COMIC-CON ROUND-UP1 of 13Some of the biggest panels each year at Comic-Con International: San Diego are the Hall H movie panels that summon lines that stretch all the way around the San Diego Convention Center and beyond.
This year was no exception, with fans stacked up as early as Thursday morning to gain access to Saturday evening's panels.
Those that did brave the lines were rewarded with some major reveals from the two big superhero movie studios. Warner Bros. and DC dropped some major footage and details about Wonder Woman, Justice League, and even the just around the corner Suicide Squad, while Marvel's biggest reveals had to do with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But with that much going on, there was a lot to take in, and a lot of the nuance/importance of the announcements slipped between the cracks.
While we're not exactly pitting Marvel and DC against each other with this analysis, here's the Newsarama take on the biggest announcements of Comic-Con.
A LOVE CONNECTION2 of 13Remember when fans thought Gal Gadot wasn’t big enough? Wasn’t Greek(ish) enough?
Sure, she already won fans over in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but Comic-Con was Gadot’s first post-debut 'meet and greet' with fandom and by all accounts, the relationship is in the hot and heavy stage.
The hardcore DC fanbase has by all indications embraced the Israeli actress with open arms, in a way even they haven’t quite yet embraced even Henry Cavill as Superman.
Sure, that has to do with Wonder Woman being DC’s first major female superhero, but now you can start to see some of the Justice League strings being pulled. By “killing” Superman in BvS, Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. has cleared the field for Batman and Gadot’s Wonder Woman to emerge as the film’ anchors … their cinematic World’s Finest.
Savvy move, and reminder to all the internet pundits always ready with their hot takes – the long view is almost always the best view. A little chill never hurt anyone.
JUSTICE JOKES3 of 13Yes, Warner Bros. we get it…
Justice League will be funny…
Still dogged after Batman v Superman that his natural tendencies lean towards ‘grim’ and ‘joyless’, what Zack Snyder and the studio called ‘special footage prepared just for Comic-Con’ might as well have added a laugh track, the messaging was so obvious.
With Suicide Squad already looking to lighten the mood, the Justice League footage made it clear WB has made some renovations to their house style. Now the Wonder Woman trailer didn’t exactly play like a Melissa McCarthy movie, but it did open with a wryly humorous exchange between Gadot and co-star Chris Pine, and it can be forgiven for not being as snarly as Justice League given it’s a World War I period piece.
But the message was delivered nonetheless… so does that mean?
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED4 of 13Warner Bros. had a successful con?
Yeah, they almost certainly did.
Whatever bad taste Batman v Superman left, it doesn’t look like it lingered over Comic-Con. Interestingly, ABC News - a subsidiary of Disney - live-blogged the Warner Bros. Hall H panel Saturday afternoon but didn’t do the same for sister company Marvel Studios later that evening. How do you like them apples?
The point is, anticipation seemed to be at least as high if not higher for the Warner Bros. panel (which to fair, included other non-DC films). But let’s face it, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League were the darlings of the ball, and given the buzz surrounding Suicide Squad and the relative lack thereof over November’s Doctor Strange, don’t be surprised if you see narratives emerging about Warner Bros. stealing some of Marvel’s buzz. The press loves underdog/changing of the guard stories.
So on one hand – mission accomplished, but that too comes with a price…
SUICIDE MISSION5 of 13Have the expectations for Suicide Squad gotten a little too large for Warner Bros.’ comfort zone?
The film is understandably being compared to Guardians of the Galaxy – the obscure, little-known-concept-that-could on the end of a very deep bench that went on to surprise precisely because it broke molds and succeeded with irreverence.
But GotG had the luxury of actually being a surprise to all but the hardest of hardcore fans. The jolt of shocking joy moviegoers first experienced when Star-Lord started dancing and lip-synching to Redbone's “Come and Get Your Love” will be hard to replicate. In fact, Suicide Squad actually won people over by its own use of irreverent music in its trailer.
David Ayer could have a brand new trick up his sleeve, of course, but with box office projections now calling for the film to well exceed Guardians’ opening, there is now a risk Warners could be looking at their second “disappointment” in a row, at least in term of box office punditry.
Either way, the film has almost no chance now of catching the industry by surprise.
IT'S A BOY6 of 13Moving over to Marvel, you never know the advance versus last minute planning that goes into Hall H presentations. Of course the cast members in attendance must be arranged in advance, but you have to wonder how much of Marvel’s presentation was locked in beforehand, and how much of it (if any) was in response to Warner Bros. panel earlier in the day?
A few choices struck us as curious, particularly the choice to “reveal” that Kurt Russell is Ego, Star-Lord's father. Now this isn’t sour grapes on our part – sure it’ll likely kill SEO traffic to our longstanding theory on who his father is, but that was only a matter of time.
Aside from the actual identity, we spoke a lot about narrative “strategy” for lack of a better word. Marvel giving away what they’ve already identified as the main thrust of the film – the mystery of Star-Lord’s father – can’t help but anti-climatize (to invent a term) the reveal.
James Gunn seems perfectly earnest about the reveal in a post-panel Facebook post, and doubled down on his earnestness literally as this paragraph was being written. But as self-serving as this may seem to be be, we can’t help but wonder if there’s still more than meets the eye here.
Gunn and the equally savvy Kevin Feige caught fans off-guard with the first Guardians. This nagging feeling that there is more going on here than meets the eye probably won’t go away until the final credits role next May.
THE NEW CLASS7 of 13Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, the showiest part of Marvel’s presentation was the full in-costume Ravagers and Michael Rooker in full make-up/costume as Yondu. Rooker took on the role usually reserved for Robert Downey Jr. who can play a convention audience about as effortlessly as President Obama can. But did anyone even notice RDJ was absent?
So were Scarlet Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Samuel L. Jackson for that matter. It was like Marvel Hall H: The Next Generation all up in there. It wasn’t lacking star power per se – Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman and Brie Larson isn’t exactly a B-list – but the question still has to be asked, did Marvel miss their biggest stars, or the panel work even better with the newer faces?
DOCTOR WHO?8 of 13On the topic of new faces, the one new video Marvel showed to the public outside of Hall H was the second Doctor Strange trailer, and it doesn’t seem to be generating quite the same buzz as the other films – either from Marvel or DC – are.
This could just be a product of it being its second trailer, and Cumberbatch was certainly greeted warmly, but there was something of a wow factor missing from the equation.
Comic-Con Hall H panels are always fast forward looking, it's only fair to note, with fans getting most excited by a glimpse into the far future. November’s Doctor Strange is both a more known quantity and it doesn’t have the larger, more rock-and-roll ensemble of Suicide Squad.
That all said, is anyone maybe looking forward to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo more than the titular character, or is it just us?
HOMECOMING QUEEN?9 of 13Another interesting Marvel choice was revealing the until-then unconfirmed supporting characters in Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 both at the Hall H presentation and a subsequent press release - but not any characters for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Top that with Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok press release of a couple of months back that not only revealed characters but a few high profile additional actors and you have to ask yourself why the different approaches?
Three Spider-Man supporting young actors were allowed to reveal their characters during a backstage interview, but the actress playing the character described as the female lead – Zendaya – conspicuously did not.
That isn’t even mentioning the small army of other actors the Hollywood trade have attached to the film but have not been officially confirmed.
And while we did get official confirmation the main villain is the Vulture along with concept art of the character, Marvel declined to confirm Michael Keaton would be playing him. Again, odd for a film already in principal production.
Zendaya still stands out the most here. She described her character as “very smart, very intellectual, always in her books…kind of weird,” and Marvel Studios generally stick to established characters, rather than creating new ones.
Marvel does need a way to separate the reboot from the previous Sony incarnation. One way would be to avoid Gwen Stacy; another way would be to recast her in a way that would totally make people forget Emma Stone and drive a point home about this movie… more on that in a sec.
SO THEY'LL BE A LOT OF TEXTING?10 of 13Speaking of the actors Marvel flew from their Atlanta location to Saturday’s presentation, it seems clear the studio is making certain fans come away with the impression Spider-Man: Homecoming is both youthful and diverse, re-imagining no less than three and maybe more (see the last entry) original old school characters in a way very different from their 1960s origins.
Director Jon Watts and star Tom Holland made it abundantly clear Homecoming is a full-on high school movie.
As we’ve detailed several times in the past, Marvel Studios likes to mine different genres to give their films unique flavors, and it makes sense to juxtapose the youthful Spider-Man against the largely 40-something (and older) Marvel Cinematic Universe roster, but the diversity angle seems to go even deeper than that.
Marvel Studios knows Spider-Man is the one of (if not the) most popular licensed character in the world, so if they put out a good product, they’ll have young kids, their parents and the hardcore audience in the bag. But Spider-Man is beginning to feel like the first Marvel and first comic book movie in general to aim squarely and deliberately towards the sensibilities of millennials, a tough demo to crack these days.
That’s something to watch over the next year.
WINNING THE PRIMARIES11 of 13So what’s up with Marvel’s firm embrace of primary colors? New logos debuted for all their upcoming films minus Spider-Man: Homecoming and it was hard not to miss the blue, red and yellow in the Guardians Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok and Captain Marvel logos.
Ragnarok came off as the biggest surprise, with the logo reminding more than one person of coin-operated videogames of the 70s and 80s.
Along with the revelation of the Hulk’s very Planet Hulk-esque warrior armor earlier in the Comic-Con weekend, is Marvel trying to subtly trying to let fans know Ragnarok won’t be as deadly serious that perhaps first impressions from Avengers: Age of Ultron and its title (which literally means the death of the Norse Gods) indicated?
THE ROYAL (TV) FAMILY12 of 13Finally, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-showrunner Jed Whedon revealed Marvel taking Inhumans off their movie schedule (with not a mention of it Saturday) gives the show more freedom to enlist some of the classic Inhumans.
This is just the latest indication that while Marvel Studios won’t come out and say it outright, the project is likely all-but-dead as a feature film.
There would be no way Marvel would let any character that would potentially star in a feature film be cast for a TV show years in advance.
But Marvel Studios has no reason to come and say it’s dead. They’ll just let time and osmosis do the trick for them, and before long nobody will even ask about an Inhumans film anymore.
1 of 13
2 of 13
3 of 13
4 of 13
5 of 13
6 of 13
7 of 13
8 of 13
9 of 13
10 of 13
11 of 13
12 of 13
13 of 13