15. “Ad Astra”
Listen: they tried. In the lead-up to “Ad Astra,” pretty much everything was thrown at the wall in an effort to make the movie stick. Ultimately, it didn’t and was very much a box office disappointment (it made just $50 million domestically). But it was a noble effort, at the very least, exemplified by this trailer which attempts to make it seem like an intellectual science fiction affair (it is), as well as a deeply exciting, high stakes space action movie (for a few scenes, it very much is). They even try to make Brad Pitt’s cold space cadet seem warmer, thanks to dialogue and footage that isn’t in the actual movie. (Hey, it’s just lying around, might as well throw it in!) What makes the trailer successful, ultimately, is its ability to convey the epic grandeur and mesmerizing beauty of the movie, along with its more philosophical dimensions. It also, crucially, urged audiences to see “Ad Astra” on the biggest screen possible, and one of the biggest tragedies of the movie’s reception is that not many people did. – DT

14. “Joker” (Teaser)
Say what you will about the actual movie, but the teaser trailer for “Joker” absolutely kills. (I remember seeing it in front of “Avengers: Endgame” and the audience was shook.) The teaser for “Joker” has everything that makes the movie wonderful, showcasing its beautiful cinematography, moody atmosphere, skuzzy period setting, and Joaquin Phoenix‘s tortured central performance, ending on the now-iconic image of Phoenix dancing on the stairs. It also expertly shies away from the elements of it that make it not-so-good (its problematic politics, forced comic book connections, and overt Scorsese references) and sidesteps the narrative almost completely. If the seeds for what would eventually become a worldwide phenomenon were sewn anywhere, it was with this trailer. – DT

13. “Queen & Slim”
Watching this trailer, it’s easy to think that this movie was going to be something special. From the ’70s font choice to Bokeem Woodbine’s snippet of dialogue (“If it ain’t the black Bonnie and Clyde!?”), the “Queen & Slim” trailer sets it up to be a racially nuanced unlikely criminals-on-the-run saga for our troubled times. It also seemed to set up first-time feature director Melina Matsoukas as a powerful new voice. And while it gives away some key moments from later in the film (including the fact that – surprise! – they get together), it overall feels atypical and more nuanced than most studio trailers. This may be one of the rare cases when a trailer is so good that it makes your expectations for the final film, even a quality film such as this, a little too high. -DT

12. “Apollo 11”
It’s astonishing the footage in Todd Miller’s documentary is not brand new. It has the candid self-awareness of something from the modern era, as every person working on the historic mission that sent Man to the moon. These stakes are not underestimated in the trailer, favoring rousing music and stylish font work to connect the dots between past and present. The unearthed footage is cut together in such a way that reinvigorates the excitement of the time for a contemporary audience to feel too. It’s all in the detail – when the focus stays on one woman in the control room, before panning over a sea of men crowded over their computers. The film is a tremendous feat – the trailer a suitably commanding snippet of the momentous act to come. “Witness the last time we were one,” it implores. To capture the feeling of the unknown, for a mission the whole world knows about – it’s an incredible feat. – EK

11. “1917”
The whole “single unbroken shot, played out in nearly real-time” format is a hard thing to convey in a trailer. But the trailer for “1917” doesn’t really even try. Instead, it just focuses on the main conceit (brother tries to get to his other brother and warn of an impending massacre) and the almost unbearable amount of tension that courses through the film. Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins‘ images are undeniably beautiful, even when broken up with title cards that say “From the Director of ‘Skyfall‘” (although the title treatment is cool) and shuffled out of context, although there are some pretty big moments that this trailer gives away. Hopefully, you can’t discern them and are just ready to go along for the ride. -DT