12 Best Superhero Movie Trailers Of All Time

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1. Batman

To fully appreciate this trailer, some background is necessary. For many people, the last time they saw the Caped Crusader in live action form was in the campy Adam West TV show and its theatrical spin-off. Batman has since become a darker, more primal force in the comics (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was released two years before this trailer), but that kind of vision hadn’t made its way to movies.

Warner Bros. decided that the best way to market the film was to show more and tell less. The movie posters memorably omitted even the title on the film, showing off merely the Batman symbol and the names of its two stars. Jack Nicholson got top billing as the Joker, perhaps because the public seemed wary of Michael Keaton, at that point more famous in comedic roles, as Bruce Wayne.

The preview followed suit, foregoing any kind of narration or set-up and simply plunging us into its world. This would be a shadowy Gotham City, one where Batman is still an urban legend in some parts, though fighting crime with what the Joker calls “those wonderful toys.”

Of course, we got Batman coming through a skylight and just the tiniest glimpse and Nicholson’s excellent work. It closed with Danny Elfman’s amazing theme and followed the poster by giving us only the two top actors and the logo.

Next: 10 Worst Superhero Movies of All Time

It worked, hook, line, sinker. In the pre-internet era, word of the preview still managed to spread like wildfire, and there were news reports of people in L.A. buying tickets to movies just to see this trailer. That kind of power would be hard to duplicate today, and it also makes Batman worthy of holding the crown as the best superhero movie trailer of all time.