San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Roundup: What a time to be a comic book fan.

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San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC so I don’t have to keep typing that) has been going on this weekend and with that comes a whole bunch of stuff that could make any comic book fan jump around their house like some energizer bunny from Hell. Whether it be casting announcements for the next Guardians of the Galaxy or a trailer for a Marvel/Netflix series, SDCC is always the place to be (or keeping up with if you’re me and not on the West Coast and financially sound enough to make a journey like that). I’m gonna stick to the trailers that all came out this weekend and some are shorter than others, yes, and some are a little more impressive than others. Seeing as comic books and comic book movies are arguably what I know and will always know best, I’d say my opinion is worth your time. If you’ve been reading this blog the past few years just to make fun of my opinion that’s alright too, I still get the page view counted in the stats. I’ll try and go in some concrete order based on when they showed up at SDCC.

Game of Thrones Season 7 (Coming to HBO Summer 2017)

Anything that even mutters the words, “Game of Thrones,” gets me hype. As long as these last two seasons are a hit, it will certainly be cemented as my favorite drama of all time. They recently announced that these last two season will only be about seven episodes each (maybe six for the last season) and I’m fine with that. Less episodes means more money can go into each episode – because it’s not like HBO is going to slash the budget on a show like this – which means more grand set pieces and probably even grander action sequences. The delay to Summer 2017 as opposed to Spring 2017 is a little frustrating but at this point I trust the creators of the show and where the show is right now in terms of story – it makes sense to delay it. Especially coming off of what I thought was the best season of the series so far, they certainly need to take the time to top it; and I think know they will too.

Luke Cage TV Series (Coming to Netflix September 30th)

I don’t know a lot about Luke Cage except for the fact that he’s indestructible and he and Jessica Jones have an ongoing relationship fueled by adrenaline, dark pasts, and a feeling of loneliness. What I can say is I’ve been excited for this show evert since they announced it. Netflix has been changing the super hero genre with every Marvel show they’ve come out with. Daredevil gave us an action packed and darker look into the Frank Miller-esque comic book world you don’t see in an Avengers movie and Jessica Jones took that and amplified it with a psychological thriller touching on adult subjects like alcoholism, sexual assault, and the true meaning of being a hero. With Luke Cage, we’re finally getting a show that will once again serve as a progression for the super hero genre and if this trailer proves anything, Harlem has a new hero in town. Not a lot is revealed in this trailer which is fine by me but I like that it brings Marvel’s heroes down to a street level where it seems like everyday people are just trying to do the right thing – something Netflix and Marvel have been emphasizing since the first season of Daredevil and so far it has certainly been working. Sweet Christmas.

Iron Fist TV Series (Coming to Netflix some time in 2017)

Not much to say about this trailer other than it looks like Loras Tyrell is about to meet the League of Shadows or some group like them. Iron Fist has a lot of potential to be a Bruce Lee martial arts type of series only a lot more serious like the other works from Marvel/Netflix. Having a series with a little more style than the brutality of Daredevil will be a good thing. It can stand on its own while having a place for the Defenders series coming from Marvel/Netflix as well. Speaking of…

The Defenders TV Series (Also coming to Netflix some time in 2017)

No real footage here which isn’t a surprise. Just a quick montage of animations revealing the four heroes of the Defenders (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist) which is what these Netflix series are culminating towards. It’s a nice little treat from Marvel/Netflix and adding Nirvana to the soundtrack is always a great move.

Doctor Strange (In theaters Nov. 6th, 2016)

I was always caught up on the idea that Joaquin Phoenix should have played Stephen Strange and Marvel should have enlisted Paul Thomas Anderson to direct it and make it a psychedelic dark comedy like Inherent Vice (2014) only with magic. When Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Strange, I was hesitant because to me Cumberbatch has played the same character in almost every movie he’s in – the, “I’m the smartest man in the room and I know it,” character. The first trailer for Doctor Strange (2016) certainly had me interested; but this new trailer looks like Marvel may finally change the game in their next Phase 3 film following the successful Captain America: Civil War (2016) which was a better Avengers movie than the most recent Avengers movie. Cumberbatch looks like he’s finally out of his element and adding Oscar-worthy talents like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelson, Rachel McAdams, and Tilda Swinton is a homerun in my book. Mads Mikkelson as the villain is going to be fantastic and while the trailer looks a little Inception-y with buildings tossing and turning, it honestly makes sense for Doctor Strange’s line of work. I’ve always been a smalltime fan of Doctor Strange – I say smalltime because it’s not like I avidly read his comics. I just always enjoyed when he showed up and as a result I learned a lot about the character and he can bring a totally different element to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that isn’t just aerial battles and Robert Downey Jr. making fun of everyone.

The Lego Batman Movie (In theaters Feb. 10th, 2017)

This movie is clearly because of the positive response to Will Arnett’s portrayal of The Batman in The Lego Movie (2014) but I’d be remise if I didn’t admit this has me excited anyway. I’m a huge Will Arnett fan from his voice acting in Bojack Horseman to his antics in Arrested Development. He was easily my favorite part of The Lego Movie and it looks like this is going to be funny for any hardcore Batman fan with a sense of humor. I’m not sold on Zach Galifianakis as The Joker (probably because I already know it won’t be as good as Mark Hamill) but I like Michael Cera as Robin and Ralph Fiennes as Alfred is perfect if you ask me. The trailer has a lot of great Easter eggs for any Batman fan like the different Batmobiles and Bat-suits. It looks funny, lighthearted, and like I said, really for the fans in the best way possible.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (In theaters November 18th, 2016)

If you didn’t get chills when the Harry Potter theme came in at the end of the trailer then you don’t have a soul… Or you just don’t like HP as much as you think you do. Fantastic Beasts looks awesome and I’m thrilled it looks like it will have almost nothing to do with any of the events from the Harry Potter series due to the fact that it takes place in the early 20th century. David Yates directed arguably the best entries in the HP movies (including my favorite – Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (2010)) so I’m completely on board with him taking the reigns on this new entry.

Wonder Woman (In theaters June 2nd, 2017)

Finally, in this golden age of comic book films, we are getting our first female-lead super hero movie. You’d think Marvel would be the ones to get on this sooner with their track record but it turns out Warner Brothers is about to beat them out with Wonder Woman – an appropriate hero to have the first female super hero movie if you ask me. WW was certainly one of the few highlights in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and her taking center stage next year looks like a blast. Not only because of its progression for the super hero genre but it is set in World War I. How often do you get to see a movie set in WWI? I’ve just always had a fascination with that particular world event – in history classes I always found it to be an interesting and certainly monumental moment in world history. Having not only the greatest Amazonian warrior take the screen but to do it in a time period seldom seen in movies is a beautiful combination for me. Gal Gadot looks great as WW like she did in BvS and keeping her theme from that movie in this one makes it feel like it belongs in the DC’s line-up of super hero films.

Justice League (In theaters Nov. 17th, 2017)

I saved Justice League (2017) because it was by far in a way my favorite of the trailers. It looks like they went into my head and read off a list of every problem I had with BvS and rectified it. Of course that doesn’t mean the movie is an automatic score; but it is reassuring to see some change in tone compared to the dark and way too melodramatic BvS. It looks like Warner Brothers and director Zach Snyder are doing a bit more humor and I like that it isn’t the same humor as the Marvel movies. It’s more on the sarcastic side as opposed to the, “Let’s make fun of our friends because we’re all homies,” side. Even Batman has a joke here and there but I hope he isn’t too quirky. If anything The Batman should be the only one to not be in on the joke and have an, “I don’t have time for your jokes, there’s death and destruction going on,” vibe. My problem with a lot of comic book movies these days is everyone tries to make their heroes like Batman and make them more cynical and brooding. Batman is the only one who should do that – no one else except maybe Spider-Man but that’s only because he’s probably the most selfless comic book character in existence. Anyway, my favorite part of this trailer by far was Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. The shot of his back turned and the water consuming him is amazing. His eyes look menacing and he looks like someone who can A) keep an eye on everything beneath the surface; and B) kick just about anyone’s ass (He gives Batman a run for his money in this trailer). I was so agitated when they announced Ezra Miller would be playing Barry Allen / The Flash but after this trailer I certainly like him more. I like that they are going for a different Barry Allen than the one Grant Gustin plays in the series on The CW; but to me he seems a little more Wally West than Barry Allen (Wally is the second Flash). Seeing Cyborg was great too but I hope the next trailer highlights him a little more. The CGI on him looks like it could use a few more renders in post-production but this is footage was put together specifically for Comic-Con and I have no doubt it’ll be touched up in the coming year and change before the movie comes out. Also whoever decided to cut this trailer to The White Stripes is nothing short of a genius – very well edited.

-Reed

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