How great were those ‘The Flash’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Super Bowl trailers?

The Super Bowl ended in pathetic fashion, but we still got awesome new looks at Keaton as Batman and Gunn’s MCU finale. PLUS: ‘Fast X’ premiered a trailer, and ‘The Last of Us’ broke our hearts.

How great were those ‘The Flash’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Super Bowl trailers?
Michael Keaton as Batman in The Flash and Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. / Warner Bros., Marvel Studios

Woof. So that was a Super Bowl. The NFL wants a Chiefs dynasty, and they got one — even if it meant deflating a game that was on the verge of being an all-timer with a ticky-tack call from the refs to hand the Super Bowl to the Chiefs.

At least the Buffalo Bills have now extended their streak of not losing a Super Bowl to 29 seasons.

But hey, you don’t come to Popculturology for football talk. So let’s talk about some of the trailers and ads that aired during the Super Bowl. I have a hard time keeping track of which ads are technically premiering during the Super Bowl and which ads are old ones. Maybe companies should start holding their ads until the actual Super Bowl?

Former Saturday Night Live castmember Brooks Wheelan knows what he’s talking about.


By my count the three real trailers that premiered using the Super Bowl were the ones for The Flash, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. I’m not quite sure what to call the promo for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (and Porsche?). There was also an ad for Fast X, but I don’t think it was much different from the new trailer that premiered a few days ago. (And that you can watch below.)

The Flash

Ezra Miller should’ve tanked this movie. It’s wild that we’re just letting their actions slide. Is The Flash that good? James Gunn has called it one of the best superhero movies he’s ever seen.

Watching this trailer, it’s crazy to see the last gasps of the DCEU. This one is pulling in Ben Affleck’s Batman, Michael Shannon’s Zod — and going way back to bring in Michael Keaton’s Batman.

I’m very curious to see how Gunn spins this one into the new DCU.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

This one is going to break us, isn’t it?

I’m gonna miss Gunn being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I can’t wait to see what he does with DC Studios, but he’s brought so much heart to the MCU.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Punch! Those! Nazis!

I love that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny isn’t shying away from Nazis being the bad guys with this one. I’m sure someone is going to be hurt in 2023 that, oh no, Nazis are bad guys in a major movie.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

I keep forgetting this is happening. The Hailee Steinfeld Bumblebee movie was so great, I just don’t know where they go from there to try to cram things back into the Michael Bay canon.



Oh boy, Tucker Carlson is going to be so angry/horny knowing that the full cast of M&M spokescandies are back for good. It was all part of a Super Bowl campaign. They were never gone. Maya Rudolph was never going to be the new M&Ms mascot.

Let’s never do this again.

Ben Affleck Dunkin’ ad

I guess Ben Affleck needs something to do now that he’s not Batman anymore. Now we need a crossover between this ad and Casey Affleck’s Dunkin SNL sketch.

PopCorners Breaking Bad ad

I have no idea who came up with this one during a brainstorming session. I want to hate it, but it’s executed very well. (We’re just going to ignore Aaron Paul playing a high schooler for the next twenty years of him reprising the role of Jesse Pinkman, huh?)

Disney 100

Don’t root for corporations. But this Disney 100 ad is very well done. The Mighty Ducks with The Lion King and Star Wars!

Hellman’s ad

Someone at Hellman’s remembered the Hamm and Bublé SNL sketch and hoped enough time had gone by where we wouldn’t realize they were just swapping Michael Bublé out for Brie Larson.

Clueless ad for something

I don’t remember what this Clueless ad was for. Crypto? Pets? Jesus?

I refuse to look it up.

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The News
Katee Sackhoff, Grogu and Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian. / Empire

‘This is an epic season – it’s so big and so bold and so different‘

The Mandalorian returns for its third season on March 1. The series skipped over the Din Djarin-Grogu reunion and is jumping right into the larger world of Mandalore and the Mandalorians.

Empire chatted with Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff about the upcoming season.

“[I was] texting [Jon Favreau] and [Dave Filoni], ‘Are you serious?’” Sackhoff told Empire. “This is an epic season – it’s so big and so bold and so different.”

It’s wild that the work Filoni did with The Clone Wars is on the verge of continuing as a live-action series. Pascal and Sackhoff are on the cover of Empire too, and it’s still unreal to see Sackhoff as the live-action version of Bo-Katan.

Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff and Grogu on the cover of Empire. / Empire

Bob Iger reveals that a former Marvel exec wanted to fire MCU guru Kevin Feige

Disney has one person to thank for the unprecedented success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Kevin Feige. He’s guided the MCU since its beginning, turning it into a massive money machine for the company. (Feige has been so successful, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav even did a cursory check to see if he wanted to run DC Studios before hiring James Gunn and Peter Safran.)

So it’s no surprise that Ike Perlmutter, the chairman and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment, wanted to fire Feige in 2015.

CNBC media reporter Alex Sherman reported on Thursday that once-and-current Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that he had to stop Perlmutter from firing the person responsible for the MCU’s success. (For context, the MCU wrapped up Phase Two in 2015 and was about to launch into the phase that brought us Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and the two Avengers films that capped the Infinity Saga.)

It definitely makes sense now that in September 2015, Iger shifted Feige and Marvel Studios out from under Perlmutter’s control and over to Alan Horn’s Walt Disney Studios. According to a lot of reports over the years, Perlmutter was responsible for diversity and pay issues with the MCU during its early days.

Not shocking that Perlmutter wanted to fire Feige.

Alicia Silverstone, Chris O’Donnell and George Clooney in Batman & Robin. / Warner Bros.

James Gunn: George Clooney is ‘absolutely not’ his Batman

Somewhere on the Internet last week, the rumor began that DC Studios was planning to bring back a previous Batman actor in the rebooted DCU. That rumor then evolved from the actor being Christian Bale to it being George Clooney.

Yes, Batman & Robin’s George Clooney.

In a world where Michael Keaton is returning to play Batman in The Flash and everyone is reprising their Marvel roles for the Multiverse Saga in the MCU, the idea that Clooney could return seemed plausible.

Thankfully we have Gunn and his Twitter account to debunk rumors like this.

“Absolutely not,” Gunn replied to someone asking him if Clooney was the DCU’s Batman, adding that it would be a “new actor” who debuts as Batman in The Brave and the Bold.

Spider-Man Noir in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. / Sony Pictures

Stir up some egg creams, a Spider-Man Noir series is coming

I’ve lost track of all the non-MCU Spider-Man projects Sony has in the works. (I honestly think they’ll approve whatever you pitch them, kind of like that Saturday Night Live sketch about Netflix.)

We can add another Spider-Man project to the list, with Variety reporting on Thursday that a Spider-Man Noir live-action show is in the works at Amazon Studios.

“An individual with knowledge of the project says that the show will be set in its own universe and the main character will not be Peter Parker,” Variety writes.

I don’t think I’d be wrong to say that most people’s knowledge of Spider-Man Noir comes from the Nicolas Cage-voiced version of the character seen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Is that enough to make a standalone show about the character a success?

‘The wackiest hashtag ever’

One of the dumbest things happening on Twitter these days (and there are so, so many dumb things happening on Twitter these day) is #sellthesnyderversetonetflix, the hashtag movement demanding that Warner Bros. Discovery sell the rights to Zack Snyder’s DCEU films along with the ability to make sequels to them to Netflix.

Yes, it’s incredibly dumb.

The thinking is that if WBD is no longer making movies connected to the DCEU and because Snyder is currently working on projects for Netflix, one massive media company should handover rights to their iconic superhero properties to another massive media company.

Gunn, now part of the duo leading DC Studios for WBD, weighed in on the campaign last week, poking several holes in it.

Feels like the “fans” behind this campaign should’ve checked with Snyder first to see if he was actually interested in making their headcanon sequels.

Dafne Keen, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in Logan. / 20th Century Fox

‘Standby’: Will Patrick Stewart be in ‘Deadpool 3’?

Let’s take this one with a grain of salt, but reported on Thursday that Patrick Stewart has to been told to “standby” for a possible part in Deadpool 3.

“I’ve been told to standby,” Stewart told the site while promoting Star Trek: Picard. “I know nothing more than that, honest.”

I gotta wonder how many former Marvel movie stars — not just ones who have appeared in MCU films, but any of the previous X-Men, Fantastic Four, Blade, Daredevil franchises — have been told to “standby” as the MCU heads toward Avengers: Secret Wars.

We already saw Stewart as a version of Charles Xavier separate from the one he played in the Fox X-Men films in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. His connection to Wolverine, especially via Logan, makes him a pretty easy choice to have some kind of role in a third Deadpool movie with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

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Trailer Watch
The Fast and Furious family in Fast X. / Universal Pictures

Fast X

I love that the plot of each of the Fast and Furious movies is now just “that guy they killed had a son you didn’t know about — and he wants revenge!” or “Dom had a brother you didn’t know about — and he wants revenge!” or “Brian had a Domino’s guy who delivered every Thursday you didn’t know about — and he wants revenge!”

I hope they give the final Fast and Furious movie a ridiculous title. Call it The Fast and Furious again. Or The Furious and the Fast. Stuff it with every Oscar winner possible. I wanna see Tom Hanks and Daniel Day-Lewis in a fist fight.

Fast X opens on May 19.


The first trailer for the Ben Affleck-directed Air debuted last week, giving us our first look at his film about Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan.

There are some real Moneyball vibes in this Air trailer, with Matt Damon playing Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike exec who signed Jordan to a groundbreaking endorsement deal and launched the Air Jordan brand.

I’ve seen a few tweets asking if Michael Jordan was really such an unknown risk at this time, and while I don’t know the answer to that myself, Air acting as if Jordan was basically Billy Beane making the pitch to sign Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball seems like a stretch.

Air opens on April 5.

Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek in Magic Mike’s Last Dance. / Warner Bros.

Weekend of Feb. 10-12, 2023

Magic Mike’s Last Dance (N)
Weekend gross: $8.2M / Total domestic gross: $8.2M / Percent drop: NA

The third and allegedly final Magic Mike film won the weekend but the lowest opening number for the franchise. The original Magic Mike opened to $39.1 million in 2012 and Magic Mike XXL opened to $12.9 million in 2015.

Avatar: The Way of Water (3)
Weekend gross: $6.9M / Total domestic gross: $646.9M / Percent drop: -39

Big weekend for James Cameron movies. Avatar: The Way of Water’s quest for the No. 3 spot on the all-time worldwide chart was thwarted by Titanic’s return to theaters to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary.

  1. Titanic (N)
    Weekend gross: $6.4M / Total domestic gross: $665.8M / Percent drop: -NA
  2. 80 for Brady (2)
    Weekend gross: $6M / Total domestic gross: $25M / Percent drop: -53
  3. Knock at the Cabin (1)
    Weekend gross: $5.5M / Total domestic gross: $23.4M / Percent drop: -61

Box office numbers via The Numbers

Keivonn Woodard and Lamar Johnson in The Last of Us episode “Endure and Survive. / HBO

The Last of Us

“Endure and Survive”

Life lesson: If someone on your team ever points out that there seems to be a room where the floor pulses and you city at some point drove all your zombies underground, it would be wise to prioritize that issue over any personal score you’re trying to settle.

The special Friday episode of The Last of Us showed us what happens when you ignore that advice. And what happens after you ignore that advice and STILL try to settle that personal score.

After setting up Melanie Lynskey’s Kathleen as The Last of Us’ version of The Walking Dead’s Governor, The Last of Us quickly made it clear that death comes for all — and it doesn’t hesitate to wait.

While The Walking Dead often spent entire seasons playing coy with whether the Governor or Terminus were bad people or places, The Last of Us wasn’t interested in that game. As an onslaught of clickers — including the thicc-est clicker ever — decimated the Kansas City resistance, Kathleen still tried to settle her score with Henry, the man who turned her brother over to FEDRA in exchange for the medication needed to save his younger brother, Sam, from leukemia. Kathleen couldn’t have read the room in a worse way.

(Vulture’s Jen Chaney has a great interview with Lynskey about this episode and Kathleen’s demise.)

That ending, huh? I expected there to be something that kept Henry and Sam from joining Joel and Ellie on the way to Wyoming, but I assumed it would’ve been Joel taking Ellie and bailing on Henry and Sam while they slept.

This episode was bleak. But it was also funny.

“That’s just the way he sounds,” Ellie assured Henry as he questioned Joel’s vibe. “He has an asshole voice.”

There were little bits of hope in this episode too. While she lusted for a gun and has been shown to lean toward violence, Ellie showed she’s still a kid too. Watching her and Sam bond over comic books was sweet.

My wife is still in quarantine, so we watched this episode on separate floors. While I started the episode before her, Caitlin jumped ahead of me at a point. Which meant I heard her yell “holy shit” without yet knowing it was because a ton of clickers were about to stream out from the ground.

Releasing this episode on Friday was such a smart move on HBO’s part. The Last of Us has grown in the ratings for three consecutive weeks. No reason for HBO to pit this episode against the Super Bowl. Hopefully they do the same with the season finale that’s currently up against the Oscars.

Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn in Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special. / HBO Max

Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special

It’s a miracle this show exists. That it’s been renewed several times. That Warner Bros. Discovery hasn’t found a way to kill it. That it got a Valentine’s Day special where a very horny Bane destroys parts of Gotham City due to his out-of-control libido. (RIP, Mama Macaroni’s.)

Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day is full of fun voice cameos, including Abbott Elementary’s Tyler James Williams and Quinta Brunson as Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and Casey Wilson as a dominatrix who shows an interest in Bane.

“What is horny if not love persevering?”

Why isn’t there merch for this show? Why can I buy Funko Pops of the entire Ozark cast but not ones of this version of Harley Quinn or Bane or King Shark?

Brad Pitt in Bullet Train. / Sony Pictures

Bullet Train

This was a fun one. Bullet Train has popped up in various streaming services since it came out, but this one was one Caitlin was never interested in watching. Thanks to our Covid separation, I had the bandwidth to finally watch it. (I was looking for something other than a hundred five-minute YouTube shorts to fill a night.)

It would be easy to describe Bullet Train as “John Wick on a train,” but that would imply that Brad Pitt’s Ladybug has the drive or interest in being an assassin that John Wick does. The tired resignation that Pitt brought to this role sold the film.

What a great cast too. Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Hiroyuki Sanada, Bad Bunny, Zazie Beetz. A bunch of fun cameos. And a surprise Michael Shannon reveal at the end! (What movie wouldn’t be made better with a surprise Michael Shannon reveal?)

Director David Leitch should make Bullet Train his Knives Out. Surround Brad Pitt’s Ladybug with a ton of assassins played by a different group of actors each movie.

Poker Face

“Exit Stage Death”

Another solid episode of Poker Face. The show once again found a way to tuck an unexpected twist into its plot. Ellen Barkin and Tim Meadows really sold the hate/love relationship between their characters.

My favorite part of the episode? Ben Sinclair’s brief cameo where he boasted about running a “Cracker Barrel in the Green Zone.” The High Maintenance co-creator and star directed this episode. I miss that show.

Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams in the Abbott Elementary episode “Valentine’s Day.”

Abbott Elementary

“Valentine’s Day”

Abbott Elementary’s Valentine’s Day episode teased us with a possible resolution to the will they/won’t they dynamic between Janine and Gregory. So close. So. Close.

I can’t imagine Abbott Elementary extends this plot beyond the current season without giving us some kind of major moment between the two characters. The Office wrapped up its second season with Jim kissing Pam during Casino Night.

This episode also gave us the first appearance of Ayo Edebiri as Janine’s sister, Ayesha. It was over a quick FaceTime call, but Edebiri will be back for a largest arc later this season.


“Corrections With a Bullet”

Who sings the “Animal Flubs” theme song? Is it Seth Meyers? Is it Will Forte? I need to know. I NEED TO KNOW.

The Links

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A pint of Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Chance.

Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Chance

“Mint ice cream loaded with fudge brownies” pretty much explains everything on this one. It’s not the usual mint-chocolate-chip green.

Has the Ben & Jerry’s variety been lacking lately? Is this a pandemic thing? Bring back Fossil Fuel, guys.

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