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The Best And Worst Super Bowl 2023 Movie Trailers And TV Spots

When you're sitting down with your friends or family for the Super Bowl, you're bound to see commercials for all kinds of beer companies, cars, and cell phones, but you'll also see plenty of ads for upcoming movies. These big game day trailers have ensured that the Super Bowl will forever be associated with eye-catching commercials as much as it is the sport itself. Super Bowl LVII was no exception, and now there is finally a semblance of stability with movie release schedules, and audiences can get excited about what is to come. With studios much more committed to upcoming release dates and big-screen release plans than in the past two years, Super Bowl LVII had a deluge of commercials for some of the most anticipated tentpole movies of 2023.

These titles — which included a first look at "The Flash," Ben Affleck's new movie "Air," and a wild new peek at "Cocaine Bear" — were all present at various points in the game, but they weren't necessarily all equal in quality. Just as not every player on a team can be the MVP, so too will some Super Bowl commercials inevitably come up short. Breaking down the best and worst Super Bowl LVII ads reflect common problems that plague many marketing campaigns, but they also reflect the kind of unforgettable commercials that keep viewers coming back to the Super Bowl every single year. Here's our rundown of the best and worst movie trailers and TV spots from Super Bowl 2023.

Worst: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

With its late March theatrical release growing closer and closer, it's no surprise that "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" opted to bring a commercial to the Super Bowl. The ad itself isn't awful, emphasizing more action beats than the protracted dialogue-driven comedy of its second trailer. However, reducing the laughs did ensure that the ad lost some of the vibrant personality that marked the best of the preceding marketing materials for "Honor Among Thieves." Hugh Grant, for instance — who has been so amusing in other trailers and commercials — only briefly showed up to react to a massive CGI tidal wave. Plus, so many trailers now do the gimmick of an action-beats montage guided by sound effects that it didn't feel so special here.

The barrage of digital effects in such a short span of time also couldn't help but inspire concerns that "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" will fall prey to the overreliance on CGI that doomed the previous stab at a "Dungeons & Dragons" movie in 2000. The presence of actors like Chris Pine and Regé-Jean Page, not to mention some fun dragon moments — namely an exciting-looking scene involving a dragon fighting with an owlbear — ensure that the "Honor Among Thieves" Super Bowl commercial isn't a total waste of time. However, this commercial's attempt to cram in so much ended up draining it of some personality, causing it to get lost in the Super Bowl movie ad shuffle.

Best: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

While the 30-second Super Bowl commercial for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" left a lot to the imagination, the full trailer released online gave fans a lot more to be excited for — with more concrete plot details and extended action beats. This included some striking images of the new character The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) and comments from characters like Rocket (Bradley Cooper) that reinforced the finality of this adventure. A memorable exchange between Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and the new version of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) in the closing moments helps to cement that this installment won't abandon the comedy that made this franchise so beloved to begin with.

Though the simultaneous presence of a fresh trailer online ensured that the in-game 30-second commercial was always going to be at the mercy of another longer piece of marketing, the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" big game ad was still a welcome dose of excitement. Better yet, it even managed to reinforce the very distinctive elements — the pathos, the gags, the enjoyable visuals — that have made the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies such a standout strain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is poised to be the end of an era for this incarnation of this cosmic superhero team, but this Super Bowl commercial helpfully reminded football fans how an ending can be made to look as enticing as a fresh start.

Worst: 65

When you have a Super Bowl commercial, you often only have 30 seconds to leave an impression. This made the big game ad for Adam Driver's prehistoric thriller "65" a bit bewildering. This commercial opted to take a cue from the teasers for "Alien" and "Prometheus" by having fragments of letters appear on-screen and gradually spell out an important word or phrase. It's an exciting way to grab people's attention, but it also works better when you've got a longer piece of marketing to work with. Even the 70-second "Prometheus" teaser offered more time for an ominous atmosphere to get established surrounding the gradual unveiling of that movie's title.

By contrast, the Super Bowl commercial for "65" has to barrel through revealing the trio of words "million years ago" in just 15 seconds. After that, some nifty-looking dinosaur images nicely framed in bright daylight are seen, but there isn't much time to get a sense of characters or stakes in the remainder of the ad. There's lots of emphasis on Adam Driver firing a futuristic gun, but no reason for people to care about him using that weapon. Taking a cue from classic "Alien" marketing materials would've been a great idea for an eye-catching "65" teaser trailer. But for a Super Bowl commercial, it feels like a miscalculation and a reminder of how every second counts in these extremely short but widely-viewed ads.

Best: Fast X

Just when you thought the first trailer for "Fast X" showed off every big thing from the movie, here comes the Super Bowl commercial to deliver another thrilling moment. For the most part, this big game ad just seemed like a condensed version of the primary trailer, with quick glimpses of Jason Statham and John Cena as well as repeated mentions of how Jason Momoa's main villain wants to destroy Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). But then the ending of the commercial arrives, with Toretto noting that his adversary made one fatal mistake: "You didn't take my car." With that, Toretto zooms off the Hoover Dam, followed by a massive trail of explosions. 

Everything about this moment is incredible and perfectly made for a Super Bowl commercial. The "take my car" line is so stupid — and yet on brand for the franchise — that it circles back around to being amazing. The abrupt reveal of not only an action scene set on the Hoover Dam but some kind of a set piece involving explosions on the well-known landmark is just the kind of ludicrousness that the "Fast & Furious" franchise is beloved for. It may have started off being just a promo for a bigger trailer, but the Super Bowl commercial for "Fast X" really came alive in its final seconds to seal its status as one of the game's best movie ads.

Worst: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Someday, someone will need to ask a marketing executive at Paramount Pictures why the extended shot of Anthony Ramos exiting Mirage as he transforms from his vehicle to his robot form is exciting enough to completely dominate the marketing campaign for "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts." Its prominence extends to this Super Bowl commercial, which also sees a chase scene involving Mirage in vehicle form outrunning some cops — while creating holographic duplicates — and takes up a good chunk of the commercial. Other prominent Autobots like Optimus Prime and Arcee are barely or rarely seen in the ad while the various animal robots are hardly on-screen at all.

Overall, the limited focus of this commercial just doesn't do much to suggest why audiences should get pumped for the umpteenth "Transformers" sequel. Even the reuse of a version of "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G. from the "Rise of the Beasts" teaser trailer doesn't help fend off the feeling that we've seen all this before. It's especially disappointing to see "Rise of the Beasts" stumble with its Super Bowl ad given that the "Transformers" franchise has churned out some memorable pieces of marketing for this sports event in the past – namely an ominous "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" ad. Perhaps if "Rise of the Beasts" had dedicated its commercial to more than just Mirage antics, it could've roared as mightily at the Super Bowl as its predecessors.

Best: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

It may be a line designed to tug on people's nostalgia (since it's an echo of the "Nazis...I hate these guys!" line from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"), but there's no denying that there's joy in hearing Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) asking a bad guy "are you still a Nazi?" in such a dismissive tone. Decades later and Indy still has no patience for fascists, like all good movie heroes. From there, the "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" ad plunges into a montage of big action beats — many of which weren't seen in the film's original teaser trailer.

The abundance of fresh footage — including John Rhys-Davies as Sallah bellowing "give 'em hell, Indy!" — ensures that the "Dial of Destiny" Super Bowl ad has something to offer beyond its original teaser trailer. Some elements — including an extended joke derivative of the "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" plane jump action beats — do feel too familiar compared to memorable moments in earlier "Indiana Jones" movies. But then again, a dose of the familiar isn't innately bad — even if "Dial of Destiny" as a film will have to offer more than a remix of the classic hits to justify its existence. For now, though, the "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" Super Bowl commercial was an enjoyable burst of retro-adventuring and ticked all the right boxes.

Worst: The Flash

Just a few hours after dropping its first trailer online, "The Flash" debuted a slightly elongated TV commercial that gave the world a further glimpse at this DC Extended Universe title. Despite being the first live-action movie headlined by Barry Allen aka The Flash — here portrayed by Ezra Miller — this ad didn't make much time for the crime-fighter. Sasha Calle's Supergirl got some screentime, as did a big reveal of General Zod (Michael Shannon), while, of course, Michael Keaton's Batman got the big showstopper moment of the commercial. It's one that was already seen in the full trailer, but any chance to hear Keaton say the immortal words "I'm Batman" is a welcome one.

The Super Bowl commercial for "The Flash" didn't necessarily stumble, but it struggled to fire on all cylinders. It was such a rehash of an earlier trailer that it failed to establish a discernible personality compared to other marketing materials of the movie. Plus, the awkward diluted presence of Miller's The Flash at the expense of a lot of other DC Comics fixtures was just a reminder that this movie, at least on paper, seems a bit overstuffed. While it's good to see some high-profile confirmation that this blockbuster is finally getting off the ground after so many delays, this Super Bowl commercial for "The Flash" did leave a bit to be desired.

Best: Creed III

Taking a cue from the "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation" trailer from eight years ago, the "Creed III" Super Bowl spot makes use of a sparse remix of the Fugees song "Ready or Not." It may not be a wholly original choice for a trailer needle drop, but there's a reason "Creed III" brought the tune back. It just gets people pumped and it makes for a nice musical reflection of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) being ready to face off against a rival in the ring. Plus, the choice to set the commercial to footage of the movie contained with a gigantic "III" that gets closer and closer to the camera was a great way to accentuate a sense of escalating excitement.

Throwing in some new footage and a tune not seen in the prior "Creed III" trailers and marketing materials — not to mention feeling fresh compared to the promotional campaigns of the previous two "Creed" entries — was a great way to make this Super Bowl movie commercial stand out. Plus, unlike other Super Bowl commercials, the ad for "Creed III" didn't have to promote a recently-released trailer, which allowed this short piece of marketing a lot more room to breathe. All in all, it's fair to say that "Creed III" was able to pack a sizeable wallop in its short Super Bowl push.

Worst: Air

Like a lot of Amazon Studios' other movie trailers, the trailer for "Air" felt a little lifeless. For some reason, this company's trailers often feel like they are lacking in energy and come across as awkward in their editing. Even the trailer for "Manchester by the Sea" – a movie built on captivating quiet drama — is weirdly disjointed and in dire need of a pulse. Unfortunately, the extended Super Bowl commercial for "Air" — a new directorial effort from Ben Affleck — falls prey to this recurring problem. Despite covering a very compelling real-world story — how Nike officials put their faith in a then-rookie, Michael Jordan, as the face of their new shoes — the Super Bowl ad for "Air" just isn't very interesting. 

It's the rare Super Bowl movie commercial from this year that feels like it needed a shorter runtime. A tighter length could've helped the lackluster pacing, which really sucks out all the sense of urgency from the proceedings. The generic music — a sharp contrast to the "Sister Christian" needle drop in the official trailer for "Air" – only heightens the ubiquitous quality of this commercial. It's great that Amazon Studios is giving "Air" a massive theatrical push (per Variety) — complete with prominent marketing techniques like a Super Bowl commercial — but it's just a shame that this excitement doesn't translate into the ad and "Air" gets a little lost amongst the blockbuster crowd.

Worst: Scream VI

"Scream VI" takes the slasher movie franchise to New York City — a brand-new domain for the horror saga — and this installment will also be the first entry to be released in the digital 3D format. Conceptually, there's a lot of new ground being broken by this movie, but unfortunately, the big Super Bowl spot for "Scream VI" didn't do the best job of selling anything fresh. The few stabs at frights — limited in their potential scariness, admittedly, by what you can show during a family-friendly sports game on primetime television — just weren't effective while a wink-wink gag at the end involving Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) getting a phone call feels like a cold retread of prior post-modern jokes in the franchise.

The main purpose of this short spot was to announce that tickets are now on sale, but this could've been achieved in a slightly less generic fashion. Considering this is the sixth entry in such a long-running franchise, you'd think the marketing for "Scream VI" would be pulling out all the stops to emphasize new and exciting things to the general public, especially at the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, this commercial didn't do anything especially memorable. Squandering a big marketing opportunity like the Super Bowl, now that's scarier than any horror movie.