SAN DIEGO — It wouldn't be San Diego Comic-Con without new footage, new images and all manner of juicy tidbits designed to ramp up the fan community's already ferocious appetite for Hollywood's upcoming slate of would-be blockbusters.
This year was no exception, with an outpouring of enthusiastic support on Twitter following the first look at Guillermo Del Toro's monsters vs. robots flick "Pacific Rim," at least one guy in a Superman hoodie shedding tears from the rollout of the first footage from "Man of Steel" and the surprise re-emergence of a certain iconic Atomic Age monster.
In no particular order, here's a rundown of some of the biggest reveals from this year's action-packed convention.
Marvel, Marvel, Marvel!
A Galactus-size amount of new information was dropped at the Marvel panel. Among the revelations: Edgar Wright, who used Twitter to pretend to be hanging out in rainy London when he was actually in San Diego all along, turned up with test footage for "Ant Man," in which Hank Pym knocked out somebody's tooth with a tiny fist. "Captain America: Winter Soldier" and "Thor: The Dark World" were announced as official, numeral-free sequel titles. "Guardians of the Galaxy" is definitely happening, with Star-Lord, Draxx the Destroyer, Groot, Rocket Raccoon and Gamorra. And a first look at the still-in-production "Iron Man 3" confirmed that Ben Kingsley is definitely playing the Mandarin. Robert Downey Jr. told the Hall H audience: "My deal runs out after we do 'Iron Man 3' and then we're going to have to figure out exactly what Brinks truck we want to continue."
The "Man of Steel" in Action
Christopher Nolan's fingerprints seemed to be all over the "Man of Steel" footage Zack Snyder brought to Comic-Con, which makes sense, considering "The Dark Knight" mastermind serves as producer on the Superman reboot. A darker, more somber tone infused the footage, which was substantially longer (according to reports) than what will be attached as a teaser trailer to prints of "The Dark Knight" this weekend. There were echoes of "Batman Begins" as a bearded Henry Cavill wandered some snowy terrain. But there were also high-flying heroics, with the Last Son of Krypton emerging from a pile of skulls, rescuing a guy falling from a building, battling the military and being led away in handcuffs (!). Glimpses of the Kent family farm, Smallville, Lois Lane (Amy Adams), the guy Snyder wouldn't confirm to be General Zod (Michael Shannon) and more abounded as well. The appearance of the newly minted Superman himself was something of a surprise, as Warner Bros. had kept Cavill's appearance secret before the Con.
Matt Damon in "Elysium"
Even with unfinished visual effects, "Elysium" stunned the crowd. "The idea of launching footage at Comic-Con is the one thing that I feel is a true, honest thing [in terms of promotion]," Neill Blomkamp told the Hall H audience before unleashing the first look at his follow-up to "District 9." "There's no lie about it," he added. "It's completely fans wanting footage. So I'm OK with it." And so were those fans as they took in the dystopian future spelled out on the screen, a future Earth where an overpopulated poor toil away down below as the rich rest comfortably in a lavish space station soaring high above the skies. A shaven-headed, tattooed Matt Damon was in action as a gruff everyman with five days to live who's outfitted with a cool exoskeleton with which to invade the Elysium space station. Part "D9" (as Damon and Blomkamp refer to it), part "Mad Max," part "Soylent Green," the social commentary was as thick as the dust in locations where the film was shot.
Guillermo Del Toro's "Robot Porn," "Pacific Rim"
Perhaps the most enthusiastic response online for anything at this year's Comic-Con was for "Pacific Rim," Guillermo Del Toro's "robot porn" flick that pits monsters against robots (piloted by humans, like "Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam) in a battle royale that's part Godzilla, part Shogun Warriors and part mecha anime. Twitter feeds were on fire for this footage, which is no surprise, considering how loved Del Toro is at Comic-Con. Though he's produced plenty, Del Toro hasn't directed a movie since "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" (Ron Perlman is in "Pacific Rim" too), and his loving dedication to this movie was more than evident on the screen. Hall H attendees were filled with questions about Del Toro's world of Kaiju and Jaegers.
Godzilla! You Can Call It a Comeback
Did we mention Godzilla? As much as "Pacific Rim" was full of the action, adventure and fun of some of the classic tales of the King of the Monsters, the latest take on the Atom Age reptile was much more grim than anything we've seen before. The surprise "Godzilla" trailer included somber shots of the actual consequences of the monster's devastation, including multiple dead bodies. It made the 1998 version look like a walk in the park. "There's nothing 'sci-fi' about this movie," director Gareth Edwards told the crowd. "It's all very realistic, down to Earth." The trailer wasn't without Godzilla's classic roar. The Hall H crowd roared themselves, in approval, which Edwards said almost made him cry.
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