Some days, when you turn on the news and everything is going to hell, you just need to watch Scarlett Johansson punch a dude in the face repeatedly to feel better. There's something deeply cathartic about it. Thankfully, the Ghost in the Shell Super Bowl spot delivers just that, and so much more.
The teaser shows Johansson smashing in heads and through walls, falling off buildings in futuristic cityscapes, and literally tearing her face off. (Calm down. She's a cyborg in this movie.) We even get a little ominous voiceover action: “They did not save your life — they stole it.”
In director Rupert Sanders's forthcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell film, based on Mamoru Oshii’s groundbreaking 1995 anime, Johansson plays an elite government-issued cyborg known solely as The Major, whose human brain is still intact. She dedicates herself to thwarting cyber-criminals partly because she feels so disconnected from herself. Through The Major and her experiences, the film asks: What is it that makes us human? Is it our physical being, or is it our experiences?
The decision to cast Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi, as she's known in Masamune Shirow's original Japanese manga series, drew ire from fans who criticized it as yet another example of Hollywood whitewashing. However, Sanders has since stood by his casting decision, calling Johansson the “best actress of her generation.”
While that seems like a non-answer to us, we're just going to watch Johansson punch this dude in the face. It's really quite hypnotic.