Review: Comic-Con – Episode IV – A Fan's Hope / Cert: 15 / Director: Morgan Spurlock / Starring: Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, Seth Rogan, Seth Green, Paul Dini / Release Date: Out Now
Morgan Spurlock has always liked to explore the weird and wonderful in his films – from living off burgers for a month, to product placement in film, to the art of male grooming – so he is the ideal filmmaker to take us into the world of Comic-Con in a documentary. Unlike previously however, Spurlock doesn’t appear in the film at all, instead presenting us with the experiences of six different people, all with their own reasons for being at the Con.
We’ve seen Comic-Con on film before (most particularly in Mark Hamill’s Comic Book: The Movie) but none until now have looked at it from the point of view of your average real life nerd, and the film has a genuine affection for these people and the journey they go on, which at times makes for compelling viewing. They are never mocked or shown as figures to be ridiculed, but just as people following their passion and you find yourself rooting for them.
The rest of the film is made up of talking head scenes of various famous faces sharing their Comic-Con experiences. They’re all good value for money and speak with a passion for the event, particularly (as you’d expect) Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith, but you do get the feeling at times that they are taking part in an extended promotional video for Comic-Con.
There are some nice asides from the celebs – Guillermo Del Toro talking about what it is to be a collector and the one-upmanship of having something a fellow collector doesn’t, Eli Roth describing the experience of taking a pee stood between a Klingon and a Stormtrooper, or the genuine pleasure that comes from seeing Stan Lee walk the convention floor being cheered on by the people who worship him, to name a few – but it’s in the average nerds that we are really interested in and get behind throughout the film.
The film's focus on what Comic-Con means to people is both its strength and its weakness. The short running time means that the history of the Con is barely touched upon (it’s set up in an introduction and then not looked at again) nor is there any real focus on the Hollywoodization of the event apart from a couple of references to the comic book side of it almost being the dirty secret hidden deep within the convention centre.
By walking the line between appealing to a fanboy audience and the average person with a passing curiosity in nerd culture, the film fails to give you absolutely everything you'd want, but it is a very enjoyable watch, even if it doesn’t totally satisfy.
Extras: Deleted scenes / Extended interviews / Trailer