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Comic-Con and Superhero Burnout

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Jul 20, 2010 | 7:58am EDT

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  Comic-Con and Superhero Burnout

Green LanternI love Comic-Con. Perhaps that is because I’ve never actually been to Comic-Con. In my mind it is this glorious Geek Mecca where no matter how much of a fanboy you are about a particular comic, film, TV show, game or whatever else you’re into that the rest of the world has yet to catch onto, you can always look to your left and to your right and see someone who is even more passionate about it than you are. Basically, I envision it as some kind of geek orgy where nothing is taboo.

The reality is probably a lot less cheerful. Oh, I’ve no doubt that you’ll always be able to find someone who's even more into the long-forgotten CGI Starship Troopers TV show than you are. I also have no doubt that people are incredibly friendly and that no weird intellectual property fetish can be too taboo. However, I also imagine that after day one, standing around in absurdly long lines so you can be shuffled into an overcrowded conference hall probably begins to grind down the enjoyment of being surrounded by people who are just like you. Plus, there has been a growing concern over the years that the San Diego con has become far too commercial, since all the major movie studios have turned it into their promotional springboard.

Since I don’t have to deal with any of those inconveniences, I’m free to get excited about Comic-Con — and the inevitable breaking news that comes with it — each year. This year, however, I’m a little less excited for some reason. I was going through the list of all the panel presentations that will be there and I really couldn’t find a handful of things that made me wish this had finally been the year I had bitten the bullet and made the geek pilgrimage to San Diego. I was trying to figure out precisely why that was the case when it dawned on me ... I’m kind of getting burned out on Superhero movies.

ThorObviously, since this is a convention that was started around comic books, panels about comic-based films are going to be the centerpiece. But I just have incredibly low interest in Captain America, The Green Lantern, The Green Hornet and Thor. I was moderately curious about the last three given their filmmakers — Martin Campbell, Michel Gondry and Kenneth Branagh, respectively — but everything that we’ve seen from those films so far has done little to entice me. Particularly Thor, which seems to slip a peg or two down my interest ladder every time Marvel releases a new image. I’m sure once it’s all seen in motion Thor won’t look so much like a BBC drama with weird costume design, but that’s exactly what it looks like now. And The Green Hornet has the unfortunate fate of arriving at my Seth Rogen saturation point, so I’m even less excited about him starring in a superhero action-comedy. Though the casting of Christoph Waltz as the villain is going a long way to counter that non-interest.

But even if I thought all the promo materials we’ve been shown so far actually looked amazing, I still can’t get past the decision to convert each of these films to 3D in post-production (The Green Lantern might be a native 3D production, I’m not positive, but the other three are definitely going to be conversions). I know Michele Gondry has sworn up and down that he shot Green Hornet with enough depth of field to properly allow for a post-production conversion, but I still just do not trust that cheaper, afterthought route.

I’m just not that interested in the super budget, high-profile superhero movies any more. I’m much more excited to learn about the smaller comic-based movies like, for example, The Goon, which is a CGI-animated feature produced by David Fincher about two guys (voiced by Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown) who fight undead crime. Or how about Sam Raimi’s newly-announced futuristic western Earp: Saints for Sinners, which places a Wyatt Earp-type law figure at the center of Las Vegas, one of the few American cities that survived the apocalypse. I know next to nothing about Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens adaptation, so I can’t wait to hear about what he’s been up to now that he’s moved on from Iron Man. Hell, I’m more excited to see the (probably) straight-to-video 30 Days of Night: Dark Days than I am to see what Chris Evans looks like wearing Captain America’s suit.

I have little doubt that once all the trailers for this new crop of superhero movies start hitting, I’ll find myself warming to all the blockbuster spectacle they promise, but I’m just not there yet. I think we had a nice wave of superhero movies that were each unique in their own right; I would have loved to have seen them be their own little ka-tet of films, and not the forefathers of a new generation of (post-production) 3D superhero movies.

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