Not Easy Being Green (Arrow): San Diego Comic-Con 2012 (Day Two)

 

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Today’s panels quickly schooled me on just how exhausting blogging Comic-Con can be. There’s so much going on, and often times the panels you plan on following either don’t pan out at all, or in the end there’s just not much to say about them altogether. Take today for instance – I had plans to follow and report my reactions to both DC’s Superman and New 52 panels. Turns out most of what the company was discussing at those panels has already been well covered. And as evidenced by yesterday’s post, their liveblogs don’t exactly help to fill in the details; I closed out both liveblogs today relatively empty-handed. In contrast, the first Marvel liveblog I followed this year (covered below) managed to get a shitton of information out there, even updating the live feed with Twitter posts and user comments. You’d think that DC would be better at Marvel at something, but it’s certainly not looking that way. And that’s coming from a DC fan.

On a side note, I’ve also been following a lot of media coverage, including Spike TV’s All Access stuff, and my god is it terrible. Absolutely worthless in every way imaginable. If there’s one thing the media will probably never understand, it’s Comic-Con. According to IMDB, John C. Reilly was even asked if he’d ever played the video game Wreck-It Ralph, to which he responded, “You’re at Comic-Con, man, do your homework!” Make a note dear readers, if you ever want to see a slew of journalists at their phoniest, or occasionally even just completely lost, watch some of the big news organizations try to cover Comic-Con.

That said, on with the panel reactions!

Arrow Screening and Q&A

After a re-screening of the pilot which liveblogger Cinemablend wasn’t enthusiastic about, the cast and crew of Arrow took the stage briefly to answer fan questions. One audience member was concerned about how the title protagonist apparently kills people in the episode, to which leading man Stephen Amell replied “some necks are going to get snapped along the way”. Something tells me these people haven’t read a lot of Green Arrow comics, or DC comics in general for that matter, but at least the guy appreciates Terrence Stamp’s General Zod.

The show was described as a “crime drama”, and in an interview with Marc Guggenheim, producer and writer on the show, a lot of talk about realism and being grounded was thrown around. Sounds to me like these guys are taking the same approach to marketing as Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, but perhaps without the same level of thoughtfulness towards the character. Really, the way to make Green Arrow stand out is most definitely NOT to strip him of his color (literally and symbolically). Rather, there has to be a balance between the realism of, say, the Mike Grell era of the character’s history, and his overall place in a larger, more colorful and unreal universe. Regardless, the second episode of the series begins shooting next week; let’s hope these guys have created something worthy of bearing the character’s namesake.

Marvel: Cup O’ Joe

Last year’s panel headlining Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada had quite a few surprises for the audience, so I made a point to check out the panel again this year. Marvel NOW was a hot topic of conversation; the new line is basically Marvel’s answer to DC’s New 52, where their entire line of comics is relaunched with new #1 issues to present a less daunting entry point for new readers. I don’t know if anything about the new books has been announced yet, but the panel did talk a bit about the new direction for the Hulk and how there would be a “new dynamic” between the character and his alter-ego Bruce Banner. Interesting.

Still, I have to admit that I admired Marvel’s original stance last year, when they repeatedly denied any plans to follow in DC’s footsteps. DC’s relaunch is a bit more understandable, given the company’s abysmal track record at keeping a consistent continuity, but Marvel has always stayed true to its roots and kept the old Stan Lee stuff as its primary jumping on point, so there’s really not much purpose for it in the first place. I may check out some of the new books, but I can’t help but feel it’s more a setback than a move forward.

The panel also talked about more Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in books, which I think are worthless, quite frankly. I’m still following the main series, but so far the event has been pretty underwhelming, and I don’t see how more tie-ins are going to make it any better. But that didn’t stop Marvel geeks on the liveblog from getting excited at the prospect of Scott Summers dying at the end of the series. Some stepped up to defend the character, saying “He’s just misunderstood! People will think he’s weak if he’s not a jerk!” Please…even a fan at the panel questioned Scott’s logic in believing the Phoenix would bring rebirth, when “nothing good” has ever come from the entity “ever.” One thing’s for sure, Civil War this ain’t.

Sony: Total Recall, Looper, and Elysium

For the Sony panel, the company brought the cast and director of the new Total Recall remake back for another year, presumably because they have no other movies ready to show off and Recall needs the exposure. I didn’t pay much attention to the panel since I already saw these guys last year, but the marketing so far makes the film look nothing more than the original with a CGI coat of paint and a more serious approach. I really wish they’d used the original Phillip K. Dick material instead of the Schwarzenegger movie, because I’m sure there’s a lot of great stuff there that could make for a more thoughtful adaptation. Instead, they seem to just be rehashing the original; exact lines of dialogue are literally lifted from the original. It’s just lazy, but I will check the film out if I hear good things.

Next came Looper from Brick director Rian Johnson. I thought the trailers for this looked interesting enough, but I could never get past how weird Joseph Gordon-Levitt looked. They obviously made him up to look more like Bruce Willis, who plays Gordon-Levitt’s older self in the movie, but it’s really more distracting than anything. Still, Looper was apparently inspired in part by the work of Phillip K. Dick (unlike Total Recall…zing!) I wasn’t particularly interested in the film before, but the panel inspired me to consider checking it out this September. And I haven’t seen any of Rian Johnson’s past work, but Looper may very well be my first.

Finally, there was Elysium, starring Matt Damon and from the director of 2009’s uneven and messy District 9, so perhaps it was morbid curiosity that led me to stay on the liveblog and see what all the fuss was about. Apparently a good deal of unfinished footage was screened to a very positive response. Sharlto Copley is also in the film, but there’s a reason why I haven’t seen anything with him in it since District 9. If I ever hear “FOOKIN’ PROOWN” again, I’ll carve my ears off. This one’s still up in the air, but the premise seems cool.

 

Finally, I got lucky today and found the full Expendables 2 panel from yesterday here for anyone interested. It’s a great panel and definitely the greatest highlight of the con so far for me. And that’s about it! It’s been a true marathon writing session for me so far and I’m really starting to feel the heat, but the truth is that we’ve only scratched the surface! The most newsworthy bits of the Con are going down tomorrow, and I’ll be actively looking for all the latest on Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Hobbit, and more. Stay tuned!

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