They're rarely longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, but the composition of a movie trailer has become an art in its own right in Hollywood. After all, it's how filmmakers stoke interest in their work above and beyond word-of-mouth.
Trailers have become so vital to the movie-making process, in fact, that a big tent pole feature can turn a mere trailer's release into an event unto itself — The Fate of the Furious, the 8th movie in the Fast & Furious franchise just did exactly that, dropping a potent :15 tease the day before releasing its next big trailer.
Sometimes, though, the final product can be a disappointment compared to the buildup. That's why some of the best trailers of 2016 were for movies that sometimes, at minimum, didn't do that well with the critics.
Others released this year were for movies that have yet to hit the theaters — but they're so so intense and well-made they've got us more than ready for 2017.
Below, our picks for the best, most exciting trailers of 2016.
10. Wonder Woman
As the super-powered Amazonian warrior Gal Gadot can bring it. Set in World War I, Wonder Woman isn't in theaters until June 2, 2017, but this trailer had us wanting the full film yesterday.
9. Suicide Squad
Critics pretty much hated Suicide Squad, but the trailers netted millions of views and with good reason — they promise perhaps a better movie than the one that got delivered, with about as much of Jared Leto's Joker as audiences saw in the film. The anti-hero flick did great box office regardless of critical drubbing, and the visually thrilling trailers featuring Margot Robbie's maniacally hot Harley Quinn had a lot to do with that.
8. 10 Cloverfield Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane is a tight, tense sci-fi/horror film that pretty much grabs the viewer by the throat and doesn't let up. The trailer for the flick absolutely let us know what was in store while still keeping us up in the air regarding events in the film, which was anchored by John Goodman's most terrifying performance, ever (except for King Ralph, of course)
7. Kong: Skull Island
The latest reboot of King Kong doesn't premiere till March 10, 2017, and if the trailer is any indication, viewers will be in for one hell of a safari into the dark forests of Skull Island. This trailer has massive monsters and a glaring Samuel L. Jackson. We're not sure what else you need.
6. Doctor Strange
Marvel's Doctor Strange was a massive hit and one of the most well-received movies of the year. The mind-bending trailer only hints at how much freaky fun it truly was.
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
It's hard to pick which of the Rogue One trailers were most impressive, but they all promise perhaps an even more action-packed Star Wars universe story than we've seen before. Early word on the film is it lives up to the hype.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Marvel has utterly mastered the art of the movie trailer and more than Doctor Strange, Guardians is a perfect example. It's got all the elements of a great Marvel film such as wit and awe-inspiring visuals and Baby Groot as well.
3. T2 Trainspotting
This one may be a surprise but the fact is, it's a hell of a great trailer. It's got action, fighting, and one killer call back to the first film. We're ready to see it.
2. Ghost in the Shell
This choice may suggest a pro Scarlett Johansson bias, to which we'd say, well, yeah. It's also a fantastic preview of the movie to come, with notes of so many great sci-fi hits of the past, from Blade Runner to The Matrix. We didn't need to know anything about the original manga on which the film is based to know we need to see this when it comes out in early 2017.
1. John Wick: Chapter 2
Let's be real: the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 2 is completely over the top. The operatic chorus on the soundtrack, more gun play than you see in some full-length action films, Keanu Reeves's proto-Batman like growl — and it's still balls-out great. The first John Wick was more spare an action film than it gets credit for, while it looks like Chapter 2 has decided to go big. And we are just fine with that.
Honorable mention: The Fate of the Furious.
The Fate of the Furious only dropped its trailer on December 11 but it's already got well over a million views on Youtube and counting. It demands mention on any list like this because it's pure badass. That's what we'd expect from the Fast & Furious franchise, but even with those expectations in mind, this one kills.