It was slim pickings this year at the San Diego Comic-Con. The largest event of its kind normally has a bevy of film announcements, usually presented in Hall H, the Con’s largest event space, that make their way to the internet soon after. It’s a place where studios and distributors can build hype for something they’re nervous about — one need only look at how the SDCC trailer for Iron Man helped to convince skeptical nerds that the movie might actually, you know, be good for proof of that — or they can single-handedly sink your chances at pleasing a small but stupidly loud demographic if your film looks bad. Both Game of Thrones and Marvel Studios skipped Comic-Con this year, and a number of the bigger studios including Fox and Sony whittled down their involvement to a handful of titles, so the bombast just wasn’t there.
Still, what we did see was interesting, and it seems, much like nature, Comic-Con abhors a vacuum, so the film press ate up some truly dreadful trailers and convinced themselves that they were “good” and worth the same kind of breathless coverage that something like Black Panther would have gotten last year. So we’re here to give you a more impartial look at what the public saw at Comic-Con this year, via the trailers that came out of it.
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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald
It’s rare that a trailer comes along which manages to piss off everyone at Comic-Con and at home, but the new look at Fantastic Beasts 2 is one such trailer. What seemed like a good idea — a period Harry Potter prequel with an entirely new cast of characters — has been spoiled by a few things: Bad writing, stiff performances, and oddly shoddy CGI. But there’s one big elephant in the room, especially when studios are firing directors for past bad behavior left and right, and that is the presence of Johnny Depp, whose ex-wife and domestic violence accuser Amber Heard took the Hall H stage less than an hour after the aging alcoholic “surprised” the assembled crowds at the Warner Bros. panel. Ugh.
Anyways, we’re getting dangerously close to Prequel Trilogy and Hobbit levels of creative bankruptcy here (no matter how many advertising cues they take from the most recent Star Wars films), hurried along by J.K. Rowling, David Yates and a studio in dire need of a stable franchise, and any added ickiness by Depp and those involved in the production who defend him only make this worse for everyone. Yikes.