Saturday, April 14, 2012

Comic-Con Episode 4: A Fan's Hope

I had been waiting over seven months to see this film, ever since it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, though I wasn't able to fit it into my packed schedule when I was there.  And there are several reasons why I've been excited about it.  For one, it's made by Morgan Spurlock, the comedy documentarian behind 'Super Size Me' and 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold'.  I'm a big fan.  And the other obvious reason is the subject matter.  It's hard to believe we haven't had a documentary made yet about Comic-Con, the increasingly popular pop culture annual event in San Diego.  It's so obviously ripe for a film.  Chances are, all you have to do is film any random event or attendees and it will be compelling.  And throw in interviews with fanboy gods like Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and Kevin Smith and you really can't lose.

So did this film reach my level of expectations?  Well, not exactly, though it came close and to be fair, my expectations were probably too high.  This is a highly entertaining film but just not the exact film I thought it would be.  Typical to many hobbyist docs of late, Spurlock made the choice to follow a handful of people and document their experiences.  This includes aspiring comic book artists looking to be discovered, long time comic book vendors trying to sustain their business in a world with changing demands and mediums, and fanboys (and fangirls) who wait all year for the one event that makes them finally feel like they fit in.  And that's all great stuff, but Spurlock also made the decision, unlike his other films, not to be in it.  And I'm not sure that was the right choice.  Frankly, he's often the best part of his movies.  He has a natural interview, conversational, and comedy style that just works in the kinds of docs that he likes to make (and at his Q&A's in person) which I missed in the film.  Plus, I longed for just a little more screen time for Stan 'The Man' Lee.  But I shouldn't be greedy.  This is fun stuff and you can see it now on Video on Demand for only $7.  (Though I got to see it with Spurlock in attendance and a nice long Q&A afterwards.  Yes, I'm bragging.  It was great.)

Grade: A-

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