Some of the best MCU discussions revolve around speculation. Since the MCU’s inception in 2008, fans have been analyzing set photos, casting rumors, and plot details of upcoming movies in hopes to figure out where the narrative is going next. Months ahead of a film’s release, Marvel Studios gives fans the ultimate speculation offering: a trailer.
Throughout the years, Marvel Studios has released some of the best trailers in Hollywood. Despite many fans analyzing footage frame-by-frame, Kevin Feige and co. have learned to adapt to the fan speculation, often riddling their trailers with fake scenes or character misplacements. While the movies themselves may not live up to the hype, these trailers most definitely do their job in building anticipation.
Before revealing which trailers came in at the 1-10 spots, here are some honorable mentions:
Iron Man 2 Trailer 1
Iron Man 2 gave fans their first look into the larger universe, with quick shots of Nick Fury, Natasha Romanoff, and even Rhodey officially suited up as War Machine.
Iron Man 3 Trailer 2
Even though it was all a red herring, Iron Man 3's trailer introduced a terrifying antagonist in Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin, while also revealing Tony Stark’s struggles with PTSD in the aftermath of The Avengers’ Battle of New York.
Ant-Man and the Wasp Trailer
Similarly to Tony dealing with the consequences of The Avengers, Ant-Man and the Wasp's trailer showed the direct repercussions of Scott Lang’s allegiance to Captain America in Civil War, while also giving fans their first look at Evangeline Lilly in-action as the Wasp.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reintroduced us to everyone’s favorite cosmic team, including an iconic (and adorable) argument between Rocket and Baby Groot.
Avengers: Infinity War Comic-Con Teaser
Despite never being officially released, Avengers: Infinity War’s Comic-Con teaser trailer represented a truly historic moment for the MCU, as lucky fans in attendance at Marvel’s 2017 Hall H panel got to see the first look at the massive crossover event.
And now presenting... the top ten trailers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
10. Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer 1
The follow-up to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming does something pretty unprecedented in its first official trailer: it reveals the spoiler of Tony Stark’s death from Avengers: Endgame. Endgame had been in theaters for just over two weeks when this trailer dropped, so seeing a major plot point revealed in this footage was shocking to many. Thankfully, Sony was shrewd enough to provide fans with a fair warning by having Tom Holland alert fans of "serious spoilers" at the start of the trailer video. The trailer itself gave fans their first look at the post-Endgame MCU. Nick Fury works with Maria Hill in a covert location, Spidey rocks a new stealth suit, and Happy Hogan returns to provide emotional support to Peter. And speaking of Peter, this trailer unveils a deep progression in his character. After impatiently waiting by his phone for “missions” in Homecoming, Peter now wants a break from the superhero life. In classic MCU fashion, this trailer is ripe with misdirects from what actually occurs in the movie.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer 1
The second installment in the Captain America trilogy was extremely distinct from its predecessor, and this trailer shows that in spades. Cap is in a whole new universe, and not just in terms of time period. With authoritarian narration from S.H.I.E.L.D. higher-ups like Nick Fury and Alexander Pierce, fans are able to view the world through the lense of the Star-Spangled Man, and it’s a much different world than the one he grew up in. Like any good piece of promotion, this trailer sells the movie without giving away its core plot. This trailer is by no means dark, but it definitely paints a much more serious tone than any of the previous MCU flicks.
8. Avengers: Endgame Trailer
Whatever it takes. The brilliance of the Avengers: Endgame trailer is that it barely shows any new footage but is still able to capture that big fight feel. This trailer begins with tugs on the nostalgia strings by showcasing scenes from previous flicks, including a landscape shot of Thor and Odin looking upon Asgard, Tony Stark crash-landing in Mark I after escaping the cave, and Steve Rogers barely being able to see his reflection in the recruitment mirror. These clips, stunningly lit in black and white with red highlights, serve as a reminder not only to our heroes, but to fans on how far the MCU has come. Tony Stark says it best in the trailer’s opening: “God, it seems like a thousand years ago I fought my way out of that cave.” Beyond the visuals, this trailer has some of the best narration in any of the trailers on this list. From Tony’s opening monologue to Peggy Carter’s very appropriate “none of us can go back” line, the Endgame trailer’s soundbites alone were enough to sell tickets. And, in expert Russo Brothers fashion, this trailer makes this movie must-see without giving away any plot points.
7. Avengers: Infinity War Trailer 2
The marketing campaign for Avengers: Infinity War was nothing short of perfection, and this final trailer made sure of that. This trailer needed to do two things: sell the plot and sell the action. For the casual viewer, the scope of Infinity War can be hard to grasp. A purple alien needs magic rocks in order to commit mass genocide? Yeah, it’s confusing. However, in the first 30 seconds of this trailer, Gamora lays out the plot perfectly. Beyond that, it matches action with sound extremely well, by flashing Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto and Vision’s forehead as Tony Stark narrates: “We have what Thanos wants.” As for the action, the preparation for battles on Wakanda and Titan leaves viewers begging to see more.
6. Thor: Ragnarok Teaser Trailer
It’s no secret that the Thor movies weren’t the biggest critical hits, and when Marvel brought on comedic director Taika Waititi to take on the third Thor installment, fans did not know what to expect. Right off the bat, this teaser trailer shows fans that this is not the Thor you’re used to. Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" echoes throughout as Thor jokes and smiles more than we’ve ever seen him before. Even beyond Thor’s new attitude, the locations are some of the most colorful we’ve seen in any MCU movie. Despite this movie’s subtitle meaning the Asgardian apocalypse, Thor: Ragnarok’s teaser sells a fun cosmic adventure flick. And if that wasn’t enough, the trailer ends with a surprise appearance from previously M.I.A. Hulk. “He’s a friend from work!”
5. Avengers: Endgame Teaser Trailer
In a rarity for most promotional material, the Avengers: Endgame teaser trailer ranks higher on this list than its official trailer, but for good reason. This teaser would reveal the subtitle for the Infinity War follow-up, a subtitle the Russos deemed too big of a spoiler to be revealed ahead of time. In this teaser, fans are provided their first look at the post-Infinity War MCU, and while not revealing much, it shows Earth’s Mightiest Heroes like they’ve never been seen before. Tony Stark is hopelessly adrift in space, Captain America acknowledges and accepts defeat, and Hawkeye embraces a merciless mean streak. Couple that with an epic score and a cliffhanger tag after the Endgame title reveal, and you’ve got yourself a near-perfect teaser.
4. Black Panther Teaser Trailer
Ever since Nick Fury pinpointed a mysterious African location on his map at the end of Iron Man 2, fans have been anticipating the debut of Wakanda in the MCU. The initial teaser for Black Panther showcases a brand-new world within the Marvel Universe, one rich with culture, industry, and technology. After being introduced to the suave and smooth T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman’s solo-outing as Black Panther became one of the most anticipated flicks in Phase 3. While not giving away too much action or plot details, this teaser brilliantly stirs intrigue from the get-go. Andy Serkis’s Ulysses Kalue, who fans will recognize from Avengers: Age of Ultron, hints that T’Challa and his home nation are not who they say they are. Mix in a Ludwig Göransson hip-hop score, and this teaser shapes Black Panther to be one of the most unique installments in the MCU.
3. Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2
Fans had been clamouring for years for Marvel to adapt the popular Civil War storyline onto the big screen, and in 2016, they finally got their wish. This trailer for Captain America: Civil War encapsulates what the Marvel Universe does so brilliantly, in that it builds off the consequences of previous movies. We see wreckage from past battle locations like New York, Washington D.C., and Sokovia used as reason for government regulation of the Avengers. Despite being the third installment in the Captain America franchise, Civil War has a bigger implication feel than any past solo film. This trailer has the difficult task of constructing believable animosity between two beloved heroes in Cap and Iron Man, but succeeds regardless. If over a dozen Avengers fighting one another wasn’t enough, this trailer caps off with the MCU debut of Spider-Man.
2. Avengers: Age of Ultron Teaser Trailer
While not the strongest movie on this list, there’s no denying the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron belongs in elite company. Narrated by the eerie and sinister voice of James Spader’s Ultron, this first look at the MCU’s second crossover event paints a much darker tone than previous films. Bruce Banner shivers in fear, Black Widow ominously proclaims “nothing lasts forever,” and Thor angrily hoists a helpless Tony Stark by the throat. If that wasn’t enough, underneath Spader’s chilling narration is a slow and creepy rendition of Pinnochio’s "I’ve Got No Strings". Despite not delivering on all of its advertised tonal promises in the movie, Age of Ultron’s trailer is among the best Marvel has produced.
1. Avengers: Infinity War Teaser
Could it have been anything else? The first public footage for the culmination of a decade’s worth of stories shattered the single-day viewing record on YouTube, and for good reason. This trailer gives fans their first look at the MCU’s final boss, Thanos, and merciless commitment to carry out his path of devastation. Similar to Age of Ultron, Infinity War’s main antagonist sinisterly narrates this trailer, proclaiming his mission as destiny. From the teaser alone, Infinity War showed fans it would be living up to that subtitle. Flashes of battles at various locations, such as Wakanda and Titan, as well as massive destruction across the galaxy let fans know that this was very much going to be a war. An epic score, menacing villain, and fist-pump worthy shots of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes all added up to create the perfect teaser for the beginning of the end of the Infinity Saga.