Comic-Con 2012- Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man (with Edgar Wright directing). Comic-Con 2013- Batman vs. Superman and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Comic-Con 2014- Skull Island? Kind of a letdown after the previous years’ headline grabbers, isn’t it?
San Diego Comic-Con 2014 has come and gone. As someone unable to attend, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed by the lack of major news coming out of the convention center. Maybe it’s greedy of me, someone who paid nothing for it, to expect an onslaught of groundbreaking news from the event, but the past several years set up a situation where you imagine people constantly rushing out of Hall H to a row of telephone booths like journalists in old movies. Sure, we still got to see props, watch panels of actors and filmmakers, and learn a bit about upcoming projects, but 2014 gave us nothing that “Broke the Internet.”
Some of the most notable stuff, according to the people on the floor, were the film clips, first looks, and trailers. Disappointingly, it’s virtually (but not entirely) impossible for me to talk about footage because I wasn’t there to see it, and it hasn’t yet been released for online consumption, if it ever will be. I read great things about Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s promo clip, so I’ll have to trust others’ words on it; ditto Ant-Man. I saw a bad cell cam bootleg version of the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser, but that was less than a half-minute of material. (And if that footage captures the tone they’re aiming for, 2016 cannot come soon enough; it looks intense, with more of a Watchmen (movie) feel than Man of Steel.) And the Deadpool test footage (which is sporadically available online in a clean version) didn’t promote anything … except a movie that really should get made.
Needless to say, interesting things came out of Comic-Con, but nothing that was particularly striking. It seemed like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice had the most impressive showing simply because that first image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is the most tangible thing I can take from those three days. It’s nice to finally see what we can expect with the Princess of Themyscira and how they envisioned her costume – successfully, as it turned out – for the dark and broody world of the DC Cinematic Universe. However, there was nothing actually new there, not even a casting announcement or question answered. (Just who are Dwayne Johnson and Scoot McNairy playing anyway?) Though I guess when your film is pushed from 2015 to 2016 and you have to build up anticipation for another whole year, you need to hold back on some things. Here’s looking forward to the 2015 presentation.
Of course, a single still and whispers about a teaser are kind of lacking when you were expecting a multi-year announcement that would lead up to Man of Steel 2. Now that’s a topic that can launch thousand articles. Talking about how horrible of an idea a Shazaam movie is (especially as the follow-up to Batman v. Superman) and why Neil Gaiman’s Sandman couldn’t and SHOULDN’T fit into the conventional DCCU could fill my article quota for at least the next month.
With Marvel, we learned who Corey Stoll (currently wearing a horrible wig in FX’s The Strain) and Evangeline Lilly (soon to be wearing a horrible wig in The Hobbit: Part 3: Battle of the Five Armies) are playing in Ant-Man (Yellowjacket and Hope Pym (Hank’s daughter), respectively) and not much else. Of course, Marvel has had a lot of big movie news revealed online over the past few weeks. Maybe they were planning a major announcement at the convention that had its sails taken out of it. If Josh Brolin came out wearing the Infinity Gauntlet without us already knowing that he was cast as Thanos? That would have been the moment of the festival, without question.
Other franchises got a boost, but nothing that really jumped out for me. It’s nice to hear that Godzilla 2 will have a trifecta of the giant lizard’s most notable enemies – Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah – and that Gareth Edwards is still attached to direct. Yet another remake of King Kong (this time named Skull Island) is a curious choice for Legendary Studios. And Warcraft getting a logo means that the movie was actually made and those wasn’t just rumors for the past two years; I don’t even play the game, I just want to see what director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) has been up to. It was also very nice to see the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road (release date May 15, 2015) actually looking and feeling like classic Mad Max. Nevertheless, interesting as they might be, I still can’t say that any of those pieces of news got me overly excited.
What I found particularly notable was who didn’t make a showing. X-Men, Star Wars, Jurassic World, and Fantastic Four were all absent. I can understand the first two. X-Men: Apocalypse is still in early pre-production, and Star Wars doesn’t need to reveal itself this early; those JJ Abrams videos are doing just fine. It can easily wait until next year’s Comic-Cons and go head to head with the DCCU. But the latter two? Jurassic World (release date June 12, 2015) could definitely benefit from building early buzz considering the disappointments of the last two sequels and the blossoming star power of Chris Pratt. Fantastic Four (release date June 19, 2015) is also fighting an uphill battle considering the failures of the first two movies, the “controversial” casting decisions, persistent rumors that it will be ignoring its comic book legacy, and the constant boasting that this time the elastic guy and the giant rock man will be gritty and realistic. (The latter being a particular sticking point for me, but that’s an article for another time.)
I know it sounds as though I’m yet another entitled internet commentator simply berating Comic-Con for not being consistently, awesomely mind-blowing. I guess that’s kind of true, and I realize it’s unfair. But we get movie news every day and at least one bit of major movie news practically every week, and this is essentially the Super Bowl of movie news (at least as far as ultra-popular superhero tentpoles go). None of the tidbits we got were any more exciting or startling than what we get over an average week. While I’m still looking forward to upcoming movies, I didn’t find anything new and unexpected to obsess over or imagine the possibilities regarding, which is generally the end result of this gathering. Maybe it’s improper to put that burden on a single event, even one with the reputation of Comic-Con, but I do write about movies online and my article ideas need to come from somewhere. Has Dr. Strange been cast yet?