Who won Hall H and who would have been just as good in Ballroom 20?
Another San Diego Comic-Con is in the books. Now we’re left to figure out what time we need to line up for Hall H next year. The pop culture phenomenon created by the Comic-Con International group will be back once again at the end of July next year for companies to wage a PR war for our attention and affection. But what was the big win this year? Who dropped the ball? Whose future will be in doubt? Let’s look at what we saw this year.
Over the last few years Comic-Con has become a battleground of Marvel vs. DC property films. Fans camp out overnight just to say they were the first to see never before seen footage from a movie we’ll all eventually see. But it’s ironic that these films don’t need to be at the show because they already won over the fanboys who attend SDCC just by being made. The Avengers and The Dark Knight had no formal presence at the con in the years of their release and were some of the biggest successes in all of cinema.
The winner isn’t always who makes the biggest sized announcement but instead who gets people outside of the medium talking. For that reason, the clear winner was Warner Bros announcement of a Batman/Superman film in 2015. Sure naming the Avengers sequel and looking at Winter Soldier footage was huge but Zack Snyder’s announcement got people who are the antithesis of SDCC fans talking. After San Diego, people who aren’t pop culture junkies or even avid film watchers were asking me about what went down at the WB Hall H presentation. DC Comics films definitely get the boom points heading out of San Diego, whether or not they can pull ahead of Marvel Films in the long term we’ll have to wait till SDCC 2016 once it’s all said and done to find out.
There was nothing like seeing the movie Avengers on stage together in 2011. That was one of SDCC’s most thunderous reactions ever inside the show. Since then Marvel hasn’t been able to capture that magic in the convention centers largest gathering area. Don’t get me wrong, Marvel has had some panache in the hall since then, with RDJ last year and Loki this year, but it’s never rivaled the element of surprise announcements captured when Whedon and company took the stage. There were some solid presentations this year from the Thor and Captain America sequels, along with an All-Star Guardians of the Galaxy showing but they missed the mark with so many surprises they could have announced. We know about Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, but what we don’t know are the other Marvel films confirmed in development. What could have been a machine gun of surprise announcements turned into a garden hose burst of expectation. At the end of it all, with most of the Avengers in the house, only Joss Whedon came onstage to just say, hey we’re naming Avengers 2 after one of Marvel Comics biggest story disappointments ever. At least we now know that the Age of Ultron comics will have nothing to do with the film but the wounds are too fresh from that disappointment not to have an automatic association with it. Marvel obviously has to have a plan as to why they aren’t using the Thanos mega tease in the mid credits Avengers scene right away, but I couldn’t help but feel as though Marvel really Xbox One’d themselves this year.
Surprise of the Show
It’s hard to have a surprise stay secret with so many eyes and ears in San Diego. While we knew most of the X-Men: Days of Future Past cast was at Comic-Con for other purposes, seeing them all onstage with Bryan Singer definitely surprised us by getting the crowd pumped for the film. Seeing two generations of X-men on stage teases just how large the scope of the film aims to be. Then seeing the sentinel head outside the Hard Rock Hotel sealed it for us.
The surprise of Andrew Garfield being in the Spider-man suit during Amazing Spider-man’s first comic-con panel was cute. It was a quirky way for Garfield to set himself apart from actors who’ve played comic book characters and showed a real passion for the role. With how good the first film was, one would think Amazing Spider-man 2 would have moved past the gimmicks? Nope. Instead we got a borderline obnoxious Spider-man on stage with Garfield under the mask playing a caricature of himself. Having the acting pedigree of Jamie Foxx on the panel would have been more than enough to earn a place among Comic-Con’s elite presentations, but the film just couldn’t help but play the class clown. Luckily the footage managed to delight the crowd. From what I saw on the screens outside the Hard Rock it definitely has more than enough legs to stand on.
Fell by the Wayside
Did anyone even notice the Robocop reboot presentation? With so much made about fan outrage over Robocop’s new look; the studio missed a great opportunity for the film to go all in and make a splash with promos and maybe an up-close look at the redesign through an offsite viewing. Instead it’s barely an after thought of the show. While it’s hard to wrestle away attention from Marvel and DC –on what is essentially their home turf– the film could have done more to lure the masses to them around the convention center. Godzilla built an intriguing experience with their offsite event, even the Assassin’s Creed game managed to amass enormous lines for their event. Robocop could end up being yet another film to prove a comic-con presence doesn’t always translate to box office success.
2014 looks to continue the streak of overwhelming fans with hype at the con. Next year we’ll see Avengers 2, Guardians, Batman/Superman, Fantastic Four, Star Wars, Tron and other to be announced movies. You may want to just get in line for Hall H now.
Friday we’ll examine all the announcements made by comic book publishers and see what the state of comics post SDCC will be.