With the impending release the first official theatrical trailer for Justice League I’ve compiled a list of my favorite trailers for Zack Snyder films in no particular order. I love movie trailers and I think there is a certain art to them.
Trailers come in many different shapes and sizes. Some like to be short films whilst others like to be action montages. It’s very dependant on the film you’re trying to sell. That’s why many movie studios enlist multiple agencies to cut trailers and pick out the best of the bunch (sometimes through Market Research).
So let’s watch some badass trailers!
This particular trailer for 300 is quite badass. It is blending together the montage and short-film narrative styles of movie trailers. Starting slowly with cliche opera music opening set to some of Snyder’s greatest visionary work, the trailer quickly thrusts into a Nine Inch Nails song courtesy of one of the most legendary lines in early 2000s cinema.
“This is SPARTA!”
300 is a staple for this era of filmmaking and skyrocketed Snyder’s career. Without this film, he may have not had the pull with the studio to work on Watchmen the way he fully intended to. For those who don’t know, Watchmen was supposed to be PG-13 and franchise-ready until Snyder put his foot down.
Now, since we were talking about Watchmen I proudly introduce this trailer. Set to music by the famous “Smashing Pumpkins”, this trailer was aired during the 2008 Spike TV! Scream Awards. Incredibly fitting for that audience if you think about it.
“God help us all”
I love this trailer because it’s literal montage porn, with little to no narrative and only one line of dialogue spoken by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s The Comedian. The casual audience gratefully eats up any montage porn they can find, which is why most trailers these days are half-narrative and half-montage which some special 80s song mixed in. This trailer also probably brings in the casuals who wouldn’t even think of how deep Watchmen is as a film.
Not everybody likes Sucker Punch, and that’s okay. It’s an acquired taste. Not everybody has the wherewithal to quite understand it. The film takes influences from plenty of pop culture. It’s basically Zack Snyder’s very own personal anime.
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”
What I love about this trailer is that it starts out as a silly narrative-driven music video (Snyder directed music videos for a decade before going into film) for some sort of psychological thriller in an asylum. The trailer then flips the lid on itself and showcases a fast-paced montage of World War I zombie soldiers, giant samurais, giant dragon fights with Orcs and much, much more. It really gives the viewer a sense of adrenaline, giving them a reason to tune in. Even though it reveals the key plot idea, the trailer still has a presence of ambiguity.
My next pick is from Zack Snyder’s most recent film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This film is currently one year old. However, it feels much longer than that as the wait was excruciatingly long. I went to an IMAX event to watch this trailer. I came away with some sick posters and an invite to see the film early.
“BOYS. MMM. BRUCE WAYNE MEETS CLARK KENT. I LOVE IT.”
There’s a lot of reasons I love this trailer. It’s a masterclass in cutting a trailer as a short film, in my opinion. Heck, I even wrote my only ever trailer analysis about it. It starts with a tense fast paced musical piece accompanying a battle of wits between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. However, the tension is broken by Lex Luthor, providing the comedic relief despite being a sinister character.
“If Man won’t kill god, The DEVIL WILL DO IT!”
This then sets a chain of editing in which Batman and Superman are (edited to look like they’re) relentlessly fighting each other in multiple battles. The “Fight Night” type commentary also adds another layer of adrenaline to it. There’s one brief stop with Lois Lane before another montage. However, I love the “false finish”-type ending. Superman and Batman seemingly end their fight, but the music keeps going. This is when Lex introduces Doomsday, in a “NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES” type vibe. The trailer then ends on a trinity shot, leaving a “Tune in next week for DC’s Finest Hour” level of cliffhanger.
This trailer jacks my heart rate everytime.
Saving the best for last is the second trailer to Man of Steel. A perfect short-film type trailer edited with eloquent music choices, this one packs an emotional punch everytime. I believe this was the trailer that accompanied The Hobbit in IMAX. I saw that movie alone just to see this air in front of it.
“My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me.”
The trailer does a simple setup of Clark’s troubled and tragic childhood, giving us simple glimpses into his past. Then we’re introduced to the fact that he finds his calling as Superman and dons the cape in one of the most beautifully filmed pieces of recent cinema. The beautiful piece of music follows a montage of action and emotional wreckage to give us an idea on the scope of the film.
The strong emotional weight and seamless editing of this trailer is the only reason I didn’t pick the third Man of Steel trailer, which is great as well and viewable below.