The struggle is real.
Every year, those lucky enough to be in San Diego to attend Comic Con spend their time fighting for a coveted seat inside the cavernous Hall H so they can be the first to see trailers, footage, and megastars. The rest of us sit by and wait for those clips to appear online so we can understand what all the breathless tweets are about. Some studios like to delay their worldwide reveals (we're tapping our feet for that reportedly amazing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Valerian And the City of A Thousand Planets footage), while others put their big guns online seconds after they make their bow. If you haven't been following all the action from this past week, here are some of the major highlights:
Director Patty Jenkins might have just single-handedly salvaged the ruins of Batman v Superman with her Wonder Woman solo movie. Action! Color! Humor! Is this really a DC movie? (The poster is pretty damn great, too). Highlight: Diana taking out soldiers with her glowing lasso of truth.
Aaaaand, we're back to Zack Snyder-ville. His 50 Shades of DC Gray are still front and center, but this gathering of the company's biggest heroes at least seems to be making some effort to lighten up after the dismal and abysmal BvS. While it's a little odd that Batman—who is usually the JLA member most ready to quit and least trusting of his superpowered co-workers—is the Danny Ocean behind the whole thing, it's not like this entire endeavor hasn't been a little ass backwards from the start. But Jason Momoa looks like he's on a one-man mission to do what no one else has been able to do: Make Aquaman cool.
Marvel's riskiest outing yet, Dr. Strange—about an arrogant, not-all-that-likeable sorcerer who creeps around the back alleys of the Marvel Universe—needed a bold trailer to make some noise on this stage. The new trailer definitely plays up the movie's twisted, head-trippy Inception-like feel, and Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be pretty locked in on what makes Stephen Strange tick. But will this be Marvel's first stumble? The trailer isn't 100% reassuring.
It seems odd that there would be such a clamor to revisit King Kong after Peter Jackson's 2005 remake was met with mostly shrugs (unfairly, as the majority of it is a lot better than reputation suggests)—but Skull Island probably owes its existence more to the success of Jurassic World than anything else. A high-powered cast, including Oscar winner and newly-minted Captain Marvel Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Goodman, make this maybe a bit more intriguing than it would be otherwise.
Lock, Stock, and a Big Round Table? Director Guy Ritchie, fresh from putting a modern sheen on Sherlock Holmes, gives us a retelling of Arthurian legend that is less courtly romance and more gritty (wow, does that word need to be retired) action comedy. "Raised in the Streets, Born to Be King?" OK, sure. The movie is hard to pin down tonally, but at very least doesn't look boring.
The long-anticipated return to the Harry Potter universe finally starts rolling out the fantastic beasts, and begins hinting at where to find them. Maybe we're biased, but the idea of Potter-y magic in a New York setting is definitely enough to make our wands twitch, and the mix of spectacle and humor is always welcome. "I want to be a wizard..." indeed.
It must really gall Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck that the best Batman movie of next year is likely going to star Will Arnett and be made of plastic bricks. The self-seriousness of Batman is ripe parody material, and Arnett's take on the Dark Knight was one of the main highlights of the Lego Movie—and you couldn't ask for a better origin story behind Robin's green Speedos.
Sometimes studios forget the point of San Diego Comic Con and arrive at the party with a serious movie about political whistleblowing and a cranky Oliver Stone on stage at Hall H complaining about how Pokemon Go is the first step towards totalitarianism (how I wish I were making that up, but no). Still, a large portion of the SDCC crowd are invested in the Snowden story, so it's a stretch, but maybe not that much of a stretch.
She's baaaaaaack. After the groundbreaking original and the decidedly less-than-groundbreaking (not even ground-disturbing really) Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, the woodsy witch returns in what's being described as an actual sequel and not some kind of back door remake. And Lionsgate deserves credit for how they handled the reveal: For months, they've been teasing a film everyone thought was called The Woods, directed by V/H/S and The Guest director Adam Wingard—only to unveil at SDCC that The Woods was in fact a new Blair Witch. Boo!