I've got a box of Clif Bars, a toothbrush and some unread issues of the "New 52." I'm ready for the lines, odors and sunstroke of San Diego Comic-Con.
This will be my sixth visit, so in Con years that makes it... I dunno, my hundreth. All I know is that, every year, I swear it will be my last, then I return. It's like that scene in "Black Hawk Down" when Eric Bana, exhausted from the fight, runs back into enemy territory to continue rescue operations. Only, you know, a little more heroic.
There are dozens of movies (and shows and comics and web series) that'll be pitched at SDCC. Here are the ten I'm most excited about.
Man of Steel
I know a guy who's seen little snips of "Man of Steel" - some of the Krypton stuff. He tells me that if you didn't know it was Superman, you wouldn't know what it was just by looking at it. That, to me, is very exciting. Zack Snyder under the close supervision of Christopher Nolan sounds like a nice working combination. There's simply no excuse for DC's inability to catch up with Marvel for a crossover movie universe. Hopefully that all ends this Comic-Con.
The short film that got Tim Burton fired from Disney is now back as an IMAX 3D extravaganza... from Disney. I can't think of a better middle finger to the Man in recent history. Burton's recent output has been suspect, but his knack for design is still sharp and the story of a kid resurrecting his dead dog is timeless. We should know soon if this is the next "Nightmare Before Christmas."
"District 9" is often held up as Exhibit A when asked if Comic-Con can "make" a movie. South African director Neill Blomkamp is making his highly anticipated return with this film about... Matt Damon being bald and holding a gun. I say that because, really, that's the most concrete thing known about the picture. Broadly, we know Elysium is set in the future with the wealthy living in luxury somewhere "up" while the 99% live in squalor "down." Unlike Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," we expect "Elysium" will spell out its formula for social justice with fewer bullets and less splatter.
Guillermo Del Toro, a comic-con mainstay, hasn't been to the show with actual footage of something he (officially) directed in a while, but he's about to end that streak this year. "Pacific Rim" is GDT's opus about giant robots fighting giant monsters. That's kinda all I need, or want, to know.
When I heard there was a "Judge Dredd" remake coming my reaction was... no reaction. I'm numb to remake news. I have no particular fondness for the Stallone film (though I will defend "Cobra" to the end!) but when I saw Karl Urban in that dopey helmet I can't deny I got really excited. His laconic line delivery against the hazy and colorful imagery of gun violence, 3D computer displays and sexy women in bathtubs leads me to believe this will be something of a trash masterpiece. "Dredd" is scheduled to have a sneak peek introduced by Urban on preview night and I can think of nothing better to view after a few drinks and jet lag.
I'm frankly less interested in seeing the new Godzilla than I am in hearing him. There are strongly held rumors that Warner Bros. will have some sort of reveal for their 2014 reboot of Japan's favorite non-proliferation parable. The all but untried Gareth Edwards (the dude who made the mostly-decent "Monsters" on his laptop) is using a blueprint from David Goyer, but, really, all that matters is HOW LOUD WILL THEY CRANK IT WHEN THEY MIGHTY BEAST ROARS?!!?!?
Oz: The Great and Powerful
When Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 4" project collapsed (and future historians will debate the positives and negatives of this for generations) our greatest director of playful action pivoted to something that, let's face it, the world doesn't need – a "Wizard of Oz" prequel. But – if someone is going to do it, let it be someone like Raimi. His visual flair is unmatched and his inherent subversive streak ought to keep this unlikely project worth watching. I'm very excited, therefore, to see W the F is U with this one.
Based on his resume you wouldn't necessarily expect Rian Johnson to be a Comic-Con panelist. The whimsical tale of crafty illusionists "The Brothers Bloom," however, was quite a piece of showmanship, so I'm very excited to see the time-traveling headscratcher "Looper." Plus Joseph Godron-Levitt and Bruce Willis are in it - playing the same character in different time streams? I've been avoiding all the clips and trailers so far, but everything is more exciting when a Comic-Con audience is cheering, so I'm ready to blow the lid off of this one.
Also check out: All of MTV's awesome Comic-Con coverage!
The man who made it okay for intellectuals to love pop culture ephemera is coming to San Diego. Quentin Tarantino's Western revenge epic (set to James Brown music) looks like it has all the ass-kickery of "Kill Bill" mixed with the historical heft of "Inglorious Basterds." When QT takes to Hall H I expect him to drop obscure movie references with such velocity that he leaves all livebloggers Googling in his wake.
Iron Man 3
I'll be frank: right now, "Iron Man 3" feels like an "Avengers" afterthought. My Marvel mind is on the new stuff – like the rumored "Guardians of the Galaxy" or maybe "Ant-Man" or "Luke Cage" or "Doctor Strange" or any of the other maybes. That'll end when natural born spokesman Robert Downey Jr. takes the stage – again – and gets us ready for the new one. Marvel always does Comic-Con right, so we ought to see some good stuff from Shane Black's version ol shellhead.
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