Sometimes trailers are better than movies. And in 2022 we’ve been blessed with a whole bunch of them. From killer soundtracks to teasing suspense and a whole lot of “Wait, what just happened?”, these trailers gave us the gift of delicious anticipation, perfectly packaged in pure cinematic bliss.
You may remember some of them for giving us some memes (think M3GAN’s dance number), and others for having us reach out for the tissues (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I’m looking at you), so without further ado here are some of 2022’s best trailers, in no particular order.
1. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
The award for sweetest trailer of 2022 goes to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which re-introduces us to viral sensation Marcel the Shell (voiced by Jenny Slate and co-created by Slate and director Dean Fleischer-Camp). Few things are as charming as this trailer and its googly-eyed protagonist. Between adorable stop-motion and quietly hilarious dialogue, we learn about Marcel’s journey to find his family — yes, I teared up watching. And you might too! — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is streaming on Prime Video.
2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Melancholy is an understatement in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer, following the heartwrenching passing of our onscreen Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman. With the Wakandans in traditional white mourning clothing, the trailer opens to a celebration of Boseman’s T’Challa, honoring the life created and the culture of the fictional African country. Meanwhile, Marvel’s newest super villain, Namor, rivals these images with saturated combatant hues, creating a tense feeling of uneasiness.
Shuri already has her hands full in the preview with Wakanda’s streets flooded and new foes who can climb at outlandish speeds. Nevertheless, hope is instilled with the new Black Panther pouncing into the trailer before its close in absolute Marvel-magic to tease a new and hopeful Black Panther sequel. (*Sends email to Riri Williams to see if I can hitch a ride on the back of her suit of armor.*) — Kyle McWilliams, Entertainment Intern
How to watch: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in theaters.
3. Avatar: The Way of Water
However you may feel about the James Cameron franchise, there’s no denying that Avatar: The Way of Water’s trailer is a beautiful visual cornucopia of world building. It broadens Pandora’s horizons and introduces us to the many flora and fauna adorning its land, while also teasing a new Na’vi neighboring tribe. Alongside the gorgeous glowing life underwater, Avatar: The Way of Water also embellishes its trailer with a great, orchestral soundtrack, marrying its lush visuals with cinematic hymns and swooping us into a Pandora paradise. — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Entertainment Intern
How to watch: Avatar: The Way of Water releases in theaters Dec. 16.
4. Cocaine Bear
Movie ridiculousness reaches new heights in the trailer for Cocaine Bear, which is simply on this list because it features a BEAR doing COCAINE. It’s exactly what it sounds like: A bear gets high on millions of dollars worth of cocaine (yes, this actually happened) and then goes on a killing spree (that part is made up). The trailer gives us a taste of the cocaine-fueled carnage, but more importantly, it reminds us of the Power of Cinema. — B. E.
How to watch: Cocaine Bear releases in theaters on Feb. 24, 2023.
“Ah, what a nice young man to let a stranger into his AirBnb during wee hours of the night!” A very plausible thought as the Barbarian trailer opens on a stormy night with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “Our House” playing delightfully in the background. Things quickly take a turn as nothing is what it seems and the rental home is found to hold a secret basement/dungeon hiding plenty of secrets. The dim lighting from a single handheld flashlight and copious amounts of jump scares just within the short trailer should have you on the edge of your seat. If you think you have a firm grasp on the movie’s plot, the last flash to the house, freshly tended to in the middle of a respectable neighborhood, should have you completely questioning your guessing skills.
While it may seem that this trailer gives away a few too many details, I can assure you that it’s just scratching the surface. This is what great trailers are made of. — K. M.
How to watch: Barbarian is available to stream on HBO Max.
6. Top Gun: Maverick
This is how you do a blockbuster trailer, people! There’s just enough dialogue to let us know what’s happening, paired with a ton of kickass action. Of course, this trailer benefits from a nostalgia boost courtesy of Tom Cruise, references to Iceman and Goose, and a beach football scene that can only be an homage to Top Gun‘s beach volleyball showdown. But the real stars of the trailer are the high-flying plane sequences — which were all really filmed in the air. When Maverick and his fellow pilots pull gravity-defying moves, you feel as if you’re right there with them. It’s an adrenaline rush packed into two and a half minutes, and it will definitely make you excited to ride back into the danger zone. — B. E.
How to watch: Top Gun: Maverick is streaming on Prime Video.
Following in the footsteps of the trailer for Jordan Peele’s Us, which remixed Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” with a horror flair, the trailer for Peele’s Nope wryly incorporates Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips (Part 2).” Early on, Keke Palmer’s character Emerald dances to the classic tune. As things take a spooky turn, we hear Wonder repeatedly telling us to “say yeah,” only to be hit with the film’s title telling us the exact opposite: Nope. On top of the killer song choice, we get a taste of the scary surprises the film has in store: Horses running from an unknown enemy, inflatable wavy men collapsing in unison, and an encroaching UFO. Do we learn exactly what the movie is about? Nope. Are we excited to watch? Yep. — B. E.
‘Nope’ spoiler-free review: Jordan Peele returns to rain down terror with scorching sci-fi horror
How to watch: Nope is streaming on Peacock.
8. Bodies Bodies Bodies
In the perfectly edited trailer for A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, Pete Davidson said the quiet part out loud: “Well, I just look like I fuck. You know what I mean? I look like I fuck.” Wielding this big diabolical energy, director Halina Reijn’s dark comedy kicked off with one hell of a trailer set to Charli XCX’s tailor-made ode to “Hot Girl” Summer. You’re introduced the most murderous millennial weekend away with stars Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, and Davidson, all of whose ability to balance their fear at being murdered and not being taken seriously, guys is the core of the film’s comedy. Yes, everyone is afraid of getting knifed. But also, like, feelings are not being appreciated, and the situation is, like, escalating, and people are just being toxic. — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
How to watch: Bodies Bodies Bodies is streaming on Prime Video.
9. Violent Night
Watching Santa Claus (David Harbour) turn into John Wick and beat the living shit out of everyone around him is something we didn’t know we needed to see in 2022, but thank god we did. Everything about Violent Night’s trailer, from a deadpan Santa declaring it’s “time for some season’s beatings,” to him stabbing someone in the face with a candy cane, is cinematic excellence. It’s sensationally silly. It’s electrically entertaining. And it’s so very needed this Christmas. We’ve always known Die Hard is a Christmas movie, but Violent Night’s trailer takes a Christmas heist gone wrong and turns it into a jingle ball battle, where no Santa is ever going to come close to our cookie-loving, candy-stabbing, crime-busting hero. — Y. H.
How to watch: Violent Night is now in theaters.
Babylon’s trailer is a beautiful, chaotic mess from start to finish. Giving us a manic montage of every hedonistic vice available to mankind, perfectly sandwiched between the Paramount logo wiping away off screen like a line of cocaine and Margot Robbie screaming that’s she about to “fight a fucking snake.” Do any of us know what this movie is actually about? Absolutely not. But do we know that it’s going to be a wild mess of a ride? Absolutely yes. While the trumpets ring throughout Babylon’s trailer, we’re left hoping that its party lasts forever, with our invite into a dangerously dazzling old Hollywood waiting for our RSVP. — Y.H.
How to watch: Babylon releases in theaters Dec. 23.
M3GAN isn’t even out yet, but its titular terrifying robot is already a star — and it’s all thanks to this trailer. Words cannot do justice to the unbridled joy you’ll feel watching this uncanny valley doll befriend a young girl, sass Allison Williams, and push a kid in front of a car. But even all of that pales in comparison to the trailer’s best moment: M3GAN doing a fabulous little dance that launched a thousand memes. Pair all that with a scare-ified version of Taylor Swift’s “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” and you have a camp classic in the making. — B. E.
How to watch: M3GAN releases in theaters on Jan. 6, 2023.
12. Bones and All
The Bones and All trailer starts off tame. We see a group of girls chilling, talking, painting each other’s nails… pure slumber party bliss, and then one of them loses a finger. Whatever night the girls had planned is now completely off the table thanks to Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell), a cannibal in disguise who just had to have that one bite. The trailer then spirals out of control with Maren on the run, who proceeds to meet other cannibals cruising along America’s highways, permanently stuck living in the outskirts of a society that’ll never accept them (I wonder why?). While Bones and All’s trailer is a hazed up mess of gore, that one first bite makes it one of the best trailers we’ve seen this year. It’s shocking, upsetting, and a perfect setup for a twisted tale of cannibals in love. — Y.H.
How to watch: Bones and All is currently playing in theaters.
13. Shotgun Wedding
With Shotgun Wedding Jennifer Lopez continues her reign of starring in rom-coms with unhinged trailers. Here, a seemingly beautiful wedding (complete with the usual family problems) devolves into a no-holds-barred hostage situation that sees Lopez and Josh Duhamel running for dear life. Yes, it’s stupid, but it also features Jennifer Coolidge shooting a gun like an action hero. Not every movie has that, but maybe every movie should. — B. E.
How to watch: Shotgun Wedding streams on Prime Video Jan. 27, 2023.
14. Knock at the Cabin
Aww, what a lovely family singing along to “Boogie Shoes,” I hope nothing goes wrong! And then of course, everything goes wrong. Based on Paul Tremblay’s bestselling novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, Knock at the Cabin sees a family at the epicenter of a decision that can change the world — without having a single clue as to what the hell is going on. All that’s clear is that their vacation just got rudely interrupted by a creepy group of potential murderers led by some guy called Leonard (Dave Bautista), who expects them to make that decision with the clock ticking. The trailer alone already has us at the edge of our seats, and everything from the killing suspense to the sheer confusion, makes Knock at the Cabin one of the most anticipated releases for next year. — Y.H.
How to watch: Knock at the Cabin is coming to theaters Feb. 3, 2023.
15. The Menu
Harsh claps and cries of “Yes, chef!” underscore this trailer for a film about a rarefied dining experience with a dark twist. The threat of violence hovers in the atmosphere as gorgeous dishes get stabbed with tiny gold scissors or shattered by a spoon, and as the editing speeds up, we watch things go increasingly south through the eyes of an uneasy Anya Taylor-Joy, who is apparently on the foodie date from hell. Ralph Fiennes’s sinister chef character looms large throughout, but it’s Nicholas Hoult who gets the award for trailer MVP. His delivery of a ridiculous question at an inopportune time is a great way to relieve tension, and a perfect encapsulation of the film’s satirical horror-comedy tone. — B.E.
How to watch: The Menu is currently in theaters.
16. Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
This just-dropped trailer has everything: no plot spoilers, a tear-jerking mom speech, a highlight reel of moments from the first film to remind us why we fell in love with it, and a gobsmacking, brain-bending, completely exhilarating glimpse of the animated action we have to look forward to in this multiverse-hopping sequel. Oh, and Oscar Isaac. Sneaking onto this list under the wire to give us something to look forward to in 2023, Across The Spider-Verse has already set the bar high. — Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor
How to watch: Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is coming to theaters June 2, 2023.