The 2010s was the decade where the movie trailer went from being a simple marketing tool to a really niche art form.
With the spread of social media, movie trailers have been subject to the same analysis and criticism of their feature-length counterparts, giving birth to a number of stunning gems that prove there’s a real art to the movie trailer. So, here are my picks for the top 10 best movie trailers of the 2010s.
10. Elle (2016)
‘Less is more’, so the saying goes, and the same is true when it comes to making a great movie trailer. Elle, the award-winning thriller from director Paul Verhoeven, follows that rule to perfection.
Playing out with no dialogue for just under two minutes, the trailer moves at breathless pace, with a pulsating rhythm that builds tension and intrigue in an astonishingly short space of time.
It’s simple, effective and exciting, hinting at the thrills and spills to come in what proved to be an exhilarating thriller. Of the thousands of movie trailers this decade, Elle has proved to be one of the most memorable, and definitely worthy of the most rewatches.
Read a full review of Elle here.
9. Interstellar (2014)
Christopher Nolan has made no small contribution to the development of the modern movie trailer, and it’s arguable that the teaser for his highly-anticipated space opera Interstellar was one of the very best.
Launched a year before the release of the full film, the teaser gives a spectacular insight into the atmosphere and themes of Interstellar, doing so by barely even showing any footage from the final film.
Dazzling with a snippet from Hans Zimmer’s legendary score, it’s an inspiring burst of excitement that looks at the mentality behind the movie, celebrating the exceptional achievements of mankind in the past, and looking ahead to the wonders that still lie ahead and above.
Read a full review of Interstellar here.
8. Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy was a real breath of fresh air when it was released in summer 2014, but the launch of its trailer just a few months before was something even more.
While it has all the feel of another fun, action-packed superhero blockbuster, the trailer is unforgettable for its fantastic soundtrack, playing out to the sound of Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky, a song now entirely associated with Guardians Of The Galaxy by many a young cinemagoer.
Not only promising what proved to be the decade’s most memorable and enjoyable movie soundtrack, the trailer injected a refreshing, energetic vibe into the blockbuster trailer, shying away from the intense loudness popular up to that point, and offering up something more lyrical and fun-filled, a trend that continues strong to this day.
Read a full review of Guardians Of The Galaxy here.
7.Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
For a film that’s finished the decade as a contender for the very best animated movie of the last ten years, it should come as no surprise that even the teaser for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was a work of art.
Introducing viewers to the film’s unique animation style, as well as establishing the vibrant, urban vibe that makes the film so distinctive, the short teaser had me waiting anxiously for the full movie even a year before release.
There’s nothing that leaks or spoils the movie’s story, just hinting at the appearance of multiple Spider-People, which, on top of the gorgeous, spellbinding visuals, is more than enough to make your mouth water thinking about this film again.
Read a full review of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse here.
6. The Handmaiden (2016)
Much like Elle, the international trailer for Park Chan-wook’s stunning thriller The Handmaiden is a gorgeous excercise in both minimalism and breathless tension.
With no dialogue, the trailer runs for barely more than a minute to the beat of a pulsating, intense score that perfectly embodies the film’s deranged, erotic and exhilarating thrills.
I’ll be frank, not having even heard of the film before I saw the trailer, it was just this minute of excitement that pushed me to go out and see The Handmaiden in cinemas, giving me the chance to watch what’s proved to be one of the very best films of the whole decade.
Read a full review of The Handmaiden here.
5. Inception (2010)
The impact of Inception was immense upon its release back in 2010, bringing blockbuster filmmaking and award-winning talent and ingenuity together in exceptional, groundbreaking fashion.
But the impact of its trailer absolutely cannot be understated. Apart from building anticipation for the mind-bending, visually stunning and unpredictable thriller that Inception proved to be, it’s arguably the most influential trailer on this list, if not only for one reason.
Yes, it was Inception that introduced us to the legendary sound effect that’s been used again and again and again in blockbuster trailers through the decade, bringing intensity and excitement to two-minute movie teasers like never before. It’s a great, exciting trailer on its own, but its long-term influence is undeniable.
Read a full review of Inception here.
4. Logan (2017)
While Inception was making waves with its loud, intense sound, James Mangold’s Logan was having a decidedly different impact, bringing a moving, pensive atmosphere to the comic book genre in a way never seen before.
With Johnny Cash’s Hurt playing as the soundtrack, the trailer feels a thousand miles away from what you’d normally expect from a superhero movie. If you didn’t know beforehand that Logan was a movie about Wolverine, you’d be hard pressed not to think it was an indie drama gunning for awards rather than the box office.
The trailer was met with universal acclaim upon release, and remains one of the most beloved of the decade, for its bold use of music and pacing that mirror Logan’s own atmosphere, and for the commitment to offering something new and refreshing from the increasingly crowded superhero genre.
Read a full review of Logan here.
3. The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)
For sheer entertainment value, it’s difficult to find a trailer from the last ten years to top Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street.
A gloriously energetic teaser that portrays the dark irony and irreverent comedy that the whole film is built on, the movie uses Kanye West’s Black Skinhead to fantastic effect, giving the trailer a breathless pace that builds and builds to fever pitch as we see Jordan Belfort’s life of excess grow to preposterous extents.
Parodied endlessly after release and still notable as one of the most rewatchable movie trailers of the decade, The Wolf Of Wall Street proved that with energy, fast pacing and a great sense of fun, you can bring the spirit of a three-hour movie into just two minutes, and make something great out of it too.
Read a full review of The Wolf Of Wall Street here.
2. Suicide Squad (2016)
All the movies on here not only have great trailers, but turned out to be brilliant watches in the end too. The exception to that rule, however, is DC’s Suicide Squad, a film that proved the power of marketing and hype, and the reality that a movie isn’t always as good as its trailer.
Following the disappointment for DC following Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad promised to bring a more anarchic, fun-loving energy to the superhero cinematic universe, with its first main trailer powering to viral stardom thanks to great humour, fast-paced, rollercoaster editing, and a fantastic soundtrack.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was a perfect fit for the trailer that promised a film full of deranged anti-heroes, offbeat comedy, and colourful, exciting action. In the end, things didn’t pan out that way, and the widespread disappointment felt towards Suicide Squad can absolutely be pinned on the popularity of its trailer.
Still maligned as one of the biggest missed opportunities of the decade, at least this trailer gave us a great ride as the film became one of the most hotly-anticipated in recent memory.
Read a full review of Suicide Squad here.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
When it comes to building on hype and anticipation, however, no trailer even comes close to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Coming at the end of a now-legendary year-long marketing campaign, the film’s final trailer launched two whole months before release, sending the world into Star Wars fever that ultimately led to the film’s record-breaking box office run.
Becoming the most-viewed trailer of all time within 24 hours of its release, it’s a spectacular piece of work that combines fans’ hopes and anticipations for the film with a striking and commendable commitment to avoiding spoilers, and leaving the main excitement for the cinema.
The Force Awakens trailer had just enough to tease you of the newest story from a galaxy far, far away, but with more than enough mystery to send viewers into a frenzy about every last detail they could pick out. It’s a spectacular two-minute triumph that defines the importance of the modern movie trailer: building anticipation for the film, keeping mystery and intrigue alive, and standing on its own as a work of art.
I woke up early one October morning in 2015 just to see this trailer on first release, and then proceeded to watch it about four million more times before I saw the movie. And even now, I go back and watch it to remind me of just how excited I was for The Force Awakens, and just how much fun and hype that trailer brought me all those years ago.
Read a full review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens here.