Comic-Con Roundup

Wanda's had a bad day.
Wanda’s had a bad day.

Nick: Let’s move on to the meat and potatoes of SDCC — the comic book movies. Of the major ones, Amazing Spider-Man 2 is where we’ll start. What did you guys think of the presentation put together by director Marc Webb and the folks over at Sony?

Todd: Well, we didn’t see any Rhino footage, but the look at Electro is pretty awesome.

Nick: Couldn’t agree more. I think Jamie Foxx is really going to bring something fresh to it.

Todd: I also like the streamlined Spidey costume. It really looks like the “original” Ultimate version (before Peter was killed off).

Greg: All I saw was the Electro teaser footage and, unfortunately, it left me kind of cold. The look itself I have no problem with. It felt to me a bit “TV”-like in its presentation. I admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one. I loved the parts with Peter, Gwen, May and Ben, but I didn’t like much of the actual Spider-Man stuff. I didn’t actually get a chance to hear any of their announcements or discussion at the panel. I do love the redesigned costume.

Nick: Oh, man, I loved the Electro footage. Granted, I liked the first one far, far more than most people did. I was also excited to hear Webb talk a little bit about the villians for the piece. There have been a lot of rumors floating around that Green Goblin and Vulture might show up in this movie, but he pretty much confirmed that Electro is the main villain and that this is an Electro story first and foremost.

Todd: Because I’m old, I expect Spidey to have the same cadence in his costumed voice while wise-cracking as he does in the classic cartoons (’60s-’80s). Garfield didn’t quite nail that. I liked the first one fine, but it felt “small” compared to the Raimi films.

Nick: This didn’t come out of SDCC, but do you guys have any thoughts on Mary Jane Watson being pulled from the movie in favor of holding her off for later films?

Todd: I think having MJ there diminishes the impact of what’s about to happen to Gwen.

Nick: Personally, I’m fine with it, as this movie really does need to focus more on what was the strongest element of the first one, and that’s the relationship and on-screen chemistry between Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy.

Greg: I love MJ getting held out, primarily because the Pete-Gwen relationship was by far the best part of the first movie. Garfeld and Stone have insane chemistry. Plus I agree with Todd that MJ’s presence will distract from the distress Gwen’s death should cause.

Nick: So, if they do it, is the second film the right time to kill of Gwen Stacy?

Todd: I dunno. Spidey had been around for 15 years before the Green Goblin threw her off the bridge. There’s not the impact on the viewer like there would be to the long-time comic reader. It’s sort of like the difference in emotional impact between “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Star Trek Into Darkness”. You haven’t “earned” that level of empathy yet.

Greg: I’m actually kind of hoping they DON’T kill off Gwen in the movies, but since it’s almost certain to happen, I think it should get at least one more movie to “breathe,” so to speak.

Nick: I actually agree. I think killing her off now would be a little too much, too soon. Peter just lost Uncle Ben and Captain Stacy in the first movie. It might be better to let the guy have a little happiness first.

Todd: There is a picture of Emma as Gwen in the same outfit as the bridge fall. That seems to be the smoking gun in relation to why they’d kill her off now.

The smoking gun.
The smoking gun.

Nick: OK, onto Fox’s big panel. They had a little footage to show from The Wolverine, but we’ve got something special planned for that movie that should be hitting the site this week. But they did provide us with the first look at next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Thoughts on the presentation by Singer and the rest of the crew?

Todd: Can’t wait for Wolverine. Scared it’s going to suck.

Greg: I am getting more and more excited about Days of Future Past.

Todd: I like the character designs and that they’ve brought the old crew back (thankfully McKellen is still alive), but I’m concerned this is going to be WAY over the heads of the popcorn movie crowd.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Nick: The footage descriptions I’ve read sound amazing, but I think there are some concerns to be had. Anytime you deal with time travel, it’s easy to kind of get lost in your own mythology, but I’m hopeful Singer can do right by the story. I think the bigger concern is that the cast is HUGE. I have no idea how they’re going to give each character their just due.

Greg: I really admire that Singer and company are even attempting this storyline. It’s by far the most ambitious story ever attempted in a mainstream superhero movie (Watchmen and V obviously don’t count). I think this will either be an incredible achievement or it will flame out spectacularly, but either way it’s more exciting than playing it safe. We’ve gotten good and bad safe X-Men movies. Trying something like this takes real guts. Also, I marked out huge for the shot of Old Man Logan wearing what appears to be the black-blue-and-yellow.

Todd: It does take guts, but has Singer lost his touch? This may be his last chance to play with the big boy toys. That cast IS massive, and hopefully we won’t have to suffer through January Jones whining through Emma Frost’s dialogue.

Nick: In the end, for better or worse, I think I’ll be OK with this movie existing since it is trying something so different and so out there. If this works, pretty much any comic storyline can work as a movie.

Todd: I just want to see Jackman wearing the gosh-darned helmet.

Nick: Moving on to the Marvel Studios panel, where there was tons of stuff shown. They opened with Tom Hiddleston there in character as Loki to introduce some new Thor footage. I read a description of the footage, and from what it sounds like, the clips focused a lot on the Loki/Thor relationship and where they stand after the events of The Avengers.

Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World

Greg: Is Loki in danger of overexposure, a la Lex Luthor in the Superman movies or Magneto in the X-Men franchise? I love Hiddleston, by the way.

Nick: It’s tough because as a Thor fan, I can tell you that there are very few iconic stories that don’t feature Loki as a prominent character. And, as you guys will soon read, the footage shown teases Loki doing something to Thor that will certainly have a lasting impact on the cinematic version of the character.

Todd: I think if you have Thor, you’ve gotta have Loki. There’s no other iconic solo villain for him that’s yet crossed over into the mainstream. Hopefully the dark Elf Malekith with be a worthy villain and will give Loki some competition.

Nick: Apparently there was very little of Malekith in the footage, so whatever they’re doing with him, they’re keeping it pretty much under wraps.

Next up on the Marvel slate was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. From what I read, it looks like the tone of the movie is going to be very heavy on espionage and political intrigue. Plus, of all the Cap stories they could choose to tell, this is easily the one that I’m the most interested in.

The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier

Greg: All I read was that the footage looked amazing. I’m far from a Cap fan typically, but I’m stoked for this film based on the still images. It sounds very heavy on the (longtime Cap writer Ed) Brubaker, which is a good thing.

Todd: Which is a GREAT thing. I will be curious to see if the Winter Soldier hits the emotional notes that the comic story does. There was no costumed Bucky in the first film, but there was still a deep bond of friendship between them.

Nick: Yeah, I think my only real concern here is how Falcon fits into the story. I know they want to introduce him in time for Avengers 2, but I kind of think this movie should focus on the Cap/Bucky relationship rather than expanding the cast.

Greg: More importantly than any of that, though, we need to get enough time dedicated to the great Georges St. Pierre (as Batroc the Leaper) jumping around doing French things.

Todd: I love Batroc, but this will probably tone down the camp. Oui oui oui! Zut Alors, BJ Penn!

Nick: One thing the movie will have to overcome is that there won’t really be an element of surprise with the Bucky reveal. Chris Evans is really going to have to sell that moment for it to be effective.

Greg: True. I think Evans can pull it off, though. He really surprised me in the first movie and Avengers.

Nick: He’s certainly come a long way since the Fantastic Four days.

Todd: He was so much better than expected. Good directors such as Joe Johnston and Joss Whedon can do that. (Fox’s FF was SO terrible).

Nick: Next up for Marvel was a bit of a surprise. Guardians of the Galaxy has only been filming for about two weeks, but that didn’t stop Marvel from having some footage to show and the cast on hand. Guys, your thoughts on Guardians as we get ready to see it next summer?

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Greg: I have no idea if it’s going to work, but it’s another out-there concept I’m excited about, primarily because I hope it shows idiotic studio executives that audiences don’t need a superhero movie to be based on Earth. And it gives some more exposure to Dave BY GAWD Batista.

Todd: It will be interesting to see if Batista, Chris Pratt and company can get anyone outside of comic-book diehards to show up to see a cosmic team story.

Nick: Between that and Thor, we should have a pretty heavy cosmic influence the next couple of years. Don’t forget Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, John C Reilly and Benicio Del Toro, so like a lot of Marvel movies, the cast alone is reason for excitement.

Todd: THIS seems like a risky movie, but I’m pretty excited for it.

Greg: Precisely. If this movie bombs, we can probably give up on seeing a Green Lantern Corps movie anytime soon. “More Earth,” the studios will say. We must rely on the Nova Corps to save us.

Todd: Ugh. Nova Corps. I hope this movie works, but I’m not going to be too surprised if it disappoints.

Nick: LOL! I plan on supporting the hell out of this movie, mainly for the reasons Greg stated. I want my cosmic DC movies, dammit, and if this movie hits big, it’ll show studios that cosmic superhero movies can work.

Greg: I look forward to certain people telling me Green Lantern is a Nova ripoff after the movie comes out.

Todd: Oh, I’m certain that will happen.

Nick: Oh, me too. On a related note, look for me to be jailed for strangling people next summer.

Onto Marvel’s crown jewel. Everyone knew Avengers 2 was coming in 2015, but Marvel still managed to throw us a curveball. Rather than moving on to Thanos, instead we are getting Avengers: Age of Ultron. Fellas, good move or bad move?

Is there anybody on the planet who isn't excited for this? It will be amazing.
Is there anybody on the planet who isn’t excited for this? It will be amazing.

Greg: It’s certainly surprising. I was pretty pumped to see the Avengers take on Thanos.

Nick: Yeah, me too. It’s a risky move in that they teased Thanos at the end of Avengers in 2012, and now it looks like they won’t give us the full payoff until 2018 at the earliest. That’s an eternity in Hollywood, so I guess it’s a good thing these Marvel movies are as good as printing money these days.

Greg: But I suspect the reason for this may be that Thanos is going to be built up for Avengers 3. If that’s the case, I’m all for it! Besides, Ultron is a pretty cool concept. I have a theory that Stark will play the Hank Pym role in this movie. Since he retired as Iron Man, he develops Ultron to basically do his old job for him. Things go awry, and he’s forced back into the suit. I think it could play out well, and I certainly have no reason to doubt Marvel Studios.

Todd: Probably a good move. It’s not a stretch that Tony Stark could create Ultron, so that may certainly work. I’d love for the Vision to be introduced, but I’d be … ambivalent if it turned out to be Vin Diesel. It was leaked that A2 was going to end in a “Planet Hulk” situation (the core Avengers banish the Hulk to a distant world) and that still might happen as well. That REALLY could be awesome.

Nick: I’m actually kind of hoping for Coulson as the Vision to explain his return, but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t know how I feel about those Planet Hulk rumors, mainly because World War Hulk didn’t blow me away. However, I could see it working a lot better as a movie than it did as a comic.

Although, Todd brings up a point. What if Ultron is a Banner creation, and that were to lead to his exile into space? Or more likely, perhaps, a joint effort between Stark and Banner, since they have a budding friendship.

Ultron, for those who aren't familiar with the character. Trust us, he's great.
Ultron, for those who aren’t familiar with the character. Trust us, he’s great.

Greg: Hadn’t considered that. At this point, I’d trust Marvel Studios to spruce up nearly any of the comics’ storylines, even stuff I hated like the aftermath of Civil War.

Nick: I want Civil War as Avengers 4 so badly it hurts. I know it’ll probably never happen, but man I want it. Do you guys think it’s risky at all for Marvel to expect audiences to invest in a villain over a six-year period? Theoretically, there could be kids who see Avengers 3 that don’t remember any of the Marvel movies that came before.

Greg: I don’t think it’s particularly risky. The movies are automatically profitable at this point, and I’d guess they’re all going to work well as standalone features. I’ve honestly enjoyed all the Marvel Studios films.

NEXT: DC drops a bombshell.