10 Movies With Trailers Better Than The Film (BvS, We're Looking At You)

10 Movies With Trailers Better Than The Film (BvS, We're Looking At You)
Image credit: Legion-Media

The promise of a thrilling ride turned into more of a train derailment.

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

The hopes were sky-high in 2016. We were promised an epic showdown between two of DC's most iconic characters, and what we got was a messy, convoluted two and a half hours of misfires and missed opportunities. The trailer showed promise with epic battle scenes, the introduction of Wonder Woman, and Ben Affleck gruffly growling, 'Tell me, do you bleed?' The result, however, was a movie that had fans questioning the future of the DCEU.

While it boasted a cast of incredible talent (Affleck, Cavill, Gadot, Irons, the list goes on), the film was panned by critics and holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of a mere 29%. The film's primary conflict resolves around a name? Martha, really? Even the cast seemed to be as confused as the audience, with Affleck's now infamous Sad Affleck meme born from a press interview post-release.

2. Suicide Squad (2016)

2016 was not a good year for the DCEU, was it? Suicide Squad had one of the most hyped-up trailers of the year. Killer soundtracks, promises of an anarchic joy ride with DC's most colorful villains, and a Joker with a fresh, albeit controversial, new look. However, the film was a far cry from its tantalizing trailer. With a schizophrenic tone, a weak storyline, and underdeveloped characters, the movie left a bad taste in the mouths of fans and critics alike, earning a dismal 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite the star-studded cast and a promising setup, the execution was off. Leto's Joker was underused, and while Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn was a hit, it wasn't enough to save the film. In fact, it resulted in a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Screenplay, adding another sting to the squad.

3. Prometheus (2012)

Ridley Scott's return to the Alien franchise was met with enormous anticipation. The trailer for Prometheus promised a return to the atmospheric horror of the original, with breathtaking visuals, eerie music, and hints of thrilling, alien terror. But when the film arrived, it was met with mixed responses. While undeniably beautiful to look at, audiences found the plot confusing, the characters' decisions nonsensical, and the connection to the Alien franchise tenuous at best.

Although the movie holds a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, fans were bitterly divided, with many feeling the film didn't live up to its trailer's promise. Even star Charlize Theron hinted in one of her interviews that the film's script was constantly changing during filming, creating an air of uncertainty that is palpable in the final product. Despite the controversy, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Visual Effects, reminding audiences that while the plot might be confusing, the visuals were top-notch.

4. Sucker Punch (2011)

A Zack Snyder film that divides opinion? Sounds familiar. The Sucker Punch trailer promised a kinetic, visually stunning mix of fantasy and action with an all-female lead cast – something of a rarity. The film, however, was seen by many as a confusing, over-stylized mess. It was a critical flop with a meager 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was accused of being style over substance and exploiting rather than empowering its female characters.

While Emily Browning defended the film, stating it was meant to be a critique of geek culture's sexism, the audience reception suggested that message may have been lost in the barrage of slow-motion action sequences. The film was nominated for several Golden Raspberry awards, including Worst Director and Worst Picture, showing that while the trailer might have packed a punch, the film itself was more of a glancing blow.

5. The Last Airbender (2010)

M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender had a lot of hype leading up to its release. Based on the beloved Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, the film's trailer promised an epic, live-action adaptation of the source material. However, the result was a convoluted, poorly written, and whitewashed version that disappointed fans and critics alike. The film holds a shockingly low rating of 5% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In response to the film's criticism, Shyamalan defended his casting choices and the deviations from the original storyline. However, this didn't help the film's reception, which was so bad that it won five Golden Raspberry awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay, sealing its fate as one of those films where the trailer was undeniably better than the final product.

6. Godzilla (1998)

In the trailer, we were promised destruction, pandemonium, and an epic, modern-day Godzilla wreaking havoc in New York City. What we got was a film that caused more damage to the franchise than the titular monster did to the Big Apple. The flick was maligned by fans and critics alike for its weak plot, underdeveloped characters, and most of all, for its depiction of Godzilla.

The film is an illustrious member of the low-score Rotten Tomatoes club with a 16% rating. It didn't fare much better with the actors involved either, with star Matthew Broderick distancing himself from the project in later interviews. The film snagged a staggering five Golden Raspberry nominations, including one for Broderick as Worst Actor.

7. The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars' epic return to the big screen with The Phantom Menace stirred up a global frenzy. The trailer boasted cutting-edge special effects, a fascinating young Anakin Skywalker (before his dark side days), and exhilarating lightsaber duels. However, upon release, the magic seemed to have faded.

Fans and critics were disappointed with the over-reliance on CGI, a convoluted plot about trade disputes, and the infamously annoying Jar Jar Binks. Despite its commercial success, the movie scored a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the film did receive three Oscar nominations, including Best Visual Effects.

8. Green Lantern (2011)

DC's attempt to launch a cosmic superhero in the form of Green Lantern started with an impressive trailer, filled with stunning visuals of alien worlds and a showcase of the emerald hero's power. Regrettably, the film failed to light up the box office or the hearts of fans and critics. Weak scripting, inconsistent tone, and Ryan Reynolds' miscasting as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern led to a film that hardly shined. It holds an underwhelming 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Reynolds has since made a habit of poking fun at the film in his Deadpool movies, indicating his own disappointment with the project. The film's dismal performance also led Warner Bros. to rethink their strategy for the DCEU.

9. Fantastic Four (2015)

The reboot of Marvel's Fantastic Four brought with it an exciting trailer, hinting at a darker and edgier tone. Alas, it did not translate into a fantastic film. A troubled production, extensive re-shoots, and a highly publicized feud between director Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox led to a disjointed final product.

The film holds a lowly 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Trank famously tweeted his disappointment with the final cut, claiming his version would have received better reviews. The movie's failure led to the cancellation of a planned sequel and has since become a case study in how not to handle a superhero movie.

10. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

The fourth installment of the Transformers franchise was meant to be another summer blockbuster hit. The trailer promised exciting new robot designs, breathtaking action scenes, and Dinobots. What it delivered was a bloated run time, a convoluted plot, and a dizzying array of indistinguishable robots. Critics were not kind, giving it a mere 17% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Behind-the-scenes, director Michael Bay and star Mark Wahlberg have admitted to the film's shortcomings, with Wahlberg joking that the movie was about an hour too long. Despite the criticism, the film was a commercial success and received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, proving once again that a flashy trailer can sometimes outshine the film itself.