated as Avengers: Infinity War. Fans had been begging to see this thing for years.
Somehow, the trailer actually lived up to the hype, and didn't disappoint the Marvel faithful that had waited so long to see it. Honestly, the scene of Captain America walking out of the darkness to T'Challa saying "Get this man a shield" was worth the wait on its own.
Like Spider-Man: Homecoming, the Infinity War trailer also included one of the most iconic shots to never make it into the movie. Of course I'm talking about the entire group of Avengers sprinting through the Wakandan jungle.
When the first Iron Man trailer was released in 2007, no one knew what to expect from the debut film in the MCU. The guy who directed Elf was making a comic book movie with Robert Downey Jr. and The Big Lebowski. It was truly a mystery as to how this would all turn out.
That trailer turned expectations absolutely upside down. The metal in the background, combined with Downey's surprisingly fantastic turn as Tony Stark, literally brought fans out of their seats and the excitement for the MCU started right then and there.
The top MCU trailer definitely goes to Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it's honestly not even that close.
Unlike with Infinity War, no one knew what the plan was heading into Age of Ultron, allowing for a certain level of secrecy surrounding the project that we may never get again. On top of that, the voiceover by James Spader, and the creepy song playing in the background, set a terrifying tone to a movie that many thought could be devastating for the Avengers.
More than anything, this trailer was absolutely packed with cryptic teases that sent fans reeling for months on end. The flashback sequences, the broken shield, the introduction of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver - everything created yet another question for us to try and answer before the movie.2comments
It was truly a masterful advertisement, to say the least.
What's your favorite MCU trailer? Let us know in the comments!