We Obsessed Over the Most Anticipated Blockbuster Trailers (So You Don't Have to)

We unpack the four biggest thrillers coming out in the next year.

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Image via Complex Original
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So. Many. Trailers. It must be summer movie season.

We're just a few weeks away from the official start, and already the Internet is buzzing with new clips for the year's biggest blockbusters, as well as one that isn't due until next year, Batman v Superman. From last Thursday onward, we were blessed with looks at Star Wars, the biggest sequel of the decade so far; Jurassic World, the most promising old franchise revival in a very long while; Fantastic Four, due August but previously under shrouded secrecy despite a spare teaser; and the biggest of all, Batman v Superman. The first look at the clash of the superhero titans was finally unveiled, a few days earlier than planned. What measured up to expectations? Which films look exciting and which look like a brick-on-arrival? And what, if anything, is there to geek out over and unpack in the months between now and release? Let's load each trailer up and dig in.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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J.J. Abrams is really going to do it, the bastard. A worthy, modern-day Star Wars film, that's not a prequel but actually continues from the very neat and all but definitive conclusion in Return of the Jedi is almost upon us. And it looks fucking great. The first teaser smartly focuses on the new characters while leaving the confirmed core trio off-screen. Trailer 2's job: whet our appetite for the new story some more while serving us the visuals we've been waiting for since Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford announced their return. 

That's not Tatooine.

In Star Wars, when you see a desert planet the natural assumption is that it's Tatooine, home to both Skywalker heroes in both trilogies. But along with this trailer, that theory has officially been debunked. Instead it's a new planet. Interesting. But who cares about the geographic. Let's just bask in the glory of this extremely lit shot.

Is Darth Vader alive?

I've seen this theory floating around all weekend. I'm approaching this movie with an open mind and tons of trust, regardless, but God I hope not. That would just be lazy. The original trio returning is dope as fuck, but let's keep it there. New characters, new villains. Regardless, second coolest shot of a thoroughly awesome trailer.

Is it you, Adam Driver?

And who's this chief of Stormtroopers swag lord?

Confirmed: there is a black Stormtrooper.

The new droid promises to be the cutest thing ever.

And of course, the golden moment.

Bonus: 'Star Wars: Rogue One'

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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I'm going to keep it 100, and feel free to disagree: I am not excited for this movie. Batman is the best superhero, caped, superpowered, Marvel, DC or otherwise. But Man of Steel was the very definition of not lit, with a post-Nolan era tone appropriated in all the most boring ways. I have no reason to believe Zack Snyder can do better on the sequel, much less successfully introduce a new Batman, much less convince people Ben Affleck deserves superhero redemption. In addition to serving as the first droplet of water in the fanboy Chinese Water torture from now until March 2016 (I'm still bewildered at a bona fide blockbuster dropping any date earlier than April), this first glimpse has to make the first steps towards winning over Debbie Downer doubters like myself. Does it succeed?

Superman's approval ratings are down.

Unsurprisingly, this teaser makes it very clear that this movie's still a whopping 11 months away—the actual footage is quite sparse. The first minute is basically just a slow push-in to this statue, intercut with the briefest of Superman pensive quick-cuts, while overlapping audio tells us the world is very wary of their new savior. I'm pretty sure that's Jesse Eisenberg as Silicon Valley Lex Luthor™ in the midst. He sounds appropriately diabolical and manipulative.

Last time it was all handcuffs and suspicion. Now troops with S patches are bending the knee. And now for the big reveal on that statue:

What did (or does?) Superman do to deserve this, fam? Besides flattening a whole city in the worst choreographed fight ever?

Enter: Affleck

Here's your first look at Batfleck, interestingly shown as Bruce Wayne before any real Batman shots. Ben has good, aging billionaire hair: strong mane, strong brood.  At the very least, he'll pull a Clooney and be believable as a rich playboy despite less so as an ass-kicking dark detective. Glower game, check. And in addition to the Batmobile, it looks like the plane's in play too:

And no Bat-film is complete without a shot like this:

But then, there's this, which just looks silly:

And his voice sounds like Christian Bale's already lightweight ridiculous Bat-growl filtered through autotune. Batman asking Superman "if he bleeds" then declaring that "he will" should be awesome. It's hard to take seriously here. And also makes me wonder if Snyder's kicking himself for doing away with Kryptonite in the first film.

Snap judgment: I want to be proven wrong, but I have to see a lot more first. So far, my forecast isn't looking to far off. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...a brick.

Fantastic Four

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Fantastic Four just might be the best superhero movie of the year, which ranks high in statements I never thought I'd make. That's right, out of Avengers 2 and Ant-Man, four nerds with no A-listers in the starring credits, and a franchise whose last big-screen outing may as well have been a Disney TV movie might just steal summer away from the popular kids. To be fair, rebuilding from scratch after those last two Trash Flicks™, there was nowhere to go but up. But this looks, good, bruh. Tone, special effects, casting, plot: it all looks fire, word to the black Johnny Storm.

For once, the origins don't look boring.

Freddy from House of Cards (or Norman from The Wire, if your TV taste buds are higher) is Dr. Storm. He recruits Reed Richards, along with his son Johnny and adopted daughter Sue, plus Ben Grimm, to do super cool expensive science things. They come up with interdimensional travel:

And come away with a bunch of freaky superpowers, and that's all the setup worth knowing. I'm sure Fantastic Four has its hardcore Stans but if we're being honest, no one cares about any adaptation sticking closely to the specifics of their origins relative to other, more popular superheroes. This isn't Uncle Ben getting shot because Peter Parker was out fucking around. All that matters is what they do with it.

Powers are no fun.

Of course they aren't, when side-effects include looking like a big, ugly rock-turd. But based off of interviews director Josh Trank's been doing, the Storm kids and Reed won't be happy-go-lucky either. Bursting into flames or flailing around like a car dealership blow-up doll isn't much fun either, in Trank's vision. We don't see much of Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan flexing their powers, but in the trailer they're selling the gift and the curse aspect tenfold. Meanwhile, the CGI on The Thing looks fucking great. The same goes for The Human Torch:

And here's your first look at Doctor Doom.

Snap judgment: All signs point to a banger. I'm saving a "told you so" tweet to drafts as soon as I'm done writing this. 

Jurassic World

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I honestly saw everything I needed to last fall when the first look at Jurassic Fourquel dropped. I mentally charged the $45 or whatever insane price IMAX tickets are going for these days after first watch, and the sentiment seemed more or less universal. We already know Chris Pratt is one hit away from being the Drake of A-list blockbusters, the park is finally open and awesome, and John Williams' original score chopped and screwed will leave all '90s babies in their feelings. So what work does the new visual have cut out for it? Convincing everyone that the movie won't fall victim to the main slayer of modern blockbusters: over-CGI. All the new dinosaurs and Chris quips in the world can't save the film if the dinos all fall into an uncanny valley that blatantly trumped by Spielberg's quaint 1990s animatronics.

Chris Pratt really is the Raptor Whisperer™.

Four films, three directors, but one thing is constant: the raptors will always steal the show.

The new dinosaur is ready for his close-up.

The rollout for unveiling the Supersaurus Rex or whatever this new joint is called has been carefully timed, but with a month and a half to go, it's time to show him off. Of course, the design was never going to be that crazy—it's got to look gnarlier than a T-Rex but not quite Godzilla. It can't really be judged until we've seen it in action. Most notably though, the trailer includes several extremely close-up shots of dino attacks. If you want to off-set the fact that Spielberg did this 20x better over 20 years ago, this is a good damn start.

You can count every single one of those teeth, fam. Just imagine how this shot's going to play out in IMAX.

Snap judgment: Must-see, twice, even if I have to take my turbo younger cousins as an excuse the second time around. Pterodactyls are scooping up women faster than Trey Songz, then getting snatched themselves by underwater Loch Ness dinosaurs. We still haven't even seen Bryce Dallas Howard in the "Ripley [of Aliens, of course] fierce maternal protector" mode that director Colin Trevorrow teased. Chris Pratt looks appropriately too-cool-to-be-stressed heroic, and more importantly, the park's failure looks like complete and utter chaos, as it should. Oh, and the dinosaurs have telepathy or something. All-in.

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