A big part of Marvel’s success has been that the Avengers are the coolest club in Hollywood. If Hollywood is a high school cafeteria—and it is—then the Avengers are the kids everyone wants to sit with. Playing catch up at Comic-Con this weekend, Warner Brothers tried to convince everyone that they’re cool, too, and we should totally come have lunch with them. Except the Justice League, so far represented by Batfleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot, with an assist by Amy Adams and Jesse Eisenberg, came off as the kids assigned to a group project. They got their work done, but they’re not throwing slumber parties.
The panel itself went fine. Zack Snyder showed up with his crew in tow, also including Jeremy Irons and Holly Hunter, and the Hall H crowd ate it up. Their shill game was strong, and had Disney not thrown a party in the park the night before, with Stormtroopers and free lightsabers, Warner Brothers probably would have “won” Comic-Con. But the Disney stunt—which also hilariously screwed over Kevin Smith—was so over the top, no one was going to top it. Which leaves the Justice League at their table in the cafeteria, awkwardly asking if they should meet after school to keep working on their project.
I’m still not sure the entire cast has actually met one another. Certainly, it didn’t seem like Jesse Eisenberg really knew either Amy Adams or Gal Gadot, between whom he was seated. And Ben Affleck was very Nick Dunne, swinging between looking like he wanted to die and putting on a happy public face at various points during the day. A friend working behind the scenes told me that Affleck was her pick for Comic Con’s Most Miserable—there’s one every year, someone who just does not want to be there—and while that’s kind of understandable, this is also a BIG part of the job. Even ole grumpy guts himself, Harrison Ford, managed to be engaging and open to the process.
It stands out more when contrasted with other big panels, like The Hunger Games and X-Men, where you got a sense that these people actually hang out and enjoy each other. Or compare it to the panel for Fantastic Four, where Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, and Kate Mara shilled for a movie they clearly know is bad, yet pulled together and bolstered each other through it. It’s not that the Superhero Face Punch panel was bad—it wasn’t—it’s just that there is a noticeable lack of chemistry amongst the cast. Marvel hooked us by selling the movies as hanging out with the Avengers. Does anyone want to hang out with the Justice League?
(Lainey will be writing about Ben’s on-off ring in the next post.)