Well fanboys and fangirls in Fresno, another year has come and gone, and with it another Comic-Con. But despite all of the the exciting time and announcements that we saw at this year's convention, did the event itself actually live up to people's expectations?
Well, according to some commentators like Grace Randolph from Beyond the Trailer, apparently not. She was very disappointed in the noticeable lack of major reveals at this year's convention, and while I do not share the same level of passion about it as her, I must admit that I was surprisingly underwhelmed at how much got revealed this year.
The biggest reveal we got was probably from the Warner Bros. panel, where guests were treated to a 30-second teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Sadly, any guests who were able to film and post the footage had it quickly taken down by Warner Bros, but there are still plenty of descriptions of it available for reading on the Internet. The trailer is essentially a debut of Ben Affleck in a new Batman armor that strongly resembled the one the character wore at the end of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, as he stands in the rain next to a Bat-Signal with the Dark Knight Returns version of the bat logo on it. Into the scene comes Superman, played once again by Man of Steel star Henry Cavill. The two have a tense stare down as Superman's eyes glow red and Batman's glow white.
The panel also finally debuted the first official look as Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman from the film. The costume appears very Xena-inspired, clearly emphasizing the character's Amazonian roots. Instead of shorts or pants, the filmmakers decided to give her a skirt and giant boots, with a metallic-looking chestpiece and downward-pointing tiara. She also seems to have several leather straps on her outfit, yet no shield or other weapon that they might hold in place, and she also has a sword in hand and her iconic Lasso of Truth strapped to her side. The three actors--Cavill, Affleck and Gadot--posed for a photo together with director Zach Snyder, marking the first time the famous DC Comics trinity--Superman, batman and Wonder Woman--appeared in a photo together for a cinematic event.
On the other side of things was the Marvel Studios panel, which, for it's main highlight, presented the first footage from the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. The footage begins in the new Avengers Tower (formally known as the Stark Tower in the first film), where the Avengers are sitting around having drinks, including Don Cheadle reprising his role as War Machine/Iron Patriot from the Iron Man films, as they each take turns trying to see if they are worthy enough to lift Thor's hammer. None of them are able to do so, except a minor hint that Captain America can barely get it to move, much to Thor's interest. After this humorous opening, the footage takes a far darker turn as we see new villain Ultron come into the room in a almost zombie-like manner, saying, "There is only one path to peace: your extinction." This leads into a montage of images as the Avengers fall before Ultron's forces, playing over it is the song "I've Got No Strings On Me" from the classic Disney film Pinocchio. At the end, Tony Stark says, It's the end, the end of a path I started us on", indicating the long-suspected theory that Stark will be Ultron's creator in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The trailer obviously went over well, and the cast (minus a pregnant Scarlet Johannson) posed for a group photo.
As for the rest of the Marvel Studios panel, this was a bit disappointing. There was a panel for Ant-Man, but they still have no footage to show, and it was also curious how the cast and producers seemed to dodge any questions related to the recent departure of long-contracted director Edgar Wright; the two biggest reveals from this panel were the announcement of Evangeline Lily playing an original character named Hope Van Dyne (as opposed to Janet Van Dyne, the true identity of Ant-Man's long-time partner, the Wasp), and the display of Ant-Man's helmet on the floor. There was also no announcement for the long speculated Doctor Strange movie, leading some like Grace Randolph to theorize that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige simply could not secure a deal with Joaquin Phoenix in time for the convention. There was also no announcement of forthcoming properties for Phase Three of there cinematic universe; despite the six release dates announced before the convention, the only film that was confirmed for any of those dates was Guardians of the Galaxy 2, currently slated for release on July 28, 2017.
One panel that was a surprise this year was the Legendary Pictures panel. The former producers of many big films for Warner Bros. has now teamed up with Universal and announced not only a sequel to this year's Godzilla, as well as continuing plans for a Pacific Rim sequel, but the also announced production of Skull Island, a new installment in the King Kong franchise. The panel showed a teaser that depicted a jungle surrounded by water with plenty of narration. Monkeys swing through trees and there is some sort of dinosaur like creature in the water as the narration talks about “It’s very existence being improbable. Being alone in the wilderness had driven it mad. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.” the final image was unmistakable King Kong himself roaring and beating his chest.
Legendary also revealed that three of Godzilla's allies/enemies from the classic Toho films series will be making the crossover to the States for the forthcoming sequels, those additional kaiju being fan favorites Mothra, Rodan and King Guidorah. What was shown was bunch of old newsreel footage similar to the opening credits on this year's film, but it was interspersed with the tag: “There is still one secret that remains hidden,” “There are others.” What followed was a shadow of Rodan with the words “Codename: Rodan.” Then fans saw the old Mothra with the title “Codename: Mothra,” and lastly…. “Codename: Ghidorah! Monarch Assessment: Conflict Imminent.” Followed by the words “LET THEM FIGHT.” Unfortunately, Gareth Edwards, who directed the first film and is now slated to direct eh sequel, also confirmed that he won’t return to direct the sequel until after his already-announced Star Wars spin-off film is completed first, for which no official release date has been set.
Other than that, that was virtually the extent of the really big news this year, at least in regards to subjects this examiner is interested in. It is possible that Disney, who are now owners of both Marvel and Lucasfilm, are saving most of their big announcements for their own upcoming D23 convention, meaning later announcements both for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, may still be forthcoming. As a fanboy myself, this examiner will not say that he is ungrateful for what was reveals at this year's convention, but he can still remember conventions in the past where a lot more big news got out than what was presented here. For a broader understanding of what I mean, take a look at Grace Randolph's commentary on this year's convention.
Oh wait, there was one more thing I wanted to bring up. Warner Bros. also debuted the first trailer for the third and final installment in The Hobbit film series, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, set for release on December 17, 2014. For this examiner's thoughts on that trailer, click the link to my next article.
So, what are your thoughts? Did Comic-Con 2014 excite and satisfy, or did you expect something more? Sign off on your thoughts below!