This weekend’s annual San Diego Comic-Con was full of trailers offering teases for upcoming movies and TV shows.
With several dozen released in just three days, it can be hard to keep up. For your viewing pleasure, we’ve rounded up the standouts from Comic-Con 2015.
Here’s what you can look forward to on the silver screen in the coming months, with commentary from movie writer Joe Gross.
Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice – March 25, 2016
This extended look into the impending Superman/Batman smackdown looks dark, gritty and full of fight scenes. Plus, we finally get our first look at Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
JG: I have long admired Holly Hunter’s ability to get cast in odd or unexpected roles — think “Crash,” “The Piano,” the entirety of “Saving Grace.” I don’t think of her when I think “Senate committee” but I’m game. Henry Cavill’s scowl really is something else, as is Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne angry face. Jesse Eisenberg seems to be auditioning for the Joker in his reading of Lex Luthor. Legit LOL at the “day versus night” line Luthor says in re: Superman v. Batman. Zack Snyder’s palette is pure night v. night. If Supes had a brighter costume, maybe. Here? Nope. However, I do like the idea that the flattening of Metropolis in “Man of Steel,” which was so distasteful to watch, had actual consequences. Also it is opening five days after the end of SXSW. I wonder if we will get a preview? C+.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2 – November 20, 2015
This aesthetically pleasing, hyper-stylized teaser gets the message across without Katniss having to say a word – it’s going down.
JG: Those are extremely precise soldiers. I really like the idea of Katniss leading a step show. A sharp teaser implying this is the video District 13 is sending to the other districts. Well done. A-.
Fantastic Four – August 7, 2015
The latest trailer for the Marvel reboot puts the quartet’s super powers on display, and gives us our first glimpse of the new Dr. Doom.
JG: One is conflicted looking at these. On the one hand, the Fantastic Four is one of the greatest super hero comics ever created; many consider it THE greatest. In the first hundred issues, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby cranked out enough ideas to quite literally sustain Marvel Comics for the next 50 years. On the other, given how rough the last few attempts at Fantastic Four movies were, it might be time to admit that the character, which look amazing on the page, just don’t work all that well in live action, no matter how “grim and gritty” you make the story.
It is very, very hard to make a guy made out of orange rocks look credible even if he is completely, uh, fantastic looking in the comics all the time.
Then again, this trailer does not look nearly as terrible as the pounding drums of bad buzz make it out to be. Looking to be based on the “Ultimate Fantastic Four” reboot from 2004, “Fantastic Four” was reportedly a troubled production with a director possibly out of his depth. That said, other than the faintly absurd idea of a “grim ‘n’ gritty” story about a guy who stretches, an invisible woman, a guy made out of fire and a guy made out of orange rocks, this looks no worse than, say, “Superman vs. Batman.” Add it has Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, a brilliant stroke of casting, along with Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Storm with Susan Storm as his adopted daughter. Also, one has to love Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm, suggesting that he has gone a long way in shedding the “Billy Elliot” image. (He was revelatory as a professional sadist in “Nymphomaniac.”) I think the phrase to use here is “cautiously optimistic.” B.
Suicide Squad – August 5, 2016
This mildly creepy first look at the much-anticipated DC Comics squad is so good it’s criminal.
JG: No. Miles of no. Acres of no. From the impossibly dark color palette to the Joker’s ridiculous tattoos and final comments. This looks like superhero-movie-as-PG-13-torture-porn, superhero-movie-as-nu-metal-album cover. It looks like a Korn video. Then again, I am slightly biased, lunatic fan of the 1987 comic book series of the same name.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – December 18, 2015
While director J.J. Abrams confirmed that there won’t be any new official SW trailers until this fall, this behind-the-scenes footage should hold over fans until then.
JG: This stuff was fantastic, are you kidding? What am I, made of wood? A.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – August 14, 2015
This 60’s spy film featuring “Man of Steel” Henry Cavill should help you fill the time between now and the next James Bond movie. If anything, watch it to figure out what “U.N.C.L.E.” stands for.
JG: Cavill does the smooth faux-Roger Moore-Bond thing pretty well here. He doesn’t seem to be allowed any emotional range whatsoever as Superman, which is insane for a character who is often written as “space Jesus”. Nice that it is set in the 60s rather than an update. Also, Napoleon Solo is a better name than Han Solo. Not a cooler character, but a cooler name. That is a just a fact. B.
As for what will be hitting your television in the not-too-distant future…
Fear the Walking Dead – August 23, 2015 on AMC
This pre-apocalypse companion to the popular “The Walking Dead” follows one family as the world around them suddenly becomes overtaken by a mysterious and deadly virus. The original show also released a trailer for Season 6, which will premiere October 11 on AMC.
JG: Ah, the calm before the storm, even if this feels a bit like “Angel” to the originals’ “Buffy.” Always nice to see Cliff Curtis and Kim Dickens working; nice Jack London shout-out as well: “London’s trying to teach us how NOT to die.” Oh, well. Most of you are future zombies. Good luck with all that. Looks excellent. A-.
Doctor Who – September 19, 2015 on BBC America
The good doctor is back, and he’s traded his sonic screwdriver for a pair of sonic shades.
JG: You know, I am officially feeling guilty that I was not able to quite buy Peter “Malcolm Tucker” Capaldi as Doctor Who. (Loads of swearing in that Malcolm Tucker clip, as you might imagine.) But I think I am just going to have to give it another try. This looks too fun. A-.
Once Upon A Time – September 27, 2015 on ABC
This season will be darker than ever, but we gotta say – black suits Emma Swan.
JG: We did a fair amount of binge watching of this show Chez Gross and eventually got so confused we dropped it, but I am kind of digging the idea of Emma Swan going all Dark Phoenix. Now that Disney/ABC/Marvel/Star Wars are all one big thing, will Liea show up as a Disney princess in this thing? B.
Sherlock – Christmas 2015 on BBC America and in select theaters
While a promise that Sherlock’s season 4 will be “coming soon…ish” isn’t exactly reassuring, at least we have an upcoming one-off Christmas special to look forward to before the year is over. Get ready for a blast from the past, because the entire thing will be set in 1895. Oh yeah, and Watson’s mustache will be making a comeback as well.
JG: Yay, Sherlock Holmes Christmas special. Please never play a Star Trek villain ever again, Mr. Cumberbatch. Sherlock Holmes, now no longer subject to copyright, officially passes into shared mythology the way, say, Superman and Spider-Man cannot. You, too, can make a Sherlock Holmes movie/book/comic book/etc. the same way you can with Zeus, Lilith or Tom Corbett, space cadet. A.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – 2016 on The CW
A new super squad is forming, and this one is coming to the small screen. Spinning off the success of their shows “Arrow” and “The Flash,” The CW will have those two team up with other DC side-characters, including Hawkgirl and White Canary.
JG: Here is the weird thing: DC’s TV shows are a blast in a way the DC movies absolutely are not. “Arrow” is essentially the Batman TV show we’ve all wanted, right down to bad guys such as Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia. “The Flash” is more fun than anyone expected and has not shied away from some of some of Flash’s more insane rouges. And this thing looks loads of fun, even incorporating such DC B-list baddies as Vandal Savage and a total C-lister such as Rip Hunter, Time Master. (You cannot say no to a man with his own time bubble.) It’s almost as if the limitations of the TV budget force a certain fly-by-night feel on the TV shows, which is something every comic-book-t0-live-action franchise needs. B+.
With everything from super heroes and zombies to princesses and super sleuths, it will be anything but a boring year for screens big and small.
What are movies and TV shows have you geeking out the most? Let us know in the comments.