Eleven movies it was worth staying in Hall H for at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con
We brave the San Diego nerd-funk to bring you the latest movie news.
There’s so much to do at San Diego Comic-Con that you could create approximately 34 clones of yourself and still not see it all. But one of the highlights is always the Hall H panels, where Hollywood comes to show its wares, so we took advantage of the most savage air conditioning in the city to check out the big-screen highlights of this year’s Con…
With Marvel absent, it was left to DC to deliver the superhero goods, and it didn’t disappoint. The biggest surprise came in the form of Wonder Woman 1984, with Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine bringing fresh footage from next year’s sequel exclusively to Hall H after just three-and-a-half weeks of filming. The brief glimpse featured Wonders using her lasso of truth to save a young girl from two armed goons in an ’80s shopping mall, before sprinting down the street at super speed. Plot details were thin on the ground, but Jenkins did explain the radical new setting, reasoning, “It really was mankind at its best and worst… so there was no better time to see Wonder Woman in a period of time that’s really us at our most extreme.” Colour us extremely excited. Next up: Shazam!, one of the Con’s biggest treats. Starring Chuck’s Zachary Levi as the alter-ego of Billy Batson, a 14-year-old who can turn into a Superman-strong hero by uttering the titular magic word, the first trailer revealed a film with warmth, humour and heart – elements largely absent from the DCEU to date. “Stories like this are always necessary, stories that are full of hope and optimism and wish fulfilment,” said Levi, who has bulked up since his Buy More days. Helmed by David F Sandberg (Lights Out), Shazam! has a premise we can all relate to. “Not only does he become an adult,” Sandberg explained. “But he learns what it’s like to be a superhero.” Heroes, it seems, come in all shapes and sizes. Finally, after appearances in Batman V Superman and Justice League, Jason Momoa brought a first look at Aquaman to Comic-Con alongside director James Wan. The trailer established an enticing underwater world, with Wan describing the film as not your “traditional superhero movie”, but one that “plays more like a science-fiction fantasy film”. Even more exciting was five minutes of exclusive footage, including Arthur and Amber Heard’s Mera exploring a lost Atlantean tomb for his trident, Black Manta pursing the pair across the rooftops of a Mediterranean town and a glimpse of Aquaman in a comic-book-faithful gold and green costume. As co-star Patrick Wilson declared, “[DC] put all their faith in James, and he really delivered.” After some stumbles, DC might just be back on track. 14 December 2018 (Aquaman) 5 April 2019 (Shazam!) 15 November 2019 (Wonder Woman)
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
Wherever you stand on Gareth Edwards’s
Godzilla (2014), we can all agree there wasn’t enough Big G. Michael Dougherty’s sequel changes all that by pitting the atomic lizard against a treasure trove of Toho titans, including Rodan and King Ghidorah. There’s also Mothra, a winged goddess with a “really interesting connection” to 14-year-old Madison Russell, according to Millie Bobby Brown (aka Stranger Things’ Eleven). But who needs humans when such an epic multi-monster showdown is on the cards? “I didn’t grow up seeing them as giant monsters that trash cities; I was obsessed with the mythology of it too,” says Dougherty. “I thought this was an opportunity to make a movie that showed all our stories about sea monsters and dragons aren’t myth, they’re history.” The first sciencefaction monster movie? You heard it here first. ETA 31 may 2019
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
If the first Fantastic Beasts merely dipped its toe into the best-known aspects of the Potter-verse, sequel The Crimes Of Grindelwald is doubling down on JK Rowling’s Wizarding World with a return trip to Hogwarts featuring the magical establishment’s legendary future headmaster. “You’ve got to remember the Dumbledore we all know and love is almost 100 years older,” said Law, the 45-year-old dubbed “hot” Dumbledore by certain quarters. “He’s still mischievous, he has a way of influencing people, and he’s got secrets.” There’s also the small matter of Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald, the dark wizard Eddie Redmayne’s beast-buddy Newt Scamander is tasked with hunting down, who put the fear of God into Hall H with an in-character appearance. “There’s a lot at stake, it’s very much a ‘whose side are you on story’,” Law continued. “The depths and the darkness in this story are possibly the darkest that this world has plumbed before.” 16 November 2018
Marvel Studios may have been missing in action, but that doesn’t mean Marvel movies were completely absent from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Leading the charge was Venom, the Spidey-verse antihero, and soon-to-be star of his own solo feature, whose Hall H panel revealed the film’s comic book inspirations (“We stay pretty close to the Lethal Protector,” said star Tom Hardy), its primary villain (host-hopping symbiote Riot) and its sequel prospects (“We’re definitely planning a huge world with this Venom story,” said director Ruben Fleischer). The panel also addressed the spider-shaped elephant in the room: will Tom Holland’s web-slinger swing by? “I think we an all agree it would be pretty amazing to see Spider-Man and Venom face off in a film,” said Fleischer, confirming or denying precisely nothing. “I have to think the studio’s thinking the same way and, at some point down the road, they’re going to run across each other’s paths.” Our Spidey Sense is tingling… ETA 5 October 2018
“You can’t kill the Boogeyman,” we were told in the original Halloween 40 years ago, and that’s certainly true of Michael Myers. Luckily, his nemesis Laurie Strode is also remarkably resilient – despite the fact she died in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, she’s back in a follow-up that boasts the involvement of one John Carpenter.
“She has carried the PTSD of someone who’s been attacked randomly,” star Jamie Lee-Curtis told Hall H. “The narrative of my life is not that victim and this is a woman who’s been waiting 40 years to face the person she knows is coming back.”
The panel took an emotional turn during the audience Q&A when a fan revealed that Halloween had saved his life when an intruder entered his house.
“That kind of emotion is real,” said Curtis. “We come to a movie to get scared… but it has to be based in a reality and something you can believe in. The reality of life is what makes stepping into a role 40 years later easy.” ETA 19 October 2018
tHe LegO mOVie 2: tHe secOnD part
Back in 2014, everything was awesome. A lot can change in four years. “Bricksburg has become Apoclypse-burg. It’s a heckish place to live,” said Lego Movie 2 co-writer Chris Miller. Amid the ongoing Duplo invasion, mysterious space traveller Sweet Mayhem abducts Emmet’s friends, forcing the hapless minifig on an intergalactic mission to save them. Thankfully, Emmet has assistance in the shape of Rex Dangervest – a “galaxy-defending archaeologist, cowboy, raptor trainer”, and typically irreverent send-up of Chris Pratt’s own Jurassic World character Owen Grady. But it isn’t all belly laughs. Just as the first film had a poignant message about creativity versus conformity at its heart, The Second Part is putting humour and emotion on equal footing. “We wanted to tell a story about combing two different imaginations,” said co-writer Phil Lord. “And that it’s like going to a completely different universe. Look, it’s a metaphor, you guys.” Rest assured, everything is awesome once again. ETA 8 February 2019
Postponing their “who’s the better Chris?” argument for a nice photo. The best thing about Shazam: his light-up chest.
Giving Godzilla a nosebleed was harder than it looked. Aquaman was the champion of the wave machine.
Their attempts to ‘act natural’ weren’t very convincing.
Michael Myers: getting way too old for this shit.
Venom seemed chill about having a knife stuck in his eye.