This article is part of our 2020 Rewind. Follow along as we explore the best and most interesting movies, shows, performances, and more from this very strange year. In this entry, we explore the best movie trailers of 2020.
If you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you that this year was a doozy. Just about everything in 2020 has felt surreal. And reviewing this year’s movie trailers was no different.
The pre-show teasers I excitedly saw in multiplexes in January feel like something that happened to someone else. The hyped, now-delayed projects feel bittersweet. And the 2019 festival films now being advertised to the public make me wonder what this time next year will look like.
This was a year defined by stasis rather than anticipation. And yet, we were visited by some pretty rad trailers in 2020. Some gave us memes that brought us together and made us a bit less lonely. Others hinted at a promised escape, to be enjoyed, with hope, someday. Others posited that films released on streaming services could sustain us after all. So, without further ado, here’s how cinema sold itself in 2020:
20. Fast and Furious 9 (a.k.a. F9)
Last summer, as a part of a dare I made with myself, I went out of my comfort zone and watched every Fast & Furious movie. And while this franchise may not be For Me, I am no dummy. Far and away, the best thing about the Fast & Furious is Han Lue (Sung Kang).
Now, because the Fast & Furious timeline is less of a straight line than a twisted mass of rubber bands, Han was both introduced and killed off in Tokyo Drift. So, during the series’ retcon, the inevitability of this tragedy dangled over Han’s adorable, snack-loving head. Not only that but once his death finally caught up with him, Han’s ghost was so dang powerful its presence continued to move the narrative of the franchise. But, as is its custom, the Fast & Furious franchise cares as much about the sanctity of death as it does about physics. So, to the delight of all, as the trailer’s stinger proclaims: Han is back, baby.
19. Bill & Ted Face The Music
It’d been almost thirty years since the last installment of Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan’s time-traveling journey to unite humanity with the power of rock and roll. And baited breaths are often advisable when beloved cult properties return (decades later) for a hat trick. So Bill & Ted Face The Music‘s trailer (while simple) was a righteous sigh of relief: they actually made the damn thing. Not only that but holy hell it actually looks like it might be really fun! (It was).
Christopher Nolan projects have, for better or for worse, become “event movies.” I say “for worse” because event films tend to involve going to the cinema, which in 2020, was not the thing to do (even if Tom Cruise said it was o.k.). In any case, when any whiff of a new Nolan film drops, it’s a big deal. The official trailer for Tenet came out in December of last year, but personally, I’m partial to the “final” trailer from this summer. The bass is fun and it feels like a fancam for a film that we all collectively dreamt. Which in itself feels very Nolan-y.
17. Sound of Metal
Sound of Metal is one of those films every synopsis fails. This is one of the most intimate and involving films of the year. Its trailer lays out the stakes: Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a drummer, suddenly loses his hearing. And with that, he feels as though he’s lost control of his life. This in turn threatens to cause Ruben, a recovered addict, to relapse. The stakes are intensely personal, and the trailer clearly impresses what Ruben feels like he’s losing while hinting at what he also stands to gain with his new way of being in the world. The trailer’s automatic closed captioning speaks volumes.
16. The Batman
Batman should really re-brand as Catman because this dang vigilante has had more second shots at life than a back alley feline. The latest pass at Gotham’s caped crusader has garnered quite a bit of hype for its harsher direction and left-field casting decisions. Robert Pattinson has put in a lot of elbow grease in at the arthouse scene so it’s intriguing to see his name appear on a superhero marquee. Throw in the likes of Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, and Zoë Kravitz, and you’ve got several (very talented) reasons for why this trailer blew Twitter up.