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Comic-Con: The Strange, The Bat and The Hairy

Year after year, San Diego Comic-Con (the Super Bowl of the film and TV world) delivers such a mountain of material that frankly it gets pretty hard for us to cover it without sacrificing any good writer’s sense of concision. We’ve had Defenders, Agents, Justice Leaguers and Suicide Squads, but that doesn’t mean this year was entirely fixated on ensembles. We turn our attention to the three big reveals that go beyond the business-as-usual blockbusters:

The Lego Batman Movie

2014’s The Lego Movie is quite easily one of the most unexpected smash hits of the past few years (and hands down the best animated film since Toy Story 3). When it was first announced that not only would we be getting a direct sequel, but also an entire spinoff dedicated to the antics of crime fighter (and ironically, scene-stealer) Batman, hype hit the sky like a custom-made Bat-spotlight. Marketing for the film has been underway for some time, with two teasers released over the past few months to generally favourable reaction, but we defy you not to think this full length trailer hits it right out of the park. From Batman’s own teenage-like angst and bombastic demeanour to Robin the Boy/Witless Wonder’s puppy dog excitement to Wayne manservant Alfred Pennyworth’s austere parenting, this two-and-a-half snippet of the film to come is a barrel of laughs, and we’ve barely even been treated to the Joker yet. Starring Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Michael Cera (Superbad, Scott Pilgrim vs the World), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, James Bond) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), The Lego Batman Movie arrives in cinemas February 2017, and if its predecessor is anything to go by, don’t expect this superhero flick to ‘follow the instructions’.

Doctor Strange

Warner Bros and DC certainly came out strong in this year’s Comic Con trailer game but whilst the majority of Disney and Marvel Studios’ efforts focused more on big announcements as to casting and story, they delivered nonetheless this belter of an official trailer for the Sorcerer Supreme’s cinematic debut. Anticipation for this next instalment in the ground-breaking, industry-reshaping franchise has been predictably astral, but this time in no small amount because of how outside the box this seems set to be even for Marvel’s reputation. From casting Robert Downey Jr. and putting Jon Favreau in the director’s chair for Iron Man, to making Guardians of the Galaxy at all, not to mention Ant-Man, the makers of the MCU are no strangers to taking major risks. Doctor Strange seems set to open up a whole new ballgame however, not because of the character himself despite being a long running figure of prominence in Marvel lore, but because his world of astral planes, magic and mysticism is far removed from the grounded realism that has distinguished the franchise in tone and identity from the beginning. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game) stars as Steven Strange, under the tutelage of Tilda Swinton’s (We Need To Talk About Kevin) already controversial ‘Ancient One’, and set to go up against a lizard-eyed Madds Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal) with the help of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s (12 Years A Slave, 2012) Baron Mordo. Following Asgard, the entire galaxy and the quantum realm, can Marvel’s winning world-building streak continue into the astral plane? We’ll find out this October.

Kong: Skull Island

Before you start thinking that literally all Comic-Con gave us this year was comic book content (to be fair though, it is called COMIC-Con), we really have to draw your attention to this simmering simian monster looming on the horizon. And loom he does, as it looks like this iteration of the iconic ape is more than ready to take on a certain other gargantuan, albeit cold-blooded, beast in a couple of years time if rumour and hopes are anything to go by. Whilst we get only teasing glimpses of His Hairiness, they’re more than effective, and even more so when coupled with snippets of the carnage he seems to rain down upon the humans who dared to believe themselves the world’s rightful masters. Brie Larson (Room, Trainwreck), who is now officially set to join the Avengers roster as Captain Marvel, stars alongside Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Crimson Peak) and Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Django Unchained). Hear him roar, in March 2017.

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