Let’s Talk About… Movie Trailers

brief discussion into the affects of movie trailers, focussing on two of the biggest superhero epics from 2016 – ‘Batman v Superman’ and ‘Suicide Squad’


(May contain potential spoilers)

Following the highly anticipated release of DC superhero epic Suicide Squad, a primary bother that effected the overall enjoyment of the epic was the trailers. This, coupled with the previous example of DC’s former, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has stimulated enough issues that require a full discussion into what affect the trailers have on the final film.

During this exploration, I primarily aim to focus on the Suicide Squad trailer. When writing a review on this latest release, it was the subject of the trailer and it’s contents that stayed dominant in the film’s overall judgment. Starting off, we are thrust into scenes in the film that already appear a little too familiar. The sights of Harley and Deadshot in their cells are precisely what was shown in multiple official trailers. These opening shots bring forward a sense of peculiar familiarity that is difficult to shake off.

Another somewhat irritating example of trailers giving away too much was evident in Batman v. Superman, particularly around the arrival of Wonder Woman. Personally, as someone that appreciates the odd surprise from films, I felt that the overall enjoyment of the final feature would have been greatly improved if her involvement wasn’t included in the advertising. After viewing the scene in the cinema, there was a lack of thrill from her entrance, leaving me underwhelmed having already witnessed it in the trailers.

Is This the Real Life?

There’s no mistaking how brilliantly the trailers for Suicide Squad were executed and exhibited to the public. The first official trailer was one that properly built the foundations for the popularity of the franchise, and there were many reasons for this. The music, coupled with the well executed editing enabled the two minute compilation to effectively excite viewers. When it came to comparing the film and the trailer, there are times that leads to belief that some of the editing within the trailer that is somewhat superior to that in the film. A prime example of this lies in some of the interesting and quirky one liners that Harley contributes. In the trailer, we see scenes such as the one involving the line “We’re bad guys. It’s what we do”, yet when seeing this in amongst the film, the effect is lost.

Suicide Squad (2016)- source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Why so Serious?

Particularly within the first few days following the film’s release, there was an abundance of articles and interviews circling round the internet that regarded Jared Leto and the Joker’s involvement in the movie. Certain interviews with the actor revealed that there were in fact many scenes that were cut from the final movie that involved the maniac antagonist. Reasoning behind these decisions are somewhat unclear, yet the main dilemma that ensued revolved around somewhat false advertising. Trailers for the epic heavily involve the Joker, and even through his involvement with the squad is unclear (with the exception of Harley) we are to believe that he appears regularly. The truth on the matter was very different, revealing the Joker – to a large extent – only emerging during flashbacks.

A potential problem with revealing the Joker in the trailers was that audiences were quick to judge his performance just from the short clips. When it came down to viewing the full feature, we are only provided with brief encounters with the joker himself, thus adding more to the distaste towards the villain’s presence. Personally I found that the display of the Joker in the trailer did effect how he is then judged, a similar example can been evident in Batman v. Superman. As previously discussed, showing Wonder Woman in the trailer did effect how I felt on her performance in the feature.

The Dark Knight Returns?

Another big appearance that sparked discussion in reference to the trailers trailers was the Dark Knight himself. The brief yet very obvious appearance of Ben Affleck’s Batman was one that caused speculation amongst fans. Having not seen much from the bat previously, it was unclear what his connection would be towards the squad. Yet when the movie was released (similar to the joker’s over saturated promotion) the Arkham vigilante had around four minutes of screen time (that’s including the after credit scene). Are we purely being provided with false hope when these characters are shown as part of the advertisement of the movie?

The Purpose of the Trailer

We are all aware of why trailers are disclosed to public eyes before the cinematic release. Companies wish to build up excitement for the film, thus encouraging viewers to hand over their money for tickets and subsequent merchandise. There is also no doubt that this technique works and pays off in the eyes of the box office figures. Suicide Squad gained enough hype to pull in $133.6m at the box office during it’s opening weekend, pitting it at the top of August releases in history.

My main query with over exposure of content in trailers is that it can potentially take away a lot of the excitement for the full feature. Due to the trailers excellence, the levels of anticipation remained high throughout the months before the release, yet the also ends up resulting in higher disappointment for some viewers. In the case of Suicide Squad, there was an obvious considerable percentage of critics to provide negative reviews and opinions. These examples make me wonder whether it would be better to attempt and avoid trailers when possible.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About… Movie Trailers”

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