This article was originally published to The National Student on 24th July 2016
Every July, film studios flock to San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest event of its kind in the world, to show off their latest productions to the nerdiest people in the world.
In recent years, to side step the piracy problem, those same studios have been releasing the footage they show there to the general public, within a few hours.
We’ve collected the best (or otherwise) footage revealed in the famed Hall H from the last few days, of the films you should know about over the next year.
Spoiler – there’s a lot of superheroes…
For many, Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice was a really bad movie.
Even the trailers that made it look fun had a bizarre mixture of camp and elf-defeating grimness. This special preview footage of Justice League however (a movie that is still in production), is almost too exciting. So what if it seems like a reaction to the BvS reaction. This footage takes the few things that people liked about that film (namely Ben Affleck’s Batman), dials back the murderous psychopathy, dials up the charm, and introduces us to the new superheroes beyond their appearance as Quicktime video files in an email attachment. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman may be angry, but he’s definitely got the air of a badass; Ray Fisher’s Cyborg certainly looks like a cyborg; Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen is everything that the DC Films have needed. He’s funny, optimistic, and insanely powerful. The film’s coming to theatres in November 2017, which is a lot of time in which to screw up, but if we’re to adopt the same tone as this footage, it’s a lot more time in which to get hopeful for some fun at last in the DC films.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
There’s no avoiding the fact that this year has been a pretty weak one for fun blockbusters. However, with this new entry into the Harry Potter universe arriving at the end of the year, it’s hard not to get excited for what’s coming up before the New Year. This SDCC trailer only builds on that excitement. The music is a perfect blend of the original Harry Potter series’ magic and a more bombastic, distinctly American attitude; the creatures on display are diverse and gorgeous, calling to mind the recent phenomenon of Pokémon Go; on top of which Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, and Katherine Waterston, all of whom are great actors, look to be having an absolute blast. What’s more, the prospect of a prohibition era magical adventure is looking more and more like one of the best, most pleasingly oddball ideas to be put to film – a goblin-run speakeasy is a particular highlight.
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
From quite possibly Warner Bros.’ most exciting showcase, to their weakest: the trailer for Guy Ritchie’s reimagining of the medieval legend. Despite a cast that includes Jude Law going full ham, Roose Bolton ofGame Of Thrones fame (Michael McElhatton to you and I), and Charlie Hunnam, this looks like a bad idea. It’s very grey, it contains a “stop, rewind that” joke, the tone feels like a bizarre match of Ritchie’s Lock, Stockforte, and any other ambitiously trashy fantasy that contains giant elephants. Either of those on its own would be entertaining, but there’s something wrong about seeing them together. Still, maybe this is actually just a bad trailer, and the film is really good. It’s out in March of 2017, so plenty of time to ponder the answer.
The Lego Batman Movie
Spinning off from the huge success of the character in 2014’s The Lego Movie, and boasting easily the funniest trailer of the whole Con, The Lego Batman Movie is definitely something we can get excited about. Will Arnett’s playfully arrogant, foolish take on Batman definitely stole the former movie, as it brilliantly deflated the bro-iness of so many of the Caped Crusader’s fans. The film looks like it’ll do that even more, poking deserved, if loving fun at a man who dresses as a bat and invites young people to help him out. If for nothing else, there’s something instinctively, perfectly British about Ralph Fiennes as Lego Alfred.
Kong: Skull Island
Undoubtedly winning the prize for the most eye-catching footage was this trailer for Warner Bros.’ latest in reworkings of classic movie monsters (see 2014’s Godzilla). The film boasts an incredible cast, including Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Straight Outta Compton’s Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell, and Brie Larson. It feels like it’s been pitched as Apocalypse Now, with giant monsters. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ last (and indeed first) film was the delightful indie coming-of-age movie Kings Of Summer, but from the looks of things, that film’s personal size hasn’t affected his grasp of scale.
Yes, this film may be arriving in cinemas in less than two weeks (5th August) but that didn’t stop DC from showing off a new trailer, full of content that we’ve seen before, along with a good handful of new things. If you still want to save the full experience for the theatre, we recommend avoiding this one, but if you’re still not sure about it, or you’re just too darn excited to turn away, check it out. This one gives us our best look yet at both the plotting, and of Jai Courtney’s nutball Captain Boomerang – we are surely blessed an actor of his talents has decided to embrace something this silly.
Marvel’s Luke Cage
Part of the Thursday Hall H showcase that featured Marvel TV displaying their plans for Netflix domination in the coming year, we got a look at what’s being called by its creators “the Wu-Tangification of the Marvel universe”. Luke Cage, based on the classic 70s Blaxploitation-inspired hero, a black man with bulletproof skin, is coming to Netflix in September, so naturally now’s the perfect time to release the first teaser trailer for the series. There’s nothing really in the way of plot, but it’s undeniably exciting to watch Mike Colter’s Cage seizing the spotlight in such a no-nonsense fashion, soundtracked to music that’s been sorely lacking from any and all Marvel projects. This could very well be another homerun success for the Marvel-Netflix team, especially after last November’s Jessica Jones, which so brilliantly introduced us to the character. In fact, given Jessica Jones’ and Luke Cage’s subject matter, they’re two of the most relevant superhero stories we’ve yet seen on our screens.
Probably the biggest surprise of SDCC 2016 was the reveal that Adam Wingard’s upcoming horror film The Woods is actually a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Taking the found footage aesthetic of 1999 and updating it to include modern technologies, the film will follow the brother of the original film’s Heather, who’s convinced that she’s still alive out there in the Black Hills woods. The new trailer not only comes clean with the reveal of this secret sequel, it’s also incredibly creepy. The shot of one girl crawling through what looks like a sewer pipe is enough to give claustrophobia to a whole generation. There’s been a lot of reason to lose hope that a good found footage horror film can be made, what with the glut of bad ones post-Paranormal Activity. Yet Wingard’s already proven himself an immensely talented genre filmmaker with his work on You’re Next and The Guest, so if anyone deserves a little faith, it’s him.
In case you were wondering why we didn’t mention Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in the Justice League footage, it’s because we were waiting to discuss how badass she looks in the trailer for her own movie! Yes, this 75-year old character, the most famous and iconic of all the female superheroes, is getting her first ever feature film in 2016; directed by Patty Jenkins, this footage is quite stunning.
Set during World War I, Gadot’s Diana meets Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, a U.S. fighter pilot who gets stranded on the Amazons’ (not related to the tax-evading, online consumerism giant) mystical island home of Themyscira. We see Amazons fighting soldiers on a beach, killing men with the use of bows and arrows; Wonder Woman using her iconic Golden lasso; Wonder Woman deflecting a mortar with her shield, like we might swat a fly; Wonder Woman pointedly remarking on the sexism within the secretarial role. This might just be the footage highlight of Comic-Con: this look at a female-led, female directed superhero film, looking for all the world like it’s going to show the men just how it’s done.
Finally, Marvel unveiled a brand new trailer for the upcoming Doctor Strange. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular doctor, turned sorcerer after a car accident permanently damages his hands, it’s looking weirder and more wonderful by the minute. This footage not only gives us a very strong idea of the story (thinkBatman Begins style origins but with more colour and more magic), but it also shows off some insane, reality bending magic. This film’s going to be released just a few weeks before Fantastic Beasts, and it looks as if the J.K. Rowling adaptation is going to have its work cut out for it, in outdoing the marvellous, mystical wonders on display here. Even the way that Benedict Cumberbatch nonchalantly puts his cloak of levitation on is weird and cool!