Sitting in the Comic Con press room on the biggest day of the five day event, I’m coming close to calling this whole edition of Con a bust, at least from the movie nerd point of view (there seems to have been some actually exciting news coming out of the comic book side of things, which usually gets outshone by the movies, including the fact that Grant Morrison is writing Final Crisis). A big part of the problem is that, frankly, the studios don’t have a lot of great movies to bring this year (and one of the studios that has two of the most major nerd films in the next twelve months, Warner Bros, just didn’t bother bringing any The Dark Knight or I Am Legend material at all, weirdly*).
But there are some big films with a presence at Con… but they’re still feeling underserved. There’s a feeling of anti-climax out there, with most of the reveals at the Hall H panels being news we already knew, like Zachary Quinto as Spock or the return of Marion Ravenswood in Indy IV or the cast of Watchmen. I must, along with my colleagues on the web, take some of the blame for that, as we’ve been running scoops on these movies for months now. But on the other hand, the Watchmen cast was announced in the trades just days before Zack Snyder’s panel, so it’s not just the web renegades doing it.
In a lot of ways I’m feeling like the studio presence this year is perfunctory. The lack of information on Cloverfield is now officially ludicrous – why not tell us the title of the damn movie already? JJ Abram’s terseness in Hall H (and snubbing of the press) comes across as snotty more than anything else. Zack Snyder brought a terrific new Watchmen poster by Dave Gibbons, but with all of the casting spoiled, it would have been great to see some pre-production art, which I know he’s ball deep in right now. He’s not going to be spoiling much by showing fans some concepts.
As of now, the two big winner films, in terms of buzz generated, are Iron Man and Shoot ‘Em Up. I predict that the Superbad panel, which is going to be starting in about an hour, is going to fucking murder the audience. I saw the film last night, and it’s just as good as you’ve been hearing, and the entire main cast is present and on the ball. After the screening last night (in a hot, sweaty theater where the AC had broken), the cast did an uproarious Q & A session. They’ll probably be twice as great in front of a huge, adoring crowd.
And ironically, the Con is bigger than ever. Every day is sold out this year, and there are more interesting small panels and events going on than in the past few years. And TV seems to be stealing cinema’s thunder – the Heroes and Lost panels probably should have been held in Hall H instead of some of the movie panels. Plus, the comic book end of this Con is jumping this year. Maybe this is a kind of natural course correction; the Con was close to being overwhelmed by Hollywood in recent years. I thought for sure that we would see Steven Spielberg at Comic Con this year, and he just did a live video feed – maybe Con isn’t taking the central spot in genre Hollywood’s calendar that we all thought it was. And that’ s not bad news for Con, in my opinion.
*Especially because the panel was going on at the same time the trailer was being debuted online! This snub is just bizarre.