On Super Bowl Sunday two years ago, I nearly shattered every window in my apartment building with a falsetto shriek when The Cloverfield Paradox trailer dropped during the game. The trailer suggested it was going to be a direct sequel to the original and that seemed too good to be true, based on the rumors that had been floating around. And it was too good to be true! Still, I had enough beers and wings in me to really enjoy the movie when it was surprise-released the same night.
Why am I telling you this? Because way back in 2018, J.J. Abrams promised that another Cloverfield sequel was arriving “very soon.” So, I’ve been patiently waiting for the moment when the new project suddenly and mysteriously appears. And I was hoping that the Super Bowl might again be the place where that happens. Last night? Nada. No surprise trailer. No surprise movie release. No surprise scream that caused my terrified guests to think a banshee had somehow snuck past the security guy in the lobby.
But let’s not dwell on my shattered dreams or the utter futility of hope. There’s still some cool Super Bowl stuff to discuss instead anyway!
Before we get to the Super Bowl, there was some big news on Friday about Owen Wilson. The man had a great run as an A List actor, starring in some of the funniest mainstream comedies in the last quarter-century and some of the best indie movies, too. He also was in Anaconda, apparently, though I’ve politely scrubbed that from my memory. In the last few years, he’s been pretty quiet. But if there’s one thing that can reignite a career, it’s landing a Marvel project. Rumor has it that he’s going co-star in a “major role” for the Disney+ Loki series. With any luck, he’ll soon be on the cover of Time and everyone will be saying, “That Owen, he’s so hot right now.”
Speaking of Loki, the biggest surprise of the Super Bowl, besides the fact I didn’t totally botch the mac and cheese, was a fourth quarter ad for the new Disney+ MCU shows, featuring footage from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki. The production quality is incredible (like the scene of Anthony Mackie’s Falcon thunder-gunning through a canyon, Star Wars-style) and also kinda risky. WandaVision looks as weird and exciting as its pitch sounded — Wanda retreats into her mind and creates a sitcom-inspired fantasy world where she can live with Vision. In just a few short cuts, we get nods to The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, and Roseanne. Wait, why am I describing this? Just watch it for yourself a hundred times! And make sure you watch the whole thing. The ending is on fire! Here:
Grading the other trailers
There were lots of other trailers during the game. I’ve just decided to assign a grade to each one, because if you’re going to fork over $5+ million for 30 seconds, you should be held accountable to me!
- Groundhog Day 2 / Grade: A+ / Fine, it’s not a real movie. But Harold Ramis would have been proud.
- Top Gun – Maverick / Grade: A+ / Tom Cruise in fighter planes and space ships (I think)! America!
- Mulan / Grade: A / Disney’s live action movies have been hit-or-miss. This one looks appropriately epic.
- The Invisible Man / Grade: A- / Maybe it gives away a little too much, although I guess it’s not a twist that an invisible man is in a movie of the same name. This looks creepy and fun.
- Black Widow / Grade: B+ / There’s not much new footage here besides a shot of the mysterious villain Taskmaster kicking up a shield, Captain America-style. But the movie looks like a blast.
- No Time to Die / Grade: B+ / The first trailer didn’t get me excited. This one did. There’s a rumor that Rami Malek is playing Dr. No, which would be a fun! Oops, that was a typo. But I am owning it. It would be one (1) fun.
- A Quiet Place 2 / Grade: B / I haven’t seen the original yet, but this sure looks like it should have been a Cloverfield movie, J.J. Abrams.
- The SpongeBob Movie / Grade: B / I’ve never been a SpongeBob fan (only because I haven’t seen it), but I chuckled a few times.
- Minions – The Rise of Gru / Grade: C / I’ve lost track of this franchise and the trailer didn’t help — especially since it’s just a voice over guy yelling the whole time.
- F9 – The Fast Saga / Grade: C- / This movie released its full trailer at a very strange and sparsely attended concert (?) on Friday. It’s basically a remake of Hobbs and Shaw with the character Han back from the dead apparently. The Super Bowl ad featured two extra clips and a chorus singing “Hallelujah” for some reason.
- Sonic the Hedgehog / Grade: D / James Marsden’s character says, “What am I doing?” Hold on, is this an existential meta-comedy? Also, Jim Carrey punches a guy in the nuts, so I guess that’s funny? Right? Right…?
- Cloverfield 4 / Grade: F- / This turned out to be a Trump-Pence ad.
You want to shake hands with the devil?
I’ll end with a bit of non-Super Bowl news. I put Ghost Protocol in my last-decade retrospective, though I still consider the original Mission: Impossible to be the very best of the series. Christopher McQuarrie revealed that Henry Czerny is set to reprise his role of Eugene Kitridge — the by-the-books agent tasked with finding Ethan Hunt in the first movie. One of the franchise’s best scenes, shot with nail-biting tension by Brian de Palma, is a quickly escalating exchange of words and information between Czerny and Cruise. The former outperforms the movie’s star for a solid two minutes. I wouldn’t have expected his return — but I’m over the moon about it! Just don’t make him a bad guy, please.